It doesn’t matter if you are single or are feeding a larger family full of hungry people, cooking is a big thing to learn, so take your time learning. Whether you are entertaining or attempting to eat healthy or you are simply trying to reduce the money you spend on eating out, learning how to cook is a skill that will help you take charge of your lifestyle. Here you will find informative tips that apply to many aspects of food preparation and cooking.
Spices and herbs should be stored in a dark and cool area. Herbs and spices can quickly lose their flavor if exposed to continuous light or heat. You can plan on ground herbs and spices retaining their potency for a year. Whole spices may keep their flavors, possibly, three years or longer. Spices that are stored correctly remain fresher for longer.
Store your spices and herbs in a cool and dark spot when you decide where to keep them. Herbs and spices can quickly lose their flavor if exposed to continuous light or heat. Herbs and ground spices usually retain their flavor up to a year. Spices that are kept whole can keep their flavor for about three, four or five years. If stored correctly, they will remain fresher longer.
If you are just beginning your adventure with home cooking, look online, at a bookstore, or at the library for a cookbook that has simple, easy recipes that you’ll take pleasure in both preparing and eating. Be as patient as you can be when you are learning how to cook.
The prep work comes first. Save time by doing the prep work before you begin cooking the meal. However, when you are ready to start cooking and have a deadline for when your meal needs to be finished, it can be a bit stressful. Prepare early to avoid later stress.
When adding seasonings to meat, test a small amount before seasoning the whole batch. Meats like meatballs, hamburgers or meatloaf can be easily under or over seasoned. Do not try and cook the whole piece of meat right after adding seasoning. You should make a small patty first. This gives you the option of cooking the entire meal with this seasoning or altering it according to taste.
There is a secret to thicken up your weak sauce. In a small bowl, combine two tablespoons of water and 3 teaspoons of corn starch. You can then add the solution to the sauce and it will become thicker. Add the starch solution slowly, and stir constantly so that the sauce does not become too thick.
One way to make mashed potatoes retain their taste but contain a little less fat and calories is to replace some of them with equal amounts of cauliflower. Cauliflower does not have a strong taste and will be virtually undetectable when mixed with the potatoes and other ingredients. Cauliflower is also the same texture and color of potatoes when mashed so it’s a great way to add more veggies, while lowering calories from classic mashed potatoes.
If you want crispier and crunchier French fries, then soak the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for a period of at least half an hour before use. A cold water soak helps the potatoes stand up to the rigors of deep fat frying.
You can prepare a lot prior to cooking to streamline your cooking process. Read your recipe and note which steps you can complete in advance without compromising the dish’s quality. Much of the preparations can be finished one day prior to cooking. This makes preparing even more complex recipes fun and fast.
Make a lot of stock if you are going to make it ahead of time. Plan on preparing a large batch so that the excess can be frozen and used later. You can use your homemade chicken stock for soups, casseroles and stews. Once your stock is finished, cool it and put it in heavy freezer bags.
Be careful when using garlic because the flavor and aroma can be transferred to a variety of surfaces, including your hands. After using garlic or other foods with odors that stick to your hands, all you need to do is rub your hands on a piece of stainless steel, like your sink. Not only does this clean your hands, but it also prevents the odors from carrying over to whatever food items you make contact with next.
When you are using wooden skewers in cooking, soak them for at least half an hour before putting the veggies on them. By soaking, you can prevent the skewers from burning while cooking your food. You can make sure that food stays on your skewers by skewing the food with parallel skewers.
Use airtight containers whenever you store unused baking mixes, flour or sugar in your pantry or kitchen. These containers keep your food safe from pests and help your items stay fresh by sealing out the unwanted air. You can find these containers in a variety of sizes online or at local stores. Regardless of where you purchase them, using these containers is a choice you are unlikely to regret.
Anytime you are cooking a dish that calls for substantial seasoning, try to add spices gradually throughout the process rather than all at once at the very start. By cooking in this way, you can help different seasonings “open up” and release their flavor into the dish without overpowering it.
When trying to eat a healthier diet or lose weight, you should decrease the portion of oils used in cooking meals. There is a lot of fat that are not needed in butter and oil. Using a nonstick spray is a good alternative as it has the same effects without all the calories.
When roasting a joint of meat, make sure you leave it boned if you are struggling for time. The bone acts as a conduit to draw heat to the center of your roast, helping the roast to cook more quickly. Once your roast is done, just cut the meat from the bone, then serve.
Measure out your cooking oil! To cook with less fat, measure specific amounts of oil instead of pouring oil into the pan straight from the bottle. This will give you the ability to know exactly how much oil is going into the pan at a time.
Try to do preparations for tomorrows meal the night before to save time and make cooking a breeze. Easy ways to prep in advance include cutting up any ingredients that needs chopping, throwing together the ingredients for any sauces or marinades or assembling a casserole before you head to bed for the night. You will be much less stressed and more ready to cook the next day.
If serving salad, keep the dressing on the side, rather than pouring it on the salad. Everyone likes a different amount of salad dressing. It is a good idea to allow them to control the amount themselves. Offer several different types of dressing.
Fresh herbs in a meal are delicious. Bunch them together and then use a pair of scissors to snip them. Chopping herbs often makes herbs wet and wilted. Using scissors gives your herbs a light, fluffy appearance.
You can make dried tomatoes yourself. You can do this by cutting ripe tomatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices, or by cutting Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise. Put the tomatoes, cut-side up, onto a cooling rack and give them a light salting. After placing the rack atop a cookie sheet, allow the tomatoes to dry for 10 hours in an oven at 190 degrees. Place the tomatoes into a freezer bag, and freeze them for later use. Another option is to place the tomatoes in a jar and cover them with fresh herbs and olive oil. The jar can be stored in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Be sure to keep your dishes clean as you cook to avoid a lengthy clean up. Fill your sink with hot water and soap on one side and clean water to rinse your dishes on the other. Utensils that have been used recently, will be easier to clean if you leave them in this water.
You should never throw away your leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Rather, cut up the meat and store it in an airtight container in the freezer. It will keep fresh for several weeks which you can use for sandwiches or if you prefer a salad.
When you are preparing salsa that will be stored rather than used immediately, dice your onions, rinse them in cold water and blot them with paper towels to get them completely dry. Fresh, raw onions emit sulfurous gas. The taste of fresh salsa can be negatively impacted by this gas. Rinsing the onions allows the gas to be removed.
Use a substantial amount of salt in the water when you are cooking pasta. The salt will hold better while cooking because it is absorbed by the pasta along with the water. If you try to salt the pasta after it is already cooked it will not hold the seasoning as well.
To add another dimension to homemade pasta sauce, use a little leftover pasta water. Measure out one-fourth of a cup and place it to the side. When you mix your pasta and sauce, also add the water you reserved. The pasta water’s starch adds a “creaminess” to the sauce via amalgamation.
It is important to take proper care of wood cutting boards. Your cutting board can split or warp if it is exposed to excessive moisture, heat, or extreme dryness. Don’t submerge your board in water to clean it. Use a sponge and warm soapy water instead. To repair a damaged cutting board, use an oil designed to restore this type of board. It should be completely dry before its next use.
There are a wide variety of potatoes, and they are not always adequate substitutes for each other when cooking. Waxy potatoes are best used for things like potato salad but would not work well if made into a French fry. If you plan on making these types of recipes, you should use Russets potatoes as they are made specifically for these.
When cooking an easy recipe, you should always use fresh seasonings and herbs. Elaborate dishes with multiple flavors can really be enhanced by using dried herbs, oregano and basil are great ones to use. However, using fresh herbs in your dish is a lot better if you can because it provides a fresher, stronger, and yummier taste. One way to ensure that you have fresh herbs is to plant a herb garden.
Rather, use both your watch and oven timers. If you engage in another activity away from your oven, you will hear your watch timer beep.
There are a wide variety of potatoes, and they are not always adequate substitutes for each other when cooking. You can make potato salad with waxy potatoes, but you should use a different kind for fries or mashed potatoes. Russet potatoes will produce the fluffiest results.
To reheat foods that have oil in them, without making a mess, skip the microwave and reheat them in the oven. By placing your food in a microwave you’ll find that the oil will separate from everything else, drying your food out. By heating or cooking your food in the oven, you’ll be rewarded with food which tastes as it should and has a juicy texture.
Try fresh ideas for cooking with oysters. Oysters can be prepared in many ways, although the most common way is to be eaten raw with some lemon juice on top. Opened oysters can be placed on a pan appropriate for broiling and covered with a moderate dose of cream. Add grated Parmesan cheese and shredded fresh peppers to the oysters and bring to the boil. You could try to saute them. Just drop them in some seasoned flour, then fry them in butter until they turn golden- about 2 minutes. Prepare oysters then bake inside their shells. You place them in a casserole type dish, place a dollop of butter along with fresh breadcrumbs on top of each oyster, then bake them four or five minutes at 425 degrees. When the juices and butter start bubbling, serve very hot along with a baguette that is toasted.
Use a baking potato with thick skin to get a good, firm shell when making potato skins or twice baked potatoes. Red potatoes don’t have the skin thickness for high-density fillings.
In today’s age of fast food and rampant obesity, the ability to cook fresh, healthy, tasty meals for your family or for yourself is an invaluable asset. No matter your taste bud’s preferences, learning to cook can enrich your life. It might be easy to get fast food, but nothing can compare to a meal cooked at home.
When you blend sugar with butter for cookies, be sure to soften the butter instead of melting it. If your butter has melted put it in the freezer for some time to make it a bit harder or put your dough in the refrigerator for a little while. Your cookies will be less likely to spread if the dough has been allowed to cool.