Everyone, young or old, can enjoy having a handy collection of basic cooking skills with a little practice. Mastering this list can help you make better meals, save time, be safer in the kitchen, and just plain have fun!
Taking the time to make your own stocks or broths gives you ultimate control over the amount of sodium and fat going into your meals. It’s also great for customizing spices and herbs for certain dishes (bonito-pork broth for ramen, anyone?).
Properly Cooking Pasta
While most people can at least boil water to cook pasta, it’s still a fairly easy food to mess up. It’s a good idea to glance over the main pointers to make sure you’re not using too little water or adding unnecessary ingredients (looking at you, salt).
Creating a Flavorful Sauce
If you have a few extra minutes to skip the jarred sauce (though we do have our personal favorite brand), then making your own sauce can be a satisfying experience. Getting the basics of how to make sauces should leave you with the ability to make a tomato sauce, cream sauce, and pesto with ease. Don’t forget to add a bit of reserved pasta water at the end for an ultra creamy and flavorful sauce. Cooking a Hot Breakfast
While it’s highly disputed whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it’s still beneficial to know how to whip out a hot breakfast when needed. Learning the plethora of egg techniques out there (whether it be scrambling, boiling, or poaching) is a good place to start. Pair that with some oven-cooked bacon, toast with easy toppings, or French toast to round out your brunch table’s spread.
Mixing Up Fancy Cocktails
Plenty of us are guilty of still drinking like college students long after becoming alumni. Gain a basic repertoire of classic mixed drinks to start off your venture into the world of impressive cocktails.
Saving Time and Dishes with One-Pot (or Sheet-Pan) Dinners
Throwing everything into a pot or onto a baking sheet can result in impressive meals that will leave others guessing how you made something so delicious and left practically no dishes in the sink.
If you don’t want to wake up early to pack lunch or have been eating a bit too much takeout recently, then meal prepping might be for you. By investing a few hours each week and a little money in reusable containers, you can make healthy meals that will last you the whole week.
Roasting a Chicken
It might seem a bit intimidating at first, but learning how to roast a whole chicken is something that will continuously help your culinary ventures. Our easy fool-proof way is a great primer for those wanting to try their hand at making an impressive bird.
Roasting is one of the tastiest ways to cook vegetables. Many vegetables that are found unappetizing when raw or steamed come out wonderfully flavorful when roasted. Our guide to roasting carrots is a good introduction to the technique, which can be easily used on other veggies as well.
Properly Using a Knife
Being comfortable with knifes is an absolutely essential cooking skill. Make sure you choose a knife that fits comfortably in your hand, is sharp (which ironically causes fewer injuries than a dull knife), and is the correct size for what you’re trying to cut.
Food Safety Basics
Last, but most definitely not least, is a basic knowledge of food safety. The FDA has a great website highlighting the need-to-know practices that will keep your kitchen and the food coming out of it safe.