There are plenty of reasons you should cook your meals at home, but the process takes up a lot of time. When you get home from work, all you want to do is have a quick meal and forget about your long day. Don’t give in! Here’s a handful of basic cooking skills you should remember so you can stop ordering out all the time.
- Remember the cooking temperatures of every ingredient you use. Not a lot of people who cook from home understand certain ingredients need a little more time on the stove than others. This is an important skill to master if you want to cook a stir-fry or include vegetables with your protein. What this means is learning how long it takes to cook a certain ingredient, such as getting an onion to turn translucent in a pan. Proteins are important to master, but vegetables are just as vital. You don’t only want to know how to cook meats. Vegetables serve an important purpose in your meal, and you can make the flavor of your favorite greens stand out substantially by cooking them in a pan rather than steaming them.
- Learn how to use your spice rack. Cooking is about experimentation and spices are your chemicals! You’ll find this process as simple as adding a few rosemary leaves to the top of your meal. Crafting the right balance of spices in any meal can make certain flavors pop you never knew were there! When you’re using spices, don’t overdo it, but be willing to try something new. If you’re a little weary about trying something new, take it one spice at a time. You can also stick to the simple choices, like adding salt and pepper right before you sit down to eat. Now we’re getting to some skills everyone should learn to enhance their meals.
- Work out how to craft sauces from different ingredients. This is a skill you’ll acquire over time. The more meals you cook, the more you’re going to want something to go on top of it. And no, you don’t always want to use a sauce from a bottle. For example, you may want to construct a sauce made from soy sauce, peppers, and some honey to add to the final cooking stages of your pork and vegetables. This extends to salads too. You can construct your sauces or dressings from a variety of ingredients in your fridge. Make sure to include a simple liquid base like chicken broth, olive oil, or vinegar. You probably want to have a three or four different sauce recipes written down you can use for a variety of different meals.
- Own a rice cooker. This may not feel like a skill, per se, but it’s a great tip to keep you from ordering pizza again on a Tuesday night. With a rice cooker, you can cook a variety of different meals. When you have rice on your plate, you can pair it with almost anything. Plus, it adds a variety of flavor to your meal, such as complementing it with steamed vegetables, chicken, or a chili you made over the weekend. You can pair rice with almost any meal, and this should satisfy your hunger.
- How to make a soup. This is especially good to know how to do when it starts to get colder for you, or you’re sick. This doesn’t take too long and only requires a handful of ingredients. The big thing for you to own is chicken broth. Pour in some low-sodium chicken beef, throw in some vegetables, spices, and anything else you’re in the mood for. Let the ingredients cook together and serve whenever you’re ready. If you made too much, you can always keep this in the back of your fridge if you ever want to wake up to a warm meal. Also, you’ll want to keep a box or two of chicken broth in your pantry for every meal. You can use it to add flavor to almost any meal!
- Know how to make dips for chips and vegetables. Sure, you can purchase the large platter of vegetables or get a small dipping sauce for your chips when you host a party. But it won’t taste as good if you roll up your sleeves and make your own! If you want some mellow flavors, write down a guacamole recipe to have in the middle of your chips. Or, if you’re looking for some hotter flavors, cut up some tomatoes and peppers to craft a mean salsa. This particular talent takes a bit of practice, but who doesn’t like homemade sauces at a party? Your friends will thank you for it! Plus, you’ll save money from only buying the ingredients.