57 Things You Can Do to Be a Better Cook Right Now

You don’t need culinary school. You don’t need expensive equipment. You don’t even need that much experience. All you need to be a better cook today is a little bit of knowledge. Or, in the case of this list, 57 little bits.

1. BUY AN INSTANT-READ DIGITAL MEAT THERMOMETER.

The quickest way to ruin a perfectly marbled $25 steak? Cutting into it to figure out if it’s medium rare. Yes, the Thermapen is $95, but four steaks later, you’ve broken even.

2. WRITE IN YOUR COOKBOOKS.

Soup could have used more tomato? Chicken needed ten more minutes in the oven? Make a note of it and you’ll never make that mistake again.

3. MASTER THE QUICK-PICKLE.

Whisk a little salt and sugar into some white vinegar. Pour over thinly sliced raw vegetables. Wait 20 minutes. Eat.

4. GET YOUR KNIVES PROFESSIONALLY SHARPENED.

You may have a steel or a sharpener at home, but once a year, get a pro to revive those knives. Your chopping will get faster, more precise—and, believe it or not, safer.

5. FOUR WORDS TO LIVE BY: CHICKEN THIGH FAMILY PACK.

Chicken breasts are expensive and can get dull after a while; thighs are juicier, cheaper, and more flavorful.

6. TOSS MOST OF YOUR SPICES—ESPECIALLY THAT GROUND CUMIN.

Ground spices die quickly. So give them a whiff—if they don’t smell like anything, they won’t taste like anything. And if they don’t taste like anything, you’re cooking with a flavorless, brown powder.

7. JOIN A CSA.

At a minimum, you’ll learn how to cook kale fifteen ways. At a maximum, you’ll broaden your culinary horizons by finding ways to use up all that fresh produce.

8. REPLACE YOUR NON-STICK SKILLET.

Do your scrambled eggs slide off the pan if you don’t use oil or butter? They should. Might be time for an upgrade.

9. TREAT YOUR HERBS LIKE FLOWERS.

There’s nothing worse than limp herbs. Next time, trim the stems and put the parsley in a glass of water, fit a plastic bag over it, and stash it in the refrigerator.

10. GET A MANDOLINE AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE IT.

Want gorgeous scalloped potatoes or perfectly julienned carrots? Buy a mandoline. Are you a scaredycat? Wear a cut-resistant safety glove until you feel comfortable bare-handed.

11. DOUBLE THAT BATCH OF RICE (OR QUINOA, OR BULGAR, OR…)

Having cooked grains in your fridge means that fried rice, pilafs, rice bowls and robust salads are just minutes away.

12. MAKE SURE YOUR WORK AREA IS WELL LIT.

Look, the 40-watt lightbulb in your oven hood isn’t going to cut it. Get a cheap clamp light from a hardware store so you can see what you’re doing.

13. BUY PARCHMENT PAPER.

What else are you going to roast your vegetables on? How else are you going to make quick dinners of fish en papillote?

14. STOCK UP ON SUPER-CHEAP, RANDOM CUTS OF MEAT.

A freezer full of roasted turkey necks and bony beef cuts will ensure you always have what you need to make broth.

15. KEEP YOUR PARMESAN RINDS AND FREEZE THEM FOR LATER.

Remember that thing about super-cheap cuts of meat? Think of rinds as cheese bones.

16. BUY A NEW KITCHEN SPONGE.

Existential question time. If your sponge is filthy and smells, how can you expect it get your dishes clean?

17. PUT THE LID ON THE POT TO MAKE YOUR WATER BOIL FASTER.

Seems obvious, but if you don’t know, now you know.

18. DRY YOUR SALAD GREENS USING A KITCHEN TOWEL.

Salad spinners? So bulky and annoying. Instead, pile your just-washed greens into a clean dish towel, gather it by the ends, and swing that sucker around until your salad is dry (or your arm is tired).

19. SAVE THE SCHMALTZ.

Chicken fat is amazing stuff, whether you’re frying onions in it, sautéing greens in it or spreading it on toast. So after eating your roast chicken dinner, drain the now-cooled liquid fat into a plastic container and store it in your freezer. (Pro tip: This also holds true forbacon fat.)

20. USE A GARBAGE BOWL.

Hat tip to Rachael Ray. Buy a large bowl and keep it at the ready to fill up with egg shells and other trash generated while cooking.

21. BUY A NEW Y PEELER.

Like anecdotes about high school football games, peelers get dull, especially after a couple years. We recommend the Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peeler, which is just seven bucks.

22. FIND THE BIGGEST MIXING BOWL YOU CAN AND BUY IT.

You cannot toss a salad or mix cookies or make meatballs in a tiny cereal bowl. All you can do is make a bigger mess.

23. AVOID EVIL GLASS CUTTING BOARDS.

And they’re all evil. Glass cutting boards send shivers down your spine when you use them. They dull your knives. They’re slippery. And they’re hard to use. Use wood, bamboo or plastic instead.

24. BUY TWO LOAVES OF THAT AWESOME BREAD AND FREEZE ONE.

Bread keeps really well in the freezer. And there are always plenty of uses for it. Just remember: Air is the enemy! Wrap that loaf in foil (sliced or unsliced) and put it in a freezer bag before stashing.

25. STOP CROWDING YOUR PANS.

Food that’s crowded into a cast-iron skillet or sheet tray gets steamed—and soggy—instead of crisp.

26. TOAST YOUR SPICES…

A quick stint in a dry skillet over medium heat wakes dry spices up and releases their oils, which means your paprika will taste a lot more paprika-y. Use whole spices, watch the pan like a hawk, and stir constantly until the spices are fragrant, then transfer to a plate to cool before using.

27. …AND YOUR NUTS.

“These nuts are too crunchy,” said nobody ever.

28. …AND ALSO YOUR GRAINS.

It’s the first step to building roasty, warm flavor. (Using quinoa? Toast it before you rinse it.)

29. SEASON (SOME OF) YOUR VEGETABLES WITH SUGAR.

Carrots, squash, tomatoes—these vegetables have a natural sweetness that’s enhanced by a dash (just a dash!) of sugar.

30. DON’T BE AFRAID TO SET OFF THE SMOKE ALARM.

Especially when cooking meat. Smoke equals char, and char is delicious.

31. PUT A DAMP PAPER OR KITCHEN TOWEL UNDER YOUR CUTTING BOARD.

That way, your board won’t slip around as you chop.

32. WHEN A RECIPE CALLS FOR CHOCOLATE CHIPS, BREAK OUT A BAR OF CHOCOLATE INSTEAD.

Chopping your own chips creates pockets of melty chocolate throughout your cookies—some small, some large, all delicious.

33. SALT YOUR SALADS.

It adds texture. It makes the dressing pop. It’s proof that there’s nothing—nothing—you shouldn’t be salting.

34. COOL YOUR FOOD BEFORE PUTTING IT IN THE FRIDGE OR FREEZER.

If you don’t, the temperature in the refrigerator will rise. And the only thing that benefits is mold.

35. DON’T TOAST YOUR TOAST. FRY IT.

Warm some butter or olive oil over medium-high heat. Lay in bread and fry until golden on both sides. Sell your toaster.

36. BUY YOUR AVOCADOS AT A MEXICAN GROCERY STORE.

Those are the stores that sell them ripe.

37. ALWAYS KEEP LEMONS IN THE FRIDGE.

They’ll keep longer that way, so you’ll always be able to add fresh lemon juice to everything from dressings to cocktails. Plus, you can use the squeezed rinds to clean and deodorize your wooden cutting boards.

38. CARAMELIZE MORE ONIONS THAN YOU NEED TO.

A lot more—you’ll use the extras in omelets and sandwiches; on chicken, steak and pork; in pastas and stews.

39. GET A MICROPLANE.

Sick of shredding your knuckles instead of cheese? Buy a Microplane, which will provide years of shredding power for about $15.

40. SWITCH TO METAL MEASURING CUPS AND SPOONS.

Plastic warps over time, making them less precise.

41. STORE SALAD GREENS IN A RESEALABLE PLASTIC BAG WITH A PAPER TOWEL.

The towel is there to absorb moisture, which keeps your greens crisper, longer.

42. FIND (AND BUY) PROFESSIONAL-GRADE KITCHEN TOWELS.

Oh look, we just found them for you.

43. SOFTEN YOUR BUTTER…

Serving it cold and hard on toast—on anything, really—is the one way to make butter bad. (Need it soft in a hurry? Here are four ways.)

44. …AND MIX SOMETHING INTO IT.

A little shallot, some chopped herbs, maybe some lemon zest—boom. You just made compound butter.

45. MICROFIBER DISH-DRYING MATS ARE BETTER THAN DISH RACKS.

So is a decent dish towel. Who has space for a dish rack?

46. BUY BROWN SUGAR AS YOU NEED IT, IN AS SMALL A QUANTITY AS POSSIBLE.

The stuff just doesn’t keep very long.

47. BUT IF YOUR BROWN SUGAR IS ROCK-HARD, DON’T THROW IT OUT.

Revive it with a minute or so in the microwave.

48. ESTABLISH A SALT BOWL.

Having a stash of salt always within arm’s reach when you’re at the stove is the first step to better seasoner (see tip 57).

49. BAKE PIES IN GLASS PIE PANS.

It heats more evenly than tin, and when your pie is perfectly golden-brown everywhere, you’ll know it.

50. OIL, SALT, ROAST—IN THAT ORDER.

When roasting vegetables, toss them in oil, then season them with salt and pepper and toss again. This way, the seasoning actually sticks to your food.

51. KEEP YOUR VEGETABLE SCRAPS.

Toss fennel fronds, carrot ends and other vegetable scraps into a resealable plastic bag you keep in the freezer. When you reach critical mass, make vegetable stock.

52. MAKE YOUR OWN CROUTONS.

Toss cubed bread on a rimmed baking sheet with oil, salt, pepper and whatever other tasty thing you fancy. Bake at 350, tossing once or twice, until golden brown. Now see if any actually make it to your salad.

53. AIR-DRY YOUR CHICKENS.

After you’ve unwrapped and rinsed your bird, pat it dry, salt it generously, and let it stand in the refrigerator, uncovered, for a few hours before roasting. The bone-dry skin will cook up to a crackly, crunchy, golden brown.

54. PEEL GINGER AND KEEP IT IN THE FREEZER.

Not only will it last longer, it will grate it more easily.

55. MARINATE YOUR CHEESE.

Mozzarella, feta, and fresh goat cheese? Delicious. Mozz, feta and goat cheese marinated in olive oil, chile flakes, and fresh herbs? More delicious.

56. BUY A BETTER ICE CUBE TRAY.

The ice cubes that come out of the dispenser in your fridge? They’re watering down your cocktails. Cubes made in silicone ice trays are denser and keep your Bourbon cold for hours (or, you know, however long it lasts).

57. TASTE—AND SEASON—AT EVERY STAGE OF COOKING.

Because if you wait until the end, it’s probably too late.

LINK


Really nice recipes. Every hour.

Show me what you cooked!

50 Helpful Cooking Tips

Everybody can use a helping hand in the kitchen once in a while! I have been collecting tips and hints and I do hope you will enjoy finding out just how much simpler your cooking tasks can be!

  1. To peel thin skin fruits and vegetables easily, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water, let stand for one minute then peel with sharp paring knife.
  2. For an easy dressing for fruit salad, try a grated orange rind and orange juice added to sour cream.
  3. Cream won’t curdle when pour over fruits if you add a pinch of baking soda with the cream before serving.
  4. If you add a small pat of butter when cooking fruit for jams and jellies, you won’t have any foam to skim off the top.
  5. If you have a problem with fruit jellies not setting, place the jars in a shallow pan half filled with cold water, then bake in moderate oven for 30 minutes.
  6. For attractive individual butter servings, squeeze butter through a pastry bag or plastic beg onto a cookie sheet, set in refrigerator to harden.
  7. To keep your pizza crust crispy, try placing the cheese on before the sauce.
  8. To save leftover wines, freeze them in ice cube trays. They can be used for any dish you would season with wine or can be also used in coolers.
  9. Cottage cheese can be used in place of sour cream when making dips. Just place it in the blender until it is creamed.
  10. Cream cheese can be coloured with liquid food colouring as a filler for dainty rolled sandwiches. Try a different colour for each layer and slice as you would a jelly roll.
  11. Freeze red and green maraschino cherries in ice cubes. You can also do this with cocktail onions, mint leaves or green olives for martinis.
  12. French fries will be deliciously golden brown is sprinkled with flour before frying.
  13. To bake the perfect potato, rub butter over potatoes before baking to prevent skin from cracking and to improve the taste.
  14. For the best gourmet French fries, let cut potatoes stand in cold water an hour before frying. Dry well before cooking. The trick is to fry them twice. The first time, just fry them for a few minutes and drain off the grease. The second time, fry them until golden brown.
  15. To tell how old an egg is, place the egg in a pan of cold water. If it lies on its side, it is fresh – if it tilts on an angle„ its approximately 3-4 days old – if an egg stands upright, it is probably about 10 days old. It an egg floats to the top, it is old and should not be used.
  16. To easily separate an egg yolk from whites, poke a small hole in the end of an egg and drain the white through the hole. After you have drained the egg white, just crack the egg open for the yolk.
  17. To tell if the egg is hard boiled or raw, place the egg on it’s side and spin it evenly on a level surface. If it wobbles – it is raw.
  18. When you poach eggs, try adding a little vinegar and salt to the water. This will set the eggs and keep them in shape.
  19. When beating egg whites, add a teaspoon of cold water and you will almost double the quantity.
  20. Add food colouring to the water before boiling eggs, then you can tell the hard boiled ones from the fresh ones.
  21. To keep egg yolks centered while cooking hard boiled eggs – stir the water while cooking.
  22. When handling eggs or removing them from the carton, try wetting your hands first and the eggs won’t slip away.
  23. Hard boiled eggs will slice better if you wet the knife in water before cutting.
  24. To test whether hot oil is still usable, drop a piece of white bread into the pot. If the bread develops dark specks, the oil is deteriorating.
  25. Fat from soup and stews can be eliminated by dropping ice cubes into the pot. Then stir and the fat will cling to the ice cubes. Remove the ice cubes after a few seconds.
  26. When you are broiling meats, place a few pieces of dried bread in the broiler pan to soak up the dripping fat. This will eliminate the smoking fat and it also reduces the risk of the fat catching fire.
  27. Butter will go farther and have fewer calories per serving if you beat it well. This increases the volume by adding air.
  28. Cottage cheese will remain fresher for longer period of time if you store it upside down in the refrigerator.
  29. To keep cheese longer without it forming mould, place a piece of paper towel that has been dampened with white vinegar in the bottom of plastic container hat has a good seal before adding cheese.
  30. Another way to prevent mould form forming on cheese is to store it in a sealed container with two lumps of sugar.
  31. A dull knife works better to cut cheese. Warm the knife and the cheese will cut like butter.
  32. Tomatoes added to roasts will help tenderize them naturally. They contain an acid that works well to break down meats.
  33. To eliminate bacon curling, try soaking in it cold water for about 2 minutes before frying. Dry well with paper towel. If they still curl, sprinkle them with flour. And if they still insist on curling, poke some hole in them.
  34. If you scorch meats, soak it in a towel in hot water and wring out as best as possible. Cover the meat and let it stand for about 5 minutes before scraping off burned area with a knife.
  35. To prevent fat from splattering when frying sausage, try flouring them lightly.
  36. To avoid your meatloaf from cracking, try rubbing a small amount of cold water on the top and sides before placing it in the oven.
  37. If venison is soaked in a cola beverage overnight, it will not have a strong gamey flavour.
  38. Placing meats in white vinegar and water for about 5 minutes before cooking will make them more tender.
  39. To reduce shrinkage in sausages, they should be boiled for 3-5 minutes before frying.
  40. For a too-salty ham, partially bake it and drain all juices. Pour a small bottle of ginger ale all over it and bake til done.
  41. When re-heating meats, try placing the pieces in a casserole dish with lettuce leaves between the slices – they will then be tender and moist.
  42. To keep poultry from sticking to the bottom of pan, try placing few stalks of celery in the bottom to act as a rack. This will add flavour and moisture as well when cooking.
  43. To keep meatballs from falling apart when cooking, try placing them into the refrigerator for 20 minutes before cooking.
  44. To tenderize chicken and give it a unique flavour, try basting it with a small of amount of white wine while it cooks.
  45. When stuffing your holiday turkey, place a piece of cheesecloth inside the cavity before the stuffing. When you remove the cloth, the stuffing will come out at one time.
  46. Defrost a chicken by soaking in cold water, this will draw out any blood residues and will leave the breast very white.
  47. Have you ever wondered how restaurants serve very tender, moist chicken breasts all the time? They submerge the breast in buttermilk for 3-4 hours under refrigeration before cooking.
  48. When stuffing a turkey or chicken, try sealing the opening with a small raw potato.
  49. To double the freshness of fish, place it in cold water – if it floats it has recently been caught.
  50. You can thaw fish in milk. The milk will draw out the frozen taste and provides a fresh caught flavour.

Really nice recipes. Every hour.

Show me what you cooked!

Today on Fresh Air: America’s Test Kitchen shares some of their shopping/cooking tips for meat. 

Listen to the interview (and find recipes for the perfect burger, buttermilk mashed potatoes, and oven-friend bacon) here:

‘Test Kitchen’: How To Buy The Safest Meat And Make The Juiciest Steaks

• Don’t put much stock in “pasture-raised” or “free-range” Some companies really are letting animal graze outside but access to the outdoor can be highly limited)

• “Natural” is pretty meaningless (means no artificial ingredients); look for USDA “organic” seal instead Companies must comply with long list of regulations and inspections—animals not given antibiotics or hormones, feed produced without pesticides and or synthetic fertilizers.

• Don’t buy enhanced pork. It’s injected with salt solution and preservatives.

• Don’t buy select beef. You want choice or prime meat because it has more fat and more flavor.

• Buy air-chilled chicken rather than water-chilled, unless you like bland chicken and you like paying for water. 

• Never buy 99% lean ground chicken or turkey with no fat. There’s no flavor, and the meat is really, really dry. Go for 93%, which is made from mix of white and dark meat.

• Avoid mechanically tenderized meat It’s not tender and there’s a higher risk of bacteria contamination.

• Don’t put much stock in “no nitrates added” label on bacon. These products are often cured with celery juice (sometimes listed as natural flavor) and celery juice has high level of nitrates, which are converted to problematic nitrites by the bacterial starter culture in the cure. In our tests, some “no nitrates” bacon had more nitrites than conventional brands.

• Don’t buy stew meat. Instead buy a shoulder or chuck roast and cut up the meat yourself.

• Buy Berkshire pork whenever you can. Meat has higher pH which makes it darker, firmer and more flavorful. We found juicier and more porky than regular pork. Higher pH is because of genetics and farming practices—stressed pigs produce a lot of lactic acid which lowers the pH.

Slippery, ultra-juicy mangoes are notoriously tough fruits to prep, but they’re just so darn good. Luckily, we have a hack just in time for mango margarita weather. In this week’s episode of Mad Genius Tips, F&W Test Kitchen fruit ninja Justin Chapple demonstrates the easy way to peel a mango using a pint glass. No more sticky hands. No more slippery segments. Just delicious, peel-free fruit.

Pasta: How to Avoid 8 Common Cooking Mistakes

1. Cooking Pasta in a Pot That is Too Small

This is probably the most common mistake when cooking pasta. Perhaps you don’t have a really big pot, or you just don’t want to fill one up and wait for it to boil. Cooking pasta in a small pot means there won’t be enough cooking water. When pasta is added to a small amount of water, the temperature of the water drops more significantly than it would in a large amount of water and it will take longer for the water to return to a boil. That means the pasta will end up sitting in non-boiling water for a good amount of time, resulting in gummy, clumpy pasta. Sticky pasta can also result from the pasta starch to water ratio being too high. The third reason you need to use a large pot is that long noodles won’t fit in a small pot. Breaking spaghetti to fit into a small pot is considered a culinary crime worthy of extreme punishment.

Unless you are cooking a single serving of pasta (does anyone do that?), fill a large pot with 5-6 quarts of water per pound of pasta. The pasta needs space to move around in order to cook properly and come out with perfect texture.

2. Not Adding Salt to the Water

Another mistake often made with pasta is not adding salt to the cooking water or only adding a tiny amount. Pasta needs a lot of salt, but don’t worry, you don’t actually ingest all of it. Pasta doesn’t absorb salt like potatoes do so most of the salt will stay in the cooking water. The salt is important because it has contact with the surface of the pasta and keeps it from getting slimy as it cooks. Pasta needs plenty of salt because salt “roughs up” the surface and keeps it from becoming slimy. This abrasive action is not necessary for fresh pasta, only dried, but the second thing salt does is season the pasta. If the pasta cooks in plain water, it will taste bland. Once the water has come to a rapid boil, toss in a tablespoon or two of salt. This will ensure that your pasta has the right texture and flavor.

3. Adding the Pasta to the Water Before it has Boiled

I think I have made this mistake more than others due to my impatience. Pasta has to be cooked in boiling water. As I mentioned above, if pasta sits in water that is not hot enough, it can become gummy and sticky. Let the water come to a rapid boil before adding the pasta. Once you have added the pasta, the temperature of the water will drop. Stir the pasta and let the water come back to a full boil. This will prevent clumpy noodles.

4. Adding Oil to the Water

This is a huge controversy in the pasta world. Many cooks add oil to the cooking water including a few famous chefs. The thinking is that the oil will keep the pasta from sticking together. However, if you use enough cooking water that is at a rapid boil and stir the pasta often as it cooks, it should not get sticky. Adding oil to the water makes the pasta slippery and then sauce will not adhere to the noodles. Cook the pasta correctly and there is no need for oil.

While we are on the topic of adding oil, some people toss cooked pasta with oil to prevent sticking. Don’t do it. This will have the same result where the sauce will just slide off the pasta. To prevent cooked pasta from sticking, toss it with a bit of sauce right after draining it. If you aren’t going to be eating the pasta for a while, run it under cold water to remove the starch and then reheat it in the sauce when you are ready to serve.

5. Not Stirring the Pasta

As soon as you add the pasta to the water, stir it with long tongs or a wooden spoon. Do this often while the pasta cooks. Stirring the noodles will prevent them from sticking together. Keep the pasta moving around the pot. It won’t clump and it will cook consistently.

6. Undercooking or Overcooking the Pasta

To me, the only thing worse than undercooking pasta is overcooking it. Undercooked pasta is hard to chew but at least you can continue to cook it. Overcooked pasta is limp, gummy, doesn’t hold its shape and there is no saving it. Either way, it’s not a pleasant experience. No matter how long the package says to cook it, the best way to know when the pasta is ready is to test it at least a minute or two earlier than what the directions state. Despite what you may have seen in the movies, you don’t need to throw the noodles at the wall and see if they stick to know they are ready. The best test is to taste it. The pasta is ready when it is “al dente” (to the tooth) or slightly firm. It may seem undercooked to you, but remember, the pasta will continue to cook while it drains and in the sauce so you want to keep the cooking shy by two minutes or so. Keep in mind that gluten-free pasta usually takes longer to cook than those containing gluten, and fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to be ready.

7. Rinsing the Pasta With Water

Many people rinse their pasta after cooking it. The only thing this does is remove the starch that helps hold and absorb the sauce. You not only wash away the clinginess, but also the flavor of the pasta. When the pasta is al dente, drain it in a colander. Shake the colander to get rid of all the excess water and continue on with the recipe. The only times it is acceptable to rinse pasta is when you are making a cold pasta salad or as mentioned above, if you are not serving the pasta right away and you want to prevent it from getting sticky.

8. The Pasta and the Sauce Don’t Match

One last piece of advice is to choose the right pasta shape for the sauce you are making. If you are serving a light sauce such as garlic and oil or a smooth marinara, choose a long, thin noodle such as angel hair or spaghetti. Thicker sauces like an Alfredo go well with thicker, long noodles such asfettuccine. Chunky sauces, especially those with lots of veggies, go best with shorter pasta such as penne or rotini. Choosing the right pasta for the sauce is important for a pleasurable eating experience…and just keeping the food on the fork.


Really nice recipes. Every hour.

Show me what you cooked!

10

I didn’t find this tip, so here it is.  I buy herbs like parsley, cilantro and mint to augment my salads.  To make them last in the fridge, I put the stems in a glass of water like a bouquet of flowers and change the water every few days.  The herbs last much longer and they are a tasty way to add pizzaz to your salad.  Yes I said pizzaz, now I’m off to shred some asphalt on my motorcycle to compensate ;)

57 Things You Can Do to Be a Better Cook Right Now
Source: Epicurious

You don’t need culinary school. You don’t need expensive equipment. You don’t even need that much experience. All you need to be a better cook today is a little bit of knowledge. Or, in the case of this list, 57 little bits.

1. BUY AN INSTANT-READ DIGITAL MEAT THERMOMETER.
The quickest way to ruin a perfectly marbled $25 steak? Cutting into it to figure out if it’s medium rare. Yes, the Thermapen is $95, but four steaks later, you’ve broken even.

2. WRITE IN YOUR COOKBOOKS.
Soup could have used more tomato? Chicken needed ten more minutes in the oven? Make a note of it and you’ll never make that mistake again.

3. MASTER THE QUICK-PICKLE.
Whisk a little salt and sugar into some white vinegar. Pour over thinly sliced raw vegetables. Wait 20 minutes. Eat.

Click here to read more.

Smart Idea: Make large batches of soup then freeze in silicone muffin molds. Pop ‘em out and freeze. Just reheat 2-3 pucks in a mug for a quick dinner. Perfect for the upcoming fall/winter season!

Love this idea! Especially because I always make too much soup!