How to be a great cook
You don’t have to be a gourmet to enjoy the art of cooking. What’s more, you don’t have to spend hours bent over a cutting board, standing by a steamy stove, or with your head stuck in a hot oven to present wonderful meals to your family and friends — you can enjoy cooking — and here’s how.
What is the key to being able to enjoy cooking? Organization! Being organized in a well-equipped kitchen is of utmost importance. If you will follow the hints, tips, and suggestions here, it will amaze you how easy cooking really is, and you’ll discover how much enjoyment you get from cooking.
As a cook, you spend time compiling menus. Then write lists of meals, lists of days and weeks, and a list of all the ingredients for each meal. Next, you meticulously compile shopping lists. Thusly armed, you gather the most splendid components for your perfect menus. You then take all the supplies home, peacefully stow them away in cupboards, pantries, refrigerators, and freezers. These supplies are the workings of the cook, the tools of the trade; moreover, they are THE way to run a happy kitchen and really enjoy cooking.
Make a weekly menu
With pen in hand write out a menu for the week complete with desserts and beverage.
Start on Monday with breakfast and end on Sunday dinners dessert. this menu is not written in stone, you can switch meals, to accommodate time and tastes, but try to stick to the menu, as written.
Construct a grocery list
Make a very detailed list; using your menus. Search for hidden ingredients within each days meal choices.
When you are writing your grocery list make different categories, such as: Dairy — Fresh Fruits — Fresh Vegetables — Canned Foods — Breads — Frozen Foods — Meats
Allow plenty of space to write in your items needed.
Buy groceries needed for only a few days (3-4) this helps keep your meats, vegetables, and fruits at peak quality and adds to the quality of your cooking, whats more it helps keep you organized.
Know your store layout. Start shopping at the back of the store and move toward the cashiers and the door.
Preparation and Storage
It is very easy to prepare as you store your grocery items. Prepare as you put away, never touch it twice.
This prep as you go step is vital for ease of cooking, thus making cooking enjoyable.
Wash and spin dry lettuce, fresh herbs, and other leafy items. Once dry place in zip-lock bags and stow in your refrigerator crisper drawer. Leave cabbage whole and wash as needed.
Do not wash mushrooms, simply wipe with a slightly damp cloth.
Loose fruits can be washed with tepid water and a drop or two of mild soap — rinse under running water and dry with a towel or air dry on paper towels. Store in any zip-lock bags or these items can be stored in bowls with tight fitting lids.
Fresh herbs should be washed, spin dried and then wrapped in several layers of paper towels and stowed in ziplock bags in the crisper drawer.
Peel and chop several onions, chop celery, cut cucumbers, sliced mushrooms and trim up radishes. These then can be stowed in plastic bowls with tight fitting lids or zip-lock bags in your refrigerator.
Wash, peel, chop and bag any item that you will need, this step saves you time. Having these items prepped, at your fingertips is a valuable tool on those busy weeknights.
These "prep and store" steps will indeed help you enjoy cooking.
Cooking the food
Good quality, fresh foods, all prepped and stored to be at your fingertips, plus a few good detailed and reliable recipes equals being able to enjoy cooking, and a successful kitchen experience.
Buy and use some good cookbooks such as:
Betty Crockers Picture Cookbook —
Dinner’s On… 15 Minutes Away- (70 Recipes That Will Save the Day)
Betty Crockers Baking Basics—
(All available from amazon.com)
Ask for and collect recipes from your mother, grandmother or good friends. Ask for detiled information on how to prepare the recipe the exact way they do it.
The menu item that will take the longest to cook should be the first thing you prepare.
Usually the dessert needs some extended cooking or baking time.
Or it may be the potatoes or other root vegetables that need time to cook — start these items first to allow them to finish cooking at the same time as the items which do not require long cooking times.