When I started college I was completely clueless when it came to cooking. Even though my mom is a master chef and I had “helped” her in the kitchen multiple times, I had very little experience with following recipes and making decisions for myself. I have compiled a list of lessons I have learned first hand so that (hopefully) you don’t have to make the same mistakes that I did!
- Read through the recipe BEFORE starting to cook. Even if it is just a quick glance through. I have ruined many a dish by adding things in at the wrong time or forgetting ingredients.
- Mix spices together before hand. This is my husbands handy tip. He measures out and makes a little bowl of spices before he starts so that he does not have to take the time while he is cooking and risk burning his food.
- When baking a dish with cheese on top, put the oven on broil for the last few minutes to get a delicious, crusty brown layer of cheese.
- Always add wet ingredients to dry, unless otherwise stated.
- When baking a bread or pastry, I always do a layer of oil and a layer of flour in a pan. It helps with sticking.
- For muffins or cupcakes, use silicone muffin liners. They are so handy, eco friendly, and my muffins always pop right out instead of taking half of the muffin with them. Try these.
- When baking a bread with yeast, it can be a pain to find a warm spot for it to rise, especially during the winter. I warm up my oven to 200*, turn it off, and pop the rising bread in. Make sure it is not hot enough to cook the bread, though.
- Hate cutting onions? Me too!!! Use frozen, pre-chopped onions instead. They are not as flavorful, but they save a lot of time and tears!
- More expensive ingredients usually equal a better tasting meal, but not always! I almost always will invest in a better quality cheese, but many of the store brand items have the exact same ingredients as the name brand. Check labels and try different things to see which you should spend and which you should splurge.
- Baking breads do not have to be time consuming or scary! I promise! There is nothing more delicious than a fresh baked bread straight from the oven. I have never owned a bread maker and I make all of my own pizza crust, rolls, bagels, breadsticks, and easy cheesy bread. Just search for some recipes and try them out!
- Pinterest is your best friend. Seriously. You can find any type of dish you could possibly dream of.
- Pre chopping veggies before you start cooking saves time and stress.
- When cooking a dish it is fine to experiment with different ingredient amounts, but when baking make sure you use the exact measurements (unless the ingredient is chocolate chips, be as liberal as you would like with those!)
Feel free to comment with any baking tips that have helped you! I am going to update this list as I go!