Saturday, June 8, 2019

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Make the cooking process simpler and quicker with the proper techniques and kitchen tools. Below is a list of food preparation steps.  

1. Handling fruit 
• Many fruits are sprayed with pesticides and contain dirt.  
• Before eating fruits not enclosed in a peel, rinse them off. 
  
2. Dicing/chopping/cooking vegetables 
• If you must cut something like an onion into small pieces, first cut it into big slices then mash those slices with a large, sharp knife, working your way all around your pile with the blade tip down. 
• Boil certain vegetables such as carrots, zucchini and squash to soften them before frying them.  
• Use just enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. 

3. Cooking meat  
• If you choose to fry meats, cook them in grease or vegetable oil on both sides with enough oil to cover half of the meat.  
• Reduce cooking time by having your oil hot before putting meat into the skillet.  
• Generally fry chicken for 9 minutes over a high fire on each side then simmer it for two minutes on each side with a lid covering the skillet to soften the meat; however, you should first cook all pieces for 11-12 minutes on each side if not enough of their redness disappears by the time the 9th minute arrives.   
• The bottom line is that when frying chicken, the fire must be high and close to maximum capacity - a medium to medium-high fire won't thoroughly cook the chicken.
• Prior to cooking, pork chops and steak should be covered in store-bought marinade.  
• To tenderize steak, beat each side with a cooking mallet - do this step before doing a marinade.  
• Broil steak, pork chops and fish on each side to save time, enhance taste and protect your health - eight minutes total for pork chops, 18 - 20 minutes total for thin steaks.  
• Use coating for chicken and fish for better taste. 

4. Preparing meat to freeze  
• It helps to measure the amount of foods such as ground beef you're putting in a plastic freezer bag before freezing it.  
• If your package of beef weighs five pounds, split it in half and put each half into separate bags with "2.5 lbs" written on them. 

5. Thawing out meat 
• Meat that has bone in it generally takes longer to thaw.  
• Chicken and steak are perfect examples of this with beef being an exception even though it has no bone.  
• If you must keep these meats on the kitchen counter or sink instead of the refrigerator for a few hours before it's time to cook, soak them in cold water after the first hour or so.
• The best option for thawing out a package of beef is to leave it out for about 1 to 3 hours overnight then refrigerate it while you sleep then leave it in the sink or on the counter for up to a few hours before cooking dinner.

6. Cutting thick steaks into portions
• If you buy bulk steaks from a store like Sam's Club, neither you nor those who live with you will likely want to eat the entire portion in one meal.
• Within a few days of buying this meat then refrigerating it, cut each piece into 2 separate blocks to eat for dinner on 2 separate occasions.
• Immediately freeze the portions you don't intend to cook within the next 24 hours - to prevent sticking, separate the steaks by inserting the liners which are included in the package in between each individual steak.
• If you wish to broil these thick steaks using the "lo" setting, broil them on the middle oven rack for about 15-17 minutes on each side.
• To avoid drying out the meat, only put salt and any seasonings containing salt on the meat after broiling it - pepper can be applied before you broil.

7. Not tenderizing steaks excessively
• Steaks that have been sitting in the fridge instead of the freezer usually don't need much tenderizing.
• If you just finished thawing the steaks out, they'll likely need to be pounded with a tenderizer many times.

8. Input on the video located above
• Rice is one of the first items covered.
• When boiling rice, put plenty of water in the pot plus sprinkle in an adequate amount of salt beforehand.
• Stir rice frequently - following these two steps helps prevent sticking.
• Also shown is the use of spices before the roasting of vegetables. Please keep in mind that although it's okay to add salt to your dish before baking it, adding salt to meats before broiling them on side A or side B can dry out the meat.

9. Where there's smoke...
• Be proactive toward kitchen hazards.
• If you're baking or broiling something, turn on your blower once you smell the oven burning.
• Always double check to make sure you turned off the oven after you're done baking.

10. Cooking a frozen dish that comes with a packet of frozen sauce
• Remove the sauce packet from the bag then put it in a small bowl filled with hot water.
• Keep sauce submerged until it thaws out, which is only a few minutes.
• Begin pouring the main dish into a large non-stick skillet then spreading the thawed sauce all over the dish five minutes before it's time to turn on the fire, not one to two minutes beforehand.
• It takes several minutes to get all contents from the bag poured in then cover it all with the sauce.

11. Making your hamburger patties equal in size
• Besides being long and wide enough to fit the diameter of your buns, your patties should be flat.
• If any of them are too much thicker than the others, transfer a little bit of meat from them to the smaller patties; do this before you turn on the stove fire.

12. Where to cook hamburgers on your stove
• Fry hamburger patties over a burner which gets very hot.
• It naturally takes longer to cook beef than to cook other meats such as sausage.

13. Preventing hamburger buns from falling onto the floor
To prevent the buns from hitting the floor between the stove and the edge of the kitchen counter, flip them over with your spatula facing the center of the stove rather than it facing the counter.

14. Preventing hardness when frying bread
• Fry the bread/buns for a few seconds on each side over a burner that doesn't get too hot and over a medium fire.
• Quickly remove the bread from the griddle once you're done.

15. How to soften hard bread in microwave oven
Briefly microwave it with a wet paper towel on top before frying it.

16. Having everything right there before starting
• Speed things up and prevent the possibility of forgetting to add something by having all ingredients you need on the counter before preparing items to bake.
• If you're using a recipe, take as many of the items you need out of the refrigerator, spice cabinet and pantry as you can in just one or two trips, if possible.

17. Preventing stuff from falling out of the basket
• To prevent items from falling out of the basket in your deep freezer, tilt your basket before removing food from under it.
• As you put your basket back down, hold down the top items at one end of the basket with your left or right hand.

18. Getting a head start on heating up leftovers
• If you have a large container filled with a dish you recently made, take it out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you're ready to cook so that the dish heats up quicker and more evenly in the microwave oven.

19. Cooking all of a dish more quickly on the stove
• Your cookware should be centered when you're frying an item.
• Make sure your skillet/pot/pan is centered over your fire.

20. Being more prepared when it's time to cook a new item
• When fixing a packaged dish you haven't cooked before, give yourself extra time to make it.
• You may be surprised how long it takes to prepare this dish.

21. Knowing how to make impromptu decisions
• There will be times when you must ad lib, or suddenly do something unexpected, as the chef.
• While cooking ravioli from a package many months ago, the amount of water the package instructions told me to use wasn't enough; therefore, I added more water in order to fully cook the pasta and prevent any of it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

22. What to do before you're done fixing hot dogs or burgers
Assuming you've already cooked your meat, take out the condiments you plan to use such as mustard and ketchup while cooking your buns or just before cooking them.
Doing the little things like this speeds up the overall process of preparing your meal then eating.

23. Steps to take for preparing a dish the first time
Hours before it's time to cook a frozen dish you aren't used to fixing, look at the package to learn the minimum amount of time you can expect to spend on preparing your dish.
Before opening the package and any sauce packets that are in it, look to see if there's an easy way to open them.
Thoroughly read the instructions before you start cooking.
Fully follow the instructions.
Finally, if you're using a recipe, go over it within hours of the time you plan to begin cooking.

24. Taking butter out of the fridge soon enough
If you plan to use butter while preparing the meal, take it out of the refrigerator soon after washing your hands before it's time to start cooking.
The sooner you do it, the less likely you're going to forget to take out the butter prior to the moment you'll need it.
I prefer to take out the butter upon taking out my ingredients and cookware so the butter isn't too hard when I must use it.

25. Keeping track of the time
Once you begin a time-sensitive task such as simmering, baking or broiling, look at the clock on your stove/oven range right away to avoid wasting time wondering when you began this cooking phase.

• Now that you've come this far, top it off with my cookbook located above. 
Impress everyone with your newly acquired talent.

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