When you first start cooking for yourself, you will run into some sticky situations – sometimes literally. Never fear. There are easy tips you can learn to help you navigate keeping food refrigerated, cooking, and cleaning. Here are some basics to get you started.
- You can prepare a casserole a day in advance. If you know that you will be tired after aerobics on Thursday, put together a casserole Wednesday night. You will just need to remember to cook it a little longer or bring it to room temperature before you start cooking.
- Mix one part baking soda and one part water to clean your plastic food containers. You need to scrub the containers with the mixture and then rinse with vinegar. Wash before use, but that should give you a good stain-free dish.
- Did you forget to cover something you put in your microwave? If so, then you can clean the microwave easily. Put a sponge soaked with water in the microwave for two minutes. The moisture from the sponge will get into the air inside the microwave, loosening any grease. Then you will be able to wipe it out easily.
- Speaking of your microwave, try keeping a cup of baking soda in it between cooking. You do not need to turn the microwave on with the baking soda in it. Just let it sit and absorb the odors. This trick works in refrigerators as well.
- Line your baking pans with aluminum foil if you do not have non-stick pans. Doing so will allow you to remove the foil and rinse the pan when you are done. There will be no scrubbing involved.
- If you are using your cutting board, you probably have discovered that one of the problems with them is that they slide. Dampen two paper towels and place them on your counter. Then put your cutting board on top. The paper towels will act as a buffer and will not allow the board to slip.
- When you are adding food to a skillet that has oil in the bottom, tip the skillet away from you. The oil will move to the other side of the pan. You can add your food and then lay the skillet flat again. You will avoid the risk of splattering yourself with hot grease.
- Did you get busy and not wash your casserole dish when you finished with it? When you find yourself in this situation, there are a couple of quick options for cleaning your cookware. First, you can fill the dish with water, toss it in a dryer sheet, and leave it overnight. If you make this error with a pot, you can boil water in the pot. The boiling will heat the pot enough to allow you to clean it off easily.
- If you have not thickened a soup or gravy enough, there are several ways you can correct this problem. You also can use these tricks to turn leftover soup into a stew. Try adding arrowroot, a tasteless spice, cornstarch, or flour. Add only a small amount at a time and give it time to soak in. another option is to turn down the burner. Cooking the soup for longer will give it time to thicken. You also can leave a casserole on the burner for five minutes after you pull it from the oven. That will allow it to thicken.
These tips are just a few of the thousands out there for cooking. Keep learning. You will master the art of cooking in no time.