I love to cook. My mamma and my mom taught me pretty much everything I know. Almost all of my favorite recipes come from my family’s cooking over the years. People seem to think that you have to have all of the fancy appliances or Cordon Bleu training in order to cook well, but you really don’t! It just takes some practice and using good ingredients! Below are my tried and true ways that you can use to kick up your cooking skills to a perfect 10 without spending loads of money!
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- Use kosher salt instead of iodized salt. Unless I’m cooking at a client’s or a friend’s house, I don’t use iodized salt if I can help it. Kosher salt gives a much milder flavor and doesn’t break down food like iodized table salt. If you want to upgrade your cooking, I highly suggest switching to kosher salt! You can get a bag pretty cheap on Amazon!
- Take care of your knives. The most dangerous thing you can have in the kitchen is a dull knife. More injuries occur with dull knives than sharpened knives. It takes more effort to chop and therefore there is a wider margin for error. If you buy a new knife this year, buy one that comes with a sharpener in the cover like this one. Other than keeping yourself safe and away from an unnecessary ER trip, it will make chopping food way more fun!
- Start with a clean kitchen. I have begun to force myself to clean my kitchen before I start a major cooking session because it really helps keep my mind clear. If I’m too focused on having to shove stuff out of the way, I get anxious and annoyed. When I’m anxious and annoyed, I want to move faster. When I move faster, my chops are subpar, I add too much seasoning, or I overcook the food because I’m still trying to clean. Just take five minutes to get your workspace clean so you have a clear mind!
- Clean out your fridge regularly. How many times have you gone to make a recipe with a perishable item, only to find out that the item is expired and then you have to bring everything to a screeching halt to go to the grocery? And then you stress-purchase a snack or a soda because you had to come get something? Raising my hand here. Take even just ten minutes every week and do a clean-out of your fridge and pantry. It will help you keep your inventory fresh and clean, and you won’t have to rush to the grocery while your food is still cooking on the stove.
- Let it brown! Okay, this one took me a while to understand. Whatever you learned when you first started to cook about not letting things brown too badly, THROW IT OUT. When you’re browning meat, just let it sit for a few minutes! Don’t stir it around. That sticky stuff on the bottom of the pan? Flavor. This will really amp up whatever you’re cooking.
- Keep your sauces. Whenever you go out to eat, if you get sauces, keep the extras! Keep them in a drawer so you can build a collection and come back when you want to kick up your scrambled eggs with Taco Bell mild sauce (thank me later). If you get coffee and ask for cream, keep the extras for recipes that call for half and half! Little things like that will keep your inventory full so you don’t have to buy these things!
- Watch videos to learn more! Look, I get that cooking does not come easy to everyone, but that doesn’t mean no one has the right to improve! Cooking may seem stressful at first, but it becomes more forgiving over time! I’m always watching videos to improve my cooking. My all time favorite cooking channels are Binging With Babish on Youtube and Struggle Meals, which is also on Hulu! Babish has a whole series called “Basics With Babish” where he teaches how to make almost anything and how to keep your kitchen running smoothly!