frying pan over stove top flame
Books,  Chicken,  How Food Works,  Recipes,  Reviews,  Salads

Practical Skills to Improve Your Cooking

There are lots of different practical ways to improve your cooking skills.

Most people focus on cooking the same meal until they perfect it, but it makes more sense if you focus on improving several skills at once.

This way, you’ll be able to prepare complete courses, be able to cook fancy foods by just examining the recipe, and you’ll never get bored of cooking different things.

So check out these fun and practical skills which will greatly improve your cooking ability.

Please note that I may earn a small commission from purchases made through product links in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

female hands chopping greens

Learn to make stocks and gravy

One of the best investments of your time is to learn how to cook stocks and gravy.

Stock is an incredibly important component of many different dishes.

It serves as the base for many different sauces and soups, so if you use the same pre-made stock for everything, it’ll end up tasting the same.

Cooking stock is surprisingly simple and you can always adjust it to the flavors which work for your dish.

You can also store it in the fridge for a long time or even freeze it into small portions that you can use in the future.

What is a gravy?
A sauce made from meat juices, usually combined with a liquid such as chicken or beef broth, wine or milk and thickened with flour or cornstarch. A gravy may also be the simple juices left in the pan after meat, poultry, or fish has been cooked and it is full of flavor.

What is a stock?
It is a strained liquid that is the result of cooking vegetables, meat, or fish, and other seasoning ingredients in water. A brown stock is made by browning bones, vegetables, and other ingredients before they are cooked in the liquid. Most soups begin with a stock of some kind, and many sauces are based on REDUCED STOCKS.

Gravy is a flavorful liquid formed from other food.

Stock is formed when flavored water is cooked with other food.

Cooking different ethnic cuisines 

Every country has its own kind of cooking skills they pass on to younger generations.

As such, it’s a good idea to explore your culinary interests and discover new foods to cook.

You can start by following simple recipes and then expanding to modify them with your own favorites.

Experimenting like this is a brilliant way to pick up new skills and it can also open you up to trying different things.

Worldly spices and flavors promo

Learning how to prep

Prepping food is a great way to save time and money when cooking meals.

You can prep simple things such as salads and then pack them away in containers for when they’re needed.

Get my Salad with Chicken Bites Recipe at the end of this post.

Alternatively, you can cook an entire feast on the weekend and separate it into smaller meals that can be heated up and eaten throughout the week.

Cooking a new recipe? Prep all your ingredients BEFORE you actually start assembling the dish.

I use various kinds of Mise en place (French pronunciation: ​[mi zɑ̃ ˈplas] dishes to hold my ingredients.

 A French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place”. 

By prepping in advance, it streamlines your cooking and alleviates some of the stress of preparing a new recipe.

Learn new knife skills

Knife skills are great because they can help you feel more confident in the kitchen and speed up preparation times.

You can learn this and more at The Art of Doing Stuff, a website full of different kinds of cooking tips.

It’s important to be vigilant when learning new knife skills since it takes a while to build up your muscle memory.

You also need to practice with a sharp knife and be careful so you don’t accidentally hurt yourself.

I suggest you also learn how to sharpen your knife so that it cuts with ease.

Make sure you own high-quality knives like this set:

Henckel Knife set

  • Set Includes 4-inch paring/ utility knife, 6-inch utility/ sandwich knife, and 8-inch chef’s knife
  • Made in Spain
  • Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel
  • Fully forged construction offers durability and a seamless transition from blade to handle
  • Professional, satin-finished blade boasts precision cutting and is finely honed for long-lasting sharpness
  • Ergonomic, traditional triple-rivet handle gives balance and comfort
  • Dishwasher safe

More about buying, storing and caring for knives

Learn to mix drinks

While technically not cooking, mixing cocktails and understanding what drinks go with what flavors can greatly enhance your dining experience.

I suggest learning to make classic cocktails and drinks that you already know and then using it as a base for experimenting with.

 For example, whiskey pairs great with fried foods 

There are lots of impressive cocktails that you can spice up and add your own twist to and they make fantastic treats for friends and family members.

Here are the books I own about making cocktails:

3-Ingredient Cocktails is a concise history of the best classic cocktails and a curated collection of the best three-ingredient cocktails of the modern era. Organized by style of drink and variations, the book features 75 delicious recipes for cocktails both classic (Japanese Cocktail, Bee’s Knees, Harvey Wallbanger) and contemporary (Remember the Alimony, Little Italy, La Perla), in addition to fun narrative asides and beautiful full-color photography.

 

 

 

An entertaining, easy-to-follow, complete collection of more than 1,500 drink recipes from around the world, along with non-alcoholic recipes, includes party planning tips, a buyer’s brand guide, four-color photographs, and much more.

DISCOVER HOW TO ELEVATE YOUR COCKTAILS WITH BITTERS


Related posts:

5 Essential Cooking Skills Taught in Culinary School


Salad with Chicken Bites

This easy salad incorporates your favorite vegetables, but with chicken fingers. It is also easy to control your portion size. Put your salad dressing on the side to save on calorie consumption.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Chicken Tenders, salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 439kcal
Author JoAnn's Food Bites

Ingredients

  • 3 Tyson's Southern Breast Tenderloins
  • 1 Romaine heart
  • 2 Radishes
  • 2 peeled carrots
  • 2 cooked, hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 cherry tomatoes

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 425º
    Tyson's Southern Breast Tenderloins
  • Place chicken tenderloins on a baking sheet lined with non-stick foil
  • While chicken is cooking, prepare salads by chopping and evenly dividing lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, carrots
  • Peel and slice one hard-boiled egg for each salad
  • Top with shredded cheddar cheese - NOT the pre-shredded stuff but fresh cheese.
  • Cut cooked chicken into bite-size portions and divided evenly between salads.
  • Serve dressing on the side to control calories
  • Top salads with bacon bits, croutons, or sunflower seeds.

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