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Become A Better Cook Using These Smart Ideas

 

There is a saying that the kitchen is the heart of the home. In most homes now, wives and mothers have little time or energy to cook after working all day. Boxed or prepared meals are time saving and have gotten more appetizing, but the nutritional value is probably not as good as home-cooked meals.

To maximize the efficiency of the cooking that you do, always make your food in large quantities and when you are finished with the meal, store the meats in freezer bags. This will allow you to create a meal the next day for your family that is still fresh and tastes great.

Cook your chicken over other ingredients. If you are making a chicken dish that includes an ingredient like onions, cook the chicken over them. Oil the pan and cut the onion into slices. Put them in the pan and place the chicken over them. The juices from the chicken will soak into the onion.

You can save a lot of money by buying potatoes for your favorite dishes in larger quantities. Make sure you store them in a cool dark place (preferably in a root cellar). Place them in a crate loosely and keep the storage temperature between 45 and 50 degrees F. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator as they become sweet.

During autumn, apples are an important ingredient in many recipes; however, they do turn bad if they are not carefully stored. Apples need to be kept loosely in plastic bags while in your refrigerator or basement because they rot in dry, warm air. Make sure to inspect your apples regularly, as one rotten apple means that the others are soon to follow.

If you are boiling pasta, make sure that you do not put too much in the pot. This will not cook your food all the way through and will taste very raw and thick. Try to limit the amount of pasta that you put in the pot to maximize taste and quality.

When heating oil on the stove top to use for frying, use a low setting and slowly turn the burner up to reach the desired temperature. Most foods do not require much more than 350 degrees, for the oil to fry it to a nice golden brown and not end up burnt to a crisp on the outside, while raw on the inside. If you crank the temperature setting knob to its highest point, you not only run the risk of spattering and burning yourself, as well as the food you are trying to fry, but you are also wasting time while you wait for the oil to cool down enough to use. Oil heats up quickly, but it is very slow to cool down, once it has gotten too hot.

Cooking hamburgers seems to be easy, but there are some tricks to learn. Make a hole in the center of the patty before you put it on the grill. The hole prevents the meat from rising in the middle so you won’t have an uncooked middle with burnt edges any more. The whole will completely disappear during cooking so no one will notice your trick.

Next time you make a dressing at home, swap half of the amount of mayo with an equal portion of Greek-style yogurt. This increases not only the richness of the dressing, but it gives it the creamy and smooth texture that we all love to see on our salads and other dishes.

If you are making meatloaf or meatballs it is a good idea to test a small piece before you make the rest of it. Make a little piece and fry it in a frying pan. Then you can taste it, see if it needs any more seasoning. It is a small thing to do that will go a long way to making a better tasting meal.

Here is a good cooking tip to use when making meatloaf or meatballs. Take a portion of the meat used for the meatballs or meatloaf and fry it in a pan as if it were a hamburger. Doing so will allow you to test the meat before you make the loaf or a batch of balls. You will be able to taste the seasoning in the meat and adjust it before you produce the final result.

Every good cook recognizes the importance of keeping a well stocked pantry. You should have quantities of flour, salt, oil, sugar, and spices on hand at all times. Good cooking depends on it. There is nothing more frustrating than to get down to that final step and find you are missing a necessary spice.

For recipes that call for liquor or wine, you can substitute with fruit juices. Some people simply do not like the taste of liquor or wine while others do not want children eating meals that contain it. Therefore, fruit juices is suitable substitute that still provides your meal with the flavor it needs.

How to ‘un-seize’ melted chocolate. If the chocolate you are melting suddenly gets lumpy or grainy, this means it has ‘seized’, and it will ruin a recipe. Remove the pan and add 1/2 to 1 tsp of shortening or cooking oil (not butter or margarine). Stir until the mixture becomes smooth again. To prevent seizing, make sure the pan is completely dry before trying to melt chocolate.

Allow your cooked food to sit a bit before it is served. Many individuals don’t know it’s important to let your meal sit for a bit before dishing it up. You may think it is best to serve your meat right off the grill so it is piping hot. Though if you do this, your food will not be as enjoyable. Let your meal sit and cool off for a couple minutes before serving.

Cooking is easier now than in the past, since appliances are available which can be timed to cook foods with preset programs. After the meal, it is easier to clean up with dishwashers, so no one has to stand by the sink for an hour washing dishes. An exhausted mother or even older children can make a meal with minimal effort.

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