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25 Common Cooking Mistakes You May Be Making

25 Common Cooking Mistakes You May Be Making

Whether you’re a novice or an accomplished chef, there’s one thing all cooks have in common: we all make mistakes in the kitchen. But you can avoid many cringe-worthy moments with your foodie friends if you steer clear of these common cooking mistakes:

1. You don’t let meat sit after cooking.

This is a cardinal sin in the culinary world. Whatever you do, fight the urge to cut into that beautifully-marbled piece of meat after you take it off the grill. Wait 5 minutes for the juices to distribute. Your taste buds will thank you.

2. You don’t taste the food as you’re cooking.

While it’s good to have confidence in your cooking, not tasting your food is a big no-no. Even if you’re following a recipe, taste early and often.

3. You put too much food in the pan.

Overcrowding your pans means more uneven heat distribution. Instead of stuffing the pan with food, make two batches.

4. You flip the meat on the grill constantly.

You know how many times you need to flip a good piece of meat? Once. That’s all it takes to get a nice, beautiful sear.

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5. You cook beef, chicken, or fish directly after you remove it from the fridge.

Let meat sit in the sink for about 30 minutes before you cook it so it reaches room temperature. This allows for even cooking, so you don’t get a medium-well steak when you want a medium-rare one.

6. You try and save a bad dish by adding more stuff.

Sometimes kitchen experiments go horribly wrong. It happens to the best of us. Don’t be afraid to scrap a bad dish every once in a while. It’s part of the creative process of cooking.

7. You take the lazy way out.

It’s easy to choose the “ready-made,” highly processed junk. But nothing makes up for the real thing. Buy all natural, real ingredients (from local farmers whenever possible).

8. You overseason.

It’s easy to get aggressive with the salt and other seasonings. When this happens, use water or an acid like lemon juice or vinegar to dilute it.

9. You under-season.

The only thing worse than over-seasoning is under-seasoning. That’s why you should always taste your dishes before you serve them (see number 2).

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10. You overcook the meat.

There’s a simple solution for this one: use a meat thermometer.

11. Your food sticks to the pan or grill.

Buy a plastic bottle and fill it with olive oil. This will help grease the grates on the grill or pan so food doesn’t stick.

12. Your breading doesn’t stick to the food.

Try this no-fail process for getting your breading just right: first dredge in flour, then dip in liquid (like beaten eggs or buttermilk), then coat with bread crumbs.

13. You don’t know your kitchen appliances’ cooking times.

Hey, we’ve all been there. Sometimes it takes some getting used to your appliances, especially if they’re new. Practice makes perfect.

14. You added too much heat.

Spicy foods are great but it’s easy to overdo it with the spice. If possible, add a little water, lemon juice, or salt to neutralize the heat. Or grab an extra glass of water, some tissues, and eat it anyway.

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15. Your egg whites won’t whip.

There’s an easy fix for this one: let the eggs sit in the bowl on your counter for at least 15 minutes. Eggs whip easier at room temperature.

16. Your salads are soggy.

Green leafy vegetables are among the healthiest foods you can eat but they’re also some of the most delicate. To decrease the odds of a soggy salad, rinse your greens under cold water then dry them in a salad spinner.

17. You forgot to thaw the meat in the refrigerator.

Here’s a quick fix to thaw frozen food: put in a plastic bag and let it sit in a bowl of cold water for an hour.

18. You’re using the wrong cooking oil.

Certain cooking oils have lower smoke points, which means it helps to know which oils to use at various temperatures. Use olive oil and butter for low-temperature cooking; olive oil and coconut oil for medium-heat cooking; and peanut oil, avocado oil, and ghee for high-heat cooking.

19. You don’t follow the recipe.

If there’s one common cooking mistake I’m personally guilty of the most, it’s this one. For those of you who like to “make it your own,” this can often lead to disastrous results. Sometimes it’s better to just follow the recipe, especially for traditional and complex dishes.

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20. You don’t heat up the pan properly.

Your cooking surface needs to be hot before you place anything on it. Give your pan or grill at least 5 minutes to heat up.

21. You overcook your veggies and they taste mushy.

“Shock” those veggies when they’re done cooking, which means tossing them into very cold water after the allotted cooking time is up. This works particularly well for green beans, broccoli, asparagus, and corn.

22. You burn the bacon.

Cooking bacon in a pan can be a greasy debacle in your kitchen. Bake your bacon instead at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

23. Your guacamole turns brown.

Guacamole has a tendency to oxidize, which turns it an unappetizing brown color. If you’re serving guac, just squirt a little lime juice or lemon juice on the top periodically to prevent browning.

24. Your eggs are tough and dry.

If you struggle with eggs, lower the cooking temperatures. Lower the heat and cook at low to medium heat until the eggs are still moist. Remove them from the heat source immediately and serve.

25. You remove the crock pot lid.

Using a crockpot can produce some of the most tender, memorable meals you can eat. But taking the lid off every half hour means heat escapes, which can affect the cooking time and ultimately the taste of your food. Check on your crockpot creation a maximum of once every 2-3 hours.

So what did we miss? What are other common cooking mistakes you’ve made?

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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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