Sometimes, your kitchen seems dull and uninspiring. You can change that feeling by turning cooking into a hobby. Your kitchen will suddenly represent a world of possibilities and a chance to prepare meals that will bring your family together. Here are some suggestions to consider.

Cooking a large meal for friends or family requires a great deal of preparation ahead of time. Gather all the ingredients beforehand. Get out everything that you’ll need including the ingredients and utensils a day ahead of time. Doing so allows you to focus on the cooking itself.

Spices should be stored in a cool and dark place. By storing them in excessive light and heat, their shelf life will decrease. Storing your spices in a cool location far from direct sunlight will help them last longer and taste better. You can prepare tastier meals if you use fresher spices.

To prevent wasting costly meat, test out your spice mixture on one small piece prior to adding it to the rest of the meat. A lot of foods require you to season them carefully; for instance meatloaf, hamburgers or meatballs. Cook only a portion of the food prior to seasoning the entire dish. Instead of this, you should make a small patty, and cook that first. Doing this allows you to test the seasonings and make appropriate adjustments.

The process of boiling vegetables will remove a portion of their nutrients. You can keep all those healthy nutrients by using a quick method of cooking like steaming or by eating the vegetables raw.

For crispier French fries, let raw potatoes stand for 30 minutes in a cold pot of water. Soaking the sliced potatoes in cold water strengthens the potato fibers so they will not break down so much when you fry them in the hot oil.

Vegetables that are cooked more quickly will be of higher quality. Slow cooking, and overcooking, vegetables will destroy their nutritional content and flavor. These cooking techniques tend to preserve the health benefits of vegetables in general. You should only cook them just as long as it takes for them to be done.

The smell of garlic can transfer to your hands easily. Try rubbing your hands against stainless steel to get the odor of garlic and other foods off your hands. This will remove the scent from your hands and stop it from transferring.

A useful tip when making chicken stock is to think big! Fill a large pot of stock and freeze it for later. That tasty chicken stock is very versatile and can be perfect for your next stew, casserole or soup. Allow the stock to cool before freezing it in durable, Ziploc bags.

Decreasing the amount of oils that you are using when cooking is essential if you are interested in losing weight and eating a healthy diet. These oils are often loaded with unhealthy fats. A great alternative to oils is a nonstick cooking spray. Not only does it provide the same results as cooking with oils, it also contains less unhealthy ingredients.

If your recipe calls for a liquid, try using something other than water or milk. This will add a spark to that tired old dish. Use chicken broth, beef, or juice in places where you would normally use water. Use yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream in place of milk. Using a variety of liquids can add a bit of zest to a favorite recipe and even make it more nutritious.

Make your own dried tomatoes. Try slicing a Roma in half lengthwise, or cut larger tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Using a cooling rack, lay the sliced tomatoes with the side that is cut facing upward, and then sprinkle them lightly with salt. Place the rack on top of a cookie sheet, and bake the tomatoes in an oven set at 190 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 10 hours. They can then be stored in plastic freezer bags in your freezer. Another option is to place the tomatoes in a jar and cover them with fresh herbs and olive oil. Place this in the refrigerator and be sure to use it within 2 weeks.

Though a dish such as macaroni and cheese seems simple to prepare, it is important to follow the guidelines on the box or recipe. Following the directions will make for a delicious, firm pasta and perfectly melted cheese. Serve your dish with a nice serving spoon. Give the macaroni some spice with pepper.

When you are cooking, don’t be afraid to be creative. Use recipes as guidelines rather than step-by-step instructions. Add things to flavor and shake up the recipe to make it your own. The ability to think creatively shows the heart of a real cook.

The suggestions you were given in this article can help you come up with your own creative ideas. Create artful dishes that your whole family can enjoy at the dinner table. If you enjoy cooking, it can be a life-enriching hobby. Good luck in your future culinary efforts.

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