Good food can mean many things to different people. It is said to be the way to earn a man’s love and what holds many families together.

Always bake pie and tart crusts for longer than the recipe specifies for best results. The crust should turn a golden color, not simple blonde. This golden color means that the sugar has caramelized, leaving a sweet flavor.

The prep work comes first. The prep work should be done before you even start cooking. Setting a time limit can add stress to your cooking experience. Try to complete your preparations, so you can avoid scrambling later on.

Getting thin strips of meat is a lot easier if you partially freeze the meat first. This works especially well for meats to be used with Asian recipes. When the meat is partially frozen, it is much easier to slice and doesn’t tear or stretch. To ensure that the meat cooks properly, be sure it is completely thawed before cooking.

Bake pie and tart crusts for a longer time than you think is really necessary. The crust should have a nice golden color to be fully cooked. This color means that the sugar has caramelized within the pie crust and will have a crunchy and sweet flavor.

You may have felt regret when you threw away a moldy orange or lemon. Is it a good practice to save them by cutting out the rotten, moldy part? Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to save fruit that has begun to rot. Throw them away because mold grows much deeper than you can see and moldy food can make you very sick.

Partially Frozen

Always use an airtight container to store baking ingredients such as sugar or flour in the kitchen. Storing food in containers that are impermeable to air helps the food last longer, and keeps insects out. These containers can be bought at almost any store and are totally worth it!

Try partially frozen meat to make thin meat slicing easier. When you are making stir fry Asian dishes, this technique for thinly sliced meat is ideal. Using partially frozen meats, your slicing can be cleaner due to the fibers not stretching and tearing as easy. Just remember, though, to let the stripped meat completely thaw out before you start cooking. This keeps the meat from cooking unevenly.

Sauteing vegetables in a bit of broth is a healthy cooking method. The broth will add to the flavor of the vegetables and cut back on the amount of oil that is typically needed to saute them. You will love this cooking style if you just give it a try!

When cooking vegetables, cook them as quickly as possible to keep their nutritional value. Though slow cooking is popular in some cultures, the process actually eliminates important nutrients and renders the vegetables tasteless. A plus is that faster cooking methods usually yield vegetables which are, generally, simply better for you health. Only cook vegetables as much as you have to, in order to preserve their taste and nutritional value.

Cater to your guests by serving salads with dressing on the side. Certain people prefer a larger amount of dressing on the salad than others. Because of this fact, you should allow people to pour dressing on their own. Offer your guests a variety of dressings.

Save time and money by freezing leftover sauce in ice cube trays in the freezer. When you do this, making a quick meal can be accomplished by simply reheating by using a saute pan. The sauce will remain edible even after being in an ice tray.

Tomatoes can be easily dried. Slice a large, ripened tomato in half-inch-thick slices. If you are using Roma tomatoes, slice them lengthwise into two pieces. Put the tomatoes, cut-side up, onto a cooling rack and give them a light salting. Place the cooling rack on a cookie sheet and dry in a 190 degree oven for up to 10 hours. Put the tomatoes in plastic bags, and store them in the freezer. You can also pack dried tomatoes in a jar with fresh herbs and olive oil. Place this in the refrigerator and be sure to use it within 2 weeks.

If you want to make chicken stock, you might as well make a lot of it. Make enough so that you can freeze it and use it in your recipes. Good homemade chicken stock is a wonderful base in soups, stews, casseroles and more. Simply cool the stock, and then freeze it into Ziploc, heavyweight freezer bags.

Keep your spices and herbs stored in a dark, cool place so that their freshness and flavor is maximized. Heat will cause flavor loss in your herbs and spices; therefore, they should be kept away from heat sources such as stoves.

Use extra virgin olive oil when necessary instead of oils that are high in saturated fat. There is a lot of unnecessary fat in butter and oil. As an alternative, try using non-stick cooking spray as it works the same while containing less unhealthy ingredients and fats.

Many of the vegetables and herbs give off a strong odor which tends to leave your cutting board smelly no matter how hard you try to scrub it off. Label the ending of your chopping board by marking it with ink. This will help you to identify the different sides of the board.

Skewers should always be soaked in cold water for a minimum of 30 minutes before they are used in cooking. This can cut down on the chances of the wood becoming burnt and singed during the cooking process. Use two parallel skewers as opposed to a single skewer to keep food intact.

You should discard your spices biannually and buy new ones. When a spice is kept for a while, it won’t have the same flavor. If you purchase a new spice but doubt you can use it before the flavor dries up, share some of it with a fellow cook.

When you are preparing food that needs to be seasoned, add the seasoning every few minutes. This will help to give your food the maximum amount of flavor possible.

After purchasing fruits that are not quite ripe, store them in a plastic bag that is perforated with holes. Ethylene gas is produced when fruits 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.

If you’re overwhelmed with dinner prep for the family, try to do some food prep the night prior. Cut up veggies and make the sauce the night before so you can save time. With this done, you will have a major portion of the meal ready for the next step, which means less stress for you.

Spices and herbs need to be stored somewhere that is dark, cool and dry. Heat and moisture can have an adverse effect on the taste of your spices. This will keep them exposed to heat and other unfavorable conditions that zap all of their flavor.

A pantry or other cool, dark space will preserve the flavor of herbs and spices the longest. Herbs and spices stored above the range or in direct sunlight will degrade their flavors.

Take the time to educate yourself about ingredients that you are not familiar with. You may be pleasantly surprised about the versatility of new food once you do a bit of research on it. Teaching yourself prior to beginning any kitchen task will get you more fun out of your experience.

Ethylene Gas

Although you are considering something fancy to impress others, stay away from new recipes when cooking for important people. A fancy gourmet meal that you make yourself is one way to try and make a good impression on your boss, in-laws or a new love. It is much better to show off a meal that you have had success with before.

It is a good idea to store unripened fruits in perforated plastic bags. As a fruit ripens, it produces ethylene gas. When they are placed in a perforated bag, the air can circulate, which ensures the ethylene gas is absorbed, so the fruit retains its great taste.

Try setting the oven timer, along with your watch’s timer. Your watch timer or wearing a stopwatch on a cord around your neck can help you monitor the cooking time and not miss the beep of the oven timer regardless of where you might be in your home.

Good organizational skills can help you avoid cooking mishaps. Just like with anything you do, the more organized you are, the more productive you will be. Being disorganized can make it quite easy to make it impossible to find things when you need them, which makes you miss out on the goodies that you could be indulging in.

If you have a dish you are looking to reheat that is filled with oil, consider baking it instead of microwaving it to keep away a ton of grease. By placing your food in a microwave you’ll find that the oil will separate from everything else, drying your food out. However, baking reheats the entire dish, retaining the flavors and keeping the ingredients together.

For dishes such as macaroni and cheese, follow the instructions carefully. Doing so ensures that the macaroni is cooked perfectly, and is the right consistency once the cheese is added. Serve your dish with a nice serving spoon. Use one of your favorite spices to add extra flavor to your boxed macaroni and cheese.

Be considerate to those who will be consuming your meals by reserving many spices for later addition. Spices like pepper, salt, cayenne, and garlic powder are all great seasonings. People have varying preferences in regards to food spices. Instead of putting them on your food let the people eating choose. This way you are sure that every person enjoys their dish.

Allow your food to sit for a moment before serving it. A lot of people do not wait long enough before serving food. It’s extremely tempting to eat a meal just as soon as it comes off the grill or stove. If you do this, you’ll miss out on the meat’s full flavor. Let your food rest for a while, and you will enjoy tastier meals.

To remove the odors of fish, garlic, onions or other strong ingredients from your hands, rub them on stainless steel for a minute before washing them. You can use any stainless steel item: spoon, sink, or specially made “soap bar.” Rubbing them on stainless steel will remove the odor and keep your hands smelling fresh.

The awesome power of good food should not be underestimated. Take the knowledge that you have acquired here to create amazing meals that will have the people closest to you saying wow!

To take the stress out of cooking time, pull out all of your ingredients beforehand. This will prevent you from being midway through preparing a meal and discovering that you’re missing a critical component of the recipe. It doesn’t take longer to prepare things first instead of getting things as you need them; however, it does save time when you are cooking, and makes the entire process go much more smoothly.

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