Whether you need to lose weight or save money by dining in, cooking homemade meals is a very rewarding prospect. Homemade food is not only better for you, but affords you the chance to save some dollars.
You should store your spices and herbs in a cool dry space out of direct sunlight to avoid flavor loss. Your spices and herbs will lose some of their flavor when exposed to light, humidity and heat. It is normally the rule that spices that are ground lose their flavor after they keep for around a year. Spices that have not been ground may still be worth using for three years or a little more. The freshness can last longer if they are stored correctly.
Your spices and herbs should always be stored in a cool and dark place. Common kitchen conditions, such as heat, light, and humidity, will destroy the flavor of herbs and spices. When properly stored, ground herbs and spices can retain full flavor for up to a year. Spices that are not ground can keep their flavors for 3 to 5 years. If stored the right way, they keep fresh for a lot longer.
All of the prep work can be done ahead of time. It is quite important that the preparation is done well in advance of the cooking process. Cooking can get stressful when you’re working to deadline. Prep work helps take the stress out of meal planning and preparing.
The prep work comes first. This is why it’s called prep work, because this is what you want to have done before you begin cooking. Sometimes even when the prep work is done, the deadline for when the meal must be completed can still loom large and become stressful. Do your prep work in advance, if you can.
To make slicing meat into thin strips a little easier, partially freeze it. This is great to do when you need to slice meat thinly for Chinese or Thai meals. When you freeze the meat, fibers stretch less making it cut easier. Once you have cut your meat to preference, place them to the side to finish thawing. This allows your meat strips to cook evenly.
Do not keep your herbs or spices in a place that is not cool and dark. If you leave them out somewhere, you will expose them to light, wetness, and heat, and it could ruin them. Keep spices fresh by storing them away from light and humidity. You’ll taste the difference in your dishes.
Have you ever had feelings of guilt when you have thrown away rotten fruit? Are you tempted to just cut off the moldy part and save the rest for your meal? A half rotten fruit cannot be saved. Get rid of anything that has mold on it. Mold goes deeper than the eye can see and could be very harmful.
Don’t overcook your vegetables. They will lose a lot of food value and won’t taste good. Use quick cooking methods instead to maintain their healthy quality. Examples of these methods are steaming, sauteing, or the best one is to eat them raw.
Before frying raw potatoes, allow them to soak for half an hour in a bowl of cold water; this will result in crispier fries. A cold water soak helps the potatoes stand up to the rigors of deep fat frying.
You can use it on other foods besides meat. It can add flavor to all manner of foodstuffs, such as scrambled eggs. People will wonder on what the secret ingredient is!
Do you enjoy cooking with the flavors of fresh basil? If so, put lots of fresh basil into a glass. Make sure the basil’s stems are covered in water. Store it on the counter of your kitchen; it will stay fresh for weeks. If you are sure to add fresh water, your basil will even form roots and become a plant. You can encourage the basil’s growth even further by trimming it back from time to time, keeping it fresh and healthy even longer.
You can use it on practically anything. Experiment with adding it to roasted seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin, or even sprinkle into salads and egg dishes. You will have everyone asking what the secret spice is!
When simmering or boiling vegetables, try adding chicken broth. Simmering vegetables in the broth will keep them from adhering to the bottom of the pan and also infuse them with rich flavor. There is not a lot of expense when buying chicken broth, and most grocers carry it.
If you are serious about losing weight and getting healthy, you need to cut back on cooking oils. Butter and oils are often unnecessary fats. A nonstick cooking spray will suffice and is not as unhealthy.
When you plan on using wooden skewers for cooking, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to cooking. That way, they will not burn during the cooking process. To ensure that your food stays on the skewers, use two skewers instead of one to hold the food firmly in place.
When purchasing your ingredients for preparing a recipe, you should read all of the labels. Unwanted additives are sometimes placed in many cooking staples, and this may be unhealthy. You will want to be sure that this product doesn’t have high amounts of sugar or sodium, they could cause major health problems if they are over consumed.
For a high-protein diet, meat isn’t the only source available. Tofu, lentils and beans are great protein substitutes. Both beans and tofu are readily available in most grocery stores. Fry up the tofu with seasonings to get a great meat alternative. The beans can be boiled with some herbs for a flavorful protein source.
When making a meal that needs milk or water, try a different substitute to make the dish taste different. You could use chicken broth or juice, instead of water. Sour cream, buttermilk and yogurt make good milk substitutes. Adding different and interesting liquids to a recipe can help the dish become more interesting and nutritious.
When buying ingredients for recipes make sure you read the labels. You might be surprised how many common cooking implements have ingredients concealed within that are unhealthy. Make sure the food does not have a lot of salt or sugar, these can both be harmful to your health.
When adding seasoning to any dish, it is important to add the seasoning throughout the cooking process rather than all at once. In this manner, you will be able to enhance the flavors of the final dish.
To cook a whole pumpkin, cut an upright pumpkin in half vertically. Set each half cut-side down on its own baking sheet. Sprinkle the baking sheets with a little water and allow the pumpkin to bake for an hour at 350 Fahrenheit.
When you are going to make a dish that requires garlic, be sure to buy the freshest garlic you can. Older garlic tends to smell and taste woody, while fresh garlic ensures a sweet, yet savory flavor. You will want to look for the following characteristics; firm skin, and no bruises or shriveling.
This way, you have fruits that stay fresh throughout the year. Another great benefit is that you will have certain fruits on their off season.
A lot of herbs and vegetables give off an odor that tends to stay in your cutting board, no matter how much you scrub it. Mark your chopping board using indelible ink in order to keep track of which side you used.
If you enjoy using fresh herbs, consider bunching them together and cutting them with scissors while preparing your next meal. This results in light and fluffy herbs, and prevents the wetness that can occur when you chop them.
When unpacking your groceries, place any unripened fruits in perforated bags. Some fruits, like apples, produce ethylene gas as they ripen. 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.
Macaroni and cheese can take on many forms and varieties, but you’ll get the best results by simply following the instructions on the box. You will want the macaroni to have an ultimate consistency and firmness prior to melting the cheese over it. For serving, a solid spoon works best. Give the macaroni some spice with pepper.
When cooking ground meat, blot it dry before cooking. You want to do this with a paper towel to get rid of any moisture that is in your meat. If you leave the moisture in your meat, that moisture will be released when you cook. The sizzling effect will burn off the moisture. This is especially important when your trying to sear meat, because it will steam instead.
Consider creating your own stock, in order to add some customized flavor to your dishes. Make as much of it as you want and keep the excess in your freezer. Doing so will give you the best stock for any dish that calls for it. By making your own stock, you can be sure that it is not full of preservatives.
Don’t completely drain the water after cooking pasta, save some to add to the pasta sauce. Set aside approximately one-fourth cup. When you are getting ready to mix the pasta and sauce together, pour in some of the water. Amalgamation will take place in your sauce when you add the pasta water. The starch will give it the “creaminess” you desire.
When boiling pasta, salt the cooking water generously. This is the most effective time to season pasta. Adding salt after the pasta is cooked will cause the flavor to not be absorbed as well.
If you make salsa with raw onions that you plan to save rather than eat right away, rinse the onions using cold water, then blot the onions dry before storing. Sulfurous gas is a component of fresh onions. This could ruin your salsa. The gas is removed by rinsing and drying the diced onions.
When chopping fresh herbs, try shaking a small amount of salt on your cutting board first. The salt will keep the herbs on the board and add extra flavor as well. Do not add any salt to the dish you are making to prevent over-salting. The salt that you sprinkle on the board sticks to the herbs and gives them just the right amount of flavor.
Complete your prep work before you start cooking a meal. This will stop you from having your oven or stove on for too long, and will also give you an extra safety level if you are using oil on a hot pan or other dangerous cooking techniques.
If you plan to prepare food outside for a cookout, make sure the grill itself is prepped beforehand. Start prepping your grill roughly 30 minutes or more before you decide to start cooking. You need to allow the coals to reach a medium heat. Once the desired temperature has been reached they should be covered with ash. This is optimum grilling temperature.
There are a few different ways to heat tortillas. You can put the tortilla in your oven at 350 degrees until they get crisp enough. If you have a gas stove, you can also put your tortilla on the burner. A hot, fresh, crunchy tortilla is within reach when these simple techniques are used.
Brining is a technique for preparing poultry. Soak your proteins, especially poultry, in a brine for an hour prior to cooking to really pull out the inherent flavors.
You can improve the flavor of even the most simple dish by using fresh herbs. If the recipe is complicated and combines many different flavors, dried herbs are acceptable. However, it is always better to use fresh herbs as their flavor is better. To make sure that you always have some fresh herbs, plant an herb garden that you have easy access to.
Instead of using water, you should consider using beef or chicken stock. This helps add flavor to all types of foods including mashed potatoes. Another option is to place bouillon cubes into the water. Your food will get the moisture it needs while getting an extra boost of flavor.
If you implement this advice, it is a simple matter to learn to cook and prepare foods at home. You will become a better cook the more you practice. Homemade meals also promote healthier eating habits for the entire household. So take advantage of the information provided here and start creating great tasting meals in your own kitchen.
Toss any unused veggies or meat in a wok together with some fried rice to get the use of them before your next shopping day. Day old rice works best, but fresh will be fine too if you reduce the water a bit to make it drier. Saute the vegetables and meats in some oil, then place the rice in the pan and add soy sauce and other spices to taste.