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How to Cook Better: 13 Tips for Beginners

Cooking is one of the essential life skills that everyone needs to master. It is a great way to give and receive positive energy. Preparing food at home can take less time than eating out, but when starting out, it can be confusing.

5-Minute Crafts will show you how to avoid beginner’s mistakes and make the most of your leftovers.

1. Keep cilantro fresh for longer

Herbs are a great and cheap option to add flavor to your food, like for instance cilantro. This herb can be added to many recipes. Using fresh cilantro is much better than dried cilantro. Here is a tip on how to keep it for longer.

  1. Fill a glass with water.
  2. Add the cilantro.

    Tip: When cooking with soft fresh herbs, don’t add them at the start. Add them near the end so they can stay fresh and maintain their color.

2. Add new flavors to your dishes

Flavored oil is a great way to add a splash to your food. It can be made with many things like leftover herbs, garlic, rosemary, orange peels, or chili, and it’s good for salads and pastas. Here is how to do it:

  1. Grab a glass bottle.
  2. Wash the herbs, garlic, rosemary, chili, or whatever you chose to add.
  3. Put them in the bottle.
  4. Cover them with warm olive oil.
  5. Leave the oil for some time so that the flavor can infuse into it.

3. Re-purpose stale bread

Put sliced pieces of bread in the blender and make breadcrumbs. Those can be used for many things like crab cakes and more. Another option is to cut stale bread into cubes and freeze it for later. It’s much better to use old bread than a fresh one because it absorbs the oil better. This hack works for any type of crouton you want to make, for example, Caesar salad croutons, among others.

4. Boiling potatoes

Use cold water when boiling potatoes so they can cook evenly. The water and the potato should warm up at the same time. If you boiled too many potatoes, keep the leftovers. They can be transformed into gnocchi, mashed potatoes, or even a potato salad.

5. Pat dry all meats before searing

Making meat or fish crispy is an easy and useful trick to know. Just pat dry it with a paper towel, so there is no moisture left on the meat. Always let the meat rest after cooking.
Note: If you don’t do this, the moisture from meat will leak into the pan while it’s cooking, and instead of searing it, you will end up boiling it, and it won’t have a good crust.

6. Using leftover lemon and lime

When you haven’t used up a whole lime, and you don’t want to throw the rest away, try this simple hack. Cut up lemons or limes and put them in an ice cube container. Freeze them and freshen up your favorite beverages. They won’t water down your drink, and they will also add flavor.

7. Frying a perfect egg

Fried eggs are a breakfast staple commonly known around the world. If you don’t cook them properly it can ruin the experience and the egg will have a different taste. There’s a right way to fry eggs and they should be crispy at the bottom while the yolk should be runny. Here’s is how to achieve this:

  1. Grab a pan.
  2. Put oil into the pan.
  3. Let it heat up.

4. Add the eggs.

5. Add a little bit of water.

6. Cover the pan with a lid.

8. Boiling milk mess-free

If you’ve ever taken your eyes off the milk while it was boiling, you know that it can overflow easily. There is a simple way to prevent that by adding a wooden spoon to the top of the pot. The spoon destabilizes the bubbles and they won’t spill out. This method also works with boiling pasta.

9. Peeling garlic

Garlic is an important and widely used seasoning. Learning to peel cloves of garlic is an easy timesaving skill. A single clove can be processed by smashing it with the blunt end of a knife. It will loosen the skin and peel more easily.

And the whole head can be done like this:

  1. Press it with your hand.
  2. Separate it into a bowl.
  3. Cover the bowl.
  4. Shake it hard and just pick out the peeled cloves.

    Note: Learn how to use garlic to improve your cooking with these tips.

10. Learn how to chop an onion properly

Onions can be caramelized, grilled, fried, or added to salads, but in almost all cases, they need to be cut. Chopping one is an important cooking skill, and here is how to do it properly:

  1. Cut the onion in half and leave the root on it.
  2. Put 3 fingers on top of the onion and point the knife toward the root.

3. And start slicing as close to the root as you can.

4. Cut the onion in the middle, near the top.

5. Hold the onion and chop it.

11. Zest a lemon

Lemon zest can be put into many things like jelly, pancakes, toast, and muffins. It is important to do it right, otherwise, it can taste bitter. This is how to do it properly:

  1. Put a grader on a plate.
  2. Use the finest part of the grader.
  3. Start zesting the lemon by doing long strokes and twists.

    Tip: Never zest the white part of the lemon.

12. Cooking pasta perfectly

Pasta can be an amazing Italian dish. But if it’s not done properly, it will not taste good. So here is how to make it perfect every time:

  1. Grab a large pot and fill it with water because pasta needs space to cook.
  2. Salt your pasta. You will need approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt per liter of water or 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt per liter if you like less salt.
  3. Let the water boil, and then add the pasta.
  4. Every pasta is different, so look at the package for how long to cook it and wait accordingly. You should put the pasta in the pot, stir it, and then start the timer. Also, don’t add olive oil in this process because it will do more harm than good.
  5. Save a cup of the water that the pasta was cooking in you will need it for later.

6. Prepare your chosen pasta sauce because the sauce needs to be hot and ready when you add the pasta to it.

7. Add a little bit of the pasta water that you previously saved.

8. Add the pasta to the sauce.

9. Cook the pasta with the sauce for 1-2 minutes.

10. Serve the pasta.

13. Making perfect cupcakes

Baking perfect, less oily, cupcakes is an easy process. Just put a little bit of rice under the liner. The grains will absorb any leftover grease, and the bottom will be much drier, which will make the eating experience cleaner.

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