Even if you’ve been cooking for many years now and are pretty good at it, there may be a few bad habits that you’ve been using without even realizing it, particularly when trying to cook from scratch. Maybe you’re one that’s always in a rush to get dinner on the table for your family and take a few shortcuts along the way? Those wrong decisions could make all the difference regarding your meals turning out the way you had hoped. Keep reading to discover 12 common mistakes that many cooks seem to make when cooking from scratch and to see if you’ve been guilty of any of them. What is cooking from scratch?
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More Cooking From Scratch: 12 Mistakes People Make
1. Adding Your Ingredients to a Cold Pan
One of the most common cooking mistakes is adding your ingredients to a cold pan. Don’t be one that’s caught doing this! This is especially true when you’re cooking meat. If you’re trying to get a nice sear on your steak or chicken, you need to make sure that both your pan and cooking oil are hot before adding any food to it. Otherwise, your food could stick to the pan and it won’t cook evenly. This is an important tip when cooking from scratch.
2. Seasoning Your Food Too Late
Another common cooking mistake is seasoning your food too late. This is especially true when cooking meat because you should never wait until it’s ready to be served. Seasoning your meat before cooking will help lock in the flavor and ensure that it’s evenly distributed. Seasoning it after it’s cooked will only give the outside of your food a little flavor while the inside remains bland.
3. Not Preheating Your Oven
If you’re someone that often forgets to preheat the oven, you’re not alone. This is a cooking mistake that’s made all too often. However, it’s an important step that shouldn’t be skipped if you want your food to turn out right and be ready to eat on time. Whether you’re baking cookies or cooking a roast, preheating the oven is a must.
4. Cooking Meat Straight from the Refrigerator
Meat should never be taken from the refrigerator and immediately placed on a stove or the grill. It needs to be brought closer to room temperature first, otherwise, it won’t cook evenly. This is especially true for thick cuts of meat like steaks and chops. If you try cooking them straight from the fridge, the outside will be cooked while the inside will remain undercooked or even raw. 20 Satisfying Meatless Taco Recipes
5. Not Using Fresh Ingredients
When cooking from scratch, it’s important to use the freshest ingredients, whenever possible. This includes things like using fresh herbs, ripe fruits and vegetables, and unprocessed meats. Not only will your food taste better when you use fresh ingredients, but it will also be more nutritious. Fresh Cranberry Salad Recipe I’ve found over the years that my famous no-fail homemade bread always turned out great as long as the ingredients were fresh, particularly the yeast.
6. Not Letting Your Food Rest
If you’re cooking meat, it’s important to let it rest after cooking. Do you know why that is? Allowing cooked meat to rest for several minutes allows the juices to redistribute and ensures that your meat is juicy and tender. If you cut into your meat right after cooking, all of the juices will run out and your meat could be dry.
7. Using the Wrong Knife
When cooking, it’s important to know what the right knife is for the job. Using a dull knife can make cooking much more difficult and can even be dangerous. A sharp knife, on the other hand, will make cooking easier and help you avoid accidents. If you’re cutting meat, a boning knife is your best option, while a chef’s knife is better for thicker cuts of meat. When it comes to preparing salads, a salad or lettuce knife is what you should be using to make meal prep the most efficient.
8. Preparing Food on a Messy Workspace
Another cooking mistake that’s all too common is preparing food in a messy and/or dirty workspace. A cluttered countertop can make cooking more difficult and can even lead to accidents, as well as contaminated food. When cooking, it’s important to have a clean and organized workspace. This will help make cooking easier and ensure that your food is safe to eat and that you don’t get sick. 10 Cleaning Tips For The Minimalist
Some people will prepare a salad on the same work surface they used to cut up a chicken without giving any thought to cleaning the surface between the two chores. We all know that chicken can have salmonella or other bacteria that can make you very sick. Don’t think that the cooking process will kill all those pesky microbes, it won’t.
9. Not Tasting Your Food as You Cook
One of the most common mistakes people make when cooking is not tasting their food as they cook. This is a mistake because it’s impossible to know if your food is seasoned properly or if it needs more salt, pepper, or other spices. The only way to know for sure is to taste your food as you cook and make adjustments as necessary. Be sure not to taste things that need to be fully cooked for safety reasons.
10. Overcrowding the Pan
We’ve all been guilty of this next one at one point or another, but overcrowding a pan with food is another cooking no-no. Just like with you and me, your food needs to be able to breathe as it’s being cooked. When you overcrowd a pan, the food doesn’t have enough space to cook evenly and can become overcooked, undercooked, or even burnt.
It can also have the opposite effect on certain foods by adding too much moisture, leaving your food soggy and rather unappetizing. So, when cooking, make sure to give your food plenty of room to breathe in the pan.
11. Don’t Forget about Adding Acidity
Most people realize the importance of adding salt while cooking, but adding acidity to certain foods is one that is often overlooked. Adding just a splash of vinegar or lemon juice to a dish can make all the difference between a good and a great meal. It can brighten up the flavors and make a dish more well-rounded, leaving your family utterly impressed with your cooking.
12. Decorating a Cake Before It’s Cool
Last on my list of common cooking mistakes has to do with decorating a cake or cupcakes before they’ve had enough time to cool down. Sure, it may be tempting to add the frosting while the cake is still warm, but resist the temptation! If you try to decorate a cake before it’s properly cooled, the frosting will melt and your cake will be ruined by the cake getting soggy, or the frosting just runs off the cake and onto the plate. So, take the extra few minutes to let your cake or cupcakes cool down completely before adding any frosting. Easy-To-Make Strawberry Cake Recipe
I freeze my cakes before frosting them. You may want to see how I make cakes that are super moist. Best Chocolate Cake Ever I learned from my mom as a young girl that one trick to making a cake very moist is to freeze it before then thawing it out and serving it. Give it a try, you’ll be amazed.
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These were some of the most common mistakes that people make when cooking from scratch in the kitchen. What cooking mistakes have you been making over the years that you’d be willing to share? I’d love to hear from you! May God Bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: White Kitchen AdobeStock_199449771 by magdal3na