Are you feeling overwhelmed by the demand to prepare family meals every day? Don’t get frustrated by cooking! Follow the tips presented here to prepare excellent meals with only a minimum of stress. Once you follow the tips from this article, you will look back and laugh at how stressed out cooking used to make you feel.
If you keep herbs and spices handy, make sure you are keeping them in a dark, cool area. Your spices and herbs will lose some of their flavor when exposed to light, humidity and heat. Another little known fact is that ground spices tend to lose their flavor quicker than whole spices. Whole spices can keep their flavor for up to five years. Spices that are stored correctly remain fresher for longer.
If you are just starting out with cooking, consider doing your research at your local library. There are plenty of cookbooks with simple recipes available. Try a few recipes, and be patient with yourself as you are mastering this new skill.
In your journey to cook more meals yourself, utilize the library or local bookstore in acquiring cookbooks. Target simple books with simple recipes that make you comfortable. Experiment with several recipes, and give yourself the time in perfecting your cooking skills.
Bake pie crusts a little longer than you would think they should be baked. They should be a light golden brown instead of pale in color. The golden color indicates that the sugar in the pie crust has caramelized and this will give a sweet and crisp flavor.
When baking crust for pie or tarts, leave them in the oven to bake a little longer than you planned. Your crust should be a deep caramel as opposed to a light goldenrod. The caramelizing of the sugar in pie crust gives it crispness and extra sweetness.
Whenever you are spicing up your meat, consider starting off with a small portion before you cook the whole piece. Many meats require seasonings that are carefully chosen. You do not want to cook the whole thing immediately after seasoning it. Take a small portion and cook it so you can give it a taste before your final seasoning. Afterwards you can choose to cook the remainder of the meat or adjust your seasonings.
Being organized is a key step when planning to prepare a meal for family or friends. Make sure you have everything you need to make your food. Set all of the non-perishable ingredients and utensils out the day ahead. With the right groundwork, you can enter your kitchen confidently and get right to work whipping up a fantastic meal.
Going through a long cooking process like boiling removes many important nutrients that are found in vegetables. For the most nutritious veggies, cook them quickly by steaming or sauteing, or just eat them raw.
A good tip when using cooking oil is to put some on the sides of the pan while cooking. This way, it will already be hot when it gets near the food. Using this technique ensures that your food will have more flavor.
When preparing a meal for an important event, such as a date or a dinner with your boss, cook a dish you are already familiar with. Refrain from enthusiastically whipping up a new dish or using untested ingredients. When you always strive to follow this, your time in the kitchen will result in less stress.
There is a great trick to thicken up your sauce so it isn’t wasted. Combine 2 tbsp. of water with 1 tbsp. of corn starch in a bowl. You can then add the solution to the sauce and it will become thicker. To prevent the sauce from getting overly thick, pour the corn starch and water mixture into the sauce very slowly and be sure that you are stirring it constantly.
Soaking raw potatoes for 30 minutes prior to frying will produce the crispiest French fries. The fibers of raw cut potatoes that have been soaked in cold water prior to hitting the deep fryer, are stronger and can handle the heat better without breakage.
Try putting some cauliflower in with your mashed potatoes to cut some calories and fat. Cauliflower blends perfectly with your potatoes without changing the taste of your mashed potatoes. At the same time, cauliflowers mash into the same color and texture as potatoes, giving you a fail-proof way to add vegetables and subtract calories from a classic mashed potato dish.
You can prepare a lot prior to cooking to streamline your cooking process. Look through your recipes and determine whether or not certain steps can be completed beforehand. You can prepare a lot of food the day prior to actually cooking. By doing this, your cooking task will be quick and easy – even for very complex recipes.
Are you going to cook with fresh basil? If you want to keep it fresh, first place it in a glass. Cover the stems with water. You could let it sit on your counter and it will stay fresh for weeks. If you pay close attention and frequently change the water in the glass, you are likely to see basil roots starting to grow. You can cut the basil every once in a while in order to spur further growth, thereby making basil available for even longer.
Sauteing vegetables in a small amount of chicken broth is a healthy and delicious way to cook. The chicken broth will cut down on the fat in your vegetable dishes while enhancing their flavor. This is a delicious, simple way to cook fresh vegetables.
This will help to keep your fruits fresh for much longer. Additionally, you may be able to keep some fruits frozen and enjoy them during months when they are not available in stores.
Try to cut down the amount of oil used when cooing if you are trying to lose weight. Many unnecessary fats are found in butters and oils, so decreasing them is a healthy way to lose weight. A nonstick cooking spray will suffice and is not as unhealthy.
Spices should be stored in a cool, dark area so that they stay as fresh as they can for as long as possible. If you put them above the oven, or in another warm place, the spices and herbs will not retain their flavor.
Always seek out garlic that is fresh and firm. Fresh garlic has a sweeter, less pungent taste when compared to stale garlic. If your garlic is not shriveled up or soft and has a nice and firm skin, your garlic is fresh.
Make homemade stock to create tastier dishes. It is possible to utilize resealable bags to store any excess in the freezer if you prepare large quantities. Then when you make a soup or other dish that calls for stock, you always have some right at your fingertips. Creating your own stock allows you to avoid preservatives.
If you have a tight deadline to cook a roast, leave the bone in the piece of meat. The heat will focus in the bone and cook the meat from the inside. When your cooking time is up, you can easily make your cuts, while avoiding the bone, and serve as normal.
You should let your meal rest for a little bit. It is a new idea to many, but allowing your food to rest can be quite beneficial. Many people are tempted to rush food to the table when serving a meal. If you serve immediately off the grill, you will lose most of the juices in meat when you cut into it. Always let the meal cool and sit for a little while.
You can make dried tomatoes yourself. Drying them is easy – simply cut Roma tomatoes in half, or cut larger tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Using a cooling rack, lay the sliced tomatoes with the side that is cut facing upward, and then sprinkle them lightly with salt. Then place that on a baking sheet and dry them in an oven that is 190 degrees for 10 hours. After the tomatoes have cooled, place them in plastic bags, and store them in the freezer. Another option is to place the tomatoes in a jar and cover them with fresh herbs and olive oil. This will be good for up to two weeks, and should be refrigerated during that time.
When preparing pasta, it is important to add salt to the pot of water. The salt will hold better while cooking because it is absorbed by the pasta along with the water. Pasta that has been salted after cooking may not retain the flavors used in the seasoning and sauce.
Protect your investment in herbs and spices by storing them correctly – in a cool, dark space. If you keep herbs and spices in an area that is close to the stove, they will lose their flavor very quickly and just be a waste of money.
To add another dimension to homemade pasta sauce, use a little leftover pasta water. Set aside about one-fourth cup of the pasta water. As you begin to add your sauce to the pasta, slowly mix in the water. The water from the pasta contains starch, which can thicken your sauce.
You should consider replacing your spices about twice a year. Quite often, spices pass their sell-by-date before you use them up, losing their flavor. If you know you can’t use as much as is in the package, give some to a family member or friend to keep from wasting it.
If you plan on cooking food using the barbecue, the grill should be readied prior to the event so it is good to go when you are. At least half an hour before you plan to cook, prepare the grill in readiness. Your coals should be covered in ash and of a medium temperature. This is the perfect temperature to grill.
Put any of the unripened fruits you buy in a plastic bag with small holes on the bag. Ethylene gas is produced when fruits ripen. Putting them in a perforated bag will allow circulation of the air and keep the gas retained, thus allowing the fruit to keep it’s delicious taste.
A good kitchen requires good knives. 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. Many cuts and accidents are caused by dull utensils.
When food is being sauteed, make the pan is not overloaded. If there is too much, there will be extra moisture, and the foods will steam instead of sauteing. You will lose crispness. Keep the burner at a low setting during this process, as well.
There are some ways to properly take care of a cutting board made of wood. Wood is prone to warp or split when used as a cutting board. Food juices, plus the washing and drying process, will cause this damage. The correct way to clean a wooden cutting board is to use a damp, soapy sponge or cloth to wipe it clean, rinse with boiling water and towel dry. To restore a damaged board, oil it on a regular basis, using a product specifically designed for wood cutting boards. Let it dry for a while after oiling.
Learn a little bit about any vegetables or fruits you haven’t cooked with before. You might be surprised how much you can do with that new food. If you take the time to learn about the item before heading into the kitchen, the experience will be that much more enjoyable.
When cooking dishes with a simple flavor, use fresh herbs or seasonings. Dried herbs are okay to use in dishes that are complex or have a lot of flavors in them. However, fresh herbs are much better and will produce a stronger, fresher and overall better taste. If you have a hard time finding fresh versions of your favorite herbs, then consider planting an herb garden.
In preparation for a busy day, get some recipe ingredients ready to go to save time. If you have a labor intensive meal planned, such as a stir-fry or lasagna, do a little of the preparation work beforehand to lessen the stress a little.
When cooking with fruits and vegetables that you have never used before, gather as much knowledge about them beforehand as you can. You might be surprised how much you can do with that new food. You will be able to find the best way to cook this new ingredient and have more fun.
Cooking for other people, especially family, can be quite a hassle. Fixing great, tasty meals does not have to be that difficult or complicated, though. You should be relaxed when you are walking into your kitchen.
When you are cooking for someone for the first time, always stick with a recipe that you are comfortable with. You no doubt would want to impress a date, boss or everyone at your employer’s pot luck. Stick to dishes that you are confident you can make well, and your meal will be a success.