Summer cookouts and barbecues come with a lot of delicious foods, but to me, there's nothing better than dishes heaped with avocados. From guacamole to simply eating an avocado right out of its skin, I devour this fruit constantly—but it's one that can be tricky to find perfectly ripe.
There's nothing better than real, homemade tomato sauce, but to really develop the flavors, it usually has to simmer for a few hours. And while it's totally worth doing if you have the time, some nights it's just not an option. That's where the pre-made stuff comes in. Jarred pasta sauce certainly doesn't taste the same, but it's really easy to dress up when you need something quick. If you don't want anyone to know your "secret recipe," here are 10 ways to make store-bought spaghetti or mari...
Hard-boiled (also known as hard-cooked) eggs are notoriously easy to mess up. We've all ended up with tough, rubbery egg whites and overcooked yolks that have that unappetizing gray-green ring around the edge. An ideal hard-cooked egg has a firm yet tender white, while the yolk is creamy and well-done without being mealy.
Most recipes don't specify what type they mean when they call for onions. While using whatever kind you already have won't necessarily ruin a dish, using the best one for what you're cooking will definitely make your food taste better.
Living on a budget often means compromising what you want for what you need—or at least, for what's affordable. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to compromise on flavor, especially if you know the right tips and tricks to make something spectacular out of the ordinary.
One of the golden rules to cooking a Thanksgiving turkey is to place it on a roasting rack before it goes into the oven. Missing this step and cooking it directly on the pan will burn the bottom of the bird, resulting in overcooked, dry meat.
Bacon isn't hard to cook on the stovetop, but every cook who's been hit by splattering fat knows it's not the most pleasant kitchen task to tackle. If you're cooking bacon for a lot of people, you can avoid this by cooking it in the oven on a roasting rack, DIY or otherwise.
The headline above may have some spice addicts shaking their heads, but, believe it or not, there are people out there who either don't like or can't handle a ton of spice.
A lot of people rely on the date on the packaging to tell them when food has gone bad, even with eggs, but the "sell by" dates are often rather arbitrary, and do not correlate to expiration dates. If you've been tossing away your eggs based on the dates on your carton—you're wrong.
Unless you like boxed wine, your wine bottles are going to either be sealed with a cork or a screw cap, the latter of which should not be frowned upon, especially if it's white wine. However, most wineries still prefer corks over screw caps, and that means you'll need a corkscrew.
Ask ten different people how they feel about boxed cake mixes, and you'll likely get ten different answers. Some baking purists will berate them and throw them in the same category as garlic presses and knife sets sold on infomercials. Many people will say that they prefer not to use mixes, but keep one in the pantry just in case. And I dare you to find a college student that doesn't sing their praises.
French fries, like mashed or roast potatoes, are the type O blood of the food world—they're compatible with just about everybody. That's why it's so sad to bring home leftover frites (that's French for French fries) and have to toss them out the next day because they don't taste as good when they're reheated. Warning: Do Not Ever, Ever Use Your Microwave
I love making everything from scratch, but some things are just easier to buy. So there are times when you have to find a creative way to split the difference. For me, the easiest dish to buy without compromising on flavor is cornbread mix.
There's an ongoing debate about whether or not it's safe or even desirable to rinse meat before you cook it. Many fall into the anti-rinsing camp, saying that it's not effective at dislodging bacteria, especially on poultry, as we've discussed before. Meanwhile, some argue that rinsing certain meats, like bacon, could be beneficial since it possibly prevents it from shrinking.
I'm constantly searching for a homemade pizza dough that tastes good but isn't too challenging to execute. In other words, a recipe that doesn't require any arcane "dough whispering" skills. However, my hunt may be coming to an end thanks to one celebrity chef's concept.
Alcohol isn't exactly considered a healthy lifestyle choice; more often than not, it's associated with empty calories and bad decisions. But that doesn't mean there aren't a few benefits to drinking in moderation. In fact, gin is a liquor with a wealth of potential benefits to offer. So read on, and discover ten ways in which gin might actually be a good drink for you.
Everyone talks about how great sliced bread is, but there's nothing better than the taste of a just-baked loaf of crusty French bread. Like most beautiful things in life, however, the beauty of the baguette doesn't last. The next day, it's rock-hard, and good for very little except for croutons or breadcrumbs. But there is a trick to make it like fresh again.
Once upon a time in America, there was coffee and there was decaf. That's it. No capuccinos. No espressos. And certainly no Starbucks. Coffee was just coffee, something that you bought at a gas station or donut shop. If you made it at home, it was either in a metal pot or instant coffee.
Frozen fruit is always in season at your local grocery store, so you don't have to wait until the farmers market starts again to enjoy delicious baked fruit desserts. Peach pie, blueberry muffins, raspberry scones... all of these delicious baked goods can be just as delectable when using frozen fruit, too.
Love or hate 'em, you've got to admit that cupcakes really had their moment. They started rising in popularity back in 2003 with the opening of Crumbs Bake Shop in Manhattan, and quickly became one of the most annoyingly ubiquitous food trends to date. Seriously. Type "cupcake" into Google. While I wouldn't turn it down if you put one in front of me (red velvet, please), I can't say that I was particularly disappointed to hear that the cupcake trend is coming to an end. I'm more of a cheeseca...
I love making stock. It's thrifty because you get extra use out of poultry bones and vegetable peelings, plus having homemade stock on hand makes so many things taste better, from soup to stews to pasta sauces. If you deglaze a pan, homemade turkey stock, booze of some kind, and butter will create an eye-rollingly good sauce in mere moments. One task I do not love? Figuring out how to skim the damn fat off the stock (or soup) after I've made it. It's necessary to skim the fat as you boil down...
Creamer, milk (whole or skim), sugar, or even butter—you've probably added at least one of these to your coffee to improve its taste at some point. If you're looking for something different, though, try a new twist with a dash of cinnamon. This sweet, sharp spice can do so much more than improve coffee's taste, and I've got 10 examples for you to consider.
You're in the middle of cooking and a car alarm, cute kitten, or neighborhood brawl made you step away from the stove for a few minutes longer that you should have. It happens to almost every home cook. Most of the time, nothing dramatic happens, but every now and then, you end up with something like this:
Homemade ice cream is so good and you can make it with just a few ingredients and no special equipment. Most cookbooks and magazine recipes expect you to have an ice cream maker at home, but you can imitate the churning effect of an ice cream maker by shaking or tossing around the ingredients inside a tightly sealed ziplock bag.
One of my favorite things about American Chinese food is how easy it is to eat: the pieces are bite-sized, the flavors are addictive, and the meat is always tender and easy to chew. But if you've ever tried to replicate any of your favorite takeout in the kitchen, you've likely noticed that the high heat required for most recipes thoroughly dries out the meat that you're trying to cook.
I'm not a big fan of single-use tools, especially ones that don't get used particularly often. And I'm especially not a big fan of seldom used single-use tools that take up a large amount of space.
It's that time of the year, y'all—when the air becomes crisp, the nights grow long, and people crave hearty, warm soups and stews. And of all the season's offerings, my hands-down favorite has to be chili: It's versatile, meaty, and above all else, it's damn easy to make. (Thank you, Lord, for the slow cooker. Amen.)
It's a basic law of cooking: whenever you're really craving something, you don't have it. All you want is a glass of wine? Chances are you finished the bottle while braising meat last night. Want nothing more than a sandwich right now? Yep, you finished the bread with breakfast. You'd kill for a steak? They're all in the freezer, and you don't want to wait while they thaw; you want your steak now.
Each flavor of sake, the national spirit of Japan, comes with its own fans, not unlike whiskey aficionados here in the States. While sake is often called "rice wine," it is more akin to a malted beverage like beer.
Baking soda is a powdery miracle. Not only is it the secret ingredient to making mashed potatoes fluffy, it can help you make authentic-tasting soft pretzels at home and caramelize onions in half the time. It's actually got lots of surprising uses you might not know about, and one of them is that a pinch or two can correct sour and bitter tastes in your food.
Baking powder and baking soda are two staples almost everyone has around that seem to last forever. But a lot of people don't know that they eventually start to lose their potency after enough time on the shelf. If you can't remember when you bought it, it's probably time for a new box.
Instant ramen has been popular in the states for decades, and restaurants that serve the real thing in any variety you can imagine have been popping up everywhere in the last few years. But you don't have to go out or spend all day cooking to have a gourmet ramen experience.
The potato masher is one of the most dreaded tools in my kitchen; it always gives me flashbacks to when I had to mash potatoes for Thanksgiving dinners while growing up.
Cheese is one of the most loved foods in the world, and there are hundreds of different types. Some prefer super expensive gourmet cheeses, others are fine with the cheaper processed stuff.
Cultured dairy products are great for topping chilis and soups, stirring into dips, and adding tanginess to breads and pancakes. They're extremely versatile and often interchangeable, and they contain probiotics that offer a long list of health benefits. They're also super easy to make at home with just a few basic ingredients. Here's how to make your own buttermilk, sour cream and crème fraîche.
If you're a fan of Thai food, I'm sure you're familiar with sticky rice. There is something so special about its chewy texture and sweet flavor. If you have a desire to make it in your own kitchen but don't have the proper tools such as a traditional bamboo basket or stackable steamer, there are several other methods that work just as well. Once you try these alternative methods, I'm sure you'll be "sticking" to them for a while. What Makes Sticky Rice So Sticky?
Whether it's college football, the NFL, basketball, soccer, or baseball, sporting events are prime opportunities to entertain. No matter what the sport, food that's easy to eat is a must. Your guests should be able to mingle, eat, and talk trash... all at the same time! So a meat and cheese plate—also known as a characuterie board— is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Breaking off a piece of that Kit Kat bar gets a lot more difficult when the whole thing weighs 13 pounds.
Aluminum foil is one of those things that every cook, experienced or just starting out, has in their kitchen. And while we may think we know how useful this handy material can be, there are hundreds of ways we could be utilizing tinfoil to make our lives a whole lot easier.
You've probably seen someone in your family truss the turkey on Thanksgiving before roasting it, even if you don't recognize the word. To truss a bird or roast just means to wrap it up as compactly as possible before placing it in the oven, and it's usually done by tying it with string. Trussing a bird is a tradition that's been around for a long time, and a lot of home cooks do it religiously even if they don't know why. It's a highly debated topic with fierce supporters on both sides, but f...