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10 Cooking Tips For Beginners To Help You Master The Kitchen

A recent survey showed that almost a third of the US population cannot cook. Decades of TV dinners and ready meals have left many of us unable to find our way around a kitchen. However, with some basic skills, you can find that cooking can be an enjoyable and healthy pastime.

Follow these cooking tips for beginners and easily become a master of the stove- even if you have never cooked before.

How to boil an egg

Let’s start with something simple- a perfectly boiled egg.

It’s great for a quick snack or as an add-on to your salad. It is one of the simplest things to cook — put on a tight lid if you know how.

Cooking an egg to the perfect level of hardness can seem like a mystery. The trick, however, is in the timing.

Put a pan on the stove with enough water to cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down the heat slightly to a simmer where the water bubbles gently. Add the eggs carefully and then start a timer. You need to leave them for 6 minutes if you want a runny egg yolk. Leave them for 8 minutes if you want the yolk to be set softly or 9 minutes if you want a hard boiled egg.

Cook a perfect steak

real men can cook

Similar to a perfect egg, cooking a perfect steak is a matter of timing. You need to heat a pan until it is smoking hot. Don’t put any oil in the pan. Instead, rub your steak with some oil then some salt and pepper.

Place your steak in the pan and leave it alone! Resist the temptation to move it about. Wait for a minute or so until it is ready to be turned. Depending on the thickness of the steak, you need to cook it for about 1½ minutes per side for rare, 2 minutes for medium rare and about 2½ for medium.

However, rather than just relying on time, here is an additional test. Pinch your thumb and first finger. If you feel the flesh between your thumb and finger, this is what a rare steak should feel like. When you touch your middle finger to your thumb, you will get the feel of medium rare and your ring finger will give you the feel of a medium cooked steak. You can use this as a way of telling if your steak is cooked perfectly every time.

Remember, allow your steak to rest for a few minutes before serving to allow it to reabsorb the juices and be totally delicious!

Handle a knife safely

Your kitchen can be a dangerous place. It’s filled with hot pans, sharp knives and more. Because of that, knowing how to handle a knife is vital. You also need to know how to select the correct knife for the job.

Your knife must be sharp! A blunt knife is more likely to slip and cut you. Treat your knives well and keep them razor sharp. Wash them by hand as your dishwasher will blunt the blades.

Remember that you always need to keep your fingers clear of the blade when cutting. Do this by curling your fingers so that the knife is guided by your knuckles and your fingertips are clear.

Speed is not essential. Practice will allow you to work faster and more accurately with your knife.

How to cook rice perfectly every time

Rice is a staple for many meals. However, wet or burnt rice will easily ruin a dish.

For perfect rice, you need to wash your rice until the water runs clear. Take a medium sized pan and put in about ½ a cup (90g) per person. Cover with water so that it’s about an inch above the rice and bring to a boil.

When it’s boiling, keep an eye on the rice as you are watching out for bubbling holes on the surface of the rice. As soon as you see this, put in a tight lid and switch off the heat. Leave the rice for 10 minutes and serve immediately.

Make a pasta sauce

man can cook

A tomato ragu is a simple pasta sauce which you can use to create a delicious and quick pasta dish, meatballs or some grilled chicken. It is a very versatile addition to many dishes.

Finely chop onion, carrot and celery and place them in a pan with a little olive oil. You want to gently heat this so that they soften without browning. Patience is everything here!

Add a tin of plum tomatoes, a sprinkle of basil, a bay leaf, salt, pepper and water. Mix well and simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer if you can. Make sure you stir it every so often and then serve with your favorite pasta or meat.

Become a BBQ master

Mastering a barbecue is a great skill and there is more to it than firing up the grill and hoping for the best.

Step one, preheat your grill. Placing meat on a cold grill will leave you with undercooked food. Heat the grill for ten minutes or so before you place your first items, ensuring it is searing hot.

Check if your meat is at room temperature. You should take it out of the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before you start cooking. You can use a meat thermometer. It may cost a few dollars, but it will save you from having burgers that are burnt on the outside, raw in the middle.

For ground beef, you need to ensure that you have an internal temperature of at least 160℉ to ensure that any bacteria is killed. There is nothing worse than being remembered for poisoning your guests!

Oil the grill using a brush so that nothing sticks. Use wood chips to add a smoky BBQ taste. You can wrap some corn on the cob in foil with butter to add to your steak and burgers.

Bluff your way with wine

There has never been a better time to enjoy a good wine. There is such a great selection available at affordable prices.

If you know nothing about wine, you should start by trying out a number of different wines. Many specialist shops will have taster sessions to help you understand wine better. While you are there, remember to jot down the names of the bottles you enjoyed.

Start with some classic wines, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Rioja. From there, build your selection as you try more new tastes.

Make life simple with batch cooking

We have all been there. We get home from work and want something to eat but we can’t be bothered to cook. So, we reach for a take-out menu.

If you keep on experiencing this issue, then the answer is batch cooking. It’s the art of creating additional portions when you cook meals. It is perfect for dishes like chili con carne, casseroles and soups. You can portion them off into plastic boxes and freeze them until you need them for quick dinners.

Remember to package the meals carefully. There should be no excess air in the packaging as this can cause freezer burn.

Make your own bread

Making bread is something that’s deeply satisfying, particularly if your home starts getting filled with the delicious scent of warm bread. It may not be something you want to do every day, but it’s a great thing to do on the weekends.

The recipes are pretty simple. Basically, you’ll need yeast, warm water and flour kneaded together.

Enjoy cooking

Probably the best tip for anyone who wants to get into cooking is to enjoy it. Look at your time in the kitchen not as a chore, but an opportunity to chill out after work or as a weekend activity. Put on some great music, grab a beer or a glass of wine and enjoy creating some great dishes!

The post 10 Cooking Tips For Beginners To Help You Master The Kitchen appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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About Darren Webb

Hello & Welcome to my blog. My name is Darren Webb and i'm on a magical successful journey and also helping others have a more stress free relaxed life. I truly hope that you find a lot of useful information on my blog and that it helps you through your life. Please feel free to contact me at any time.

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In an age where pharmaceutical drugs dominate television advertisements (the average US television viewer sees nine pharmaceutical ads per day (C. Lee Ventola, 2011)), it’s not surprising that the overwhelming majority of the population are looking for quick fixes to often complex problems. After all, there’s a pill for almost anything these days. But one of the most time-tested and effective mental health boosters is completely under-utilized and under-prescribed – exercise.

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So why, with all the knowledge we have on this physical-mental link, do we still first reach for the anti-depressant pills, and not our running shoes?  The answers are beyond the scope of this article, but most certainly include the billions of dollars of annual advertising spent by Big Pharma; our ever-increasing need for instant gratification; and (perhaps most unfortunately), our ever-increasing lethargy underpinned by our growing worldwide obesity rates. So, where to from here?

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The first step towards using exercise as an adjunct to an overall healthy mental state is to acknowledge that there is a clear link between exercise and mental health, and that you are responsible for self-medicating with the powerful drug of movement. At its’ most basic level – getting up and moving around will give you a more positive outlook on life, and moderate some symptoms of depression, anxiety, addiction and cognitive impairment. So, just get up and move.

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Lift More

Resistance training is one of the most beneficial physical exercises a human being can do – particularly one that utilizes multiple muscle groups and body parts. When most people think of weight training, they picture powerlifters or bodybuilders moving huge weights around a gym, but in reality, any resistance to your body can make a positive impact on not only your mental health, but your physical health as well. For beginners, air squats, push-ups against a wall and lying leg lifts might be enough to get excellent results. For the more physically-experienced, a weight-training regimen of three to five days per week alternating muscle groups will be more effective.

Join a Class

One of the best ways to continue with physical exercise is to be accountable to a group - whether at a gym, social club or even with work or family members. A great way to achieve this is to join an organized fitness class – it could be aerobics, swim, senior fitness, CrossFit or anything in between. The important thing here is that you get some level of physical exertion.

What to Expect

In the world of instant gratification that we seem to be a part of, it’s unrealistic to expect that walking a few minutes a day will alleviate all your mental health concerns. In that same vain, please don’t take this article as a prescription to drop your medication, counseling, dieting or other treatments and just do some form of physical exercise. What we’re encouraging here, is adding some level of physical exertion to your daily routine as a supplement to your treatments. The goal is most certainly to be symptom and treatment-free, but don’t expect exercise to be your cure-all. Here are some things you can expect, and in a fairly short period of time:

- Improved mental clarity
- Higher self-esteem levels
- Improved cardiovascular capacity
- More restful sleep at night
- Lower anxiety levels
- A better sense of purpose

These should be the goals of anyone looking to improve their mental health, and with decades of published research on the topic, it seems to be a no-brainer that you should incorporate some physical exercise in your daily routine.

 


James Anthony is the manager of Protein King – an online fitness, health, supplement and apparel store dedicated to improving the lives of everyday people. Based in Australia, James writes extensively on the topics of diet, nutrition, sports supplements and fitness, and in his time working with Protein King, has been rewarded with many inspiring stories of change and empowerment.

References

Biyan et al. (1997). The Mental Health of College and Middle-School Students in Shanghai And Its Relationship With Physical Exercises. Psychological Science, 1.

  1. Lee Ventola, M. (2011, Oct). Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising: Therapeutic or Toxic? Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 36(10), 669-674; 681-684.

Davis, J. E. (1930, August). Mental Health Objectives in Physical Education. Occupational Therapy & Rehabilitation, 9(4), 231-238.

Morgan et al. (2013, August). Exercise and Mental Health: An Exercise and Sports Science Australia Commissioned Review. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, 16(4), 64-73.

Taylor et al. (1985, March-April). The Relation of Physical Activity and Exercise to Mental Health. Public Health Reports, 195-202.

You've read How Exercise Can Boost your Mental Health, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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