Not everyone feels at home in the kitchen. But knowledge is definitely power, or in this instance, confidence. To help all those inspiring cooks out there, Diet-to-Go has provided you some helpful hints on how to handle some of the most common kitchen blunders. And to ensure you stay confident (and in the kitchen cooking healthy meals) we will periodically provide these types of tips.
We have all done it...walked away from a simmering sauce, roasting vegetables, or boiling pasta, got distracted, and before we realized it, the meal is ruined.
DTG Tip: Get in the habit of using a counter timer (not the one on the microwave that may go off without you ever hearing it). We're talking a small, portable and attractive (so you'll want to keep it visible on your counter) timer. Test out the alarm before you buy so you can make sure it's a sound you'll hear even if you leave the kitchen. Make a point of keeping it near the stove where you'll always see it. And be sure to actually use it!
There are so many different varieties of flour it's hard to know what type is best for different scenarios and many novice bakers think it is okay to substitute one for another. But not all flours are the same: if you use a self-rising flour instead of an all-purpose flour in a quick bread, the loaf will fall in the middle and will be gooey and undercooked (no matter how long you cook it!).
DTG Tip: Be aware of what type the recipe calls for and learn how to properly measure flour. Also, baking powder and baking soda are two very different things so be familiar with each. Keep these items on different parts of your shelves and clearly labeled so you won't accidentally grab the wrong one.
Chances are one of these (or maybe both) scenarios have happened to you: you pull chicken off the grill; plate and serve it only to realize the meat is still raw. Or just as frustrating, you served meat that was dry, tasteless and way overcooked.
DTG Tip: Invest in a meat thermometer. These little gadgets are a cheap and easy way to ensure you will cook your meat thoroughly. If used properly, a meat thermometer will guarantee you won't undercook, or overcook, your food ever again.
Salt is a staple in our diet and in moderation provides a wonderful flavor to almost any dish. Unfortunately, it is extremely easy to get too much of a good thing. Many have heard the trick of using a potato to absorb the salt. Despite the Idaho Potato Commission stating this tip as a fact, there isn't much scientific evidence that it works or that it's anything more than an old wive's tale.
DTG Tip: We can't say it enough: season to taste! Some starchy vegetables and seasoning mixes will alter the flavor of a homemade soup, so throwing extra salt in blindly is never ideal. Taste, add a dash of salt, then taste again. Also, never measure over the open pot of soup, as you never know when a salt top might be faulty giving you way more salt than you bargained for!
Ever eaten half a sandwich only to realize part of the meat has turned green? Or opened a package from the freezer and have been unable to identify the identity of the item let alone how long it's been in there?
DTG Tip: Label everything. As soon as you pack up leftovers, use masking tape and be sure to write the contents of the container on the cover along with the "prepared on" date. That way you can easily look in your fridge and grab what you know is still edible, and toss what is not.
Author: Lillie Lancaster