A lot of people think cooking involves a life of drudgery spent chained to the stove, and they try to avoid it as much as possible. The following article is filled with hints and tips to turn your dread of cooking into eager anticipation.
Your spices and herbs should be stored in a cool and dark area. Humidity, light and heat can cause your spices and herbs to lose their flavor. Usually, a freshly ground spice or herb will keep its flavor for around a year. Spices which are kept whole can retain their flavor for between three and five years. If stored correctly, they will remain fresher longer.
When you are cooking food on skewers, there are some basic guidelines to know. Using metal skewer types will increase your chances of success when compared to wooden options.
Cut your meat very thin and with the bias when you are stirfrying. Sometimes, however, this can be a little challenging and tedious. You should take the meat out when it reaches a firm state yet not frozen, and slice across the grain at an angle of 45 degrees.
As with many other things in life, one of the keys to making great meals for your family is preparation. Review your recipes, and be certain the ingredients are readily available in your kitchen. It is not too much to get your meals ready the day before. Make sure you have the necessary utensils. Did you think of everything? This process will reduce your stress level and help manifest a more positive outcome.
Oil should be added to the side of the pan. When it reaches the food, it will already be heated up. The flavor will be greatly enhanced when it has completed cooking.
Do not keep your herbs or spices in a place that is not cool and dark. If you leave them out somewhere, you will expose them to light, wetness, and heat, and it could ruin them. Store spices in a dark, cool location to keep them flavorful and fresher for longer. Your food will be even more delicious if your spices are fresher.
Chicken broth is a great cooking base for vegetables. Add extra flavor to your vegetables and keep them from sticking by using chicken broth instead of water. Chicken broth is cheap, and can be bought anywhere.
It is important to add oil to the side of the pan when you are cooking so that it is already warmed when it finally gets to the delicious food you are preparing. This will give your food the flavor you crave.
Take the time and steps necessary to accurately measure any oil used for cooking. This will help you lower the fat in your foods while cooking. You will also be able to monitor how much oil you will be using.
Before frying raw potatoes, allow them to soak for half an hour in a bowl of cold water; this will result in crispier fries. The soaking process will reinforce the vegetable fibers, and they will be better able to withstand heat when you fry them.
Place salad dressing off to the side of a salad, instead of on top of it, when serving salad to guests. Certain people prefer a larger amount of dressing on the salad than others. Because of this fact, you should allow people to pour dressing on their own. You should also provide a large variety of dressings to serve your guests.
The odors of many spices and vegetables will stay on your cutting board and will be impervious to soap. Mark your ends on the cutting board using indelible ink so that you can remember one side from the other.
To reduce the calories and fat of mashed potatoes, and to avoid sacrificing taste or texture, replace some potatoes with the same amount of cauliflower. The bland cauliflower taste will make it so that you do not notice much difference in the taste, while accentuating the taste of some of the other ingredients. Additionally, cauliflower has the same texture and color as mashed potatoes, so it makes it an easy, healthy addition to your dish.
Organization is key to cooking efficiently and not letting anything burn. A well-organized cooking area is conducive to great results. A cluttered, unorganized cooking area will leave you scrambling to find things while your food gets more and more “well done”. You will end up burning things and throwing them away when simple organization would have allowed you to cook a wonderful dish!
This seasoning can also be utilized on various other ingredients. You can use your favorite spices and seasonings to enhance the naturally delicious flavor of scrambled eggs and roasted pumpkin seeds. Seasoned salt is a wonderful secret weapon to your spice rack.
Prepare your own stock to enjoy dishes that are more flavorful. Made in large batches, it’s easy to store in the freezer, if you use resealable plastic bags. This allows you to have savory homemade stock available that you can use for various dishes, like soup. Homemade soup stock or bullion is a wonderful way to eliminate high sodium and preservatives that are present in commercially made products from your diet.
Make a lot of stock if you are going to make it ahead of time. Make sure that you prepare a large amount of stock so that you will have more than enough to store and use for future kitchen adventures. You can use the stock as a base for all kinds of soups or even casseroles. Let your stock cool off and pour it inside Ziploc bags.
When you are cooking pasta, use a fair amount of salt in the water. This allows the seasoning to soak into the pasta, which will retain its flavor. Salt and seasonings do not necessarily stick very well to cooked pasta, so seasoning it while it boils is your best bet to enhance the flavor.
If you want to eat well and lose weight, it’s a good idea to decrease the amount of oil you use in cooking. These include fatty substances like oils and butter. A nonstick cooking spray will suffice and is not as unhealthy.
You should have all preparations for your food ready before you start cooking. Doing this will allow you to focus on putting the dish together. You won’t waste electricity by letting something cook just a little longer, so you can prep the ingredients for the next step, or be distracted when cooking with hot oil.
Read labels when shopping for recipe ingredients. Potentially unhealthy ingredients lurk in typical cooking supplies. Avoid ingredients that have high sugar and sodium content, because they can cause health problems.
There are a couple of ways to heat up tortillas properly. One is to place them on a rack in a 350 degree oven. Leave them long enough to become just crisp. If you have a stove with gas burners, you can tweak your tortillas by crisping them quickly right over the flame. This will make sure you have a more tasty and fresh tortilla.
You can add new flavors for your meals by trying different liquids when recipes ask for milk or water. In place of water, try adding beef or chicken broth, juice or even water used to cook vegetables. Instead of milk, try sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk. Using liquid substitutions in your cooking can increase nutrition and give a standby dish a new flavor.
Potatoes are divided in different categories, and each category should be used differently. Waxy potatoes are best used for things like potato salad but would not work well if made into a French fry. Russet potatoes are more suited to those applications because of their fluffy texture.
When you blend sugar with butter for cookies, be sure to soften the butter instead of melting it. Melted butter can be re-hardened by putting it in the freezer for a few minutes. Alternately, go ahead and mix all the ingredients and then refrigerate the dough. A dough that has been cooled will keep the cookies from spreading more than you want.
Tomatoes can be easily dried. To be able to dry them yourself, cut the tomatoes half an inch thick, or you should cut Romas lengthwise in half. Place on a cooling rack, cut-side up and lightly salt them. Heat your oven to 190 degrees and place the tomatoes inside for as long as ten hours. Put the bags of tomatoes in your freezer. Dried tomatoes could also be put in a jar with fresh herbs and topped up with olive oil. Dried tomatoes should be stored within the refrigerator and used within two weeks.
Use spices after cooking. Garlic powder, salt, cayenne and pepper are all great spices that can be added to foods after they have been cooked. Let people choose their spices so that they do not waste your delicious food. You can take the guesswork out of spices by making them available during mealtime, so your guests can customize their food to their tastes. This way, every person can flavor their food to their own liking.
To have especially flavor rich foods, produce your own stock. Store extra stock in bags in the freezer that are resealable. By doing this, you’ll always have homemade stock available whenever you are in the mood to cook soup. Homemade soup stock or bullion is a wonderful way to eliminate high sodium and preservatives that are present in commercially made products from your diet.
Always use rubber, nylon or silicone spoons and spatulas when cooking with nonstick cookware. Metal and wood will cause scratching that may loosen flakes of the coating that may end up in your food. This certainly doesn’t sound appetizing, and it can also be dangerous.
When you are cooking pasta, use a fair amount of salt in the water. This helps to add flavor to the pasta while it is boiling. Pasta salted during cooking tastes better than pasta salted after the fact.
If you are working with foods that have strong odors, such as fish, garlic or onions, remove the smell from your hands by rubbing them on something that is stainless steel, prior to washing them. Try using a spoon, the side of the sink, or a “soap bar,” this can cause your hands to again be fresh and odor-free.
Impress your friends and family by creating an especially tasty sandwich, by making sure the dressing and fillings are adequate and there are no dry corners to the bread. Often people tend to hurry and the mayo ends up on only part of the sandwich. When the mayo reaches every corner of the bread, each bite of the sandwich tastes just as wonderful as the last.
In order to eliminate stress from your cooking, prepare all the needed ingredients prior to cooking. This will prevent you from being midway through preparing a meal and discovering that you’re missing a critical component of the recipe. It takes no longer to set out everything first, rather than as you go, but it can save a lot of time and headaches along the way.
Try ketchup as a batter ingredient in fried foods. Ketchup may be used for dipping veggies and chicken into prior to them being dipped in breadcrumbs. The ketchup imparts an unexpected, but delicious tang to your fried foods, and will have all your friends asking for your secret.
Buy good-quality knives and other cutting tools for your kitchen. Dull knives make everything take longer and are also more dangerous. Dull knives have caused many more accidents than nice, sharp ones.
Potatoes should be mixed with hot milk (not boiling) when they are ready for mashing. Your mashed potatoes should come out fluffy and light. This technique also minimizes lumps. No one wants to eat lumpy mashed potatoes that taste bland!
Be sure not to overfill your pan when sauteing foods. The extra moisture will steam the food instead of sauteing it and will not add that little bit of crispness that sauteing is good for. Keep the burner at a low setting during this process, as well.
When cut and exposured to the air, many fruits will turn brown. Apples, bananas, pears and avocados are good examples of fruits that brown after being cut. The process can be stopped with salt water and lemon. For a better flavor, pineapple juice can do the same job. The fruit doesn’t need to be soaked in it, because all you need to do is dip it in quickly.
To cook your meats to the proper temperature, make sure you are using a meat thermometer. There is a minimum internal temperature to which a meat needs to be cooked so that it is safe to eat. Meat that has not been cooked sufficiently can have bacteria growing in it, and these can cause illness if eaten.
You should always purchase fish and other meat that is directly on the bone. After removing the bones, store them in freezer-tight bags and keep them on hand in your freezer compartment for use as needed.
As you can see from this article, cooking can be fun and interesting. When you use these tips, you can use your creativity to enhance an activity that you once viewed as a chore.
Eat some winter greens. After winter’s first frost, healthy greens including collards, kale and broccoli rabe develop a sweeter, less bitter taste. Don’t choose any plants that are yellow or limp, but instead look for greens that have a bright, saturated color. Thoroughly clean greens of this type to remove dirt that may have collected in the leaves. Submerge your greens in a sink full of cold water, then rinse your greens until the water is clear, and shake off the excess water.