Cooking is a handy skill to have in your repertoire. Few things are more enjoyable than sitting down to a delicious meal, and preparing the meal yourself elevates the enjoyment. But, not every person can cook as well as they might like to. The following article will give you some helpful hints to improve your cooking ability.

There is a secret to thicken up your weak sauce. Mix 1 tablespoon of corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl. Stir the mixture into the thin sauce and it will get thicker. The mixture should be added slowly and constantly stirred so that it doesn’t get too thick.

Leave raw potatoes in cold water for at least 30 minutes before frying them to make crispier French fries. By leaving the potatoes to soak up cold water, the fibers are reinforced. This makes it so when you fry them, they’ll withstand the heat better and won’t break down completely.

For healthier, lower-calorie mashed potatoes, add some cooked cauliflower to your tubers. Cauliflower tends to have a bland taste, so this will blend nicely with the potatoes, and will pick up other ingredients, as well. It also mimics the texture and color of the potatoes almost perfectly letting you up your vegetable intake, and drop the calories, all the while giving the same delicious potato experience we all know and love.

Do you enjoy cooking with the flavors of fresh basil? Take a few twigs of the basil and place it in a small container or glass. Put enough water into the glass to cover the stems but not the leaves. Keep it on the kitchen counter and it should stay fresh. If you are sure to add fresh water, your basil will even form roots and become a plant. By cutting or trimming the basil on occasion, it will grow even further, so you can have fresh basil for quite a while.

When you need to store dry ingredients such as flour, or sugar in your kitchen, use airtight containers. Using airtight containers helps food stay fresh for longer periods of time because it keeps them from air and other contaminants. They can be purchased just about anywhere and are a worthwhile investment.

Add chicken broth to vegetables when you cook them. Not only will chicken broth help to keep vegetables from getting stuck to the pan, but they will add some nice flavors to the dish. Chicken broth costs very little, and can be bought at most any grocery store.

You can make many preparations a day in advance to keep serving a family dinner from getting overwhelming. Before going to bed, cut up the onions and veggies or make your marinating sauce. Preparing your meal the next night will be a snap, and much more relaxing.

New spices should be purchased every six months. If the spices are too old, they are going to lose a good bit of their flavor. If you purchase spices that you know are not used often in your home, give some to a family member or friend.

Good organizational skills can help you avoid cooking mishaps. When your station is organized, you will be more productive. Unorganized cooking stations may mean you lose money and valuable food that is better suited to eating.

Prepare your meal ahead of time so you can leave it sitting for a few minutes. It is a new idea to many, but allowing your food to rest can be quite beneficial. There is plenty of temptation to just whisk the dish off of the grill and eat it immediately. If you do this, you’ll miss out on the meat’s full flavor. Always let the meal cool and sit for a little while.

If you are planning a complex meal, reduce your stress by doing the prep the night before. You can double-check the availability of everything required, get your ingredients together, chop herbs and vegetables, and measure out quantities in advance. When cooking time arrives, you’ll need only to be concerned with assembling and cooking the meal.

Spice up your cooking with a little creativity. Cooking is about coming up with different ways of using a recipe not just following it. Sometimes adding or taking away a little extra of this or that can alter the taste so much, that it exceeds the original recipe itself. That is the definition of a true cook!

Reserve some pasta water for use in your pasta sauce. Save about one quarter cup of this water. Add some of it in as you mix the pasta with the sauce. The water from the pasta contains starch, which can thicken your sauce.

Buy good-quality knives and other cutting tools for your kitchen. Besides letting you work faster, a sharp knife is actually less likely to cause injury. You are less likely to harm yourself with a sharp knife than a dull one.

Store all spices and herbs in dry, dark and cool conditions to get the maximum amount of flavor from them. Exposure to humidity, heat and light can cause your spices to lose their flavor fast. This puts the spices in a position to quickly degrade.

As you can see, cooking can be easy. With the right techniques, creating delicious dishes for family and friends can suddenly become a breeze! Now that you have been introduced to these great tips and tricks, you just need to make the time to go and give them a try!

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