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Cooking a delicious meal is not nearly as difficult as some people think. The most important part is having a good recipe. After that, it’s just a simple matter of buying the right ingredients, knowing your household measurements and following the steps. There’s no reason to try to be a gourmet chef right away.

Indenting the center of a hamburger patty by up to one half inch will prevent bulging during cooking. Just a poke in the middle prior to cooking will allow a more even distribution of heat and will stop your burger from swelling on the top, something most of us are all too familiar with.

Garlic is one of the more pungent odors that you will ever experience, and you will want to have tricks to get rid of it as soon as possible. Here is a suggestion, after you cook something with garlic, rub your hands on the base of your stainless steel sink for a minute to eliminate the pungent odor off of your skin.

Always add oil to the side of the pan when sautéing. If you find that you need more oil in your pan while you are cooking, never put it right in the middle. Add it to the side of your pan. That way, it will be sufficiently heated by the time it reaches the food.

Try to plan for a week’s worth of meals. If you can get in the habit of planning a weekly menu, it will save time on grocery shopping, and will reduce the stress of having to come up with a meal idea at the last minute. Also, keep a magnet-backed notepad on the refrigerator, and jot down any items that you are running low on. This way, your kitchen will always be stocked with the ingredients that you use regularly.

Make sure you are storing your spices in the right place. Many people store their spices right above their stove or near a light source. To stay fresh, put them in dry and dark spot that is cool. Humidity can also destroy spices so keep those several factors in mind.

As your cooking prowess grows, you will learn to appreciate the versatility of stocks and broths. Rather than buying these useful ingredients at the store or wasting your time cooking them in small batches, prepare stocks in large quantities. You can store surplus stock in plastic bags in your freezer, ready for quick use in future recipes.

A granite surface is great for thawing frozen foods, usually taking less than half of the time necessary for typical counter top thawing because granite absorbs the cold (and heat) of items placed on top of it so granite literally “sucks out” the cold from your frozen foods. Granite is also an amazing surface for pastry preparation when dusted with a little flour. If you can’t afford to redo your kitchen in granite, check out a granite dealer for scrap pieces or have a smaller piece cut and polished for a fraction of the cost of remodeling your kitchen.

It doesn’t matter how old or young, anyone can learn how to cook a fantastic meal. Start with a simple recipe and follow the directions exactly as written. Thousands of recipes are available online. As you get more comfortable with cooking, you can start changing the recipes to suit your particular taste preferences.

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