Certain cooking skills benefit several different recipes and give your cooking a pop that will make your family want more. Instead of dragging their feet to the table, they’ll be sitting there before the meal is done.
Learn to Make Milk Gravy
Milk gravy takes on the flavor of whatever you are cooking with. It’s an old skill that has been passed on for years. It makes the best sausage gravy for biscuits and gravy and makes great pork, beef or chicken gravy. All good gravies start with a roux, but if done improperly, the gravy will taste like flour. Milk gravy starts with a thinner roux, which is never lumpy and always has a great flavor.
Remove the meat from the pan unless you use sausage or burger crumbles. Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour over the grease in the pan. Constantly stir it while cooking it. Add milk a little bit at a time when the mixture turns a shade darker. Add a little more milk as it thickens until you get the thickness you desire. Always start with about a quarter cup of flour.
You can make any flavor of cheese sauce for pasta and vegetables. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan. Add ¼ cup of milk. Always use two types of cheese. One is the flavoring cheese, such as cheddar. The other melts easily without separating, which is always a softer cheese. Velveeta is a good base cheese since it melts easily without separating. Use about 60 percent Velveeta and 40 percent of the flavoring cheese.
You must constantly stir the mixture, or it will stick to the pan. If the cheese sauce is too thick, thin it with a little milk.
Pie filling is one of the easiest things to make, and you can freeze it for when the fruit is out of season. For a standard pie, you’ll need about 7 to 9 apples, peaches or similar. If you are using berries, you usually need a couple of pints – around 1.5 pounds of berries. Prepare the fruit by washing and peeling it. Cut it into slices and put it in a saucepan on low heat. Add 1 cup of sugar. As the fruit mixture cooks, you can taste it and add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter filling.
Once the mixture creates a liquid, measure 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch into 1.5 tablespoons cold water. Mix it well. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the cornstarch mixture while constantly stirring. You must stir the mixture through this entire process. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue stirring and cooking for about 5 minutes. Set the mixture aside to cool. Once it’s cool, put it into your pie and bake or freeze it.
Flipping Fried Goods
You can speed up cooking by learning how to flip food as it is cooking. To practice, put rice into a dry frying pan and start flipping. When you flip, you need to use your wrist. The rest of your arm should barely move. Flip the food high enough to leave the pan, but not so high that it lands on your head. Once you get the technique down with rice, try frying an egg and flipping it. If unsure of yourself, flip it over the sink, so you have less of a mess to clean up.
Every cook should learn knife skills — you’ll be less likely to cut yourself when using a chef’s knife. And, with the proper skills, you can speed up prep time. The first rule is to never extend your fingers to the knife. If it slilps, you could lose a finger. Bend your fingers at the middle knuckle, leaving the top knuckles as straight as possible. Hold the food with your fingertips. Place the side of the knife against the middle knuckles. Lift the knife just enough to bring it to the top of the food, leaving the point on the cutting board. You can chop a bunch of parsley or chop veggies in no time once you get used to leaving the point of the knife down and lifting the heel only.