Cooking can be a fun and challenging activity; a hobby for any skill level. Whether you are just learning how to cook basic meals for the first time or are proficient in the kitchen, this article provides helpful tips designed to make your time in the kitchen more efficient and enjoyable.
Indenting the center of a hamburger patty by up to one half inch will prevent bulging during cooking. Just a poke in the middle prior to cooking will allow a more even distribution of heat and will stop your burger from swelling on the top, something most of us are all too familiar with.
Perfect pasta every time. Never add oil to the water when you are boiling pasta. It prevents the sauce from coating the pasta properly. Just before you drain the pasta, set aside about 1/3 cup of the cooked pasta water. When you mix the sauce with the pasta, add a little of the cooking liquid. The starch in the water adds body and flavor to the sauce.
You don’t need to go out and buy an expensive gravy for your dish. Instead, save the juices that your meat creates at the bottom of your pan, and use that as the base for a nice gravy. It’s a lot cheaper and can taste great. There are many different recipes available that use this juice to make gravy.
When you are cooking a dish that requires it to be sauteed, add oil around the edges of the pan rather than directly on the food. This gives the oil a chance to heat up before it reaches the cooking food that is in the center of the pan. Hot oil will give you improved results and makes your dish taste better.
One important tip to remember when cooking dishes focuses on the size of the dish being prepared. The smaller the dish is that you are cooking, the higher the baking temperature and less time needed to cook the dish. Smaller dishes generally take only a few minutes at high temperatures to fully cook.
When you are going to fry a food, use long tongs to add food to the oil. For about five seconds, hold the food just underneath the surface of the oil and release it. By placing a food into oil this way, the exterior of the food will be sealed and it will not likely stick to the pan.
If you are stuck trying to figure out what to cook for dinner during the week, consider building your meals around themes. “Mexican Monday” could mean burritos or a nice taco salad. How about “Tuscan Tuesday” featuring spaghetti and meatballs or maybe meatball subs? And “Fish Friday” offers lots of options for shrimp, salmon or even tuna. Bring the whole family into the fun by letting the kids pick a theme and help plan the meal that day.
This is a great tip to use when making salad dressings. If you want to make a dressing that is creamy and rich, but without adding all of the fat, simply use a mixture of half mayonnaise and half greek yogurt. The greek yogurt is a healthy alternative to using all mayonnaise as there is less cholesterol.
If your family tends to eat a lot of chicken and often, remember to always brine the poultry as it will lock in flavor. Otherwise you are left with a dry piece of chicken that merely has whatever spices and herbs you chose coated on the outside rather than penetrating every bite.
If you are preparing a whole chicken or turkey, take the time to season under the skin as part of your preparation. By gently sliding your fingers between the skin and meat in the breast area and thigh area, you can create room for seasoning. Blend your preferred herbs and spices and slowly rub them against the meat under the skin. The skin will lock in juices and allow your seasoning to absorb into the meat.
For important meals or dinner guests, stick with cooking what you know. Whether you are cooking for a new significant other or your boss, use a recipe you have cooked before. You can change it up a bit with a new a new ingredient or two. However, never ever try a new recipe with an ingredient with which you are not familiar – the results are unknown!
If you are deep frying, make sure to use tongs to add the food to the hot oil. If you submerge the food below the surface of the oil with the tongs for about five seconds before you “drop” it in, the outside of whatever you are deep frying is sealed. This prevents it from sticking to other food in the oil.
If you aren’t the best in the kitchen and you are ready to tackle a recipe, choose one that isn’t too complicated to begin. You will want to stick to recipes that have a minimum of ingredients and ones that only require one or two pots to create. From there, you can aspire to be the next Julia Child.
Try cooking stock ahead of time and freezing it. It is always handy to have chicken, beef, or vegetable stock handy when you are boiling vegetables or want to make a quick soup. It is also easier this way because it is less mess the day you are having your meal!
Selecting a good potato for baking is easy once you know the right tips! Be sure to select a potato like a russet or Idaho since they have a higher starch content and will give you a fluffier potato when baked. Choose smooth-skinned potatoes without wrinkles or soft spots. When you bring your potatoes home, don’t put them in the refrigerator. Instead, place them in a bin in a cool, dark spot in your home. They taste best when used within 2-3 weeks after purchase.
As mentioned earlier in this article, creating delicious and nutritious meals can be simple, fun and quick. Using the tips provided, get the most out of your time cooking, whether preparing a wholesome dish for yourself or a full holiday meal for your entire family. Use some of these tips to garner rave reviews from your guests for your creative kitchen creations!