Are you wondering how to be a better cook? These 9 habits and tips are REALLY helpful and will seriously aid you in cooking better meals as soon as you implement them into your life! If you follow these 9 cooking tips and techniques, you will find yourself cooking better meals with less stress and more enjoyment!
Cut the food uniformley!
Whether you are chopping, juilienning, mincing, or slicing, do it the same for every single piece! Remember, if it looks the same, it cooks the same! Nothing worse than 1 potato that is pure mush and another that you can’t get your fork through!
Read The Recipe Through
Omg, I can’t tell you the amount of times that I skimmed a recipe and bought the ingredients, only to then see that in ‘step 5’ I needed an air fryer or smoker or other supply that I don’t have. It is so frustrating! Forcing yourself to read through the full recipe prior to making it allows you to ‘mise en place’ (fancy french talk for prepping the ingredients prior to cooking) and fully understand what is expected of you. This helps to prevent that frustrated ‘But I don’t know how to do that!’ or ‘I don’t have that supply!’ feeling that makes home cooking less enjoyable. There is nothing worse than having 30 minutes to prep dinner and realizing that the chicken needed to marinade for an hour!
And that brings me onto my next tip…
Marinade Your Chicken Breasts
I know…it’s something that I forget to do ALL the time. But when I manage to remember to make a marinade, my chicken meals are 10X better. Even if it’s last minute, I recommend letting the chicken sit in a marinade for 10 minutes prior to cooking. Even though it is best to marinade for a few hours and even overnight, I find that those 10 minutes can really make a huge difference!
Add the garlic last
When a recipe calls for garlic, make sure you add it to the pan at the end, or right before the liquid goes into the pan. Garlic is an aromatic and can burn very quickly, so you want to saute it just long enough to smell its beautiful fragrance. At that point, it is time to take the food off of the heat, or add your liquid element to the dish.
Don’t stir your White rice!
I actually can’t stress this enough. If you stir your white rice, it will stick to the sides of the pan and burn. And if it doesn’t do this, you are lucky. White rice should be sold with that little sign they give you at hotels: ‘DO NOT DISTURB’. Let it do it’s thing. And when the liquid is completely absorbed and there are no more bubbles, the rice is done and can be fluffed. But at NO POINT prior to this should you touch the rice.
Remember that Water follows salt
Its basic chemistry, water follows salt. This is why after eating take out Chinese food our bodies feel like they swell up. The h2o in our bodies (up to 60% of the human body is made of water) is retained by the excess sodium in the food, causing us to bloat. Ever wonder why your mushrooms or zucchini get soggy when you season them before they are ready? They retain a lot of water, so adding salt to them right away draws that water out of them and causes them to get soggy.
How To Prevent soggy vegetables from happening:
Salt and pepper them AFTER they have cooked off their excess liquid and have browned.
This is a great place to start, if you want to practice proper seasoning!
Deglaze the pan
When you are sauteing something and it sticks to the bottom of the pan, do not fret! Those little brown bits that are stuck to the pan are FULL of mouth watering flavor. To harness it, deglaze the pan by pouring liquid into the hot pan and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. As for the liquid, get creative! You can use wine, broth, water, orange juice. Anything liquid that will help enhance the flavors of the dish!
Sharpen your knives regularly
Knives are arguably the most important tool in the home cooks kitchen. Have you ever tried to cut a tomato with a dull knife? It’s the worst. Keeping your knives sharp will not only make prep work a breeze, but it actually decreases your chances of cutting yourself because they require less force to go through food. Now, it is recommended to only hand wash knives, because putting them in the dishwasher is too harsh for the blades to handle. But heck, I’ve DEFINITELY thrown my good knives in the dishwasher when swamped with dishes in the kitchen.
So if you are the same, make sure you are sharpening your knives regularly to prevent dulling and to make prep work a piece of cake!
Make a grocery list
Now how does writing a grocery list help you to become a better home cook? Simple. Holding yourself accountable for determining exactly what ingredients you need not only decreases waste (you won’t buy that 19th can of corn if it’s not on the list), but it also causes you to PLAN what you will be eating for the next few days/week. Having a plan helps you to know exactly what you will be making every day, leaving you accountable to use those ingredients. Having fresh ingredients readily available means less pizza and fast food and more PRACTICE in the kitchen.
And we all know: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!
If you are in need of a cute blank grocery list for your refrigerator, I have a FREE Printable grocery list based off of ‘My Plate’ HERE!