How often do you enjoy cooking? If you’re like most people, cooking can start to get boring after a while. Why? Because you are likely doing it multiple times a day. It’s not hard to fall into a rut where you’re eating the same things and cooking the same things. Here are a few tips to help you spice up your cooking.
When you are making stock, make a lot of it. Then save it in a plastic zip bag, date it and freeze it. That way you can pull it when you would like to make a soup. You can use it to boil some veggies in. Having some in the freezer will make preparing healthy meals very much easier.
Make sure that you defrost your vegetables before you put them in the microwave if you are planning to cook them this way. This will allow you to achieve the best texture, while not sacrificing the taste of your vegetables. After cooking, add your vegetables to a main plate as a side dish.
Use a heavy duty, zip-lock plastic bag to separate pan drippings. After roasting meat, pour the pan drippings into a zip-lock plastic bag. Let the fat rise to the top. Carefully snip off one of the bottom corners on the bag, and pour out the fat-free broth. The fat will stay in the plastic bag, and you will have a tasty broth as a base for gravy or a sauce.
Saute tired salad greens. If your salad greens have seen better days, don’t discard them – saute them! Salad greens such as radicchio, arugula and endive make a tasty side dish when sauteed. Cook them quickly in olive oil, chopped garlic and sea salt. Sprinkle with a little bacon and goat cheese, and you will be happy that you didn’t throw away those unused salad greens!
When you are cooking a dish that requires it to be sauteed, add oil around the edges of the pan rather than directly on the food. This gives the oil a chance to heat up before it reaches the cooking food that is in the center of the pan. Hot oil will give you improved results and makes your dish taste better.
Make big portions when preparing stock. Instead of making a single serving, make a whole stock pot and save the leftovers so you can freeze them. Excellent chicken stock that is homemade is a great base for use in stews, soups, casseroles, and more. Let your stock cool off and pour it inside Ziploc bags.
If you are stuck trying to figure out what to cook for dinner during the week, consider building your meals around themes. “Mexican Monday” could mean burritos or a nice taco salad. How about “Tuscan Tuesday” featuring spaghetti and meatballs or maybe meatball subs? And “Fish Friday” offers lots of options for shrimp, salmon or even tuna. Bring the whole family into the fun by letting the kids pick a theme and help plan the meal that day.
When you are cooking clarified butter, first slowly melt butter that is unsalted over very low heat. Do not stir the butter, and do not let it comes to a boil. This process will separate the milk solids from the liquid butter into three layers when finished. The clarified butter will be in the middle layer.
Use these tips to rekindle your love of cooking. Cooking is done every day, but that means that every day you have a new opportunity to make something great out of an everyday occurrence. Fall in love with cooking again, or for the first time, and make meals great again.