Are you one of those people who can’t cook to save your life? Have you burned water or spilled an entire carton of milk? Don’t worry — cooking is easy, and this article is here to show you how! Read on to find out simple tips to help you cook better!
Learn to use your hands when cooking (after washing them thoroughly first of course!). Hands are the most sensitive yet versatile cooking utensil you will own. They can be used for mixing, measuring and testing whether a product is cooked enough. A cake, for example, will show that it is done by springing back when touched lightly with a finger on its top.
You should not boil pasta in water that has oil in it. When you add oil to the water that you are boiling your pasta in it keeps the sauce from sticking to the pasta. By leaving the oil out you can toss your pasta in the sauce and it will cling to it.
Do not be afraid to experiment. There is no rule that says you need to follow a recipe exactly. If you do not care for an ingredient, leave it out. If you think a different ingredient would taste better, substitute it. If you think the dish is missing a little something, add it.
Cook your rice in vegetable or chicken stock instead of using water. Choosing a stock will add both extra taste and valuable nutrients. The cooking process and time are the same as with water, so you won’t be adding any extra work by trying this method.
One good way to store extra sauce is to freeze it using ice cube trays. This will make reheating the sauce easy, as you can pull out as many cubes that you need for the next meal. The sauce will be very edible after it comes out of the trays.
You should use your freezer bags more than one time. You need to store your meats or vegetables in regular storage bags and then place them into freezer bags so that you can use them repeatedly. Freezer bags are very expensive and this will cut back on your costs each month.
It is necessary for all cooks to organize their cooking supplies. If you are disorganized, you won’t know where to find the cheese grater or the spatula when you need them. Keep certain similar tools in one area. For example, you want to organize your spices such as parsley and basil in one cabinet.
Keep your pantry well stocked with a selection of canned meats. You never know when the power might go out for a day or two and you can’t get to the store. Canned hams, salmon, or other canned meats can save the day. Just add a few other ingredients from your pantry and you’ll have a great meal!
Use fresh products if available. Nothing packs the punch in cooking like the taste of fresh ingredients. Vegetables, meats and fruits all contain vibrant, savory and wholesome flavors that can be severely diminished by processing and canning or packaging. When cooked properly, fresh ingredients will make any dish more flavorful.
Try cooking stock ahead of time and freezing it. It is always handy to have chicken, beef, or vegetable stock handy when you are boiling vegetables or want to make a quick soup. It is also easier this way because it is less mess the day you are having your meal!
When preparing food in the kitchen, always remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water before touching food, or anytime you handle raw meat, fish or eggs. In addition, you never want to put cooked food on plates, counters or any other surface where these raw meats have been unless they have been washed with hot, soapy water.
Reduce the stress of cooking for a lot of people by preparing the ingredients the day before or earlier in the day. This helps prevent burning certain dishes because your attention is on preparing another dish. When you prepare the ingredients beforehand, you can focus all your attention on cooking the best meal possible.
Keep it familiar when you are having guests. Cooking can quickly go from fun to entertainment disaster when you try too many complicated things at the same time. A good rule of thumb successful cooks follow is to never-mix a new ingredient and new recipe in the same meal.
When you are cooking a roast, go large. Buying a bigger cut of meat, when you buy a roast for a meal, has a couple of benefits. One is that you will have more leftovers from the meal. Another is that the larger the meat, the better the overall finished flavor will be.
Keep whole, rather than ground, spices on hand. Unground cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and peppercorns last much longer than their ground counterparts. Just use a fine grater or mortar and pestle to grate them into your dish when needed. Their flavors will stay fresh much longer and save you from the costs of replacing your spices.
Learn to make a good roux for top-notch cream sauces, gravies, soups and more. Begin by melting a few tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, and add just enough flour to soak up all of the melted butter. For recipes that call for a blonde roux, add liquid just after the butter is absorbed by the flour. For a darker roux, which imparts deeper flavor, allow the flour and butter mixture to cook a bit longer, stirring constantly.
When roasting a chicken or turkey, maximize the flavor and juiciness by stuffing the cavity with halved or quartered lemons, onions, shallots, garlic cloves or oranges. These foods will add a great, subtle flavor to the meat while providing extra moisture as they roast in the oven. Simply remove the items from the cavity prior to carving the bird.
As you can see, cooking isn’t so difficult as you might have made it out to be. As long as you stick with simple recipes and follow the simple tips laid out in this article, you’ll be cooking like a pro and saving yourself money on food in no time.