It is a fact that people need to eat if they want to survive. But is it life we want, or great meals? Eating well is wonderful, but cooking something wonderful is even better. Here are a couple tips to help take your cooking expertise to a whole new level.
Save yourself some time and stress by doing prep work a day ahead. Do not start cooking until the prep work is done. Trying to prepare a meal without handling the preparation beforehand can get stressful, especially if you need to finish your cooking in a set amount of time. By doing all of your preparation in advance, you avoid the stress and just enjoy your meal.
If you have not yet cooked with skewers you should definitely consider this fact. When using metal skewers, square or twisted skewers hold food better than the round skewers.
Have you ever needed to throw away moldy fruit and felt guilty about it? Is it safe to save a portion of fruit by cutting around the mold? Unfortunately, you cannot rescue a piece of fruit once it has started to grow moldy and decayed. Throw the fruit away as mold can grow beyond just what the eye can see, which could end up making you sick.
Save yourself some time and stress by doing prep work a day ahead. Having your preparation done ahead of time is very important. That way, when you’re ready to cook, it takes some of the stress out of it, especially if you have a deadline to meet. Prepare your food in advance if you want to minimize the stress that you feel.
Replacing some of your mashed potatoes with equal amounts of cauliflower is a healthy alternative, reducing fat and calories. Cauliflower does not have a strong taste and will be virtually undetectable when mixed with the potatoes and other ingredients. It also mimics the texture and color of the potatoes almost perfectly letting you up your vegetable intake, and drop the calories, all the while giving the same delicious potato experience we all know and love.
When preparing stir-fry meals, cut the meat on the bias and keep it thin. This can require some time and some effort. Wait for the meat to get slightly firm and remove it from the freezer, then slice diagonally, cutting across the grain at an angle of roughly 45 degrees.
If you make sauce, freeze it into ice cubs to use later on. Take them out to use on another night when you’d like a no hassle home cooked meal. Simply reheat the sauce cubes slowly in a medium pan on your stove top. Freezing the sauce in this manner will keep it fresh and ready to be reheated.
When you are making chicken stock, think big. When you prepare stock, make a large amount, so it can be frozen for later use. This stock is a popular base that can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups to casseroles and much more. Just cool your stock and freeze it in heavyweight Ziploc freezer bags.
To make it easier for you to slice meat into thin strips, you should partially freeze it. Thin strips of meat are ideal for meals that are originally ethnically Asian. The knife can cut the partly frozen meat with less damage than if it were thawed. This is because the partially frozen meat fibers are not as easily stretched or torn. Once you have cut your meat to preference, place them to the side to finish thawing. This allows your meat strips to cook evenly.
One of the healthiest ways to cook your vegetables is to cook them on high with a low sodium chicken broth. Broth adds flavor to the vegetables while reducing the quantity of oil necessary for sauteing. This is a wonderful way to cook, and enjoy, your vegetables.
If you are cooking for an important event, it is a good idea to make a meal that you have made before. It is great to experiment when cooking but you should not try to do this when you are trying to make a good impression. This will allow for an easier cooking process.
Keep the dressing for a salad off to the side when you’re having guests over for a meal. Let people put on their own dressing. Make sure you have a wide selection of dressings to choose from as well.
It is a good practice to place cut potatoes in a bath of cold water for about half and hour, before frying in order to get crispy fries. Vegetables fibers can breakdown under high heat conditions. Soaking reinforces these fibers to produce better results.
A good cook will have their utensils and ingredients well organized. Supplies and staples kept in disarray will have you scrambling when trying to find a needed utensil or ingredient. Store items of a similar nature together. As an example, you may want to keep all of your spices together.
Have you ever struggled with grilling meat? Use a meat thermometer to tell when it is cooked properly. If the meat you’re grilling is more than 1.5 inches thick, think about keeping the lid of the grill closed to shorten the cooking time.
To avoid burning your food, stay organized. An organized kitchen is a much more productive kitchen. Being unorganized can cause you to lose ingredients or tools that you need when you are cooking. This can cause a meal to be ruined which will put the money you spent on ingredients to waste.
Use your own stock for more flavorful food. You can cook it in large batches, pour the extra batches into plastic freezer bags, and then simply store them in the freezer. By making the stock in bulk, there will always be some available for your soups and other dishes. When you create the stock that will be used in your food, you can ensure the quality and avoid unnecessary additives and preservatives.
Using chicken broth is something you can try when you’re making vegetables. By using chicken broth instead of water, you will add extra flavor to your vegetables. You can make your own chicken broth or you can buy it at most any supermarket at a very low price.
Wash your dishes as you use them, when you are cooking. Make it easy on yourself by filling your sink with water, while reserving a separate section for rinsing. Utensils and mixing bowls can easily be washed immediately after they are used. They will then be ready to use again immediately.
Sauteing veggies in a bit of chicken broth is a healthy way you can prepare them. The broths adds some additional flavor, and reduces or eliminates the need to use cooking oil to prepare them. Do this and you will find that your vegetables are delicious and easy to prepare.
Use your creativity as much as you can. Following a recipe exactly is boring and stale. In some cases by making little modifications to the recipe here and there will result in a dish that is tastier than if you had used the original recipe. You will not become a real cook by just following what cookbooks say.
To cook a whole pumpkin, cut an upright pumpkin in half vertically. Put both halves of the pumpkin on different baking sheets with the cut side down. Add a touch of water to each sheet before putting it in the oven. You will want to bake this for approximately an hour at 350 degrees.
Buy only good quality knives for food preparation. Nobody wants to use dull knives, as they can take over twice the time to chop up ingredients, and they are more dangerous than sharp ones. Dull knives have caused many more accidents than nice, sharp ones.
The best way to cook any roast quickly is to simply not go through the trouble of taking out the bone. The idea is that the bone will help carry heat to the center of the roast, thus cooking it faster. After it is finished, simply avoid the bone as you cut the meat.
Use only a very small amount of fat when sauteing a food. Too much moisture can cause food to steam rather than saute, affecting the crispness of the meal. Keep the pan set on a lower temperature.
Tomatoes can be easily dried. Cut tomatoes in thick slices or in half, depending on their size. You should place them on cooling rack, and salt them lightly with the cut side up. The next step is to put the rack on an old cookie sheet and then place in an oven set at 190 degrees for at least 10 hours. They can then be stored in plastic freezer bags in your freezer. Dried tomatoes could also be put in a jar with fresh herbs and topped up with olive oil. When refrigerated, they will last a minimum of two weeks.
There are a few ways in which you can reheat tortillas. An easy and quick way is to heat the tortillas on a rack with an oven temperature of 350 degrees. Another suggestion is to place the tortilla directly over the burner above the flame on top of a gas stove. Using these methods your tortilla will taste fresher and crispier.
One of the most important things every cook needs is a well organized kitchen. If they aren’t organized, you will waste valuable time getting everything together at the last minute. Put like items with other like items. For instance, put all your spices together in one cabinet.
Always use fresh seasonings and herbs in simple dishes. Dried herbs, such as oregano and basil, are suitable for complex dishes with a lot of flavors. However, your dish will be improved by fresh herbs because of their fresher and stronger flavor overall. A successful method in ensuring a constant supply of fresh herbs available is to have a tiny herb garden.
For the perfect sandwich, you should take the extra time to evenly spread mayonnaise over the entire surface of the bread. Too many sandwich artists hurriedly put a glob of mayonnaise in the center of their bread. When it is spread out evenly, each bite of the sandwich will be delicious and full of flavor.
There are many varieties of potatoes, but they are not created equal. There are potatoes that are good for mashing, and there are others that are good when used in potato salad; it really does matter what variety they are. Russet potatoes are best suited for baking or mashing, or for making french fries.
Be sure not to overfill your pan when sauteing foods. The excess moisture can steam the food versus sauteing, minimizing the chances that you will get that crispness you want. Always saute over a low flame or low setting on your stove-top.
To avoid a greasy mess when reheating dishes that include oil, place them in the oven instead of using the microwave. The microwave process causes oil to overheat while the other ingredients barely warm, creating splatters and other time-consuming messes. 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.
Be careful to neither over-bake nor under-bake your cake! Box times are more of guidelines than the actual time a cake should be baked. This is due to various factors that can make a difference, such as elevation. Instead, take a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the cake. If the toothpick is clean and dry, your cake is done. If it is covered in batter, leave it in a little longer.
Use a potato with thick skin to obtain a suitable shell for dishes such as twice baked potatoes. Red potatoes have very thin skin and are unable to support dense fillings.
Save some time on the preparation step of cooking. You can get many of the ingredients for future meals ready ahead of time. There are many occasions where longer prep times actually lend a more flavorful touch to your meal. Once you develop this habit, you may never go back.
You can use the last of your vegetables and meat by making them into a stir-fry or adding them to fried rice. Left over rice is optimum, but if you have to use fresh rice, use less water so the rice is not as moist. Fry your vegetables and meat in some oil. Once you’ve done this, add rice and any seasoning you want with garlic, ginger, soy sauce and other spices.
Sometimes eating is not as enjoyable as serving your own well-cooked dishes. Use the suggestions outlined above and pick and choose what will work for you, and add your own little tricks along the way. Your cooking skills will get so good that everyone will ask you to bring these delicacies wherever you go.
To speed up the cooking process and make it easier, do all your prep work before you start cooking and gather all your ingredients. This way you will always have what you need ready when you need it. Preparing your ingredients in advance doesn’t take any more time than pulling them out as you cook; you may find that you save time and eliminate extra hassles.