Cooking with Chef Michelle

Learn how to improve your kitchen ability.

Creative Ways For Cooking Better Tasting Food

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.

Make sure that if you are planning a party with friends and family, to have each course planned out in advance. You should have an appetizer course, salad course, main dish and dessert. Breaking your meal into courses will give people a chance to digest and appreciate what you have cooked for them.

When freezing meat it is important to use freezer bags. Meat will get freezer burn if it is not properly stored. Meat that has freezer burn will not taste good when it is cooked, and it often has to be thrown away instead of being eaten. This can be very costly, but can also be easily avoided.

No matter what kind of cheese you may have in your refrigerator, be sure that air cannot enter it by wrapping it tightly. Air contributes to mold growth on cheese. If your cheese does happen to have a little bit of mold on it, you can still use it by just cutting off the part with mold.

Use either a steaming or a stir-frying technique to cook your vegetables. These two methods help the vegetables retain both their color and their nutrients, providing your family with a healthier side dish that also looks attractive. Your children, in particular, are more likely to eat their vegetables if they look nice.

Before frying raw potatoes, let them sit in cold water for at least a half an hour. By doing this, the fries will be more crispy. Also, letting them sit in cold water will cut down on the time it takes for them to cook thoroughly.

Prepare ingredients for the week’s dinners. One great way to get a jump on time is to plan your dinners for the week on Sunday. When you know what you will be fixing each night you can take some time to portion and precook some of your ingredients. Vegetables can also be chopped and stored in Tupperware which will easily keep until used later in the week. By utilizing weekend time, you can save a lot of time during the week.

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.

Impress everyone in your home with an easy task like a sandwich by placing the mayonnaise evenly across the bread. Adding mayo is often done quickly, leaving globs mainly in the middle of the sandwich. Every bite will be filled with flavor with the dressing evenly spread.

Make perfect meat and fish by applying seasoning, evenly. Especially with salt and pepper, think of the seasonings as snow that is falling delicately onto the meat and fish. As a result, you won’t have too much seasoning on one section and not enough or none on other sections. It also prevents the seasonings from clumping.

Don’t use citrus in your meat marinades. When you marinate meat with citrus juices, it often produces a mealy, grainy texture. If you still want to have that mild citrus taste, use a small drizzle or squeeze of lemon or lime juice right before serving the dish. This still provides a zesty citrus flavor, but makes sure your meat is tender and not grainy feeling.

Add salt when boiling pasta. Not only does it shorten the cooking time by increasing the temperature of the water, it also adds great flavor and keeps the pasta from tasting bland. A general rule is to add one and a half tablespoons of salt to each pound of pasta.

If you are unsure of your boiling potatoes are done it would help if you stuck them with a knife. If the potato comes out of the water stuck on the knife then it means that they are not ready yet, but if they slide off easily then they are done.

Add a roll of sausage to your cabbage for a particularly tasty meal. Cut up a cabbage into bite sized pieces, cover with water, and put it on the stove to boil. While your cabbage is boiling brown some sausage in a skillet. Drain off the excess grease then pour the sausage into your cabbage. Cook until the cabbage is tender.

It important to neither overcook or undercook a cake. Suggested cooking times are helpful to beginning bakers but experienced bakers know that they need to consider variables such as altitude when determining the optimum cooking time. Sticking a toothpick in the center of the cake is a time proven test for doneness. If you stick a toothpick in your cake, and when you pull it out, it does not have any batter on it, the cake is ready to be taken out of the oven.

Reduce the stress of cooking for a lot of people by preparing the ingredients the day before or earlier in the day. This helps prevent burning certain dishes because your attention is on preparing another dish. When you prepare the ingredients beforehand, you can focus all your attention on cooking the best meal possible.

If you want to make chocolate peelings, try a vegetable peeler! A vegetable peeler is a great way to get large, firm shavings from a hard piece of chocolate. To get even better results, heat the chocolate in the microwave for five seconds before you start peeling. This will soften it just enough to make the peeling process easier.

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!


If You Don’t Know How To Cook Then You Want To Read This

If your family doesn’t run to the table, maybe it is time to take an honest look at your cooking routine and see if you have fallen into a menu rut. Generate some mealtime enthusiasm and put a smile on your family’s faces with some fresh new ideas that are sure to please.

Make soup stock in large quantities. Soup stock can be used in many different recipes. If you make a large portion of it once, it is easy to store for later use. Just put it in baggies that can be sealed. Put it in the freezer and thaw it out when you need to use it.

When you are chopping herbs before your meal, a tip that you can follow is to throw a little bit of salt on the chopping board. This will give you extra friction so that you can maximize your cuts. Quality cuts of herbs will lead to a great meal when everything is complete.

Pizza has a lot of flavor to begin with depending on how you cook it but adding olive oil can help bring out a vibrant aroma. The next time you are making pizza, cook with olive oil to instill a rich flavor in the dish that you make for optimal satisfaction.

After you have cooked mashed potatoes, make sure that you return them to the hot pan so that they can steam for the next ten minutes. This will allow for the potatoes to dry out so that you can get a rich texture when you are applying your milk and butter.

Are you using fresh basil to cook with? Take a bunch of the basil and set it in a glass. Then cover the stems of the basil with water. Store it on the counter of your kitchen; it will stay fresh for weeks. The basil may even start growing roots if you change out the water regularly. To encourage growth, you can trim some of the leaves to use in your cooking.

To have a meal ready when you get home from work use a slow cooker or crock pot. Some meals come prepackaged. All you have to do is pour it into the crock pot, maybe add some water and set the heat. If you like making your own meals you can prepare ingredients the night before. After you’ve prepared the ingredients put them in the fridge. Add everything to the crock pot in the morning before you go to work.

Here is a great tip to use when you have to deep fry foods. While deep frying, hold the food with a set of long cooking tongues as you place them into the oil. Before releasing, hold the food for five seconds just below the oil, then release. This will prevent the food from sticking to other food or the side of the fryer by sealing it.

If you are going to buy mushrooms, make sure that you get them before they are opened. When the stems and the caps of a mushroom are tightly attached, this means means that they are really fresh. If the cap is opened, chances are the mushroom is not too fresh.

Before grilling any foods, make sure your grill is clean. A dirty grill surface can cause many problems. Excessive smoking, soiling of flavors, potential for bacterial illness, not to mention being a fire risk, are all side effects of a filthy surface. Clean your grill with a wire brush often for best results.

To make perfect deviled eggs, ensure the yolk is evenly centered within the egg by spinning the egg on a flat surface before boiling. Place an egg, lengthwise, on the top of the kitchen counter and gently spin it a couple of times. The spinning action helps center the yolk within the shell. This method helps create perfectly-formed deviled eggs.

For tastier meat, cook for longer periods of time under a lower heat. This allows the flavor, time to fully settle and seep into the meat. In addition, this will produce a piece of meat that is much more tender than one that has been cooked at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time.

Whip up some Angel Food Delight for a quick tasty desert. All you need is five ingredients, a pack of flavored jello, a pack of shelled nuts, some canned fruit cocktail, some cottage cheese and a frozen tub of whipped cream. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and refrigerate before serving.

To truss a turkey means to tie it up with string. Trussing keeps the legs and wings close to the body of the bird, so that cooking happens evenly. The wings and tips of the bird would burn before the body of the bird was cooked if not trussed.

There are many varieties of potatoes, but they are not created equal. Waxy potatoes are best for potato salad and should be avoided when making mashed potatoes or french fries. For that type of side dish, Russets are a good choice of fluffy potato.

Cooling racks that can be stacked are great things to use when baking. When baking a large batch of cookies or other baked goods, the cooling baked goods can take over your entire work area. Space can be better used if you incorporate racks for cooling that have multiple layers. Making use of the vertical space allows your cookies to cool but still give you enough space to continue working.

If you wish to remove strong food odors from your hands, simply rub them on a piece of stainless steel prior to washing them with soap and water. You can use your stainless steel sink or a spoon to quickly remove the odor from your hands.

If you took an honest look at your mealtime offerings and decided that they could use some help, start with the fresh ideas in the article above and you will have your family running to the table in no time. These practical tips will get you on your way to success.


Easy Meals To Cook And Serve In One Dish

Who doesn’t like the taste of a hot meal made at home by someone we love? Everyone loves food, and someone who can create a delicious meal is someone that everyone wants to have around. If you want to improve your cooking skills, have a look at these great cooking tips.

As with many other things in life, one of the keys to making great meals for your family is preparation. Be certain that you have every ingredient you will need on hand. Get out everything that you’ll need including the ingredients and utensils a day ahead of time. This process will reduce your stress level and help manifest a more positive outcome.

Do not be afraid to experiment. There is no rule that says you need to follow a recipe exactly. If you do not care for an ingredient, leave it out. If you think a different ingredient would taste better, substitute it. If you think the dish is missing a little something, add it.

Damp paper towel and a plastic bag can extend the life of your greens. If you wrap your fresh herbs or fresh greens with a damp paper towel and then place them in a plastic bag, they will last longer. They will normally stay fresh three to four days longer if you do.

Salt and pepper are two of the most important ingredients that you can add to your meal when you are cooking. If something does not taste salty enough, make sure to add extra salt in order to avoid a dull taste to your food. Sometimes, it is better to have too much salt than none at all.

When cooking, many people forget about proper care for the spices that they use to season their food. All spices should be stored in a cool dark place and never above a stove. The reason for this is because storing spices in areas where there is a lot of heat, light, or humidity will cause them to lose their flavor.

Losing weight and eating healthy can feel difficult, but you can easily lessen the amount of oil you use in your cooking. For the most part, both butters and oils contain unneeded fats. A nonstick spray for cooking provides many of the same results as oil; however, it does not add extra calories.

Do not keep your spices above your stove. They need to be located in a cool, dark area; if they are exposed to either warm conditions or a light source, they will not taste as good and your cooking will suffer as a result. Think about using one of the cabinets near your refrigerator as a storage space.

To make the perfect pasta, cook it one minute less than what you read on the box and cook it the rest of the way with the sauce you are serving with it. This ensures that you do not overcook the pasta if you were to toss it in with the sauce after you cooked the pasta until it was done in the pot of water.

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.

After purchasing unripened fruits, you should put them into a plastic bag with perforations. As a fruit becomes ripe, it puts off ethylene gasses. 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.

Make sure you season your meat and fish evenly. Sprinkle your salt and pepper over the food as though it is snowing. This will make it so you avoid clumping and avoid having parts of the meat without any seasoning. This will make for a tastier meal.

Keep vegetables fresh longer by covering them with a wet paper towel and then putting them in an airtight bag. They will stay fresh for several more days if they are kept slightly damp. Refrigeration and lack of air will also keep them fresh. It is important to get the most out of your vegetables by sealing them tightly and storing them away immediately if you do not plan to use them.

Store vegetable trimmings in the freezer for a tasty vegetable stock. Save money and increase the flavor of your dishes by making your own vegetable stock. Throughout the week or even month, place vegetable trimmings and peels into plastic bags and store them in the freezer. When you have a spare afternoon, throw them in a pot with some water and let simmer. Once strained, you will have a flavorful broth that can also be frozen for later use.

Whenever you make stock for soups or stews, make it in large quantities, and freeze the extra. That way, the next time you want to whip up a quick soup or stew, the most time-consuming part is already done. You just have to pull a bag from the freezer for a quick and delicious meal.

Add salt when boiling pasta. Not only does it shorten the cooking time by increasing the temperature of the water, it also adds great flavor and keeps the pasta from tasting bland. A general rule is to add one and a half tablespoons of salt to each pound of pasta.

While it is easy to just grab a spoon to scrape prepared, wet cake mix from the mixing bowl to put into pans for baking, do yourself a favor an invest in a good rubber scraper. A rubber scraper is made to be pliant, is curved on one side and straight on the other, just perfect for scraping the bowl of every last drop of cake and brownie mix. Using a rubber scraper gets all of the mix where it belongs in your baking pans and that quantity is what the baking time on boxes of mix are based upon. Too little mix in the pans leads to burnt goods when relying on the stated baking times.

Use these tips, but don’t be limited by them. As you do more cooking, you will put your own touch on different dishes and make them uniquely yours. The important thing to remember with cooking is to continue to do it. The more you cook, the better of a cook you’ll be.


The Best Guide When It Comes To Cooking

If you are having trouble lately in the kitchen when it comes to getting your cuisine just right, you are not alone. Many people have natural cooking talent but not quite enough know-how to cook with perfection. This article will give you the help that you need to get it right by providing invaluable cooking tips.

Make sure you are storing your herbs and spices in a cool, dark space. Many factors can cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor. Light, humidity, and heat can all cause them to lose some of their flare. To avoid this, make sure you are storing your herbs somewhere like a cool cabinet.

Add flavor to boring roast chicken. Rather than using a roasting rack, place thick slices of onion in the bottom of the pan, and place the chicken on top of them. The chicken juices will be absorbed by the onion, creating a caramelization on the bottom of the pan. After roasting, remove the chicken, add a little water to the pan and cook on high heat for a few minutes. This will create a tasty sauce for your chicken.

How to pit and peel an avocado. Peeling and pitting an avocado can be quite messy, but there is a simple way. Use a sharp knife and cut around the whole avocado lengthwise. Grip each half of the avocado and twist it apart. Using your knife, carefully but firmly hit the top of the pit and twist it. The pit will slide out, still attached to the knife. To remove the peel, simply take a large spoon and run it between the peel and the flesh. Enjoy!

If you are planning to sauté garlic, you will want to slice it instead of mincing it, which will reduce the chance for it to burn. Following certain procedures will not only improve the taste of your dishes in the kitchen but will increase your effectiveness and efficiency in getting the job done.

Pizza has a lot of flavor to begin with depending on how you cook it but adding olive oil can help bring out a vibrant aroma. The next time you are making pizza, cook with olive oil to instill a rich flavor in the dish that you make for optimal satisfaction.

A coffee grinder isn’t just for coffee. A coffee grinder actually works just as well as a food processor for some jobs. This is especially true with small jobs when you don’t want the trouble of lugging out a huge processor and then having to wash all the parts. Nuts and peppercorns grind perfectly in a coffee grinder, even sugar if you need a quick substitute for powdered sugar in a recipe.

If you are having a lot of trouble with cooking, sign up for a cooking class with a friend. Here, you will not only learn the recipes that you desire to know but also the techniques to maximize your abilities as a cook. This will be an important skill to use for the rest of your life.

Salt and pepper are two of the most important ingredients that you can add to your meal when you are cooking. If something does not taste salty enough, make sure to add extra salt in order to avoid a dull taste to your food. Sometimes, it is better to have too much salt than none at all.

Try to cook when you have a clear head so that you can maximize the quality of your food. If you are currently having emotional problems, do not put yourself in a dangerous situation where you can get hurt. Always have a clear conscience when you are planning to cook a meal.

Only cook with wine that you have tasted before and that you enjoy. If you use a wine that you are not familiar with or do not enjoy, you are risking culinary disaster when it comes to the flavor of your food. You can find wines that are made for use in cooking.

Always begin your cooking with utensils that are spotlessly clean. If food is left behind on the utensils after washing, this may spoil what you are planning to cook. Bacteria will develop and spread on unclean utensils.

To save money and time consider throwing a beef roast or pork roast in the slow cooker. This makes a delicious meal the first night, and the leftovers make tasty sandwiches the rest of the week. Pack this in your lunch instead of deli lunch-meat, which is packed full of preservatives.

When it comes to cooking the fresher the better. Sure the bottled and shaker spices cost less but there is no taste comparable to the taste of fresh cut spices such as garlic and parsley. So make sure that you spend the extra fifteen minutes cutting your spices, instead of shaking them.

After cooking, always let your meat rest before serving it. This is especially true when you pull meat from a hot grill. Moisture that keeps your meat tender is sealed within it. When you cut steaming hot meat, the steam that rises is actually the moisture leaving the meat. When you let meat “settle” for at least 15 minutes prior to serving, the moisture and tenderness is preserved.

Make red beans, sausage and rice the easy way. Brown your sausage in a skillet. Add a can of red beans, liquid included, and then add enough instant rice to soak up the juices. Once the sausage is fully cooked turn off the heat and let the mixture simmer. It is a filling, low-cost meal that you can prepare in minutes.

When you are cooking a roast, go large. Buying a bigger cut of meat, when you buy a roast for a meal, has a couple of benefits. One is that you will have more leftovers from the meal. Another is that the larger the meat, the better the overall finished flavor will be.

Now that you have read the great tips in this article, you have a leg up on most people and you have the know-how that you need to perform in the kitchen. Get that apron out, dust off your mixing bowls and roll up your sleeves. You have some cooking to do.


Top Cooking Tips For Healthy, Delicious Meals

Do you enjoy devouring all different types of food? When imagining the taste of sweet things, are you left salivating with joy? Have you tried a lot of exotic dishes? Do you want to know how to cook like this in the comfort of your own home? Stop thinking and start cooking! You can use the tips provided below to create culinary masterpieces.

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.

For the moistest banana bread ever, peel and then freeze the bananas slated for the next loaf. Bananas placed in a covered container in the freezer will absorb moisture from the freezing process and that little extra “juice”, goes a long way. Not only will your bread be more moist, it will also have a more intense banana flavor.

If you would like to bake a berry desert in the winter (when most berries are out of season), use frozen berries as a delicious and more eco-friendly alternative to fresh ones! Thaw your frozen berries for 45 minutes, drain the excess, then use as you normally would when making a berry pie or cobbler.

One of the greatest things that you can do is to cook with family members or friends. When you cook with someone else, you will be able to pick up on tricks that they implement and will be able to better yourself as a cook. Talk to them to see how their thought process works, to elevate your expertise.

One of the best ways to store green vegetables so that you can increase the lifespan that they have, is to store them in a damp paper towel and place them in a plastic bag. This will keep the nutrients in them and retain the freshness that they need to remain tasty.

If you are planning on buying fish from a supermarket or fish store, make sure that you ask the person behind the counter if you can smell the fish. The fish should be very firm and should not have any pungent odors to them. Otherwise, do not purchase it, as they are probably not fresh.

It is important to know that the smaller the item, the longer it takes to cook. Many people think that smaller items do not take long to cook, therefore the item does not cook thoroughly. Usually, larger items do not take as long to cook and because people think they do, these items get burnt.

If you have a lot of pets around the house, they should not be with you in the kitchen, if the stove is near the ground. This can present a safety hazard because you want to reduce any risk of your animals getting hurt. Keep all animals and small children away from hot ovens.

Freezing helps ensure fresh fruit throughout the year. Also, you’ll have certain fruits on hand that can’t be grown during certain periods of the year.

When you are cooking pumpkin seeds, first, cover the raw seeds in melted butter, olive or vegetable oil. Then spread them out evenly across a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with your favorite seasonings. Bake the seeds at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about forty-five minutes or until golden brown.

If you are going to braise meat, cook it at a low temperature for a long period of time. By doing it this way, the meat will stay tender and it will retain its juiciness, which in turns, leaves the meat tasting good. Cooking it a high temperature can dry the meat out.

Don’t store your spices above the stove. While many traditional kitchens place the spice rack above the stove for convenience, this practice can actually reduce the flavor and shelf life of your herbs. Humidity, heat, and light can all cause spices to lose their flavor, and above the stove ensures they are exposed to all three.

To add a little extra special flavor to a plain vanilla or yellow cake mix, use the liquid from any canned fruit that is packed in water instead of the plain water called for when making the mix. Most every variety of canned fruit around comes packed in syrup or water. Choose a water-packed can of fruit your family loves to make a plain cake extra tasty. Frost the cake using vanilla or butter cream and add the fruit chunks as decoration on top.

When you are using herbs and spices make sure that you store them correctly to keep the, fresh. Since humidity is a spice’s worst enemy, make sure to keep them in air-tight containers. Also, keep them in a dark place, as light can also negatively affect the taste of your spices.

When you are boiling rice, pasta, or vegetables it is very important that you salt the boiling water before placing the food in the pot. This helps the salt absorb, and it will taste better than if you add salt to the food after it has already been cooked.

A great cooking tip is to consider staying away from store bought seasonings. This is especially important because not only can they be extremely expensive but they might also contain large amounts of sodium which is never good for your health. Consider making your own spices or adding different foods to give your food a great taste.

By implementing the tips above, you can be on your way to creating restaurant standard food in your own kitchen. Unleash your adventurous side and start experimenting with exotic flavors and spices today. In the course of experimentation, you might even stumble across a new food that will become your favorite! Take these tips, bring along your taste buds and travel to the kitchen to discover your inner chef!


Cook Food Everyone Can Enjoy With These Suggestions

Not all people have the ability to cook, and even those who are talented in the kitchen can improve in some way. Cooking is something that you can get better at over the years. There are many things you can do to immediately improve your cooking ability, and this article provides several of them. By implementing these tips, you can fine tune your overall technique and become the great cook you have always wanted to be.

When cooking a big meal, try to do your prep work the night before. This saves you time when you’re getting things ready for your dinner the next day. Have everything washed, chopped, and ready to go. You’ll thank yourself because there is less stress the night of the big meal.

It’s nice to have a pie quickly when unexpected guests arrive. When you don’t have time to create the crust from scratch, use a quality pre-made mix. Add a few tablespoons of sour cream to make the crust flaky so no one will notice that you didn’t create the pie from scratch.

Always bring your steaks to room temperature before cooking them. A steak that is still cold in the center will not cook as evenly as one that is brought up to room temperature. Usually taking them out one hour in advance will get them to the proper temperature at cooking time.

If you want to optimize the amount of juice that you get from a lime, put it in the microwave for 10 seconds. This will allow the liquid to flow easily when you cut the lime, so that you can add this to your favorite meals. Use this trick anytime you serve a lemon or lime.

Store your cheese in the fridge, wrapped tightly in plastic, and away from air. This will help to keep mold away. While a little mold is not harmful to cheese, excessive mold is dangerous to consume. It will certainly affect the quality of your cheese as well.

Fresh herbs can add a great deal to most recipes. Herbs can be tricky to handle, though, because they need to be chopped so finely. Sprinkling salt over the cutting board before chopping herbs can cut down on mess. The salt encourages herbs to stick to the board instead of flying off.

When cooking a meal for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, make separate sauces can be the best way to make sure everyone has enough to eat and knows what they can eat. Make rice or pasta, then let guests choose from a meatless sauce and one with meat. A dish with multiple components saves you from having to make two separate meals, and it makes both meat-eaters and vegetarians happy.

Keep dental floss handy in the kitchen to cut or slice soft foods or ingredients. Unflavored dental floss works better than a knife when it comes to cutting soft cheeses, cake, pie or other soft foods or ingredients. Just unwind a length long enough to allow you to stretch it across the item to be cut and apply even, downward pressure for clean, neat cuts.

When working with poultry, use this useful tip to let your poultry shine. Soak the poultry in a brine solution composed of salt and water overnight before cooking the poultry. Soaking the poultry in brine will help to unlock the flavors buried in the meat and make the poultry succulent and moist, creating an incredible poultry dish.

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.

Do not keep your spices above your stove. They need to be located in a cool, dark area; if they are exposed to either warm conditions or a light source, they will not taste as good and your cooking will suffer as a result. Think about using one of the cabinets near your refrigerator as a storage space.

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.

Prepare as much of the food as you can the night before. The cooking process will go much smoother when you can concentrate on the more difficult parts of cooking instead of worrying about the mundane tasks. Many dressings and vegetables, for example, will stay in the refrigerator quite well.

Adjust your baking time for smaller items. For example, if you are making mini cookies, crank the oven up to 500 degrees, and bake the cookies for only 4 or 5 minutes at the most. The end result is perfectly cooked, delicious cookies that will fly out of your cookie jar!

Never use oil in the water when you are boiling pasta. Conventional wisdom is that using the oil makes the noodles not stick together. While this is true, it also prevents your sauce from sticking to the noodles after they are cooked. The best pasta dishes are those where the sauce sticks to the noodles to provide delicious flavor in every bite!

While it is easy to just grab a spoon to scrape prepared, wet cake mix from the mixing bowl to put into pans for baking, do yourself a favor an invest in a good rubber scraper. A rubber scraper is made to be pliant, is curved on one side and straight on the other, just perfect for scraping the bowl of every last drop of cake and brownie mix. Using a rubber scraper gets all of the mix where it belongs in your baking pans and that quantity is what the baking time on boxes of mix are based upon. Too little mix in the pans leads to burnt goods when relying on the stated baking times.

Learning new ways to cook is really enjoyable. It’s not as exciting as tucking into a delicious meal, but it’s close! The purpose of this article was to give you some helpful tips or ideas to inspire your cooking creativity and boost your culinary skills. Hopefully, it did just that and leaves you eager to continue to search for new ways to prepare your dishes. Cooking is a process of learning that never ends.


Tips And Tricks On Cooking On The Grill

With so many different resources available for cooking, it can seem like there is an information overload — leaving you feel extremely overwhelmed. However, just by using these simple tricks you can quickly and easily learn ways to prepare and serve high quality food that the whole family will enjoy!

Always add oil to the side of the pan when sautéing. If you find that you need more oil in your pan while you are cooking, never put it right in the middle. Add it to the side of your pan. That way, it will be sufficiently heated by the time it reaches the food.

After removing corn from the cob, scrap the cob with the back of your knife. Doing this will extract the “milk” from it. Drizzle the “milk” over the corn to add extra flavor.

After you have cooked a meal for someone, never rush them into eating as you should always take your time and engage in conversation to give your body a chance to digest. Part of the meal is the smells and aromas it gives off while the other part is your actual consumption.

Layered bar cookies, fudge and chewy brownies often fall apart or get torn up from trying to evenly cut them into squares. A good rotary pizza cutter can be used to accomplish this task without worrying about a sharp knife slipping and causing an injury. Make some light guidelines in your food with the tip of a knife first and follow up with the pizza cutter for perfectly cut bars, brownies and fudge every time.

Cooking can be a joy if you invest in a good, sizable cutting board able to handle all of your cutting and chopping needs. If a butcher block table is out of the budget, look for a durable bamboo or sturdy maple for the job. A cutting board with a recessed groove surrounding the cutting surface is handy to catch juices from carving meats and makes clean up easy. If you will be using a cutting board on a smooth surface, look for one with rubber feet to avoid slipping. Maintain your cutting board with food-grade mineral oil (vegetable and olive oils can turn rancid) and make sure that you properly clean, and more importantly, dry your cutting board after each use to prevent warping.

Buying pasta sauce that already has vegetables, seasonings, meat, or cheese in it is a great way to save time and money when cooking. There’s a great variety to choose from, and you won’t have to chop up peppers and mushrooms or brown the beef. It’s all in one jar–just heat it up, and serve over your favorite pasta!

When you want to make a soup using stock, follow this tip. Be sure to make a large amount of stock, pour it in a plastic bag, and place it in the freezer. This will allow you to quickly make soup whenever you want to by simply thawing out the already made stock.

You should use applesauce when baking if you want to cut back on the amount of calories the baked good contains. The applesauce will not change the texture or flavor of the baked good. It will cut back on the number of calories that are in the baked good. It will also add fiber to the food.

Start your sear in a cold pan when searing duck breasts. Duck can turn very dry very quickly if not properly cooked. Using the cold pan technique for searing allows the fat to render slowly which will keep your duck moist and juicy. It will also give you more time to develop flavors and take care of some side dishes.

Check your meatloaf or meatballs by test cooking a small piece. You want your meat to taste perfect, so when you make a mini hamburger patty, and fry it up to taste it, you can decide if the seasoning is just right or if you need to add more flavor. Doing this ensures your meatloaves and meatballs are perfect when you pop them out of the oven.

When preparing a salsa that won’t be used immediately, rinse any raw onions you are using in cold water and dry them well. The sulfurous gas in onions makes the food nasty. This gas can leak out and make the salsa inedible. Rinsing the onions allows the gas to be removed.

To add a little extra special flavor to a plain vanilla or yellow cake mix, use the liquid from any canned fruit that is packed in water instead of the plain water called for when making the mix. Most every variety of canned fruit around comes packed in syrup or water. Choose a water-packed can of fruit your family loves to make a plain cake extra tasty. Frost the cake using vanilla or butter cream and add the fruit chunks as decoration on top.

Cook up the whole bag of potatoes at once! Slice them in half and put them in the freezer! Whether you boil or bake them, you’ll always be ready to thaw out potatoes to use for a hastily put together potato bar dinner, to use as ingredients for potato salad or any other dishes that use cooked potatoes.

You can prepare minced garlic ahead of time to be ready to use. Simply mince the garlic as normal and spread in a small pan. Freeze this pan until the garlic begins to become solid, at which point you take it out, and slice it into cubes. Place these cubes in a plastic bag and store in the freezer. When you are sautéing vegetables or preparing food later, you can use a cube or two of this prepared minced garlic. The heat from the frying pan will melt the garlic, and the result is quick and easy garlic with a fresh flavor.

Now that you have read about these great cooking tricks, you can begin to enjoy cooking and spend less time worrying. These tips will not only save you time but also a lot of money. When you put them to use today, you can enjoy having an overall better cooking experience.


Spice Up Your Cooking Skills By Using These Tips

While some people prefer to indulge in delicious, savory dishes, there are millions more who derive far more pleasure from learning how to prepare those perfect appetizers, desserts, and main courses. With the information in this article, you can get a head start on your path to becoming the next best chef!

Remember, the smaller the item, the higher the baking temperature. Small cookies will bake on a higher temp than a full cake would. Make sure to double check your recipe to find out the exact temperature it needs to be. You don’t want to prepare a perfect item only to have it burn or be under cooked.

Use a collapsible steamer basket to make the best steamed vegetables. These devices are available widely and cheaply. They can slip into almost any pot you already have and can be used for almost any vegetable you would like to enjoy. Be sure to watch your cook time to avoid getting mushy vegetables.

One fun part of learning to cook is showing off your new-found skills. If you are cooking for someone special, though, leave the experimentation for another day. Do not try new recipes or new ingredients (or, worse, both at the same time) when you are cooking a meal for someone you really want to impress.

Brownies made for a bake sale are much more enticing when potential buyers can see what goodies are in them. To accomplish this task, when the pan of brownies has about eight minutes left of baking time, remove the pan from the oven, cover the top with a layer of miniature marshmallows and then sprinkle chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nuts, caramel chunks and anything else you like to add to your brownies on top of the marshmallows. Put the pan back into the oven for the final few minutes of baking to allow the marshmallows to soften and toast and give time for the chips to melt. When the pan comes out, you will have an irresistible pan of brownies that look as good as they taste.

When cooking, many people forget about proper care for the spices that they use to season their food. All spices should be stored in a cool dark place and never above a stove. The reason for this is because storing spices in areas where there is a lot of heat, light, or humidity will cause them to lose their flavor.

You should cook chicken stew if you need to make a quick meal. Take a carton of chicken broth and put it in a large stock pot. Add cooked shredded chicken, diced potatoes, carrots, green beans and onions to the pot. Season to taste and cook for three hours on low. It is a tasty meal that does not take a lot of work.

When you are cooking, it is possible to substitute honey for sugar in several recipes. First, begin by using an amount of honey that is half of the amount of sugar called for in the recipe. If you find that the final product is not sweet enough, you can add more honey the next time around.

Place fruit that is not quite ripe in a plastic bag with a few small holes to allow it to ripen. The plastic helps retain the gases used by ripening fruit while the holes allow fresh air to circulate across the fruit. This also helps you keep your fruit fresh longer!

Here is an important tip to use when sauteing foods in a pan with oil. If you need to add more oil to the pan in the middle of sauteing, simply pour the oil as stream along the edge of the pan. You should do this rather than pouring in the center of the pan so that the oil will heat up as it travels from the edge to the center.

You should take special care when you are preparing mushrooms to cook. Make sure you take the time to carefully clean each mushroom with a dry cloth or paper towel. You should not consider rinsing mushrooms in water as they will quickly become soaked and slimy. They will be easier to work with dry.

When baking, here is a tip for eggs and butter. Let your eggs and butter set out overnight at room temperature. Doing so will soften the butter which will make it easier to spread, melt, and mix with other ingredients. The eggs will be easier to beat, and foaming egg whites will be easier as well.

Cauliflower is white when you first place it in water, but it has a tendency to sometimes turn a grayish or yellowish color. To prevent that from happening and keeping your cauliflower perfectly white you should try adding a little bit of milk to the water while it is cooking.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “A cook who doesn’t taste his own food is no cook at all.” Well if you want to be a good cook, make sure you taste your own creations. The better the taste to you, the more likely it will taste good to the other people tasting it.

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.

Make homemade vinaigrette dressings instead of purchasing them from the store. Your homemade dressing not only tastes better, but it uses fewer ingredients and is often healthier. You can easily whip these up by just dumping all the ingredients into a sealed contained and shaking it up vigorously, and voila! You have delicious tasting dressing for marinades and salads.

Now that you have added some useful and creative cooking tips to your arsenal, you should be able to start pursuing your dream of playing chef. Whether you want to make a living from cooking or simply want to serve delicious meals to your family, remember these tips for culinary glory.


Never Fear A Potluck Dinner Again: Perfect Cooking Tips

Cooking is one of the most interesting ways that people can express themselves. Cooking lets you exercise creativity as you combine food items to create new dishes that are unique. If you wish to express your creativity through cooking, then the tips in the article below will help you get started.

When cooking, the smaller the item the higher the cooking temperature can be. For instance, if you are cooking mini muffins they can be baked at 400, where as if the muffins are regular size the temperature should be no higher than 325. Cooking at the right temperature will optimize your cooking time and keep items from becoming dried out.

You should not boil pasta in water that has oil in it. When you add oil to the water that you are boiling your pasta in it keeps the sauce from sticking to the pasta. By leaving the oil out you can toss your pasta in the sauce and it will cling to it.

Make sure that you never give up when you are cooking, as it is going to take a lot of practice and failures before you get it right. If you burn something, keep trying. You will only become a great cook if you maintain your persistence.

Sharp knives will make cooking so much more efficient. Dull knives make it very difficult to cut with and also extremely dangerous to use. The chance of accidentally cutting yourself while using a dull knife to cut steak is way higher than using a sharp knife to cut the same steak.

One of the things that you should spend a lot of money on, is your kitchen utensils, pots and pans, and other equipment. These are extremely valuable investments as they will serve as the foundation for all of your cooking. You will want to extend the life of these tools as long as possible. Cooking is so much easier if you are using high quality utensils and equipment.

One of the greatest things that you can do is to cook with family members or friends. When you cook with someone else, you will be able to pick up on tricks that they implement and will be able to better yourself as a cook. Talk to them to see how their thought process works, to elevate your expertise.

Know the gender of your eggplant! There are both male and female eggplants, and it pays to know the difference. The seeds of an eggplant can be very bitter. A female eggplant’s seeds have a tendency to be more bitter than those of a male eggplant. You can identify a male eggplant by its base – it will be smooth and round, whereas the female base is more oval in shape and deeply indented.

If you have a lot of pets around the house, they should not be with you in the kitchen, if the stove is near the ground. This can present a safety hazard because you want to reduce any risk of your animals getting hurt. Keep all animals and small children away from hot ovens.

When frying eggs a healthy option you should use is nonstick cooking spray. The spray will keep the eggs from sticking to the pan without the use of margarine or butter. The eggs will not stick to the pan, and they can easily be cooked to any liking. After cooking the eggs, the pan should be easy to clean, and the eggs should be delicious.

Here is a great cooking tip to use when you are handling smelly garlic. After handling garlic, simply rub your hands with a piece of stainless steel for 30 seconds. This could be your sink or a doorknob. After doing this, wash your hands with soap as your normally would. The stainless steel helps to remove the odor from your hands.

In this manner, you will be able to preserve the freshness of the fruit throughout the year. Also, you’ll have certain fruits on hand that can’t be grown during certain periods of the year.

You should take special care when you are preparing mushrooms to cook. Make sure you take the time to carefully clean each mushroom with a dry cloth or paper towel. You should not consider rinsing mushrooms in water as they will quickly become soaked and slimy. They will be easier to work with dry.

Stop guessing on the taste of your meatballs and loafs. Take your mixture of meat and seasonings and fry up a small hamburger so you can get a taste of how your meatloaf or meatballs will turn out. This way you can add more seasonings or tone them down by adding more meat.

Allow your food to sit for a moment before serving it. It is a new idea to many, but allowing your food to rest can be quite beneficial. It’s extremely tempting to eat a meal just as soon as it comes off the grill or stove. If you do this, you will really be missing out. Always wait a awhile before eating your meal; allow it to cool slightly before digging in.

Impress family and friends when you make a simple sandwich just by spreading the mayonnaise evenly on the entire slice of bread. A lot of people hurry and just slap the mayo on a sandwich right in the middle of the bread. A smooth, even spread results in a sandwich in which each bite is as good as the last.

A foolproof way to clarify butter. Melt several sticks of butter over low heat in a heavy-based saucepan. When you see froth on the top, solid particles on the bottom, and a clear yellow liquid in between, remove the pan from the heat. Skim the froth off the top, and strain the clarified liquid into a container, leaving the milk solids behind.

As stated before in the article above, cooking is an interesting way to express yourself. You can create many food combinations to create unique signature dishes of your own design. If you remember the tips found in this article, you can take the first step to creating a cooking masterpiece.


Cooking Is Simple When You Know Some Great Tricks!

Becoming a good cook is all about knowledge, as well as, a bit of trial and error. Knowing the correct methods and styles can be greatly beneficial. The advice given in this article, will give you the necessary knowledge and insight to help you become the great cook that you have always wanted to be.

Cook your pasta for one minute less than the box recommends. Look at the cook time on your box of pasta and subtract a minute. If you are including the pasta in a dish, it will cook the rest of the way when you are cooking it with the sauce.

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.

When you are going to the store, do not always have a large shopping list which can restrain you to just getting certain items. See what you like and what you are in the mood for and purchase based on that. This will give you the spontaneity to cook whatever you choose.

Don’t substitute romaine lettuce when making caesar salad. Romaine has the perfect texture and flavor to stand up to the strong ingredients in a classic caesar dressing, such as garlic, anchovies and parmesan cheese. Select romaine that has dark green outer leaves that curl away from the center. To store, leave the head whole and unwashed in the refrigerator, and tear off leaves as needed.

Having trouble with your meats sticking to your pan or grill? This is an easy thing to fix. Just spray your pan or grill with a spray oil before you begin to cook. This will put a coating on the surface of the pan or grill, and will keep your meats from sticking to a dry surface.

While making sunny side up eggs, try this tip for a new culinary experience. Simply deglaze the pan you prepared the eggs in with a sherry vinegar. Then drizzle the sauce made from the sherry vinegar over the sunny side up eggs. Doing this will make the eggs more rich and flavorful and they will taste better than ever before.

If you plan on making an elaborate meal for dinner, prepare a few elements of the dish that can be refrigerated or left out the night before you want to cook. This eliminates stress and frenzy in the kitchen so you can focus on giving your family a meal worthy of the finest five-star restaurants.

After eating turkey, such as for Thanksgiving, never throw away leftovers. Instead, cut the turkey into smaller pieces, store it in a container that’s airtight, and freeze it. 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.

To make the perfect pasta, cook it one minute less than what you read on the box and cook it the rest of the way with the sauce you are serving with it. This ensures that you do not overcook the pasta if you were to toss it in with the sauce after you cooked the pasta until it was done in the pot of water.

When you are cooking any dessert that has strawberries in it, add a small amount of aged balsamic vinegar. The vinegar gives the dessert a sweet taste and it helps to enhance the strawberry’s taste. If the dessert is something bigger, such as a strawberry cake, add a touch more balsamic vinegar.

When it comes to cooking the fresher the better. Sure the bottled and shaker spices cost less but there is no taste comparable to the taste of fresh cut spices such as garlic and parsley. So make sure that you spend the extra fifteen minutes cutting your spices, instead of shaking them.

When cooking anything in a pan it’s ideal to add a little bit of oil to the pan, even with non-stick pans. Oil is a great conductor of heat and thus eases the object into heating up without burning the external portions. It helps the dispersion of heat across the entire object, rather than having the exterior burnt while the interior remains frozen or cold.

Learn to enjoy brussels sprouts. Not many people enjoy brussels sprouts if they are cooked in the traditional manner of boiling them. Sprouts can be delicious if you try different methods of cooking, such as roasting them with carrots and parsnips for a delicious side dish. They are delicious if pan-fried with bacon. These cooking methods give them a nutty flavor. Always choose small brussels sprouts, as the larger ones tend to be very bitter.

For tastier meat, cook for longer periods of time under a lower heat. This allows the flavor, time to fully settle and seep into the meat. In addition, this will produce a piece of meat that is much more tender than one that has been cooked at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time.

For easy low-fat cooking make sure that you measure the oil that you use in your recipes. If you just pour it from the bottle it is easy to accidentally include too much oil in the dish. By measuring it out, you are giving yourself much more control over how much oil you can use, which will help you to keep your dishes healthier.

When you are cooking a roast, go large. Buying a bigger cut of meat, when you buy a roast for a meal, has a couple of benefits. One is that you will have more leftovers from the meal. Another is that the larger the meat, the better the overall finished flavor will be.

As was stated earlier in the article, cooking skills are all about the knowledge you have of the processes and styles. Learning the best methods, as well as using experimentation, can help you understand the basics of cooking. The advice given in the article you just read, will put you on the best path to becoming a culinary genius