Few things are more enjoyable than sitting down to a well-cooked meal at home. Few things are more appreciated. Here are some tips to help you raise your game a level in cooking. You will find tips here on technique, ingredients, cookware, ethnic dishes, time-saving methods and much more. Bon apetit!

Keep all dried spices in a dark space that stays room temperature. If they get exposed to any light, humidity or heat, their flavor will begin to weaken. Usually, a freshly ground spice or herb will keep its flavor for around a year. Whole spices, on the other hand, can retain their freshness for 36-60 months. Keep spices fresh for the longest time possible by storing them correctly.

Learn to use your hands when cooking (after washing them thoroughly first of course!). Hands are the most sensitive yet versatile cooking utensil you will own. They can be used for mixing, measuring and testing whether a product is cooked enough. A cake, for example, will show that it is done by springing back when touched lightly with a finger on its top.

Make sure that all of your spices are stored away from heat and light. Shelf life can be significantly decreased for those spices which have been exposed to too much light, dampness and heat. Keeping your spices in a cooler space with little light will enhance their flavor and shelf life. Keeping your spices fresh can improve the taste of every recipe you prepare.

Try to plan for a week’s worth of meals. If you can get in the habit of planning a weekly menu, it will save time on grocery shopping, and will reduce the stress of having to come up with a meal idea at the last minute. Also, keep a magnet-backed notepad on the refrigerator, and jot down any items that you are running low on. This way, your kitchen will always be stocked with the ingredients that you use regularly

 

Substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise in creamy salad dressings. If you are on a diet or just trying to eat healthy, you can still make creamy salad dressings with healthy ingredients. Just substitute the mayonnaise in them with a low-fat Greek-style yogurt. This will make the dressing much healthier.

To improve your level of convenience in the kitchen, one of the things that you can do is to freeze the excess sauces that you create, in ice cube trays. This will allow you to reheat them when you need sauce again and also to save money on the excess sauce that you kept.

Flouring the baking pan is called for by lots of recipes. It is necessary for the baking, but leaves an unattractive white coating on the side of the cake. Change the recipe a little and use dry cake mix instead of flour. The unattractive white residue from the side of the cake will disappear.

If you have ever questioned the freshness of the eggs you bought and you don’t know whether the eggs in your fridge are still useable or not, you can break them individually into a cup to see if they are good or not. If you need to test several eggs, put them in a pan of cool, salted water. Use the ones floating on top and throw away the ones that sink to the bottom of the pan.

When cooking a meal for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, make separate sauces can be the best way to make sure everyone has enough to eat and knows what they can eat. Make rice or pasta, then let guests choose from a meatless sauce and one with meat. A dish with multiple components saves you from having to make two separate meals, and it makes both meat-eaters and vegetarians happy.

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