Cooking is a wonderful art to learn. Whether it is purely for nutritional purposes or for the joy of creating a meal from scratch for your family and friends, the relaxation that can be associated with this skill is immense. But if you were never taught the basics of cooking, and finding your way around a kitchen is not your forte, here are a few handy hints you need to know.
Change from ordinary table salt when cooking, to sea salt or kosher salt. The latter will add a much better flavor to the recipe. While it is important not to over-salt food for health reasons, leaving salt out of a recipe altogether can result in a meal that tastes bland. So seek a middle ground when using this seasoning.
If you are preparing stir-fry, be sure to slice the meat on the bias and very thin. There’s a trick to this, and it can take a little time. Take the meat out of the freezer just as it is beginning to freeze and slice diagonally across the grain at an angle of 45 degrees.
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 rice in vegetable or chicken stock instead of using water. Choosing a stock will add both extra taste and valuable nutrients. The cooking process and time are the same as with water, so you won’t be adding any extra work by trying this method.
If you’ve forgotten to soak your beans over night, quick soak them instead. Just put the beans in a very large pot and cover with water. Bring this to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about two hours. This method is just as effective as an over night soak and can save you time.
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!
Sometimes it can seem like a good idea to pile on all of your ingredients into the pan to save you time from having to cook them all separately. However, this can only prolong the cooking process since most foods need room to breathe in the pan to cook properly while soaking up the spices. Take the extra bit of time to cook them spaced out properly in the pan and you’ll have a better tasting dish.
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.
There is no longer a need to hold onto any fear of the kitchen. By following these ideas and learning the basics of cooking, you will be rewarded. With a little time and practice you will be whipping up gourmet meals to impress your friends in no time at all.