Everything But The Chef’s Hat: Cooking Tips

For most people, cooking is nothing more than a daily chore they have to take care of. You really can learn to enjoy it, though. It can also be a way to a healthier lifestyle. A good cook will always continue to learn new and innovative methods, and the following information will help you learn more about cooking as well.


Try to plan for a week's worth of meals. If you can get in the habit of planning a weekly menu, it will save time on grocery shopping, and will reduce the stress of having to come up with a meal idea at the last minute. Also, keep a magnet-backed notepad on the refrigerator, and jot down any items that you are running low on. This way, your kitchen will always be stocked with the ingredients that you use regularly.

Take care when storing chocolate for use in cooking. As a rule, only buy as much chocolate as you can use within a few months. Chocolate contains fat, and under the wrong conditions it can turn rancid. Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Keep the chocolate wrapped in foil or plastic and store it away from anything with a strong smell, as it absorbs odors easily.A kitchen cupboard away from any heat sources is ideal. Additionally, if you are cabinets too close to heat sources, you may need to invest in cabinet refacing.

Are you using fresh basil to cook with? Take a bunch of it and place in a glass. Fill the container with enough water to cover the stems. The basil can remain fresh for several days if it is placed in indirect sunlight. With some care, you may even be able to encourage the basil to grow roots. By picking leaves you will encourage the basil to put out new growth. This will ensure that you have fresh basil on an ongoing basis!

A granite surface is great for thawing frozen foods, usually taking less than half of the time necessary for typical counter top thawing because granite absorbs the cold (and heat) of items placed on top of it so granite literally "sucks out" the cold from your frozen foods. Granite is also an amazing surface for pastry preparation when dusted with a little flour. If you can't afford to redo your kitchen in granite, check out a granite dealer for scrap pieces or have a smaller piece cut and polished for a fraction of the cost of remodeling your kitchen.

As you have seen, the key to becoming better at cooking is continuing to learn all you can. Learning about different cooking methods and types of foods is half the fun of cooking. It is about sharing knowledge that you have gathered from others. Sharing everything from your unique recipes to your finished food will give you a sense of well-being.

Uncategorized admin 19 Apr 2014 Comments Off

Baked Dishes That Will Please Everyone

If you're having family and friends over or need to prepare a dish for the holidays or a special occasion that will feed a group, baked dishes are usually the way to go. Here are a few entrees that are sure to have all your loved ones coming back for seconds.

Lasagna makes for a delicious dinner, and there are several variations. This baked pasta dish is delicious the traditional way, with seasoned ground beef or veal and robust tomato sauce. Or, you can make lasagna with chicken and a white sauce with poblano peppers for guests who don't eat red meat. A vegetarian lasagna is also delicious when filled with ingredients like zucchini, spinach, tomatoes and onions, and can be just as flavorful as a lasagna with meat. No-boil noodles are available at your local grocery store to save on prep time.

If your family likes Mexican food, baked tortilla pie makes a great dish. Use the tortillas like lasagna noodles and create layers of spicy cheese, refried black or pinto beans, seasoned ground chicken, turkey or tofu, green or red enchilada sauce, green onions, jalapenos, tomatillos and black olives. Top the tortilla pie with cheese and bake for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle a little cilantro and lime juice on top before serving, and bring it to the table with condiments like guacamole, sour cream and mango or tomatillo salsa.

These are just a couple of the delicious and time-efficient baked dishes you can prepare to make dinner a success. Enjoy!

Uncategorized admin 26 Jul 2013 Comments Off

Different Altitudes And The Difference Height Makes In Baking

Baking can be a delicate process even at the best of times. One misstep, and the outcome is totally different from what you expected. So if baking at normal heights can be a challenge, what do you do when you're baking well above sea level?

We've all seen the boxed cake mixes with high altitude instructions. But why? Different altitudes can affect the outcome of recipes because of the affect that altitude has on leavening agents used in baking. Things such as yeast, baking powder, and baking soda will have more or less effectiveness depending on the altitude at which they're used. For example, a person baking a cake at 5,000 feet above sea level will need to use less baking powder or yeast than someone baking a cake just a sea level, because the rising agents will have more strength where there is less atmospheric pressure.

If you're baking at a high altitude, you'll need more liquid in the batter to account for evaporation. You can try adding an extra egg to whatever you're baking, or using larger eggs in a recipe that calls for regular eggs.

Baking at different altitudes is a challenge, but the results will be just as delicious!Want to know more? Go ahead: The Frustration of Sunken Cupcakes

Uncategorized admin 08 Jun 2013 Comments Off

Tips And Suggestions For Delicious Homemade Bread And Pastries

Making your own homemade bread and pastries is not difficult once you learn how. If you are accustomed to buying pie crust, breads and cakes, then you are in for a real treat when you discover how much better they taste. Another factor to consider is the fact that homemade breads and pastries have no preservatives. This makes homemade breads and pastries healthier for you and your family.

Homemade pie crust is nothing more than four, salt, shortening and water. It takes some skill to learn how to make pie crust, but once you master it, you will not want to buy it in the grocery store anymore. Homemade bread is easier to make when you use a mixer that has a dough hook. This attachment makes kneading the bread unnecessary.

Most homemade bread recipes require six to eight minutes of kneading time. You can use the dough hook and achieve this faster. You can find simple pie crust and homemade bread recipes online. The art of making bread and pastries takes practice to perfect. If you know someone that makes their own bread and pastries, consider asking them for help. Watching someone else do it will make it easier for you.What's 1 more click? Your boss isn't watching... Best Homemade Wheat Bread Ever

Uncategorized admin 20 Apr 2013 Comments Off

The Dream Kitchen – Making It Real

Recipes and cooking tips abound on our crazy little cooking site but, you know, we have never really taken the time to talk about where it all goes down - the kitchen.

You can follow the recipe instructions to the letter, buy all of the fancy cooking books and have all the best equipment, but if you aren't comfortable in your own kitchen, it shows. The kitchen is the work area and everything needs to be perfect and organized so you can focus on the food.

For starters, the floor of your dream kitchen should be something hard. Most people use tasteful tiles but some go hardwood for that classic shine. If you're in the market to have a floor put in, then typically it's wise to check out sites like http://www.homeproimprovement.com/hardwood-flooring.html.

Cupboards, while great for storing ingredients and food, should not be where you keep your various pans and cooking utensils. Even with the most organized cupboard, you have to take time rummaging to find the right tool and if you have a particularly time-sensitive meal cooking it can be disastrous. Lots of people opt for hanging racks that are easy to reach.

The point with all of this is that the dream kitchen should be functional. The hardwood or tile floor is perfect for cleaning up spills, the rack is ideal for quick access to vital cooking equipment, and that's really just the beginning. Let your imagination run wild, it's your kitchen, but put a greater emphasis on function over form.

Uncategorized admin 21 Dec 2012 Comments Off

The Best Pans To Use For Baking Desserts.

With the holiday season coming up that means there is plenty of baking to do for the get togethers many of us have planned. When it comes to baking though, you can not use the same pan for a cake as you do muffins or a loaf of banana bread. There is a pan for just about everything and some of them are interchangeable.

The most asked for baked good for this time of year are cakes and that means picking out the right pan and type that fits your needs. Ceramic and stoneware pans are probably the best choice over all simply because of their versatility. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes for your baking needs. And, they are not all that costly either. They are safe to be used in the oven, microwave and even to store things in the freezer.

Glass baking dishes comes in a close second. The major difference is glassware is that it is easier to clean but just as versatile. They are not as long lasting as the ceramics though. Another good choice is the non-stick metal dishes but they are not as versatile and are harder to keep clean.

Uncategorized admin 30 Sep 2012 Comments Off

Making Time To Bake On A Hectic Schedule

Baking projects do not have to be time consuming. In fact, baking can be a lot easier and cheaper than dining in a restaurant. With a small amount of preparation, many dishes can be baked with little effort. The trick is to gather your ingredients ahead of time so that you only need to combine them and put them in the oven. Casseroles are some of the easiest dishes to prepare and can be made to fit into even the most hectic schedule.

Baking simple casseroles is one of the easiest ways to provide home-cooked meals for your family when you are too busy to prepare a traditional meal. While many busy families choose to dine at restaurants to save time, they may be sacrificing quality. Preparing meals at home can also be less expensive than eating at restaurants. Casseroles can include ingredients from all food groups and can be healthier than eating out.

Hectic schedules are a problem that many families have in common. With children participating in multiple activities and parents with exhaustive work schedules, it can be difficult to get the family together for dinner. When you take a few minutes out of your day to prepare the ingredients, you can quickly mix them and bake.

Uncategorized admin 26 Sep 2012 Comments Off

Baking On A Budget When Every Dollar Counts

Baking is always fun and often a good way to save money. Who doesn't want to save money during this current economy? Families with lots of kids often dread going to the grocery store because the bill seems to go up every week. There are some great ways to save money while baking and one of them is by buying flour and sugar in bulk. The large membership discount stores sell it in very big bags and they go a long ways. Of course the best thing to make for large families is bread. This helps explain it more. A basic bread recipe is really easy and for those who worry about using yeast and letting it rise, there is no reason to be. Flour, salt, water and yeast mixed together make an amazing French bread which can be used for pizza or a variety of other things. It is easy and cheap and goes a long way to feed hungry kids. Four cups flour 2 tsp. active dry yeast 2 tsp. salt 1 1/2 cups warm water Mix together and let rest in covered container for at least four hours. No need to kneed, just mix and let it rise. Punch down and now it is ready to be used or saved in the fridge for up to ten days.

Uncategorized www.thegreenwoodkitchen.com 24 Sep 2012 Comments Off

The Importance Of Measuring Ingredients Correctly

When it comes to preparing dishes from scratch, it is very important to measure your ingredients correctly. There are some ingredients which can significantly alter the taste or appearance of a dish. A good example is baking soda, which has a very bitter taste when added in large amounts. This is also true for ingredients which are very spicy or hot, such as chili powder. When making a dish that calls for a specific type of pepper, it is best to create the recipe as it is written and than allow your family or friends to add what they want later. When it comes to baking, using the correct measurements is essential. If you add too much liquid to a batter, it will become runny and not bake to the firm texture it is suppose to. When too much flour is added to a recipe, the opposite effect can occur. Products will end up too tough or coarse or can even fall apart when trying to work with the dough. While adding more of something might sound like a good idea in theory, it reality it is probably not, because in some manner it will affect the outcome of the dish. If you like what you see, keep going: Reader Recipe! Jen's Jalapeno Cheddar Turkey Burgers

Uncategorized www.thegreenwoodkitchen.com 21 Sep 2012 Comments Off

Three Reasons Why You Should Own An Electric Mixer

Electric mixers are very useful items to have in a kitchen. One reason why it is such a useful tool is the ease at which it can mix a variety of ingredients. While mixing something made of liquid is not difficult to do by hand, when it comes to the thicker substances such as bread or cookie dough, the electric mixer is better. The second reason is related to the first in that it reduces the amount of strain placed on your wrist. People who try to mix ingredients which need to create a stiff batter, can end up damaging the tendons in their wrists.

The third reason to own this handy appliance is its convenience. Most electric mixers are designed to sit right on the counter top so they are always ready to use. Most of the brand name mixers are now available in assorted colors so they actually add to the visual appeal of your kitchen. The convenience of this machine is also found in the different attachments used with it. The attachments come as different types of beaters designed to either blend, whip or mix the ingredients in the bowl. The body of the mixer also raises and lowers to accommodate the bowls used with it.

Uncategorized admin 19 Sep 2012 Comments Off