Last updated on October 14th, 2016
The kitchen is often the social center of the home. From the notes that are left on the counter to the prestige of having artwork posted higher than anyone else on the fridge, the tools that a kitchen has can really bring a family together during meal times. You don’t even have to be a great home chef to be able to take advantage of the connectivity that your kitchen can provide!
This article, in fact, is dedicated to those non-chefs who could burn a microwave burrito. If you would open up a can of pasta rings to cook it on the stove and you’d turn on the smoke detectors, then we’ve got some ways to help you turn your meal times into something homemade instead of something that came from take out.
6 Ways To Get More From Your Kitchen:
Invest in a Rice Cooker
You won’t believe how handy a rice cooker can be in the modern kitchen. You literally just put in your rice, put in the water, and turn on the machine. A few minutes later you’ve got perfectly cooked rice… assuming you’ve used the correct ratio of rice to water. With the exception of brown rice, you really can’t go wrong with a 2 to 1 ratio for water to rice. In other words, 2 cups of water cooks 1 cup of rice in the rice cooker. You don’t necessarily need that much and you can tinker with the water ratio to get drier rice if you want. Brown rice needs at least 2 1/2 cups of water for success and an additional hour or so to make it tender. Trust me – don’t try to make a scratch risotto from brown rice unless you want to be standing at your stove for at least a year stirring the mixture. Once your rice cooker is loaded, turn it on and you’re done.
Always Have Some White Wine Around
If you’re avoiding alcohol, then maybe ignore this tip. Otherwise, a little cheap white wine is a great thing to have in your kitchen to increase the flavors of many dishes that involve pork and poultry. You can even make a pretty decent fondue from a $3 white wine, a little lemon, and your basic cheese if you really get ambitious! For the basic home cook, however, here are some quick ways that white wine can help you out in a pinch:
- Add a splash to a jar of Alfredo sauce that is pre-bought while heating it up for a more authentic flavor.
- Use a little to steam or boil frozen vegetables to get that plastic flavoring out of them.
- Drink the entire bottle to forget about the icky frozen lasagna that is in the oven right now.
Seriously though – any sauce that you make for pork or poultry, even a tomato sauce, can benefit from some cheap white wine if you’re in a pinch and need something to cook quickly. Best of all, if you let it simmer long enough, the alcohol will be gone.
Don’t Be Afraid of Turmeric
One of the essential spices to the diet is Turmeric. It is thought to have a number of health benefits and provides an almost mustardy flavor to dishes that is mild, but still nicely fulfilling. It’s normally used for stir-fry dishes, so grab your pan, get a frozen stir-fry veggie kit from the grocery store, and then mix in the Turmeric as you’re getting the vegetables hot. If you’ve purchase a pre-made meatloaf, a baked chicken, or other protein that is a little greasy, re-heat the dish with some of this sprinkled spice on top and you’ll create a dish that eliminate some of the grease while providing a little extra color for visual aesthetics. If we’re having a can of beef stew at home, we use some of this spice to fill out the flavors of the dish by putting 2 teaspoons in with the stew as it cooks on the stove.
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Invest in Olive Oil
You know how you can quickly defrost pretty much anything frozen with a big enough pan and a little water? Stop doing that and instead add a little olive oil to the mixture. You’ll still get moisture from the frozen items as they cook, but the olive oil will work to seep into what you’re cooking and take away some of that frozen, rubbery taste that can affect a lot of foods, but especially red meats. Apparently there are even 101 different health benefits that can be had with from the consumption of olive oil, so you won’t want to disappoint anyone there either!
A Little Tinfoil Will Take You Far
Do you stay out of the kitchen because your food gets too dry? That’s actually happening because you’re overcooking your dishes! One of the easiest ways to prevent too much moisture from leaking out is to cover the baking item in tinfoil. If you have a flavored liquid, say lemon juice, and you’re cooking fish in the oven, the lemon will infuse nicely with the fish and give you a gentle flavor that will get heads nodding in approval. A little salt, a little pepper, and you’ll have the basics of pretty much any protein dish down!
The Basics Still Work
One of the first dishes I ever made my family is still one of their favorites. It involves just four ingredients: chicken, potatoes, cheese, and cream. All you do is put down a layer of cheese, then a layer of potatoes, and then you repeat twice more. Put the chicken on top, bake it for about 75 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered, and you’ve got a great tasting masterpiece! The secret is to cut the potatoes into dollar coin shapes so that they are easy to layer. You literally just take a potato, slice it without cutting off a finger, and you’re done. Presto! You’ve just made a homemade dish in your kitchen!
You don’t have to be an expert cook to provide good meals that your family will love. Use these kitchen essentials today and just see how many “likes” your kitchen will start getting!