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If you are looking to improve on your cooking skills, a refresher course in the basics can be a great investment of your time. But if you are too busy for that, the following tips can help you get back to some cooking basics that you may have forgotten or overlooked.

Understand that the smaller the item, the higher temperature that you are going to need to cook at. This will help to maximize the way that your food tastes during the meal. Cook your smaller foods at very high temperatures and larger foods at lower temperatures for the best results.

When cooking stock, make it in a large quantity and store it in smaller bags in the freezer. Stock has a long freezer life and can be useful in so many recipes. Making a larger batch is no more difficult than making a small batch. You’ll save yourself time later by having a freezer store to turn to.

After you have cooked mashed potatoes, make sure that you return them to the hot pan so that they can steam for the next ten minutes. This will allow for the potatoes to dry out so that you can get a rich texture when you are applying your milk and butter.

When heating oil on the stove top to use for frying, use a low setting and slowly turn the burner up to reach the desired temperature. Most foods do not require much more than 350 degrees, for the oil to fry it to a nice golden brown and not end up burnt to a crisp on the outside, while raw on the inside. If you crank the temperature setting knob to its highest point, you not only run the risk of spattering and burning yourself, as well as the food you are trying to fry, but you are also wasting time while you wait for the oil to cool down enough to use. Oil heats up quickly, but it is very slow to cool down, once it has gotten too hot.

When a recipe calls for vegetable shortening, coconut oil is a healthy alternative that should be used. Coconut oil can be difficult to find in the typical grocery stores so you may need to look in a healthfood store to find it. It is important to read the label to make sure it is true coconut oil.

Saute vegetables with chicken broth to cook them in a healthy way. Not only does it lessen the amount of cooking oil needed as per a traditional saute, the broth adds an extra dimension of flavor to the vegetables. You will love this cooking style if you just give it a try!

A well-stocked pantry is a cook’s best friend! Never is that more true than when you are faced with unexpected company and you have nothing specifically planned to serve. Maintaining a pantry stocked with the basics gives you the flexibility to create easy meals at the last minute. For help in creating a great cook’s pantry, think hard about the items you go back to again and again. You can also find great tips on items for the pantry in most good cookbooks and online at cooking sites.

Cooking the daily meal can seem like a chore sometimes and throwing ingredients together quickly becomes tiresome. Cooking for pleasure can be relaxing, entertaining, and can be delicious. Remind yourself of some of the basic rules of cooking and make cooking fun again for you and your family.

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