America’s Secret Recipes

I always wanted to improve my cooking despite the fact that I am very bad at it, and nothing seems to come out well out of my hands. But I still got my hope and decided to start looking for some good recipes (what I mean by this is something that tastes good even with my clumsy skills). And I think I might have found it.

I absolutely love restaurant food and the spices they use to make it so much different from what we make at home. I always wondered what made it so delicious despite the fact that we use the seemingly same ingredients at home, with worse results.

Then I found a recipe book written by Ron Douglas, named (conveniently) “America’s Secret Recipes”, that advertised the fact that the book held restaurant secrets and recipes that the billion dollar companies like KFC, Pizza Hut, Red Lobster and many others are trying to keep away from the public. Who doesn’t want to learn how to cook up a Pizza Hut house special huh? Yes, the book has it’s share of Pizza Recipes and deserts! Yeah, actually I always wanted to know how they make those exceptionally tasty Tiramisu cakes. I always had it in for those.

The book also tries to make use of easy recipes in a sense of presenting the recipes by their signature companies, for example if you’re looking for KFC specials, you will find them all in one spot so you don’t need to read every recipe in the book to actually find what you’re looking for.

Overall, the book is worth that special price tag I got it for, especially if you get it while that special offer with the second volume is still there. You practically get two good books for a very low price tag. As Ron said, you spend a lot of money eating out, money you could use somewhere you really need it, while making great meals for your family and receiving great compliments for your cooking.

How To Create The Best Breakfasts

It can be tempting to make the family quick and fast breakfasts every morning. These could include opening a box and pouring the contents out, or popping some toast in a toaster. However breakfasts can be amazing, when some effort is put into it. There are many recipes that are designed to be fun, healthy and filling. A good amount of food in the morning will keep a child or an adult going for hours.

There are some quick ways to locate easy recipes. An online search may give people what they are after. Someone can print off the recipe or they can carry their laptop into the kitchen and follow it from in there. Many ingredients will be ones that are already present in the kitchen. If they are not, then they can be added to the grocery list.

Books and cooking magazines will also carry some great healthy recipes. These items may be found in book stores, libraries, and convenience stores. A magazine about food will offer some valuable points, tips and ideas for creating the perfect items for an early morning start. Pictures will be bright and easy to follow. A cook book will also offer a section that is dedicated to the creation of breakfast items.

Some meals will ask the cook to make it the night before. This is common with a lot of eggs recipes. The mixture would be made the night before and let to sit overnight in the fridge. Not only does this save time in the morning, but it also helps to intensify the mixture as it sits and settles over the evening. In the morning the tray or dish is simply added to the oven or a frying pan and cooked up.

There are many egg dishes that will call for ingredients that may already be in the kitchen. Often during the week, there are left over food dishes or supplies that were not eaten or used up. These extra and leftover items can actually be put into an omelet or another breakfast dish. These food items could include; mushrooms, grated cheese, peppers, onions and some vegetable mixes. An egg dish will be enhanced with some interesting additions.

When there is left over mashed potato or another mashed vegetable, these ingredients can be used to make some quick and easy dishes. By throwing in some hash browns and the mix of veggies, the entire mixture can be mashed up into a nice hash brown. The taste will be great and the meal filling for anyone who eats it.

A good and hearty breakfast meal could include one simple thing, like an omelet that is packed with yummy things, or it could be a few different dishes. Some people will serve homemade pancakes with bacon, sausages and ham. On the weekends it is common for many families to enjoy big breakfasts.

When breakfasts are needed for a family, there are ways to find them and make them a reality. The larger meals can be made on the weekends, while the quick and simple ones saved for during the busy week. Some meals can be made the night before and served or cooked the next morning. A weekly plan can be created to ensure that recipes are cooked and that there is a variety in morning meals and snacks.

Read A Good Cook Book?

There are simple things in this world which gives a person happiness even though they don’t know why. One of this is the love for cook books. Actually, you can list down many things why cook books remain as the top bought items in book stores and book sales.

They inspire you to be something better. Not only as a better but as a better mom or dad when it comes to preparing foods. Food preparation is an art and no matter how simple that dish is, there’s some kind of love and passion which a cook should have in order to satisfy the eater.

They make your heart flutter. As you see look into those pages full of colorful meals and delightful sweets, it’s very easy to fall in love and yearn to go to that bakeshop and buy your slice of cake or your dish of steak.

They look good in book shelves. No matter how many years you stuck them in your library, time will come when they will become handy.

They can last forever. The recipes and the ideas in cook books will last forever. Ingredients and cooking tools may become more modern as years pass by but basic cooking tips will always be the basis in cooking.

They can be the best gifts. Want to please your girlfriend, mom, or your soon to be mom-in-law? These books will give you the best shot.

They are unbiased. No publication can be as universal as cook books. No matter if you are black or white, Asian or Chinese, you won’t feel guilty reading this publication. What’s better is that you learn to appreciate people with the way they prepare their food.

Young and old will appreciate cooking books. There are books even for kids as young as 5. Babies will appreciate the amazing colors offered by these materials and elders can remember their good old kitchen while sitting and browsing on her self-made cook book.

There are just a hundred more reasons to love a good cook book but the most important thing about these materials is that they bring out something better from the readers. You can’t just open a page without getting something out of them.

Cook books are made by angels, whether they are angels from earth or from the heavens above. They make a cook’s life a breeze and they make a much better world for all food lovers.

The Science of Good Cooking: Cook’s Illustrated

Cooks Illustrated: The Science of Good Cooking is a goldmine. Reading the title may make the buyer beware. Is this a cookbook or a science lecture? Cooks, relax! In addition to explaining why a recipe works, the book is chock full of delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes. As a former subscriber to Cook’s Magazine and avid cook, I have made and can attest to the quality of many recipes in this book. The cover of this new cookbook says it all. Four hundred recipes are “Engineered for Perfection.” In addition to the tested and delicious recipes, the book is an education on what kinds of ingredients and cooking techniques will make your dish come out perfectly.

Fifty concepts are explored. Some intriguing examples are:

· Green Vegetables Like It Hot-Then Cold

· Slicing Changes Garlic and Onion Flavor

· Vodka Makes Pie Dough Easy

· Don’t Soak Beans-Brine ‘Em

· Resting Meat Maximizes Juices

Recipes for appetizers, dressings soups, stews, poultry, pasta dishes, rice, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, breads, desserts are clearly laid out. Flexible ingredient substitutes may save you a trip to the store. A “Why this recipe works section” explains the nitty-gritty of the technique. Pictures show test kitchen results to demonstrate the effects of certain changes to the recipes. (For example, how you handle your butter affects what your biscuits look and taste like).

I tested one recipe on my husband, who hates to cook. He made the “Meatballs for 12” recipe. The meatballs were tender, delicious and easy. He said the directions were clearly presented, flexible as to ingredient substitution, and doable. He is a math guy so he really enjoyed the scientific explanations about why 93% beef didn’t work as well as 85% beef. (Juicier meatballs). Once you master the meatball recipe, a Swedish Meatball recipe with similar technique is presented for expanding your serving possibilities.

A chapter on cakes starts with the standard “Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake.” Then you can go wild with recipes for Chiffon cake, Lemon Bundt Cake, Best Shortbread, Cheese Cake and many frostings.

Good Cooking Tips

Have you ever made a recipe and it came out disastrous? Did you ever consider why?

Well here are some tips that are imperative to good cooking.

· TASTE AS YOU GO!

For most cooks, tasting is automatic, but when it’s not, the price can be high.

There are so many factors that can destroy a recipe… your ingredients, the amounts, your stove, and a million other factors. Due to these factors, the results can vary greatly. As you add ingredients, taste to see if the recipe is going in the right direction.

· SUBSTITUTES

You make substitutions in baking that turn the recipe into something else.

Unless it has been proven to work, don’t experiment with something you will be serving for desert that night. If you don’t have an ingredient, wait until you can purchase it before attempting to make it. Which brings me to the next tip…

· READ, READ, READ.

You start making the recipe and find out you don’t have one of the ingredients.

Read the entire recipe the day before you start cooking. If you need to purchase something, or perform a task, you will have time to do it.

You don’t want to be an hour away from dinner guests arriving when you get to the part of the recipe that says to marinate the meat overnight or find you are missing an ingredient.

· KNOWING COOKING DEFINITIONS

Simmering vs. boiling.

Simmering is cooking over low heat where the bubbles are slowly breaking at the surface.

Boiling is cooking over med to high heat where the bubbles are breaking fast and often at the surface.

Ok so the recipe calls for simmering the meat for 2 to 3 hours, and you boiled the meat for 30 to 45 minutes…the meat comes out tough and hard to chew.

Because it was cooked too fast it lost the juices and became “shoe leather”.

If you are not prepared to put in the time needed to prepare a dish then save it for when you do.

How to Be A Good Cook

When you have already learned the basic science and art of cooking and you have mastered it fully well, there is no way you would not be able to learn its complexities. Becoming a good cook, or perhaps one of the best cooks your family will ever have takes as much practice as when you were just starting.

If you are trying your best on how to be a good cook, here are a few tips you can keep in mind.

Stick to the basic principles of cooking. You will learn from these as you go along trying on something else different or as you vary your cooking styles. Go from the simple to the more complex recipes. Learning how to be a good cook is a process, thus start from the very beginning.

You can then try to modify the easy recipes you have learned before. Say for instance, you can change your seasoning. Instead of the regular salt and monosodium glutamate, you may try a complete seasoning that will improve the meal’s taste. Or you may add in a new ingredient that you know could improve the food’s taste.

Consider cooking not only as a science but as an art. When you have applied some artistic touch to your cooking, like when you know perfectly what vegetables and ingredients add color to the food, or you know how to arrange food on a plate, this will encourage members of the family or relatives, especially kids to try eating the meal.

Always be well-informed and updated about the world of cooking. If there are new practices in cooking, always be on the go to try it. Watching TV shows about cooking and learning from other people will polish your skills as you go along. From new recipes that other people make, you can even create your own and try to make a twist that will make yours better, especially when you are planning to take it commercially. It takes a really genuine, excellent idea on how to be a good cook and make it in the competitive world of food business as well.

Do not attempt to cook when you are not in a good mood. A happy disposition is also an advantage when you want to be the best in the kitchen. It affects your patience and your focus on what you are doing. It has been a noticeable consequence that when cooking has been done in an awful mood, food tastes are in fact ruined.

Always be clean and orderly. Cleanliness and food arrangement matters a lot for a cook to be successful. Besides, good food also means uncontaminated and toxin-free. You would not want your cooked food to harm you or any of your family or other people as well.

It is better to choose organic-raised vegetables, meat and other ingredients, when you can. These provide better nourishment and more likely free from harmful chemicals or pesticides. Or better yet, you can have an organic garden or livestock of your own so you have your direct supply of vegetables, fruits or meat and even spices.

And more importantly, think of cooking not only as a routine chore in the house but as a very rewarding experience. When you condition your mind to be doing it because its something that your family will benefit from, then it would not be much of a weigh-down.

Anyone Can Be a Good Cook

When you are largely seen as a good cook, you hear all kinds of comments from people who don’t claim to have talent in this area. The biggest excuse that seems to come up is that they are just not a good cook. Maybe they claim that they can burn water, or that they just aren’t good at experimenting in the kitchen. The truth is that it’s not that hard to be a decent cook. Like most things, anyone can learn, if they put their mind to it. However, unlike other “hobbies”, cooking is a necessary part of everyday life. Everybody has to eat, so you might as well make it as pleasant an experience as possible. Below you will find some tips to turn you from a kitchen flop to a culinary star.

Use a Recipe

Don’t tell anyone else, but almost every good cook relies on a collection of cookbooks and favorite recipes. Even those cooks who have a signature dish probably picked it up from somebody else, or lifted it from a magazine or cookbook. There is absolutely no shame in using a recipe. It is just another tool in a good cook’s kitchen. No one would be embarrassed to admit that they had used a blender, would they? So, why balk at using a recipe? In fact, if you are less than confident in the kitchen, recipes are the absolute best way to improve your cooking ability. Someone else has already taken the time to test the compatibility of all the ingredients, as well as the preparation and cooking methods used. Take advantage of that to not only get better results, but also to save time. Once you get more familiar with cooking techniques, you’ll start to be more comfortable making substitutions and variations to your favorite dishes.

Practice Makes Perfect

As trite as this sounds, the good cooks that you know are probably the ones that do it a lot. Nothing can really substitute for practice. Anybody can make a frozen dinner; however, that won’t do you any good if your goal is to become a better cook. Besides, eating that type of prepared food is unhealthy, expensive and, frankly, boring. So what if your first few tries result in less than stellar results? Does the painter automatically turn out a masterpiece the first time he picks up a brush? Of course not! He perfects his craft over time, and so will you. Begin with simple recipes and practice, practice, practice.

Tools are Your Friends

Most people who don’t see themselves as exceptional cooks don’t pay a lot of attention to kitchen tools. However, a properly stocked kitchen will make learning to be a good cook much easier. A blender that works properly and nice sharp knives just make cooking more enjoyable. You should also invest in some other basic cooking helps, like a stand mixer. This is really an indispensable kitchen tool that you should use on a regular basis. If you do have kitchen tools, but rarely use them, pick some recipes that will allow you to learn your tools, and make the most of their abilities. While the tools don’t make the cook, they can certainly make your job easier.