Whether you are teaching your children to cook or just looking for ways to maximize your own time in the kitchen, use these tips to help with meal preparation. Creating delicious and nutritious meals for yourself and your family can be easy and fun for everyone who is included in the cooking process.
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!)
Many people like to cook with apples towards the end of the year, but if they aren’t stored properly they can spoil. Warm, dry air can cause apples to rot, so keep your excess stock for cooking and eating in plastic bags, and place them where they will stay cool and moist, such as the basement or refrigerator. If one of the apples in a bag begins spoiling, the rest will soon follow.
If you are looking to reduce the sodium content of the meals you cook, take a careful look at your spice shelf. Many prepared spices are surprisingly high in sodium, whether or not they have a salty taste. And of course, avoid adding regular salt. Look to natural herbs and simpler spices to add flavor without sodium.
As your cooking prowess grows, you will learn to appreciate the versatility of stocks and broths. Rather than buying these useful ingredients at the store or wasting your time cooking them in small batches, prepare stocks in large quantities. You can store surplus stock in plastic bags in your freezer, ready for quick use in future recipes.
To discover when oil is really hot enough and ready for the food, look to its’ surface. If it is no longer completely smooth and appears to be shimmering it is hot enough. When oil is allowed to over-heat it actually starts breaking down and releasing unpleasant compounds and will begin to smoke, so know when to say when!
You should use nonstick cooking spray when cooking a meal or snack. The nonstick cooking spray keeps food from sticking to a pan without adding unneeded fats and calories. There are some sprays that are flavored, so that you can get the same flavor as if you had used butter.
Leverage some or all of the tips in this article to help you prepare great meals for your family. Whether you are cooking a quick meal after a long day or a large meal for guests, use the tips provided in this article to best leverage your time and ingredients, in the kitchen.