Over the years, I’ve realized that there are some very basic cooking tips that should be followed when stepping into the kitchen to prepare a dish. As a reminder, food doesn’t have to be complicated to taste good. All you need are a few simple ingredients and a few simple steps to create a memorable meal that you will love preparing for family and friends.
The same goes for cooking. Cooking does not need to be complicated. By following directions (or making them up as you go), using the correct ingredients (or making them up as you go), and implementing a few simple steps, you’ll prepare recipes that will be enjoyable (both in preparation and in devouring).
Don’t get frustrated by cooking. Yes, it can be scary and intimidating. But, by taking a deep breath and following the tips below, you’ll be able to improve your cooking skills and start to enjoy cooking (if you don’t enjoy it already).
Reminder: Food and cooking doesn’t have to be complicated.
10 Cooking Tips to Try Right Now
1.) Use a Rotisserie Chicken
Do you want to know one of my all-time favorite tricks when it comes to cooking? Alright…here it goes. I’m in love with grocery store rotisserie chickens. There. I said it. These ready-to-eat chickens are inexpensive and filled with flavor. Plus, because they’re so versatile, it’s hard for me to make a trip to the grocery store without buying a rotisserie chicken.
They’re perfect to serve as-is for a quick weeknight meal. Or, shred the chicken and add it to soups, stews and casseroles. I’m telling you…rotisserie chickens are a secret weapon in my kitchen and they should be in your kitchen too. The meat from these chickens can be combined with just a few simple ingredients to provide your family with healthy, protein-packed meals.
2.) Season While Cooking
Walk into any seasoning aisle in the grocery or specialty foods store and you’re bound to find many different types of salt. Kosher, sea and table salts are a few types that are most often found in kitchens. When it comes to cooking, one of the most important items to remember is to season the food, most often with salt and pepper, during each step of the process in order to end up with a perfectly seasoned dish.
3.) Use Sugar When Cooking Corn
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil; do not add salt to the water once it has reached a boil. A trick that I learned from my aunt that has been passed down our family: Throw a few tablespoons of sugar into the water and bring the water to a boil. The sugar will bring out the sweetness of the corn.
4.) Plan When Cooking for A Crowd
Cooking for a crowd can be slightly intimidating at first but it doesn’t have to be. Just take a few deep breaths and follow these tips to help make the day/party a huge success. Remember, it’s a party … you should be allowed to have some fun too! Be realistic on how much of the cooking you can do by yourself. As my husband can attest, I’m a control freak who ends up making every dish for my parties. Word of advice: don’t be like me if you’re not ready for hours of prep and cooking. Enlist the help of your guests, delegate chores, and ask your guests to bring a dish. Like I said before, it’s a party and you need to kick back, relax, and enjoy a few cocktails too!
5.) Plan Your Weekly Menu
Day in and day out, dinner can become quite stressful as you either race to the store to pick up ingredients, peruse your pantry to try and throw something together, or call the local pizza place and opt for delivery. It can be so hard coming up with new, exciting ideas for dinner that are simple to prepare and quick to make it to the table. Here are 15 tips to help you when planning your weekly menu. Here are 1o ways to help you get dinner to the table quickly.
6.) Stock Your Pantry
I strongly believe in having a stocked pantry. Yesterday, my husband asked me, “Can you throw lunch together quickly?” My answer was, “Yes.” Recently, I’ve started to realize the importance and freedom of having a stocked pantry. When we don’t have time to go to the store or schedules become a bit funky and we find that we can’t eat dinner together, it’s always nice to turn to the pantry and refrigerator to whip up a tasty dinner. Here are 10 of my favorite kitchen staples.
7.) Cook With Wine
You might think that cooking with an expensive wine will bring out the best characteristics of the food. While this may be true, it’s also not necessary. However, cooking with a super cheap bottle of wine might not be the best choice. The rule of thumb is to never cook with a wine that you won’t drink.
If you don’t like the taste of the wine straight out of the bottle, then you will definitely not like the dish if you decide to cook with that wine. Always cook with a wine that you like to drink…and then you’ll have something to sip while preparing your dish! Here are more tips on cooking with wine.
8.) Place a Damp Towel Under a Cutting Board
Cutting fruits and vegetables on a slippery surface can be dangerous. Wet a kitchen towel or paper towel and place it under the cutting board to keep the cutting board from slipping on the counter. This is my favorite cutting board tip.
9.) Plan Ahead
Plan ahead in terms of what dishes need to be prepared at what times (e.g., main, side, dessert, etc.), especially if you are preparing a big meal. Also, it’s important to read the entire recipe before you start cooking (you need to make sure you know the times and the ingredients).
10.) Equip Your Kitchen
You don’t need tons of funky tools to help you cook. With just the right amount of pieces, you will be well on your way to a fully equipped kitchen that will allow you to prepare amazing meals. I recently shared some of my favorite must-have kitchen tools. Here are some of my favorite kitchen tools under $30.
What’s your favorite cooking tip?