The economy is not in the best shape right now, which may be preventing you from going out to eat as much. Chances are, however, that you still crave and enjoy a variety of foods that you have only experienced in a restaurant setting. Use the tips below, to learn how to create dishes to fulfill your cravings and budget!

For those dishes that have longer cooking times, you will want to add your spices and herbs about an hour or so before eating. If these spices are cooked too long, then the resulting flavors may be too strong. In addition, it’s best to keep it simple by not using any more than three herbs or spices in any dish.

It is fine to alter recipes. Do you like more cheese than what is called for? It’s fine to add more. Do you think onions would be good added in? Try it! Adding your own special twist to a recipe can help make a meal one of a kind!

Do not be afraid to experiment. There is no rule that says you need to follow a recipe exactly. If you do not care for an ingredient, leave it out. If you think a different ingredient would taste better, substitute it. If you think the dish is missing a little something, add it.

Ensure that your baked fish is moist and tender by cooking “en papillote”. This is a French technique that refers to fish baked in a parchment-paper packet. Place the fish and vegetables of your choice in the center of a large piece of parchment-paper. Bring the edges of the paper together, crease them tightly to form a seal, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 450 degrees. The fish and vegetables steam in the packet, keeping them moist and tender, and creating a tasty, healthy dish. (Clean-up is just as easy – simply throw away the paper after eating!)

Keep a potato masher in your kitchen at all times. This useful device can be used to mash more than just your typical potatoes. Try mashing carrots, cauliflower, and other root vegetables. You can mix any of these in to your usual mashed potatoes to make them more vibrant, nutritious, and interesting.

Do you experience a guilty twinge when you pitch out rotten fruit? Is it possible to simply cut out the moldy, rotten part of the fruit? Sadly half rotten fruit is something you can never really save. The fruit needs to be thrown as away as some of the mold may not be visible and can cause you to become ill.

Basic seasoning of the food you prepare goes a long way in proving your skills in the kitchen. Don’t be afraid to taste your food as you work and adjust seasonings accordingly. Typically, some of the most expensive cuts of meat, as well as many many varieties of seafood, are rather dull without some help. Your guests will appreciate a well-seasoned dish that they don’t need to shake salt on until their arms goes numb or twist the pepper mill over for an hour to make palatable.

One of the greatest things that you can do is to cook with family members or friends. When you cook with someone else, you will be able to pick up on tricks that they implement and will be able to better yourself as a cook. Talk to them to see how their thought process works, to elevate your expertise.

Cook pasta for one minute less than instructed on the box and then place the pasta in a sauce pan. By making pasta this way, the sauce will absorb into the pasta and the overall quality of your meal will be better. You can even add some spices into the saucepan.

One important tip to remember when cooking dishes focuses on the size of the dish being prepared. The smaller the dish is that you are cooking, the higher the baking temperature and less time needed to cook the dish. Smaller dishes generally take only a few minutes at high temperatures to fully cook.

Try to cook when you have a clear head so that you can maximize the quality of your food. If you are currently having emotional problems, do not put yourself in a dangerous situation where you can get hurt. Always have a clear conscience when you are planning to cook a meal.

After you have cut up meats on your counter, be sure to thoroughly wipe the counters and chopping boards down with a disinfectant. You need to disinfect knives also. Keep separate chopping boards for uncooked and cooked foods. Many people get salmonella poisoning each year because they ingested food that was prepared on an unclean counter or chopping board. This is especially important if you prepare food for children or the elderly.

Every good cook recognizes the importance of keeping a well stocked pantry. You should have quantities of flour, salt, oil, sugar, and spices on hand at all times. Good cooking depends on it. There is nothing more frustrating than to get down to that final step and find you are missing a necessary spice.

Avoid limiting yourself to white potatoes in your cooking. They are very high in starch and have the least amount of nutritional content of any of the potatoes. Try varieties that come in blue, red, yellow, and orange. You can substitute almost any root vegetable as your usual white potato.

When you are adding food to a slow cooker make sure that you add tender vegetables like mushrooms, peas, fish, and squash during the final half hour. This is important because adding them too early will cause them to disappear in to the dish. You will be able to taste them, but you might not be able to see them.

Do not let the economy make you despair! The tips above, will help you become a better cook so you can prepare all sorts of dishes, meals and desserts! You do not have to go to culinary school, in order to cook delicious, economical meals for you and your family.

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