Take Food And Make It A Meal

Cooking is a regrettable necessity in some people’s eyes. However, there are many ways to make cooking fun. Not only is it fun, but it can encourage a more healthy lifestyle. A good cook will always continue to learn new and innovative methods, and the following information will help you learn more about cooking as well.

Spices need to be stored in a dark, cool area. If light, humidity and heat are present, these items will begin to lose their flavor. 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. They’ll last longest when stored properly.

If you want to start cooking more, go to the bookstore or library and get a cookbook of simple and basic recipes that appeal to you. Focus on one recipe at a time and give yourself enough time to improve your cooking.

When possible, complete all of the prep work in advance. The prep work should be done before you even start cooking. 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. You can help lessen the potential stress by getting all your prep work done early.

Mashed Potatoes

A sharp knife is imperative when preparing food. Knives are actually more dangerous when they get dull, because they get harder to control. When you use a dull knife, you often have to force the blade through whatever you are cutting. Using a sharp knife is much easier and safer.

Are you aiming to reduce the amount of fat and calories you consume in your mashed potatoes without having to give up taste or texture? If so, consider replacing a certain amount of the potatoes with cauliflower. Cauliflower tends to have a bland taste, so this will blend nicely with the potatoes, and will pick up other ingredients, as well. As a bonus, cauliflower is the same texture and color as potatoes, so no one will be the wiser when you improve the nutritional content and lower the caloric content of your mashed potatoes.

For healthier, lower-calorie mashed potatoes, add some cooked cauliflower to your tubers. Their bland flavor blends effortlessly with the potatoes while taking flavor from the other ingredients. When they’re mashed, cauliflowers have the same appearance and consistency as potatoes, too. Adding a little cauliflower can take calories out of your favorite mashed potato recipes and add in a little vegetable goodness, too.

If you’re pressed for time and are making a roast, it helps if you fix a bone-in roast. It will cook faster because the bone will evenly distribute the heat inside your roaster. Once it is finished cooking, cut the meat off the bone.

If you have made sauce, put the leftovers into an ice cube tray and freeze. You can easily take them from the freezer when needed for a meal, and quickly reheat in a saute pan. Don’t worry, your sauce will taste great even after having been frozen.

If you tend to cook with a lot of herbs and spices, make sure that you are storing them somewhere that’s cool and dark in order to keep them fresh. Storing herbs and spices in a warm location will cause them to lose their flavor.

Always use an airtight container to store baking ingredients such as sugar or flour in the kitchen. When you store food in airtight containers, it will not spoil so readily, and bugs won’t be able to get into it. Airtight containers can be purchased at many retailers.

Never throw away turkey leftovers. Rather, cut up the meat and store in in the freezer. The turkey stays fresh for a few weeks this way and can be used to make sandwiches or can be put into a salad.

A useful tip when making chicken stock is to think big! Fill a large pot of stock and freeze it for later. Stock is perfect for many dishes like stew, soup, and even casseroles. Freeze premeasured amounts of your stock in freezer proof containers or bags when cool.

Cutting Board

Beans and tofu contain a lot of proteins. You can find these ingredients easily and incorporate them to many different recipes. You can pan fry the tofu with a few seasonings to have a delicious meat alternative. Boiling the beans and then including them in a hearty vegetarian chili is also a wonderful dish for a cold winter night.

Your cutting board retains the odors of certain herbs and vegetables despite repeated scrubbings. Separate the halves by using indelible ink on the cutting board so you know what belongs on each side.

When cooking with garlic, use the freshest bulbs you can find. Usually when the garlic is most fresh, that is the point when it tastes the sweetest. Fresh garlic is firm and lacks bruises.

Make sure you thoroughly clean your utensils before starting to cook. If old, leftover food is stuck on your cooking utensils, it could ruin the meal you are making. This can allow harmful bacteria to spread.

Blot ground meats to remove moisture before you cook. Taking out any moisture is a positive first step in the cooking process. If your meat is soggy before you sear it, then it will be soggy afterward. The moisture will cook away. Searing of the meat will be inhibited and lead to steaming instead.

As a habit when cooking, make sure you wash the dishes after you are done using them. For a lot of people, the worst part of cooking is the cleaning up. If you wash while you are cooking, the dishes and pots will be easier to scrub and you will save time on cleaning up after dinner. Plus, they will be immediately available to use again.

Add plenty of salt to the water when you are cooking pasta. Adding salt at this stage will ensure that the pasta absorbs it completely. When you salt your pasta after cooking, the flavor is not as full.

Remove the excess moisture of ground meats by blotting them before you cook. You want to do this with a paper towel to get rid of any moisture that is in your meat. If the moisture is left in the beef, it will be released when you start to cook it. It will sizzle away. Instead of being seared as it should, the meat may very well steam.

To make an improvement to pasta sauce, save some of the pasta’s cooking water. Set aside approximately one-fourth cup. When you mix your pasta and sauce, also add the water you reserved. The water from the pasta contains starch that, when mixed with your sauce, will create a creamy texture.

Prepare the meal the night before to reduce any stress when you’re going to have a complicated meal. Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and chop and measure them in advance. When cooking time arrives, you’ll need only to be concerned with assembling and cooking the meal.

When preparing a salsa that won’t be used immediately, rinse any raw onions you are using in cold water and dry them well. Fresh onions have sulfurous gas. The gas can add a strange taste to your salsa. By rinsing the onions and blotting away the excess water, the gas is removed.

Do not forget to add salt to water for making pasta. This is the most effective time to season pasta. Salting pasta after cooking it results in a less flavorful pasta dish.

Prepare everything you need to cook your food in advance. You will save gas or electricity, and you will be able to focus on one thing at a time.

Make all the preparations for your food before you begin to cook it. This can help you avoid too much heat or gas when you cook, and can also make it safer to cook with a hot pan, oil, or other dangers that could harm you if you’re distracted.

Good cutting utensils are imperative to own for maximizing functionality in the kitchen. Dull knives make everything take longer and are also more dangerous. Dull knives have caused many more accidents than nice, sharp ones.

If you plan on using your barbecue, make sure you prep the grill beforehand so it’s ready for use when you need it. This should be done about 30 minutes prior to putting any food on it. The heat should be moderate and the charcoal should be a little ashy. This is the best grilling temperature.

When cooking an easy recipe, you should always use fresh seasonings and herbs. If you are making a more complex dish, use dried herbs such as oregano or basil. Fresh herbs are still preferred, and they will provide a much better taste to your dish. Growing your own herbs in an herb garden, is an easy way to add fresh herbs to a meal anytime.

When you saute food, try to avoid filling the pan with oil. Too much moisture can cause food to steam rather than saute, affecting the crispness of the meal. Make sure you do this at a low temperature as well.

Take the time to educate yourself about ingredients that you are not familiar with. You may be pleasantly surprised about the versatility of new food once you do a bit of research on it. By educating yourself prior to beginning anything in the kitchen, it will make your experience in the kitchen more fun and exciting.

Cutting Boards

Always remember to use silicone, rubber or nylon spatulas and spoons when you are cooking with nonstick pans. Harder utensils, like wooden or metal ones, will scratch the coating, which will reduce the quality of your pan and get in the food. This is dangerous, as well as unappetizing.

Take care of wooden cutting boards properly. Exposure to moisture or dryness can damage a wooden board easily. You should never put the board fully underwater, instead just use a sponge with some soap for spot cleaning. If your board is damaged you, can restore it by applying oil regularly, using an oil specially formulated for use on wood cutting boards. It should be completely dry before its next use.

Pungent foods such as garlic, onions, and fish can leave an offensive odor on your hands. You can effectively remove this scent by rubbing your hands on a stainless steel object before you wash them. Rub your hands on a spoon, or on the sink for instance. Wash your hands with soap afterward.

Baking dishes with oil in place of microwaving them prevents a greasy mess while reheating. Because oil tends to get hot quickly, a microwave’s concentrated heat causes it to become separated from the rest of the food. Baking, though, provides an even, consistent heat, even if it is a little slower. This way, the ingredients and flavors of the food stick together.

Use cooking oil to measure sticky foods easily. Coat the surface of the spoon or cup with oil and it will come off of your spoon or from the inside of your cup easier. You will not waste as much food. These same methods can be repeated with honey, and peanut butter as well.

Potatoes such as russets, which are designed for baking, will provide the harder shell needed when you make “twice baked” potatoes or potato-skin appetizers. Varieties such as Yukon Gold or red potatoes have thin skins that aren’t sturdy enough for heavy fillings.

When you need to prepare a salad to serve later, place the layers in the bowl thoughtfully. The ingredients with the most juice should be placed toward the bottom layers of the salad, so that they do not cause the other ingredients to wilt. The less juicy ingredients should be placed toward the top of the salad.

Wok-fried rice is a delicious meal and a simple way to use up some of the leftover meats and veggies that are still sitting around in your fridge. Rice is best when cooked the day before, but you can cut water content a little to get the right consistency with fresh rice. Chop your meat and a variety of vegetables and saute in a small amount of oil to warm them through. Toss in the rice and add some soy sauce, ginger and garlic.

When it’s time to mash the potatoes for that good ole home-cooked taste, try using hot milk. As opposed to cold milk, hot milk will help make your mashed potatoes lighter and fluffier. Avoid mushy, lumpy mashed potatoes by following this tip.

As was stated earlier, part of being a good cook means constantly learning new things. The real fun in cooking isn’t just rote memorization of recipes, but learning entirely new ways of looking at food. In addition, it’s about sharing your knowledge with others. Cooking is not just a skill to learn, but a gift that is meant to be shared with others.

When playing with spices, try some saffron. Saffron has a very unique and exotic flavor. The ancient qualities of saffron have endured, enhancing food for generations. It is a highly sought after flavor that people all over the world enjoy, making it the spice that is most expensive.

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