Cooking might be something you do in order to prepare your food for your daily meals, but the truth is that cooking is much more than that. Cooking is a way to show creativity, scientific knowledge, and people skills all at once. Enhancing your cooking skills means enhancing your life. Try these tips, and make your meals, and life, that much better.
If a dish requires thinly sliced meats (like some Chinese dishes, for example), freeze the meat before slicing. This makes it hold its shape better when you are slicing, which allows the knife to cut through with a cleaner line. When meat is thawed out, you often have to use a sawing motion to cut the beef, which can make your lines uneven and jagged.
The most difficult and time consuming thing about cooking is doing all of the prep work. You can buy pre-prepped vegetables or prep your ingredients the day before to cut down on the time you are in the kitchen. This is very helpful if you need to get dinner out in a hurry.
Cooked turkey freezes beautifully, as does stuffing. When making a big holiday meal, be sure and make plenty so you not only have enough for turkey sandwiches, but to enjoy another turkey dinner in a month or two, without all of the work. Use a spare 9" X 13" pan that you line and divide with aluminum foil into two or three compartments. Cut some turkey for one compartment, add some stuffing in another and if you would like, leftover mashed potatoes can be put in the third compartment. Drizzle some gravy over everything you desire, cover with aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to enjoy turkey again, or perhaps when pressed for time and out of ideas for dinner, grab the pan from the freezer and place in the oven at 350 degrees. Remove the foil from the top of the pan after 45 minutes, bake uncovered for another 15 to 20 minutes and enjoy!
To get perfectly cooked salmon that is not too dry, remove it from the heat when the fish is opaque and it flakes whenever you press gently with the back of a fork or spoon. Salmon dries out quickly and is easy to overcook; and because it stays pink, color is not an accurate indication of whether or not it is done.
To keep your tasty homemade ice cream contained in a sugar cone, stick a marshmallow in the bottom of the cone before filling it. The marshmallow will plug the hole at the bottom, preventing drips and leaving a tasty treat when you or your child reach the end of the cone.
To remove a batch of fudge from the pan with ease, first line the pan with aluminum foil that you have generously greased using butter, margarine, or a butter-flavored cooking spray. When set, simply lift the block of fudge up and out of the pan using the aluminum foil and you will then be able to peel the foil away from the fudge for cutting without the sticky mess.
Use cast iron pans to cook with. Cast iron cookware is great equipment to have not only because it allows food to cook evenly, but also because it makes cleaning up very easy " food and grime wash right away. You can season your cast iron pan ahead of time to add flavor to the food.
To save time on busy weeknights, cook ahead on the weekends and stock your freezer with meals that are ready to heat through. Lasagnas, enchiladas, and other casseroles are great for freezing, as are many soups. Alternately, you can cook an extra batch of dinner any day of the week to freeze for a day when you don't have the time.
When you are making homemade soups that contain meat, they tend to have a lot of fat that needs to be skimmed from the top. One quick solution to that problem is dropping in a couple of ice cubes. As the ice melts, the fat will stiffen around it and you will be able to remove it with ease.
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.
Keep a supply of chopped onions all ready to go, in your freezer. It is easy to be dissuaded from cooking a particular recipe because you don't want to go through the tears and smell of cutting up onions. When you are cutting one onion, you might as well take the time and cut up several of them. Put them in a baggie and freeze them!
One of the fun things about cooking is that it is always new. There are always new recipes to try, new skills to learn, and new ways of doing things. You can truly enjoy the art of