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Food Talk

39 Helpful Cooking Tips for the New Cook

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A few helpful cooking tips for the new cook to save a little time and money in the kitchen. One of my all-time favorite cooking tips for the new cook is to always read the recipe in full before you begin cooking. 

7  Useful Kitchen Tips

  1. Unstick the cap on a Maple syrup bottle by running hot water over the cap for a few seconds and it will loosen the sticky, and the bottle should open easily.
  2. Soft cheese can be a pain to grate, fix that by freezing the cheese for about 30 minutes before grating or shredding.
  3. Safely chop odd-shaped or round vegetables by cutting off the ends for an even flat surface.
  4. Small leftovers of tomato paste can be frozen in small ice cube containers for when you just need a tablespoon or two.  Also, consider buying tomato paste in the tube.
  5. When cooking with chili peppers, protect your hands and eyes,  wear rubber gloves. I learned this the hard way!
  6. Hand wash your wood cutting boards and disinfect with vinegar.
  7. Cottage cheese will last longer if you store the container upside down in the refrigerator.  This creates a vacuum effect that hinders the growth of bacteria that can cause the food to spoil.   This works for sour cream also.

 

5 Helpful Baking Tips 

 

  1. If you bake, purchase a baking scale. Baking is also a science, and the ingredient amounts need to be accurate. My baked goods improved after I began to pay attention to proper measuring. Dry measuring spoons and cups for dry ingredients and liquid measuring cups for liquids, I’m partial to classic the classic pyrex glass cups.
  2. My baking also dramatically improved when I started using an oven thermometer.  Place the thermometer in your oven to ensure proper preheating temperatures. Test for hot spots by placing the thermometer in various locations inside the oven for 10 minutes at a time to see how accurate and evenly heated your oven is. 
  3. If your recipe uses buttermilk, you can substitute regular milk with lemon juice.
  4. To make perfect cookies, chill the dough before arranging on a baking sheet.  To save space prefer multiuse pans, I use the Nordicware Jelly Roll Pan  for baking sheet pan dinners and cookies, oh, and the occasional jelly roll.
  5.  When baking; let butter and eggs reach room temperature before using unless the recipe calls for cold butter.  To softened butter, cut slices into a bowl and let sit at room temperature for 15–20 minutes. 

Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. This will not increase the price to you should you decide to purchase through my links.  I personally use and recommend the products I’ve linked to in this post.

4 Easy Ways to Saving Money

 

  1. To save money a little money and reduce food waste grow your favorite herbs on a sunny windowsill, patio, or in your garden. I have a small balcony and grow Basil, cilantro, and Mint.  I love walking out a snipping off just what I need. When my plants get too big, and I’m afraid I can’t use it all, I just snip off and share my bounty.
  2. Buy butter on sale and freeze for up to six months. This is a real money saver come holiday baking time.
  3. Save money by purchasing in-season fruit and vegetables at your local farmers market. You can freeze and save for later.  You never know when the urge to cook a pie will strike.
  4. A great money-saving cooking tip when you need small quantities of vegetables for a recipe, check out the salad bar at your local grocery store.

 

23 Practical Cooking Tips For the New Cook

 

  1. When using balsamic vinegar on pan-roasted meat or vegetables be sure to line your baking sheets first. The balsamic vinegar burns easily and can be very difficult to remove, lining the pan first makes cleaning up afterward a breeze. 
  2. Flank steak is a flavorful cut of beef but is a bit tough. For tender results when cooking Flank steak be sure to marinate it overnight and after cooking cut into thin slices against the grain before serving.
  3. Buy several rotisserie chickens when they are on sale. Then remove and shred the meat before freezing in individual packages for quick and easy weeknight meals, like our Buffalo Chicken lettuce wraps. 
  4. Cooked meats need to rest for a few minutes at room temperature before serving. The juices will distribute in the meat and keep your steak or chops nice and juicy.
  5. Eliminate packaged salad dressing and make your own vinaigrettes. It’s really easy to make your own homemade versions with a basic recipe of three (3) parts oil to one (1) part vinegar. Add some fresh fruit, herbs or spices to your vinaigrettes for variety.
  6. Pork Loin is very easy to overcook, for best results choose an oven cooking method instead of your slow cooker.
  7. When possible, select a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables for your recipes. This will add textures and flavors to your menu.
  8. Slice garlic instead of mincing to prevent burning.  Always have a tube of garlic paste in the refrigerator and ajar of minced garlic handy.
  9. While living in Italy learned how to peel tomatoes the easy way. With the tip of a small knife slice an X in the top, and then simmer in a pot of hot water for 20 to 30 seconds, once cooled down the skin will slip off easily.  I always peel tomatoes when making a homemade marina, it just tastes better to me.
  10. Past should never be rinsed unless it’s for a cold dish; the starch helps the sauce to stick to the pasta.
  11. Add a little lemon juice to prevent the butter from over-browning in your pan.
  12. Submerge vegetables in ice water after blanching to help maintain a bright color.
  13. Salt enhances the flavors of your ingredients. Use kosher salt for cooking and season with sea salt.
  14. If the recipe calls for shallots and you don’t have any, replace with a combination of onions and garlic.
  15. Poach a perfect egg, add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the simmering water, this helps to keep the yolk from breaking.
  16. For a perfect hard-boiled egg, bring your pot of water to a boil and then turn off the heat. Place your eggs in the heated pot and let sit for 12 minutes and then transfer to cold water.
  17. Probably one of the best cooking tips is to cook slow and low for great tender meats with minimal effort.
  18. For a classic vinaigrette, use three parts oil to one part vinegar. Add any herbs, lemon juice or leave it plain for a simple salad dressing.
  19. When sauteing or making an A Olio and Aglio (oil and garlic) sauce,  heat the pan first, then add the oil, let it heat, next add the ingredients.  
  20. Remember, Greek yogurt is a healthy substitute for mayonnaise, sour cream, and heavy cream.
  21. If a recipe needs Myers lemons, substitute half a lemon and half an orange as a replacement.
  22. To make Simple Syrup by simmer one cup of water and one cup of sugar in a medium saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Store in a bottle with a lid in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

If you have a few cooking tips for the new cook you would like to share please leave a comment. 

Cooking Tips for Meals with More Flavor in Less Time


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