How to Go From a Takeout Queen to Home Cook Pro

When your home is filled with delicious food and dishes, you are more prone to stay and eat at home, rather than spending money on restaurants or takeout. It’s also something that makes you feel relaxed and let your creativity flow. There is no better feeling than hearing how your family members compliment your prepared dish and eat it with pleasure. Cooking not only makes you feel better but also ensures that all ingredients are fresh and proper hygiene is implemented while preparing the food. Whenever you cook a dish, you know that the food is safe and there is nothing to worry about. When you eat out, you don’t know how the food is prepared and how fresh the ingredients are. 

This guide is for you if you want to start getting into the habit of cooking regularly at home but don’t know where to start.  

Get Essential Cooking Utensils

How can you enjoy cooking if your knife is dull or you don’t have the necessary kitchen utensils for the best cooking experience? So, the first thing that you should do as a beginner is to get your hands on some essential utensils that you’ll definitely need no matter what you prepare. Let’s dive into the most common ones:

  • Chef’s Knife – The first and foremost important thing is having a chef’s knife through which you can slice, dice, chop, and cut anything you want swiftly, evenly, and safely. Keep in mind that a quality knife will last a lifetime. So, don’t be afraid to invest money in a pricey and quality one as it will serve a long time. 
  • Cutting Boards – When you have a knife, it’s time to get a cutting board on which you can gently chop and dice vegetables and fruits for your dishes. A good cutting board can help you prevent cross-contamination and maintain hygiene practices in the kitchen. You need to have two types of cutting boards, one (e.g. a wooden chopping board) for veggies, fruits, and other similar ingredients and the other (e.g. a plastic cutting board) for raw meat and poultry. 
  • Measuring Tools – Measuring out the right amount of ingredients for preparing something, especially pastry, is essential. Measuring tools like spoons and cups are essential because there are so many things that need to be weighed and measured during cooking, particularly when baking. You can also consider a kitchen scale that is affordable and convenient to use. 
  • Different Types of Pans – Invest in a set of sturdy, long-lasting cookware. Whether you want to prepare spaghetti, soup, sauteed vegetables, or fish, you need different types of pans, including a saucepan, frying pan, stockpot, saute pan, cast iron, and a non-stick pan. 
  • Tongs and Whisks – You can use tongs for lifting and gripping ingredients and whisks are used for stirring and blending items quickly. So, these two are also essential for your daily cooking. 

Plan Beforehand

It’s important to understand what you are going to cook for the week. This can help you understand what kind of ingredients you need to buy from grocery stores for your meal. This not only can save you time but also help you understand how much time you’ll spend on cooking. You can choose a 20-minute or a 1-hour recipe. To get into the swing of things, start with a few recipes and repeat them on a regular basis. You learn to cook in this manner. Also, establish a recipe library so that you don’t have to browse the internet for dish ideas in the future, but can instead rely on your tried-and-true recipes. Here are some tips for you to follow:

  • You need to pay special attention to recipes, especially if you are new to cooking. Read the recipe from the very beginning to the end to understand the ingredients you need and the temperature at which they’re gonna be prepared. Also, look at how many minutes you need to prepare the dish. It may take you an hour, but maybe you want something that will be quick. 
  • Buy fresh ingredients, including in-season fruits and vegetables, quality meats, new spices, and organic foods. When you buy veggies or fruit, look at how bright and lively their colors are, ensure that they have no dark stains, skin isn’t wrinkled, or the greens are not wilted. Also, the fresh aroma of the ingredients can be a sign of their freshness. 
  • Prepare ingredients before starting to make your dish. If you need to chop carrots, onions, and cucumbers, go ahead and do it since that can help you save time and stay away from creating a mess. This can also help you understand that you didn’t forget an essential ingredient. When you saute a vegetable in a pan while you chop another ingredient, there is a higher chance that the sauteed vegetable may get burnt. So, prepare everything beforehand. 

Don’t Overwhelm Yourself

Don’t overwhelm you with cooking, because if you have never cooked before and you have just started learning, it may be too much for you to start cooking every day. So, start by preparing once a week and when you become more comfortable with it, go ahead and cook twice a week and so on. If you want to prepare once a week, you can consider making a dish with enough leftovers to eat the second day as well. 

Whenever you want to start cooking, don’t hesitate to come back and review these tips and remember that the most essential thing in cooking is enjoying the process. Share your food with your friends and family members and appreciate your wins. You don’t only save money but also eat healthier when you cook at home. 

Article By Rose Fletcher

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