Cooking can be one of the hardest things to learn. The tips in this article will help you to cook great tasting dishes.

Your spices and herbs should be stored in a cool and dark area. Heat, humidity, and light will all weaken your spices’ flavor. You can plan on ground herbs and spices retaining their potency for a year. Whole spices usually keep their flavor for around 3 to 5 years. When spices are stored in the correct manner, they will stay fresh for much longer.

Try going to a library or buying a cook book if you are wanting to cook different foods. Pick a few simple, interesting recipes and work up to more elaborate dishes as your skills increase.

If you have a meal that is important, like for a date or your boss, try cooking one of your better dishes so that you are familiar with it and know it tastes good. Don’t attempt cooking experiments or recipes you’ve never tried before. Preparing a meal that you are comfortable with can really help to reduce your stress level.

Preparation is incredibly important prior to cooking a meal for loved ones. Make sure that you have all of the ingredients available. Prepare everything the day prior, including the correct utensils and other cooking tools. This will allow you to cook without having to worry.

Do you feel guilty when you toss rotten, uneaten fruit in the garbage? Could you instead just cut off the mold and eat the rest like you can with cheese? Half-rotten fruit is not save worthy. There is no way to use this food without compromising your health. The fruit needs to be thrown as away as some of the mold may not be visible and can cause you to become ill.

Fresh Basil

To reduce fat and calories in mashed potatoes without sacrificing texture or taste, replace some of your potatoes with an equal amount of cauliflower. Since cauliflower is bland, it will mix right in with the potatoes along with the other ingredients. At the same time, cauliflowers mash into the same color and texture as potatoes, giving you a fail-proof way to add vegetables and subtract calories from a classic mashed potato dish.

Are you using fresh basil to cook with? If so, put lots of fresh basil into a glass. Cover the stems with water. Leave it on your counter and it will stay fresh for a very long time! You can even promote the growth of roots if you replace the water from time to time. You should also cut the basil so that it keeps growing.

When you are cooking, use fresh ingredients instead of frozen or dried ones for the best results. When you use fresh ingredients you can bring out the true flavor of your food, and they can sometimes be cheaper in the end.

Once in awhile, burgers stick to the cooking surface making it nearly impossible to get them off in one piece. The way to prevent this is to coat the grill with some vegetable oil prior to putting any food on the grill.

If you have sauce left over after a meal, store the remainder in one or more ice cube trays and let it freeze. This makes it easy to prepare a quick meal by reheating the sauce using a saute pan. Don’t worry; the sauce will taste delicious after being frozen in an ice cube tray!

If you want to add flavor to your dishes, use a liquid other than milk or water. As a substitute for water, try broth. Juice can work as well. Some people use the water left over from boiling vegetables. Use yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream in place of milk. Using different liquids can add nutritional content to certain dishes and improve their flavor.

It is desirable to store dry goods like flour and sugar in tightly sealed containers. You can protect your food from bugs and keep them fresher using an airtight container. Airtight containers are a good investment, inexpensive, and readily available.

If it can be hectic getting dinner ready in time, try preparing ingredients the night before. Try slicing up some vegetables and onions, then make a sauce or marinate the meat before going to sleep. With so much already prepared, you will likely be less stressed.

When you make chicken stock, a good piece of advice is to make it in a big quantity. If you prepare a large pot of stock, it can be frozen and stored for future use. Good chicken stock that you make at home makes a great starter for soups, casseroles, stews and other dishes. Make certain the stock is cooled, and then you can portion it into heavyweight Ziploc freezer bags and place in the freezer.

Dried Tomatoes

Beans and tofu contain a lot of proteins. Both of these protein-rich foods are available at most grocery stores. Seasoned tofu is a wonderful alternative to meat, and can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as pan frying. You can boil the beans with some herbs to have a flavorful protein packed meal, side or snack.

Tomatoes can be easily dried. Cut Romas tomatoes in lengthwise halves, or slice ripe regular tomatoes into half inch slices for drying. Using a cooling rack, lay the sliced tomatoes with the side that is cut facing upward, and then sprinkle them lightly with salt. Place the cooling rack on a cookie sheet and dry in a 190 degree oven for up to 10 hours. You can store your dried tomatoes in a plastic bag in the freezer. Another way to preserve your dried tomatoes is in olive oil, with herbs for added flavor, in a glass jar. The tomatoes will need to be refrigerated and should be consumed within a couple of weeks.

Sauteing vegetables in chicken broth is very healthy. The chicken broth will add a dimension of flavor, and let you cut down on how much oil you use. This is an easy, delicious way to prepare veggies for you meal.

Many herbs and veggies make odors on your cutting board no matter how many times you clean it. Mark one end, or side, of each cutting board so that you know which is which.

Do not use wine for cooking that you have not tasted. Using a wine that you dislike could ruin the taste of the food. There are wines available that are used just for cooking purposes.

Place unripe fruits in a plastic bags you have poked small holes into. Ethylene gas is produced as a by-product of the ripening process. Bags with holes will prevent already-ripened fruit from rotting, since the ethylene gas can escape; on the other hand, under-ripened fruit benefits from a bag without holes, since the gas that causes ripening is retained.

After your Thanksgiving meal, don’t throw away turkey leftovers. It is smarter to divide up the meat and seal it in airtight containers that you freeze. The turkey will be more fresh after a couple of weeks when doing this. It is great in a sandwich or a salad.

If you decide on using fresh herbs, gather them in bunches and snip the stems with scissors. This is perfect for flavorful herbs like dill and parsley. This practice does not get herbs wet like chopping would, and makes them generally fluffier and lighter.

Prepare your meal ahead of time so you can leave it sitting for a few minutes. This is very important for the juices to be absorbed back into your meat. There is plenty of temptation to just whisk the dish off of the grill and eat it immediately. If you do this, you will really be missing out. Always wait a awhile before eating your meal; allow it to cool slightly before digging in.

When you make boxed mac and cheese, closely follow the directions. The macaroni will be perfect and delicious because the great looking cheese is melted on top of the noodles. To serve this all-time favorite, a large spoon works great. Consider adding some pepper to your macaroni to add some spice.

Creativity in the kitchen can be exciting. You do not have to follow a recipe to the “T”. Add things to flavor and shake up the recipe to make it your own. That is really a creative cook!

When you are cooking, wash the dishes as you use them to reduce clean-up time later. Have one sink prepared for washing, hot and full of soap. Set the other aside for rinsing, warm and clean. Utensils and dishes are easier to wash when they’ve just been used, and they’ll be ready for the next meal you want to make.

Impress family and friends when you make a simple sandwich just by spreading the mayonnaise evenly on the entire slice of bread. Everyone has made a quick sandwich where they just plopped the mayo or mustard in the middle of the bread. If you spread condiments evenly, your sandwiches will have more flavor.

Ground Meat

A sharp knife is the cook’s bosom companion; spend the money for top-quality cutlery. Dull knives make everything take longer and are also more dangerous. Dull blades are the cause of more accidents than sharp blades.

Always blot ground meat before cooking it. Blotting away the moisture on ground meat is always a good idea. The moisture will release while the meat is being cooked if it is not blotted before hand. The moisture will steam away. This means you meat is being steamed and not seared.

If you are cooking with a certain type of fruit or vegetable for the first time, do some research before using it. By performing some research, you could be surprised at how versatile a new food can be. Becoming knowledgeable should precede any work you do in the kitchen, and it will also help in giving you a more enjoyable cooking experience.

A great tip to use when making any type of salsa is to rinse your raw onions once they’re chopped. Also, make sure that you dry them before adding them to your mix. The sulfurous gas in onions makes the food nasty. Salsa will not taste good with the aura of sulfur. Rinsing and drying the chopped onions removes this gas.

If you want to infuse a bit of flavor into your food as you are cooking it, substitute beef or chicken stock for water. You can also simply add bouillon cubes to the suggested amount of water. The dishes you prepare this way have ample moisture, but also receive an additional layer of taste.

Cooking is a thing you can improve upon by using these tips. Knowing what you have learned here, you just need to head to the kitchen and go for it. Everyone will love the dishes you will be cooking!

Many dessert recipes require copious amounts of butter. Instead of melting the butter, you should ensure that it is only softened; this will make creaming the butter easier. If it does melt, put the bowl in the freezer long enough for it harden a little bit, or when you are done mixing the ingredients together refrigerate the dough. Your cookies will not spread if you use cool dough.

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