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Even if you only cook for your family, there is always something new to learn. Knowing the best techniques and methods can help you change bland meals into great dishes that will be remembered. Try some of these tips to make your meals interesting and exciting!

Always bake pie and tart crusts for longer than the recipe specifies for best results. They should not be a pale blond color, they need to be golden brown. This indicates the sugar has turned to caramel. Your crust will have a sweeter and crispier flavor.

Being properly prepared is key to success in cooking for your family and friends. Make sure that you have all of the ingredients available. Check the day before you start to cook to make sure that you have everything that you need to cook the dish you have planned. If you have everything ready, you won’t be as worried about preparing the meal, and it’s more likely to turn out well.

Apples tend to be a big ingredient during fall and winter, but they tend to spoil quickly if not stored properly. Dry warm air rots apples, so keep them cool in a basement or loosely wrapped in the fridge. Make sure to check on them regularly, as one rotten apple means the rest are soon to follow.

To reduce fat and calories in mashed potatoes without sacrificing texture or taste, replace some of your potatoes with an equal amount of cauliflower. Their bland flavor blends effortlessly with the potatoes while taking flavor from the other ingredients. It also mimics the texture and color of the potatoes almost perfectly letting you up your vegetable intake, and drop the calories, all the while giving the same delicious potato experience we all know and love.

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They’ll just simply work as a sponge and soak up the majority of the water. You should use a clean, wet cloth and wipe the mushroom off by hand.

Tofu and beans are excellent sources of protein. They are also easily located at almost every grocery store. Pan fried tofu, lightly sprinkled with your favorite seasonings, is a delicious substitute to meat. For a tasty bean dish, simply boil them with your favorite herbs.

Read the labels for any product that you buy to use in a recipe. A lot of items you purchase at the grocery store will have a laundry list of unwanted substances in there. You will want to be sure that this product doesn’t have high amounts of sugar or sodium, they could cause major health problems if they are over consumed.

When certain recipes call for milk or water, try adding some other liquids that you would see fit to experiment with flavors. When you cook vegetables you can use chicken broth or add beef instead of water. To replace milk, yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk can make good substitutes. Using different liquids can add nutritional content to certain dishes and improve their flavor.

Cater to your guests by serving salads with dressing on the side. People vary in the amount of dressing they like on their salad, so it is helpful to let them do this on their own. Offer your guests a variety of dressings.

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If a particular wine’s flavor is unknown to you, then you shouldn’t use it as an ingredient in your food. If you use a kind of wine you’ve never tasted before, you may mess up the flavor of the dish you’re working on. There are cooking wines available.

You must keep your cooking tools in order to keep your recipes on track. If you are disorganized, you won’t know where to find the cheese grater or the spatula when you need them. It is a good idea to have separate storage space for similar items. For instance, spices can be placed in the same compartment.

Place unripened fruits in a plastic bag that is perforated right after you buy them. When fruits ripen, they produce ethylene gas. Putting them in a perforated bag will allow circulation of the air and keep the gas retained, thus allowing the fruit to keep it’s delicious taste.

It is important to completely follow the instructions when making macaroni and cheese. Your macaroni will turn out wonderful if you do it this way. It will also taste so good when you melt cheese over your noodles. A solid serving spoon is an easy way to portion out your macaroni and cheese. Use pepper to spice up your macaroni and cheese.

To add more flavor to your dishes, try adding some stock that you have prepared. Made in large batches, it’s easy to store in the freezer, if you use resealable plastic bags. You should always have access to stock when you are cooking other dishes. When you prepare your stock from scratch, you will be certain that it is 100% natural, not loaded with preservatives.

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Allow meals to rest before serving. Lots of people don’t take advantage of this important step for food. Many of us prefer to simply serve a dish right out of the oven. But many foods need to “rest” for a few minutes before being served in order to taste their best. Always wait a awhile before eating your meal; allow it to cool slightly before digging in.

If you are sauteing, don’t use too much liquid in the pan. The moisture from the extra food will cause it to steam. This way the food will be too moist, not crisp like sauteed food should be. Make sure you saute foods on a low temperature.

There are many varieties of potatoes, but they are not created equal. Waxy potatoes are great for boiling and potato salad but do not work as well for baked potatoes, mashed potatoes or french fries. If you plan on making these types of recipes, you should use Russets potatoes as they are made specifically for these.

Apply the tips from this article to help guide you towards having a better handle on cooking. The hints that have been provided here are just a small example of the ways you can enhance your cooking skills to the delight of those around you.