Create A Dinner Routine You Can Live With

Cooking is a skill that can come in handy in so many ways. Almost everyone enjoys eating, and it is even better when you or one of your family members is the one that did the cooking. If you have not fully embraced the art of cooking, your skills may not be as developed as you wish. Read on for some useful tips that can help to improve your culinary skills!

A cool and dark location is best for storing spices and herbs. If they get exposed to any light, humidity or heat, their flavor will begin to weaken. Ground herbs and spices will retain their flavor for about a year. Whole spices, on the other hand, can retain their freshness for 36-60 months. As long as they are stored properly, they will hold onto their flavor for several years.

TIP! Your spices and herbs should always be stored in a cool and dark place. Elements such as light and heat can cause your herbs to lose flavor quickly, resulting in less taste being added to your favorite dishes.

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. Cooking might take a while to master, as it requires perfecting certain techniques.

When making a stir-fry meal, meat should always be thinly sliced, and cut on the bias. Getting the perfect cut can sometimes be a challenge. Freeze the meat until it is firm and then slice the thin slices across the grain.

TIP! Cut your meat as thin as you can if you are using it in a stir-fry. There’s a trick to this, and it can take a little time.

Being properly prepared is key to success in cooking for your family and friends. You need to have the ingredients readily available. Put everything you need to cook the dish out the night before. Make sure you have all the cooking equipment and ingredients required. This can seriously reduce stress and anxiety levels.

Make slicing meat into strips easier by partially freezing it. This method is great for oriental meals that require small strips. There’s less tearing of the semi-frozen meat as it’s cleanly sliced. However, always thaw your food before cooking it.

TIP! Partially chill meat so it becomes easier to slice into thin strips. If you are making Asian dishes, such as Thai or Chinese food, this is a great idea.

When cooking for someone who is important to you, it’s best to prepare something that you are skilled at making. Do not attempt to take on a fancy new recipe, or use ingredients you have not previously worked with. You will feel less stressed while cooking if you follow this tip.

Make sure that the knives you are using are very sharp. The duller the knife, the more difficult your kitchen task will be. You are also in danger of cutting yourself if you choose a dull knife. It’s easier to hurt yourself with a dull knife by forcing it to cut through something than by using a sharp knife to easily slice through it.

TIP! When using knives to prepare your food, it is critical that they all have a sharp edge. Make sure your knife is not dull when you are cutting something, this is very dangerous.

Do you know that guilty feeling you get when you throw away fruit that has mold? Have you ever wondered if you could simply cut away the part with mold and keep the rest? There are no two ways about it; rotting fruit is unhealthful. These foods can cause you to become ill, as mold goes much deeper than the eye can see.

If you love using fresh basil, try growing it on your own to always have it on hand. Store the basil in a jar. The stems should be thoroughly covered in water. The basil can remain fresh for several days if it is placed in indirect sunlight. Change the water once in awhile, and before long roots will even form on the basil. You should also trim the basil once in a while so it grows even more.

TIP! Do you regularly cook with freshly grown basil? Place several sprigs of fresh basil into a glass container. Add water until the stems are covered.

Mashed Potatoes

Baking mixes, flour and sugar should all be stored in airtight packaging. Airtight containers will keep your foods safe from bugs, and allow them to stay fresh longer because they are not exposed to air. A variety of plastic containers, bags and decorative canisters will protect your food.

TIP! Use air tight containers to store baking mixes, flour and sugar. Not only will these containers make sure your foods aren’t contaminated by bugs, the lack of air will keep your goods fresher for longer.

To reduce fat and calories in mashed potatoes without sacrificing texture or taste, replace some of your potatoes with an equal amount of cauliflower. Cauliflower’s subtle flavors blend in with the potatoes and other ingredients easily. As a bonus, cauliflower is the same texture and color as potatoes, so no one will be the wiser when you improve the nutritional content and lower the caloric content of your mashed potatoes.

Always get the freshest garlic available when you have a recipe that calls for it. The fresher your garlic, the sweeter a taste it will have. You can recognize fresh garlic from its firm skin and lack of bruises.

TIP! If you are using garlic in the cooking, ensure it’s the freshest you can buy. Generally, garlic will taste sweeter if it’s fresher.

No matter what you are cooking, fresh ingredients are always much better than dried or frozen ingredients. Use any fresh ingredients that are available. They are not only tastier in general, but they also tend to be cheaper, as well.

Prepare some of your food the night before to save time and headaches. Chop veggies, prepare a sauce, or marinate meat before heading to bed. This will make you much more prepared, less stressed out, and ready to begin cooking the following day.

TIP! When you have a big meal to prepare, get a head start by doing the prep work the night before. Chop your onions, slice your vegetables, make the sauce or marinate your meat before bed.

Use vegetable or chicken stock to saute vegetables. Doing so will add a great deal of flavor to your vegetables, and help them maintain their nutritional content. This is a delicious, simple way to cook fresh vegetables.

Store your herbs and spices in a dark and cool place so that their flavors are preserved. Herbs and spices stored above the range or in direct sunlight will degrade their flavors.

TIP! Keep your herbs and spices in a cool, dark place where they will stay fresh. If you put them above the oven, or in another warm place, the spices and herbs will not retain their flavor.

The ideal way to cook a pumpkin is to first place the pumpkin upright on the cutting surface. Cut the pumpkin in half, then down the middle. Place them on an ungreased baking pan with the cut side down. Sprinkle some water on each baking sheet to add moisture, then bake each pumpkin half in a 350-degrees fahrenheit oven for about 60 minutes.

Stop! Don’t throw away those turkey leftovers! Instead, cut it into smaller pieces, and place in the freezer in airtight containers. Storing turkey in this method helps it stay fresh for weeks and allows you to use it again in the future for sandwiches or salads.

TIP! After eating turkey, whether for Thanksgiving or otherwise, do not throw away the leftovers. Instead, cut it into smaller pieces, and place in the freezer in airtight containers.

This will allow your fruits to stay fresh and delicious for long periods of time. This also gives you the advantage of having fruits available off-season.

Be sure to refresh your spices every few months. Spices lose their flavor if kept too long. Share your spices with friends or relatives if you will not use as much as you buy.

TIP! Replace your spices twice a year. What happens a lot is that spices are kept in a household for far too long and lose a lot of their flavor.

Never throw away turkey leftovers. The efficient thing to do is put the turkey in a plastic container and freeze it for later. The turkey can stay fresh for weeks this way.

If you decide on using fresh herbs, gather them in bunches and snip the stems with scissors. This is perfect for flavorful herbs like dill and parsley. This makes the herbs fluffier and lighter, and not wet like they would be if they were chopped.

TIP! When using fresh herbs in your cooking like parsley or basil, bundle them together and cut them with scissors instead of chopping. This chopping method produces lighter, fluffier herbs that are drier than conventionally cut herbs.

If you are going to use fresh herbs, such as dill or parsley in your meal, put them together to form bunches and use scissors to cut them. This practice does not get herbs wet like chopping would, and makes them generally fluffier and lighter.

Remove the excess moisture of ground meats by blotting them before you cook. Eliminating the moisture off the meat is always good. If the moisture is allowed to remain, it will be released when cooking commences. The moisture will cook away. This will cause the meat to steam, instead of sear like you want it to.

TIP! Blot ground meats to remove moisture before you cook. Blotting the ground meat’s moisture is a good thing to do.

As you can see, cooking can be easy. With the right techniques, creating delicious dishes for family and friends can suddenly become a breeze! Now that you have been introduced to these great tips and tricks, you just need to make the time to go and give them a try!

The night before you cook, try to prepare as much as possible. This keeps you safe, and saves you money. Working with hot pans and stoves while you are distracted with prep tasks is a recipe for injury, and you tend to leave burners and ovens on longer if you are still preparing ingredients.

TIP! Make all the preparations for your food before you begin to cook it. This is the best way for you to prevent any accidents or waste in the kitchen.