Although cooking comes naturally to me, there are many people that simply struggle when it comes to kitchen skills. Being able to cook for yourself and for others is not only healthier, but significantly cheaper as well. Cooking a dinner for your friends, family, or someone special is a great way to bring people together! Unfortunately this doesn’t make culinary skills any easier, so without further ado:
Here are some beginners level cooking and baking tips anyone can use while in the kitchen:
• Let pans and ovens preheat all the way before using them. This allows for even cooking.
• Invest in a few good knives and take care of them keeping them sharp. You are going to use them so much it is totally worth spending a little extra. I thought I was being smart this year and bought 5 knives from Dollar Tree and to nobody’s surprise they are total shit.
• Let meat rest for about 5-10 minutes after coming off of the heat source. This keeps all of the flavorful juices inside when you finally cut into it instead of pouring out leaving you with dry meat.
• No need to keep messing with food as it cooks, especially meat. Constantly stirring isn’t going to do anything but break down your dish. Stir a few times just to keep it from burning.
• When mixing a batter with flour in it, add the flour last and only mix until it is fully incorporated. Over mixing flour will give whatever you are baking an unpleasant tough texture.
• When measuring ingredients, never do so over your main batch. You don’t want to spill extra in there.
• Always spray/ cover your pans with aluminum foil that you are cooking or baking with. This allows your food to come out cleanly and reduces the amount of cleaning you have later on.
• Always add wet ingredients into the dry.
• Use fresh ingredients whenever possible! Fresh will always taste better.
• Never store your fresh ingredients wet. They will rot in a matter of days.
• Taste as you go along in your cooking adventure. Making tomato sauce for example: Add some spices, stir, and taste. Not enough? Add a little more. Repeat.
• My mom’s motto in the kitchen has always been “You can add, but you can’t take away.” Add a little to start and go from there. Adding a ton of spice or salt all at once is risky business.
• Letting sauces, dips, salad dressings etc. sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving allows for the flavors to really come together. Sitting over night is even better
• Glass cutting boards look cool but are garbage.
• Spices are a cheap easy way to take a dish to the next level. Getting some basic spices like garlic, onion, chili, paprika, basil, celery root, cinnamon, and others can be a cheap way to bring your food to the next level.
• If you are not sure what spices to use with what meat, salt and pepper work just fine 99% of the time.
• Do not add a ton of salt to your dish. Place a salt shaker on the table and let people add what they want to their own individual plate.
• There is literally nothing you can’t Google. Need a recipe to go off of or a technique you are unfamiliar with? A quick Google search is all you need.
My final tip is going that there really is no wrong way to cook! So long as whatever you come out with at the end tastes good to you, you’ve been successful! Cooking is a very personalized experience and even though it can seem overwhelming at first, all it takes is a few good recipes and techniques to guide you through the kitchen. Just get in there and give it a try!
“Even the greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.” – Unknown
Let me know if you have any basic tips that I missed in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!