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Beginner Cooking Techniques Tips

Read these 15 Beginner Cooking Techniques Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cooking tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Veggie Wash Uses

Did you know you can take your Veggie Wash and use it to clean your countertops? In addition to countertops, Veggie Wash is great for cleaning cutting boards after you have chopped your garlic and onions. It contains all natural ingredients and is a great alternative for those of you who don't want to use bleach or products with harsh chemicals.

   

Use Salad Dressing to Make Chicken Fingers

Salad dressing adds a ton of flavor to your homemade chicken fingers. Just cut your boneless chicken in to strips. Pour your choice of salad dressing in one bowl, and then some bread crumbs in another. Dip the chicken strips in to the salad dressing and then in the bread crumbs. Fry in oil.

Italian and Caesar salad dressings taste the best. They both also have a fat free version if you are looking to cook a little more healthy.

   
How Can I Avoid Being Splattered By The Oil In A Saucepan?

Tilt Saucepan To Avoid Splattering Injuries

A common injury incurred by beginner chefs is burning themselves while sauteing food in a saucepan. The oil, butter or grease can easily splatter from the saucepan to the chef and cause serious burns. To avoid this potential injury, tilt the pan in the opposite direction whenever you add food to the pan before laying it flat again. This short, easy method can prevent any splatters and burns.

   
Whenever I grind nuts for a recipe, I wind up with nut butter! What am I doing wrong?

A Nutty Suggestion

When a recipe calls for ground nuts, be careful not to overprocess them or the nuts’ oils will be released, and you’ll wind up with nut butter. Instead, for evenly ground (but not liquefied!) nuts, try using the following rule of thumb: Use no more than 2 cups of nuts at a time and process in 3-second intervals, checking the texture as you go, until the mixture is finely powdered. For particularly oily nuts like pecans or cashews, add a small amount of flour or bread crumbs to absorb excess oil.

   
How can I sift dry ingredients without a sifter?

Sifting Dry Ingredients

The purpose of sifting is to break up any clumps which may be in your ingredients and to allow air to circulate throughout your ingredients. If you need a way to sift dry ingredients for a recipe and you do not have a sifter on hand, you can use a fork or egg whisk. Simply place your dry ingredients into a bowl and stir them with a fork or egg whisk. Stir thoroughly until your ingredients are smooth and light. This method of sifting will fluff up flour and powdered sugar quickly.

   
What Do I Need To Know About Cooking Basics?

Tips On Cooking Techniques

Several cooking techniques are important to know. They include:

Simmering: This means you are heating a substance to a high temperature. It comes close to boiling, but does not get hot enough to create bubbles. Food has the potential to stick to the bottom when you are simmering, so stir occasionally.

Sautéing: When you sauté an item, you are cooking it in an oil or substance, preferably flavored, over medium heat. Sauteing is best at high heat, the oil should be at least at 375 degrees to avoid from penetrating inside the food.

Marinating: Marinating means to soak a food in oil, spices or seasonings and make it more flavorful and tender. Food generally marinates for extended periods at a time.

   
How Can I Tell When Fish Is Done?

Cook Fish By Measuring Inches

Fish should be a regular part of your weekly menu. One aspect of cooking fish for beginning cooks is that is difficult to tell when cooked fish is complete. The easiest method is to cook fish using measurements. Allow roughly ten minutes per inch for the thickest part of the fish and make sure it flakes before removing it from heat. This can apply to all methods of cooking fish, including frying, grilling, steaming, broiling and more.

   
Do I Need To Read A Recipe Completely Before Cooking?

Read Cookbook Recipes Through Completely

When cooking using a recipe, it is important to read the recipe in its entirety before you even begin cooking. This way, you know you have all of the tools and ingredients you needs before you even begin. Recipes should list the ingredients in order of use; however, not all recipes do so. Measurements are important and when a recipe author recommends a specific serving size, use an actual measurement tool and not utensils you would use for serving.

   
Do I Need To Wash My Hands While Cooking Meat?

Practice Food Safety When Cooking Meat

When you are cooking raw meat, be sure you clean the plate before you place cooked meat on it. Using the same plate for raw and cooked meat can cause contamination of your food. It is also a good idea to wash any tongs, spatulas and other utensils between the handling of raw and cooked meat or fish. Another good safety rule is to wash hands after handling raw meat or dairy products, such as eggs. Use an anti-bacterial soap and do not assume it is safe to wipe your hands on a dishtowel without first washing them.

   
What Is The Easiest Way To Separate Eggs?

Separate Eggs In One Bowl

Separating eggs is a task that can be tedious, even for seasoned chefs. To separate many eggs at one time, break them all carefully into one large bowl. Wash your hands and then, gently scoop the egg yolks out of the bowl and place them gently into another. This makes the process of separating eggs much faster.

   

How to BBQ Salmon

Heat up your grill and spread some olive oil over your grill rack. This will keep the salmon from sticking. Set your salmon on the grill and baste it with BBQ sauce. This can be a store bought BBQ sauce, or your own homemade recipe. Continue cooking your salmon without flipping it. Baste every two minutes with BBQ sauce. After six minutes insert a meat thermometer. If the thermometer reads 120 degrees F, the salmon is done. If not, cook a few more minutes until it does. It shouldn't take more than ten minutes total. Serve hot with a fresh basting of BBQ sauce.

   
What Are The Abbreviations For Serving Sizes?

Take Note Of Serving Size Abbreviations

Serving sizes are critical and are displayed in recipes as abbreviations. Standard abbreviations include: Tbsp: Tablespoon Tsp: Teaspoon Oz: Ounce Pd: Pound

   
What Is The Best Way To Plan Balanced Meals?

Use Food Pyramid To Plan Meals

Beginning cooks should use the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid to plan meals and recipes. Color, temperature and texture are the three guiding principles of any good meal plan. Color is the most important because a colorful plate means the meal is balanced and healthy. Vary the texture and temperature of the foods included in your meal to be pleasant for your palate.

   
How Do You Clean Oysters?

Clean Oysters Before Consumption

Cleaning oysters can be difficult for beginning cooks. There are some easy steps to follow to make the process easier. The first thing to do is hold the oyster with the flat side up using an oven mitt. Then, take an oyster knife with a hand guard and insert it into the hinge portion of the oyster located between the shells. Pry open the oyster by twisting the blade and move it along the inside of the top shell to release the muscle. Then, remove the top shell and throw it away. Severe the muscle from the bottom shell by sliding the knife inside of the oyster once again and use this shell to serve the oyster on the half-shell.

   
What is the easiest way to use a cheese grater?

How to use a cheese grater

Before using your cheese grater, spray it with nonstick cooking spray. That makes cleanup a breeze! The cheese washes right off without any scrubbing.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Alicia Bodine