The saying, “time is money” certainly applies in the business world, but it applies in the kitchen, too. Saving time and money in the kitchen really helps with family time and the family budget. So it works in our favor when we come up with cooking ideas that save time and money in the kitchen. There are a lot of kitchen shortcuts out there, but no matter which way you cut the roast, cooking is still cooking. So what are some cooking ideas that will save you time and money?
Easy cooking is a great place to start. We all like to think of ourselves as good cooks, but not everything has to be complicated. It’s hard to save time and money if you aren’t organized. So get organized by focusing on what to cook and when to cook. Write your cooking ideas down and put them in your own personal cooking book. Along with planning what to cook, you should plan when to cook. Most people assume they have to cook dinner between the hours of 4 pm and 7 pm. As the norm this is great, but make sure you are using easy recipes for dinner.
Here is another one we found works in our house. Cook dinner at breakfast. No, most would not classify this as a normal habit. Think of it this way. By cooking your dinner in the morning, you will not have the evening rush of “what to cook” which regularly translates into “where can I order out” because you don’t have the time or energy to make a home cooked meal. Prepare your dinner meal while you are fixing breakfast, and then put it in the refrigerator. When you get home, you will only have to reheat and a home cooked meal is on the table in a jiffy. This is especially good when you are cooking for kids.
Here is a another one from the cooking book. Dig out the crock pot. We do this a lot on Sundays. There are healthy and great tasting dishes that you can make in a crock pot. In the morning, all your ingredients get added to the pot. By dinner, it’s ready to serve. How much prep time do you have when you get home? Just long enough to set the table. Talk about easy cooking! To us, this is as close as it comes to having someone cook your dinner for you. Shop around. There are some great crock pot recipes available that will tantalize your taste bud.
Along with those quick and easy recipes, try this. Plan a kitchen table picnic. What does that mean? It means you use paper plates and plastic ware. Does that beat washing the dishes or what?! Even the kids can get involved with throwing out the plates when they are done eating. I f you do this when you do crock pot cooking, then you have only one dish to wash, the crock pot!
This one needs prep time, but offers you a real break on a day to day basis. We do this about five or six times a year. We cook for a whole month a one time. Everything goes in the freezer. When we are done, there are 30 dinners in the freezer. It takes two days to get it all done, but for a month, dinner is on the table about 20 minutes after we get home. If a month seems overwhelming, start with doing meals for a week or two. Every night then has easy recipes for dinner!
Save time. Save money. It’s a great way to run a kitchen. The more easy cooking and cost effective cooking you can do, the better off your kitchen is!
Chris & Michelle Grimbilas both have backgrounds in teaching and education. Cooking is one of the things they both enjoy. They have five children who have shared the kitchen with them over the years. You can get more great easy cooking ideas at their Creative Cookery website. You’ll find more cooking ideas,real resources that will help you in the kitchen, and best of all FREE GIFTS! Get software that shows you how to cook almost anything! Get free dessert recipes! Claim your gifts today at the Creative Cookery!
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
We lay so much emphasis on the taste factor in cooking that we often forget that the key to healthy eating lies in not just the food elements that are chosen, but also the way in which these elements are cooked. The process of cooking changes almost all the elements of food except for fat, and therefore, it is essential that we ensure proper and scientific cooking if we want to retain all the goodness of these elements.
If you want to know how to cook healthy recipes, then you also need to know the right manner in which the cooking process should be undertaken.
Any of the healthy recipes cooked without adequate preparation is not likely to give the right benefit that you are seeking from your food. While it is sometimes necessary to indulge in the sensory aspects of cooking, you also need to make sure that you learn how to cook to retain all the goodness in the food.
The dictionary meaning of cooking states that cooking is the process of preparing food for consumption with the application of heat, but this heat can be applied to the food in various ways, and so, we have the various forms of cooking that include roasting, baking, broiling, boiling, simmering, stewing, steaming and frying:
– Roasting – Roasting is a process in which you allow the food to cook in its own juices, and this is done on an open fire most of the time. Also known as grilling, this process uses radiant heat to allow the food to be cooked. In most cases when the food is large or compact, the process of roasting is recommended.
The radiation heat works on the surface of the food and travels inwards to ensure that the food is cooked properly. Since the radiation heat sears the surface of the food, the juices in the food are not allowed to escape and the inside of the large food is cooked in its own juices. It is recommended that the food that is being roasted be turned to ensure even heating.
– Baking – This is a process of cooking in which the food is cooked by the dry heat in an oven that is almost always closed. This is a style of cooking that is often used for food that contains a fair amount of moisture so as to ensure that the food does not dry up or burn in the closed environment. This is because the dry and hot air in the oven tends to take up the moisture in the food. If the food that is put in the oven does not contain adequate moisture, it is likely to get too dry or burnt in the process.
– Boiling – As a well-known process of cooking, boiling requires a fair amount of boiling water for the food to be cooked. As the water boils, it gives out minute bubbles of air, and these tend to form at the base of the vessel as the water increases in temperature. As the bubbles of hot air continue to rise, the water becomes a hub of mechanical energy and soon enough, the water begins to show rapid activity.
Boiling something hurriedly does not ensure that the food will get cooked any faster; it only ensures the wear and tear of the food particles that are in the water. Hurried steaming actually causes a lot of wastage of fuel and also makes food less palatable. In most cases, the liquid used for boiling is water, but there are also some healthy recipes that use milk as the liquid used for boiling. Boiling starchy foods such as macaroni, rice, farina, etc. in water or even milk is recommended since it makes the overall dish more nutritious and fitter for healthy eating.
When using milk for boiling, it should be remembered that milk is denser and creates less steam. However, not many know that it also boils faster than water.
– Stewing – The process of stewing is another process that is commonly used in healthy recipes. It is a process in which food is cooked in a liquid that is kept just below the boiling point. This process is often confused with simmering, which indicates cooking the food at boiling point.
To ensure that the stewing is taking place in a proper manner, you can use a double boiler in which the liquid in the outside vessel boils. This ensures that the liquid in the inner vessel is just below the boiling point since the inner vessel is always a few degrees cooler than the outer one.
– Steaming – Steaming is the form of healthy cooking that uses the heat of the steam to prepare food. There are various ways in which people use steam to cook food. The most common style is to put food in a vessel that has holes and to place this vessel on a pot of boiling water.
Foods that have high water content are best suited for steaming. Sometimes, the vessel that contains food can be put inside another vessel that contains boiling water too. This apparatus is called the double boiler.
– Frying – This is not really a healthy process of cooking food, since it involves cooking what you want to eat in hot fat. Once fat is cooked, it becomes less easy to digest, and therefore, people who are looking at healthy eating should not opt for this method. The process of frying actually requires you to heat up large quantities of fat in a vessel and bring it to a high temperature.
The food is then dropped in the hot oil and allowed to remain in it till it is cooked. Most people drain the excess fat from the outer part of the food, but a large amount of fat is always absorbed in the food while it is being cooked.
Each of these cooking processes, except for frying, allow for healthy recipes and healthy eating if done properly.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Have you heard of freezer cooking? It’s a great way to save time and money while eating healthier meals at home!
Freezer cooking just means cooking meals ahead of time and freezing them so it’s easy to defrost, warm and serve later. Variations can include once a month cooking, batch cooking, or cooking parts of meals.
Some cooks create a weekly or monthly plan, then cook meals all in one day and freeze them. Others cook one large batch of a meal, like chili, then divide it into family portions or single servings and freeze it. You can also cook certain ingredients ahead of time and freeze them-such as meats cooked and frozen in small portions to be added into chili, stew, or casseroles later.
Save Time: By cooking in batches you can save time. If you’re already cooking a casserole, it only takes a few extra minutes to double the recipe, cook a second one and freeze it for later.
Save Money: Buying in bulk is usually cheaper than smaller sized portions. When you cook in batches you can easily purchase bulk sizes without worrying that they’ll go to waste. You’ll also save money when you’ve got meals ready to eat and don’t end up calling for a pizza or other food delivery.
Save Your Waistline: Once you’ve got a stash of healthy meals in the freezer ready to defrost and eat you’ll find the temptation to grab “fast food” or eat junk is easier to avoid.
Freezer cooking is a great strategy if you have special dietary needs, too. I cook gluten-free waffles, pancakes, soups, pizza and breads and freeze so that meal time is easier. By planning ahead and cooking in batches I’m able to save money over the price of prepared specialty foods and know that we’ve always got “safe” meals easily accessible.
Some meals work better than others for freezing so it’s a good idea to take some time to explore websites about freezer cooking and find reliable recipes and tips.
If you’re new to the idea of freezer cooking, these tips helped me get started:
- Prepare by having freezer safe storage containers ready before you begin cooking.
- Start small by cooking double on your family’s favorite dish and freezing one for a future meal.
- Try cooking ahead parts of meals. Cook up chicken or hamburger in bulk then freeze it in meal-sized portions for easy use later.
- Keep track of the date you freeze each meal either with a list on the side of your freezer or by labeling each meal as you freeze it – that way you can use it within a safe time frame.
- Don’t feel like you have to jump all in and cook a month’s worth of meals the first time you try freezer cooking. But do use the once a month cooking websites and guides for great freezer meal ideas and helpful hints to make your freezer cooking easier.
Give it a try, and discover how much easier freezer cooking makes meal time!
Would you like a free email course about meal planning, crock pot cooking, or freezer cooking? Visit http://michelleshaeffer.com/help-for-work-at-home-moms/ now and let me send you helpful tips and ideas that will make it easier for you to balance homemaking, homeschooling, and working from home.
Michelle Shaeffer has been a work at home mom for more than 10 years and loves to share the tips and strategies she’s learned to help other small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
According to a recent pasta survey taken among Italian chefs and experts – these are the 7 most common mistakes most people make when cooking pasta…
1. Not using a large enough cooking pot
This is probably the most common “pasta cooking” mistake. The very minimum that the experts recommend is four quarts of water for one pound of pasta. But Italian chefs and pasta experts use more than that; between five and six quarts of water for each pound of pasta. This gets the very best results.
Why is all that water necessary? Because pasta needs enough space to move around in order to cook properly. Not using enough water causes the pasta to stick to the side of the pan, which makes it thick, sticky and unpleasant. When you use enough water you will definitely notice the difference in the taste and texture.
2. Adding oil to the cooking pot
It is hard to determine just where this idea came from originally but 44 per cent of Americans say they add olive or other oil to the cooking water. I suspect the idea is that the oil will stop the pasta from sticking together. But what it actually does is make the pasta too slick for any sauce to stay on it properly. If you have used enough water and remember to stir your pasta regularly as it is cooking, it will not stick together. Therefore – no need to add oil.
3. Not adding salt to the water
Because we are constantly warned about the perils of salt in our diet, many cooks will add only a tiny pinch of salt or none at all, to the cooking water. This is a mistake. Pasta needs plenty of salt because salt “roughs up” the surface and keeps it from becoming slimy. Add about a teaspoon of salt per each gallon of water. This seems like a lot but every good Italian chef cooks it this way and it really does make a difference. And here’s the good news: The pasta does not absorb salt in the same way that vegetables or potatoes do, so you will not be eating all the salt that you use in the cooking water.
The exception to the ‘add plenty of salt’ rule is when cooking fresh pasta, which does not need salted water. The fact that it’s fresh negates the need for salt because fresh pasta has a different surface than dried pasta.
4. Adding the pasta to the water before the water has boiled
Pasta must be cooked in boiling water from the start. Add the pasta to the pot when the water has come to a full rolling boil. It will stop boiling when you add the pasta so make sure you get the water boiling again as quickly as possible. To add pasta to cold water and then heat up the water is a sure guarantee pasta will not cook properly.
5. Not stirring the pasta once it is cooking
Pasta needs to be stirred while it is cooking. This stops it sticking together (especially spaghetti and linguine). When pasta doesn’t stick together it all cooks consistently.
6. Overcooking the pasta
Different people will cook the same pasta for as much as five minutes difference and each will claim they have cooked their pasta perfectly. But, while accepting that taste is a subjective thing, there are people who undercook their pasta and people who overcook their pasta. Undercooking is less common because undercooked pasta is crunchy and obviously difficult to chew. Overcooked pasta (much more common) is limp, loses its shape easily, and won’t hold a sauce well. Unfortunately, overcooked pasta is not salvageable so you’ll have to throw it away and start again.
The key to cooking pasta well is to keep testing it as you cook it. There will be a guide cooking time on the packet so about a minute before that time is up, start testing the pasta. It is ready when it is slightly firm to the bite – a state the Italians call “al dente” (firm but not crunchy). At the al dente stage, turn off the heat and drain the pasta in a colander. Shake the pasta to get rid of all excess water (be especially careful to do this if they are pasta shapes which catch pockets of hot water) and serve immediately. The pasta continues to cook while it’s draining it in the colander, so when you are testing, remember that what you eat will be cooked for a minute or two longer than what you’re testing in the pan.
7. Rinsing the pasta after cooking
51 per cent of Americans say they rinse their pasta immediately after cooking. This ruins good pasta. When pasta reaches the al dente stage it means thereare just the right amount of starches on the surface to absorb the sauce you will serve with it, which is where pasta gets its entire flavor. If you rinse, you take away these important starches.
There are two exceptions. First – if you’re cooking for a pasta salad, the pasta does need to be rinsed because you don’t want the pasta to be sticky if it’s being used in a salad. After rinsing with boiling water then rinse again with cold water to stop the cooking process.
The second exception is if you have cooked your pasta in too small a pan and the water is cloudy and starchy. In that case it may be worth rinsing the pasta with boiling water to remove these starches.
By stepping out of your comfortable cooking routine and implementing these tips, you will be cooking pasta correctly. The difference is substantial. I promise you that your pasta will be cooked to perfection and will taste delicious with your favorite sauce.
Patti Mays is an expert cook who’s all about delicious, simple, affordable foods. Her down-to-earth website features tried & true recipes that are easy to make; helpful tools & gadgets, (most of which can be ordered on the site) great ideas, and tips. She has developed a large following because of her unpretentious style and humorous approach to life. Patti and her husband live in Boise, Idaho.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
One of the most overlooked, yet surprisingly useful skills in WoW is the Cooking skill.
Cooking in WoW is not an absolute must by any means, but, especially if you’ve spent some time on related secondary professions like Fishing, you can actually use Cooking to bring in a reasonable amount of gold with relatively little effort. It’s also a pretty fun diversion when you’re looking to get away from your usual activities for a little while. Initially, Cooking was largely ignored by WoW players, mainly because there wasn’t much to it. However, one of the lesser-known aspects of the Burning Crusade expansion was the attention paid to some of the secondary professions, Cooking among them, and there are now so many ways to use Cooking that it’s easy and worthwhile for anyone to give it a try.
WoW Cooking – Starting Out
The first thing you’ll need if you’d like to try Cooking is fire. In order to start a fire, you’ll have to have the Simple Wood, Flint, and Tinder items. These are very common items, as you’re probably aware. With these items on hand, go to your Spellbook. There you’ll find the Basic Campfire spell, which can be cast by anyone.
The cookbook is also located in your Spellbook. Here you’ll see which recipes you have available. One thing to keep in mind is that the Basic Campfire only lasts a few minutes. So, make sure that you’re ready to start cooking immediately after you set up your fire. To cook, select the ingredients listed in your recipe of choice.
Every recipe requires specific ingredients. We’ll use Crocolisk Steak as an example. The ingredients for Crocolisk Steak are one each of Crocolisk Meat and Mild Spices. Mild Spices are sold by many different vendors, while Crocolisk Meat is dropped by some of the various Crocolisk mobs.
By successfully completing recipes, you’ll improve your Cooking skill. You can purchase any necessary items from a Cooking trainer – you can expect to have to make a moderate investment in order to really get started. As you go forward and complete quests, though, you’ll find yourself coming across Cooking-related items on a regular basis.
Rising Through the Ranks
Finding the items necessary for advanced recipes can be a bit tricky at first. Here’s one way you can improve your Cooking skill quickly. Start off in Ironforge. You can easily get Flour and Mild Spices here, which are the ingredients for Spiced Bread. Make 60 Spiced Breads to improve your Cooking skill to 40. Next, get yourself 30 Mild Spices, and plenty of wood. Go to Auberdine, where you can find some Moonkin. Kill enough of these to get at least 20 eggs, preferably more. You can use these ingredients in recipes which will help you quickly get your Cooking skill up to 60.
From Auberdine, head south to Ashenvale, where you’ll find Crawler mobs. These will give you Clam Meat, which you can take back to Ironforge. Once you’re back, cook whatever eggs you have left and sell the finished items. After that, you can go to a cooking trainer and train your skills in order to use the Clam Meat in recipes. Your Cooking should now be around 130. Buy the Expert Cookbook, which will increase your Cooking skill cap to 225.
Making Money With Cooking
Of course, there’s more to the Cooking skill than just improving the skill itself. Food items can be useful in a number of ways, especially because of buffs. Buffs are what give food items their monetary value on the open market, and once you’ve got your Cooking skill high enough to make food with good buffs, you can start earning money by selling them.
A good Fishing skill will really help you get the most out of Cooking, but it is possible to earn decent money through Cooking even without Fishing. One popular food item is Mok’Nathal Shortribs. These will fetch about 1 gold per set. With a good source for ingredients, you can make a lot of money. Try going to the Blade’s Edge Mountains, where you can find Raptors. These mobs occasionally drop the Raptor Ribs that are the only ingredient for Mok’Nathal Shortribs. Just keep farming the Ribs here. You can get upwards of 30 Ribs, and therefore 30 gold pieces, per hour this way.
Alternatively, you might want to try selling Warp Burgers, which also go for about 1 gold. The Warp Hunters in Terrokar Forest are your source. These relatively easy mobs will drop Warped Flesh, the ingredient for Warp Burgers. This racket can net you upwards of 50 gold per hour.
You can benefit further from Cooking by being aware of the in-game seasons. During the Christmas season, for example, the market for Egg Nog heats up, due to its importance to certain quests. Egg Nog can sell for at least 1 gold, and sometimes more, around Christmas. The ingredients for Egg Nog are one each of a Small Egg, Ice Cold Milk, Holiday Spirits, and Holiday Spices. These ingredients can all be purchased individually from vendors.
Making Faster Money With Cooking
Of course, you can also skip the grinding and just purchase ingredients like Warped Flesh and Raptor Ribs from vendors. This will cut into your profit margin, but it won’t require as much time, so in the end it might be a better method for players who are pressed for time.
The Daily Quests for Cooking
Daily Cooking quests are one of the easiest ways to get huge quantities of things like fish and meat, which you can then cook and sell for major profits. Additionally, these quests will also occasionally reward you with powerful new recipes.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
I was just watching TV and saw that for Johnson and Wales University which is a locally cooking school located in downtown Charlotte North Carolina. Upon researching their website just a tiny bit and see they charge $22,000 a year in tuition alone. Upon a little deeper research and watching recent episodes of MSNBC where it was made aware that many of these graduates from these expensive cooking schools cannot find jobs that pay more than $10 an hour or fare even worse without a job. With graduation rates as low as 50% or even lower at some of these for-profit cooking schools is there a better alternative?
The biggest problem is how many years do you have to go this cooking school to become a chef and get a good paying chefs job? Apparently it is more than one and with the fact that most of these for-profit cooking schools give financial aid that only consists of student loans that leads to many heavily or overburdened students that when they graduate cannot possibly pay their debts back and live on their own or live a comfortable lifestyle. This is directly a kin to online colleges like Phoenix University and others that basically give oneself a degree that no one hires or that does not transfer to other fully accredited colleges like state colleges and universities.
As a matter of fact some of the online colleges have not been required to place a disclaimer in their TV advertisements that states that credits are unlikely to transfer. And numerous employers will actually place on their websites and in their hiring materials that if you have gone or attended one of these online colleges that you basically should not bother applying. Are these cooking schools any different? Yes, they are not online and many of them are more credited or at least better accredited then the basically fraudulent schools like Phoenix University (if you were to look at the Whois database, which lists all domain register information you will see that the organizations Phoenix University lists as being accredited by are owned by Phoenix University itself which is basically fraud for all intents and purposes).
Now some of these cooking schools like Johnson Wales University are fairly well respected, but with limited financial aid packages that consist mostly of loans is there a better alternative? Yes, there is for anyone in any state. It is called your local community colleges. Almost every single community college out there has well accredited cooking programs and similar that can teach you the exact same courses, cooking skills and more for far less than any of these for-profit cooking schools like Johnson and Wales University and others. Another nice feature of learning to cook at a community college is that the courses that you take are directly transferable to a four year or other school. Then you do not have to worry about transfer issues like you would with many of these cooking schools or online, for profit schools offering local cooking classes.
Just request a course catalog from your local community college and peruse through the cooking classes and see which ones will get you towards the degree that you want or teach you the skills that you desire. From learning how to barbecue, two creating a roast, to making exquisite Christmas cookies, to much more advanced subjects on cooking, mostly community colleges will offer all of it and more. Now, if you live out in waistline you might have traveled it go to the committee College offers an extensive list of cooking classes. There are also other alternatives to which are far less expensive than the for-profit cooking schools.
Viking, which makes expensive and high grade ovens and ranges amongst other products, offers cooking classes in most states for everyone from children to adults and for every level of all sorts of cooking techniques and ideas. Basically, Viking brings in their own or celebrity chefs and will teach all sorts of cooking concepts in everything from one day classes to classes that can last several weeks or even months. The general cost is between $60 and $100 a day for a Viking cooking class and you can find out more information on this their website.
So basically you do have alternatives, you don’t have to become heavily burdened by debt to become a chef or cook. You can use your local committee Colleges where financial aid consists mostly of grants rather than loans like with the for-profit cooking schools. You also can take other classes that may even go outside of the cooking curriculum sheet and exposure something different classes, courses and even majors and the best part is that all of it is transferable. Another alternative is cooking classes like Viking offers to get a taste of what cooking school is really like without having to obligate yourself financially to the tune $20-$30,000 or more. Common sense here would tell you that for-profit schools are just that, for their profit, not yours. Use your state school and university system and take advantage of low-cost or even free schools for manufacturers like Viking.
Melissa Maillie is a long time gourmet Italian cook with her own website loaded full of great, free recipes and cooking tips. For more great tips like this and free recipes be sure and visit – Great free cooking recipes and tips. Article provided courtesy of Hotcookingrecipes.com. Here’s an example of one of the many great recipes you will find on Hotcookingrecipes.com Best sweet potato casserole recipe. Be sure and check it out – you’ll be glad you did!
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
What exactly is waterless cooking? Is it just another new fad? Actually, waterless cooking is not new–it’s been around for quite a long time. However, because of our busy schedules, many of us have abandoned preparing meals at home in favor of dining out, preparing quick snacks or using prepackaged foods. This article will highlight what waterless cooking is, why it is not only more nutritious but convenient and time-saving as well. No longer do you have to sacrifice healthy, tasty meals because of busy time constraints.
Waterless cooking will allow you to prepare great tasting meals, save energy and use much less water than with conventional cooking. Waterless cooking is a very healthy way to cook. When you use surgical steel waterless cookware, you never have to worry about minute particles from the pans breaking away from your cookware and entering your food. Waterless cookware uses a pressure steam control method so you can cook economically and with low heat. The built-in steam control valve whistles like a tea kettle as a signal to turn down the heat. With waterless cookware, you never cook with high heat. You start with medium heat and as soon as you hear the whistle you turn the stove down to low.
Cooking foods in water will often result in the loss of nutrients and flavor, but it can also change the appearance and texture of the food. Have you ever experienced a plate of limp, light-colored, overcooked broccoli? This is the direct result of cooking the food in too much water. The waterless cooking method retains the nutrients in the food as it cooks. There is only about a 2% average mineral loss with the steam control method as compared to a 42% mineral loss when boiling in water. Retaining 98% of the minerals can actually slow down or prevent many age-related problems. When cooking fruits and vegetables, it is recommended that the peels (a valuable source of vitamins and minerals be left intact. A good scrubbing with water and scrub brush is all that is necessary.
With waterless cooking you can look forward to creating great-tasting, healthy meals in a fraction of the time that is required by traditional methods. Cooking with waterless cookware [http://www.thegourmetscookware.com/waterless_cookware_sets.html] has a number of advantages over the conventional cookware:
- Ease of cooking
- Cooking time is reduced
- Cookware is easy to clean and maintain
- Use less fat and oil in food preparation
- Exceptional taste
- Retention of vitamins and minerals in your food
- Overall improved appearance of cooked foods
There are six basic principles of Waterless Cooking:
- Always use the right size pan. For best results, the pan should be about 2/3 full. To form the seal most effectively, it is best that the pan is almost full.
- Always rinse vegetables thoroughly before cooking. While waterless cooking uses minimal water, it does not mean no water at all. Rinse vegetables and then shake off excess water. For best results, adding a small amount of water (about 1/4 inch) will help effectively create a vapor seal.
- Regulate the heat. Start with medium heat. As soon as the vapor seal begins to whistle, turn the heat down to low. NEVER use high heat.
- Create the vapor seal. When you begin the cooking process, the steam-control valve should be open. Once the valve begins to whistle, turn the heat down to low or simmer and close the valve. Shortly, an air-tight vapor seal will form betweens the lid and the pot itself. If there is steam escaping from around the lid, the heat should be reduced to a lower setting.
- Don’t peek. As tempting at it might be to check inside, resist the temptation. When the cover is removed during the cooking process, you’re allowing heat, steam, and valuables minerals to escape. Not only does this lengthen the cooking time, but it can increase the possibility of drying out or burning your foods as well.
- Vacuum Release. If your lids feel locked in place at the end of your cooking time, simply open the steam release valve to release the vacuum. Once the pressure is released, simply remove the lid.
Using waterless cookware is perhaps the healthiest and most energy efficient way to cook. Initially, it may be more expensive than the conventional cookware available in department stores, but its superior construction and energy-saving cooking methods will more than compensate for the difference over time. With proper maintenance, your waterless cookware can last a lifetime. Consider it an investment in a healthy, long-lasting lifestyle! And the best news–you don’t have to be a gourmet cook to produce delectable, tasty and healthy meals with quality waterless cookware.
Marcia Klun is a retired teacher and the owner and webmaster of [http://www.thegourmetscookware.com], a site that offers quality stainless steel products, such as waterless cookware sets, stockpots, cutlery, skillets, flatware, and other gourmet cooking essentials. In addition, the site offers relevant information about waterless cooking and provides a variety of healthy recipes that can be adapted to waterless cookware.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
8 Incredibly Important Secrets That Will Help You to Successfully Cook Great Meat Dishes Outdoors by Stephen Kember
Successful outdoor cooking arises for a number of reasons, the most important of which are: having the right outdoor cooking equipment for the job in hand; having a great recipe; using good quality ingredients; taking great care when you’re preparing and cooking the meal and then there is the magic ingredient which is loving what you’re doing. In this article we look at the 8 most important things that need to be considered when ‘preparing & cooking meats outdoors’.
The following 8 secrets are in no order of priority or respective importance; they are all important in their own way to a greater or lesser extent;
1. Ask your butcher for some meat for cooking outdoors; he or she will know best; say what you’re planning and be guided by them
Popular TV & Magazine advertising would have us believe that bright red, fat free, fresh meats, rather than brown, fat streaked, meats, are those we should select. No, Fresh in, freshly cut, red meat is not yet ready for cooking. Steaks need time to age. They do this using naturally occurring enzymes that beak down protein in the meat that helps to build flavor & to tenderise. When you get your meat home put it in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Always try to select meat with some fat on the outside, or with veins of fat going through the meat. This is where all the juicy flavours come from.
2. Dry the steak and then salt it before cooking
The drier you can get the steak the less water vapour will be created at the start of cooking. This helps the process that builds a crust on the steak and gives it great flavour; this process is enhanced still further if you salt your steak after drying.
3. Cook your steaks on a really hot grill
Pre-Heat the grill to a high temperature-so that it’s almost smoking; then drop the temperature to medium before placing the meat. To test the temperature, hold your hand over the grill, if you can keep it there for 3-4 seconds, this is medium. If your grill is too hot your steaks may char; burnt outside & rare inside.
Don’t cook partially frozen steaks
Thaw your meat thoroughly. Do this in the refrigerator; this retains texture & flavor. Steaks & chops usually thaw in one day, large roasts can take 36 hours. Take steaks out of the refrigerator one hour before cooking; this will keep them juicy. Ensure your steaks are at room temperature before grilling. This avoids the shock of hitting the hot grill affecting flavor and texture. If you need to thaw meat quickly use cold water. Meat may be thawed in a microwave oven, DON’T! It will lose it’s juices making it dry & chewy.
5. Meat Cooking Temperatures
There is no right or wrong temperature for cooking meat as we all love our, meat particularly our steaks, cooked differently. Remember that meat with bone in takes longer than meat without. As a general guideline the following temperatures apply for different grades of meat:
Steak & Lamb
Rare 120-130°F. 6-7 minutes. Center of steak still cold when served;
Medium Rare 130-135°F. 8-9 minutes Cooked on outside, deep pink inside;
Medium 140-150°F, 10-12 minutes. Served uniformly pink throughout the center.
Medium to Well done 155-165°F. Almost totally cooked through with slight pink in the center.
Well done 170°F. 13-15 minutes Completely cooked through Has to be cooked slowly
Medium 140°F to 155°F Meat is slightly pink in centre
Well-Done 160°F to 185°F Meat is uniformly brown
Medium 145°F to 155°F
Cook to 165°F with juices running clear in the thickest part of the bird
6. Testing the temperature of your meat
Meat can be checked for how well its cooked by pressing with your finger. Rare meat feels soft; medium meat is springy & slightly firm; well-done meat feels very firm. The most accurate method is to use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of your meat, away from the bone.
7. Don’t keep turning the steaks
To achieve even cooking and see those lovely grill strips across each steak, turn the steaks only once. Always use tongs, never a fork as puncturing the meat allows juices to escape.
8. Take your time and brown your meats first when cooking stews
The Maillard reaction is an important action when cooking stews that you want to taste great. When cooking stew always start by browning the meat in a skillet. What you are doing is allowing the Maillard reaction to occur. This reaction happens only when meat is cooked at a heat of over 115°C, which is when the meats natural amino acids start to react creating a melange of complex flavors. It is because of the Maillard reaction that crusted brown steak tastes so good.
So why is this important in stews? Well for the simple reason that if you cook your meats in a stew without first browning the meat then you’re reliant on the heat of the water to do all the cooking, which means the highest temperature the meat will reach will be 100°C; [the boiling temperature of water] meaning the Maillard reaction will not occur! Meaning your meat won’t be as tasty as might otherwise be.
So what should you do? Its simple: first cut your meat into cubes, season it; then heat a little oil in a heavy frying pan; then gently brown the meat on all sides over a medium heat. Do this in small batches. Never cook with an over filled pan and don’t turn up the heat to go more quickly; take it steady.
Stephen Kember is the Proprietor of The Outdoor Cooking Equipment Store. Here you’ll find exceptional value outdoor cooking equipment; you’ll also find some great recipes & articles helping you to cook outdoors.
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It is important to do your homework before you decide to pursue cooking careers, enjoying cooking at home can lead to a false sense of enjoyment versus working in a commercial environment kitchen. Chefs, cooks and food prep positions are responsible for many different kinds of foods including salads and soups to full out main dishes and desserts.
Some of the primary responsibilities of chefs and cooks are creating recipes and preparing meals for large numbers of people. Food preparation workers tasks involve getting the ingredients ready for the chefs and cooks, such as peeling vegetables, trimming meats, and ensuring cleanliness around the kitchen.
Chefs and cooks normally follow recipes that have been created by the establishment that they are employed by, or by following recipes that they have created themselves. An assortment of equipment is at a chefs disposal such as ovens, broilers, knives, pots and pans. Other duties of the head chefs or cooks is directing and managing the entire kitchen staff, estimating food supplies, inventory and ordering.
There are many niche areas that chefs may specialize in, such as soups, entrees or desserts. Some positions in larger kitchens are vegetable cooks, fry cooks and grill cooks. Executive chefs and head cooks organize and direct the kitchen that they are in charge of, so not only is a chef responsible for food management, but they must juggle the management of food along with the management of personnel.
There are a wide variety of positions for people who are interested in pursuing a cooking career. Institution cooks normally work in mass production type kitchens such as cafeterias, businesses, hospitals or schools, another sub niche specific to hospitals are nutritionists.
Restaurant cooks normally prepare food for smaller groups than institution cooks, and have the luxury of attention to detail on individual orders. Short order cooks are typically cooks that work in diners, and may fast food type restaurants. Private household cooks are normally hired by a family to prepare meals for the family on a set daily basis.
The type of food service establishment will determine in what direction of the food preparation field you would like to pursue as a career. Cooking careers are a very rewarding line of work, that takes dedication and a love for cooking.
If you are interested in a cooking career, I suggest you sit down and write out on a piece of paper, your interests in cooking, try and define what sub niche in the cooking industry that you are interested in pursuing, this will make a career path easier to map out once your mind is made up.
Careers in cooking will always be a stable form of employment. we all have to eat, and we always don’t have the time to prepare meals ourselves, especially in the fast paced world that we live in today. It was not my intent to discourage those of you who are thinking of a cooking career, but rather to inform you to the true nature of this line of work versus cooking dinner for your family. A cooking career truly is a rewarding career and takes a person who is passionate about food.
For more information on cooking careers, and the specifics on great cooking schools and culinary scholarships, visit Cooking Careers [http://cooking-careers.com].
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When only the flavor of onions is desired in a salad or a cooked dish of some sort, such as a dressing for fowl, hash, or any similar combination of food ingredients, the onion should be added in the form of juice and pulp rather than in pieces. Then it will not be possible to observe the onion when it is mixed with the food nor to come across small pieces of it when the food is eaten. To prepare an onion in this way, peel it, cut off a crosswise slice, and then grate the onion on a grater over a shallow dish. Add the juice and pulp thus obtained to any food that calls for onion as a flavoring.
When onions are to be used as a vegetable for the table, they require cooking, but first of all they must be peeled. This is at best a rather unpleasant task, because the fumes from the strong volatile oil are irritating to both the eyes and the nostrils. However, it may be done more comfortably by keeping the onions immersed in cold water during the peeling. Remove only the dry outside shells, and, if the onions are large, cut them in halves or quarters. However, as the various layers are likely to fall apart when the onion is cut, it is advisable to select medium-sized or small onions, for these may be cooked whole. After the onions have been peeled, they may be cooked in a variety of ways.
Perhaps the simplest method of cooking onions is to boil them. To allow the strong volatile oil to escape instead of being reabsorbed by the onions, and thus improve the flavor of the onions, the cover should be kept off the vessel while they are cooking. The water in which this vegetable is cooked has not a very agreeable flavor, so no use should be made of it. Peel the desired number of onions and if necessary cut them into halves or quarters. Place them in sufficient boiling water to cover well. Cook in an uncovered vessel until tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork, but not so soft as to fall apart. Then pour off the water, season with more salt, if necessary, and a little pepper, and add 1 tablespoonful of butter for each four persons to be served.Serve hot.
A cream sauce added to onions makes a very appetizing dish. In fact, most persons prefer creamed onions to any other method of preparation. Prepare the onions according to the directions given in Art. 49. When they are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork, drain. Melt the butter, and add the flour, salt, pepper, and hot milk. Cook until the sauce thickens, pour over the stewed onions, heat together for a few minutes, and serve. If variety in thepreparation of onions is desired, baked onions should be ried. Select medium-sized onions, peel them, and then boil them whole in boiling salted water until they are almost tender. Drain off the water, place the onions in a shallow dish, brush with butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a hot oven and bake until brown on one side; then turn them and brown on the other side. Serve hot.
When large onions can be secured, a very appetizing as well as attractive dish can be prepared by stuffing them and then baking them brown. Onions cooked in this way will appear.Peel the onions and cook them in boiling salted water until almost tender. Remove from the water and take out the inner portions of the onions, leaving the outside layers in the shape of a cup. Chop the portions of the onions which have been removed and mix with the bread crumbs. Melt the butter, add to it the chopped onion, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and celery salt, and stir all together for a few minutes over the flame. Add the milk, and if the 1/4 cupful is not sufficient to make the stuffing moist, add more. Fill the onion shells with the stuffing, place in a hot oven, and bake until brown. Serve immediately.
Parsnips are an important root vegetable, being closely allied to carrots. They are used to a certain extent during the summer when they are immature, but generally they are allowed to mature so that they may be stored for use as a winter vegetable. Parsnips have an advantage over many vegetables in that they have excellent keeping qualities and are particularly hardy, being able to withstand considerable freezing and thawing when they are left in the groundduring the winter. However, as they grow older, they develop a woody texture, as do beets and turnips, and so at the end of the winter require longer cooking than at the beginning.
In food value, parsnips are somewhat higher than other root vegetables, containing a large amount of carbohydrate, which occurs in the form of sugar. Although they are wholesome and nourishing, they have a peculiar, sweetish flavor that is due to the volatile oil they contain and is objectionable to some persons. Still, those who are fond of this flavor find that parsnips afford an excellent opportunity to give variety to the diet, for they may be prepared in a number of ways, most of which are similar to the ways in which carrots are cooked. In preparing parsnips for cooking, scrape them, if possible, instead of peeling them, so as not to waste any of the edible material. Then, too, try to obtain medium-sized parsnips, for they will be of much better quality than the larger ones. If uneven sizes must be used, the larger ones should be cut before being cooked, so that they will be similar in size to the smaller ones and therefore cook in the same length of time.
A very simple way in which to prepare parsnips is to mash them. Clean and scrape the desired number of parsnips and put them to cook in sufficient boiling salted water to cover. Cook until tender enough to be pierced with a fork, the length of time required to do this depending entirely on the age of the parsnips. When tender, drain off the water and force the parsnips through a colander or a sieve. Season with butter, salt, and pepper, and serve hot. Parsnips are sometimes cut into dice and then served with a cream, sauce. When it is desired to prepare them in this way, the accompanying directions should be carefully followed.
Clean and scrape the parsnips and cut them into dice 1/2 inch in size. Put these to cook in sufficient boiling salted water to cover, cook until they may be easily pierced with a fork, and then drain. Melt the butter in a double boiler, and add the flour, salt, and pepper. Stir in the hot milk, and cook until the mixture thickens. Pour this sauce over the parsnips, heat together for a few minutes, and serve.
Parsnips that are browned and sweetened with sugar seem to meet with greater favor than those prepared by other methods. To prepare them in this way, clean and scrape the desired number of parsnips, and slice them in thick slices, or, if they are small, cut them in halves lengthwise. Put them to cook in boiling salted water and cook until they may be easily pierced with a fork, but are not tender enough to fall to pieces. Melt some fat in a frying pan, and place the slices of cooked parsnips in it. Brown on one side, turn, and then brown on the other. Sprinkle with a little sugar and, if necessary, additional salt.Serve. In addition to beans and lentils, the class of vegetables called legumes includes PEAS, which, both green and dried, are used for food. In composition, there is a decided difference between the two varieties of peas, the green ones being about equal to green corn in food value, and the dried ones having a food value nearly four times as great. In each case, the food substance in the greatest amount is in the form of carbohydrate. In green peas, this is in the form of sugar, while in dried ones it is changed into starch. Peas also contain protein in the form of legumin, there being three times as much of this substance in dried peas as in green ones. The amount found in green peas is sufficient to be of importance in the diet, but the percentage of this substance is so great in dried peas that they may be used very satisfactorily as a meat substitute.
Numerous varieties of green peas are found on the market. A few of them are cooked in the pods, especially when the peas are very young, and are eaten pods and all, just as are string beans. Most of them, however, are allowed to mature further and only the peas are eaten, the shell being discarded. When green peas are purchased, they are always found in the pods. For the peas to be most satisfactory, the pods should be fresh and green and shouldappear to be well filled. Flat-looking pods mean that the peas have not matured sufficiently. After being purchased, the peas should not be removed from the pods until they are to be cooked. However, if it is necessary that they stand for any length of time after they are shelled, they should be kept in a cool place in order to prevent them from shriveling. Their cooking is similar to that of any other fresh vegetable; that is, they should be cooked inboiling salted water in a covered vessel until they are tender enough to be easily crushed between the fingers or pierced with a fork. With this preliminary preparation, they may be dressed in any desirable manner.
Dried peas, because of their nature, require a different kind of preparation from green peas. In fact, their cooking is similar to that of dried beans. They require long slow cooking and are improved if they are first parboiled in water to which a pinch of soda has been added. They are not used extensively except in the making of soups or occasionally for a purée or a soufflé, but as they are very high in food value and can be used as a meat substitute, they shouldhave a prominent place in the dietary of most families. Many of the ways in which dried beans and lentils are prepared are fully as applicable in the case of dried peas. When peas are young and tender, no more appetizing way to prepare them can be found than to boil them and then serve them with butter. Select fresh green peas with full pods, wash in cold water, and remove the peas from the shells. Put to cook in enough boiling salted water to cover well, and cook untiltender. Pour off all but a small amount of the water, using the part poured off for making soup or sauce. Add 1 tablespoonful of butter for each four persons to be served, and season with additional salt if necessary and a dash of pepper. Serve hot.
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