Sharpen Your Kitchen Skills

Every skill takes some practice, and things may not go perfectly every time. There is no substitute for experience, and it’s important to keep trying. This is how we learn! Here are five tips to help you sharpen your kitchen skills. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for a tasty recipe to try.

1. Reread recipes.

By simply reading through a recipe a couple of times, some mistakes can be avoided. It helps you make sure that you understand what ingredients are called for and the techniques used. It can be frustrating to get halfway through a recipe and then realize that you are missing an important ingredient.

2. Keep kitchen tools handy.

Before you begin, assemble all the ingredients and get out the equipment you will use. Start talking like a chef by using the term, “mise en place” (pronounced meez ahn plahs) which means “everything in its place.” You will find that the recipe comes together quickly and easily by using this technique.

3. Take your time.

When you want to try a new recipe, it is best to give yourself plenty of time. Rushing through a new recipe can lead to mistakes and safety mishaps. It is more satisfying to cook and experiment if you aren’t feeling rushed and anxious. Taking your time to do things correctly is especially important when handling a knife!

4. Test drive your recipes.

Before serving a new dish to guests, it is best to give the recipe a trial run first. This will help you to feel confident of the results and work out any details in the recipe that you want to change. Prep as many ingredients beforehand as you can. You want to feel relaxed so you can enjoy your social time.

5. Make it your own.

Realize that a poor outcome isn’t always your fault! Sometimes you can follow a recipe exactly as written and it will still turn out poorly. There can be several reasons for this, such as oven temperature varying, different pan size, a typographical error in the recipe or the ambiguous phrase, “season to taste.”  Some people are more accustomed to a lot of salt or a fair amount of pepper. It can take a few tries to figure out how the recipe works with your equipment and your family’s tastes.

Chicken Salad Recipe

Try this chicken salad recipe to practice your chopping skills. It is a great main dish perfect for any get-together. It uses healthy non-fat Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. Use any type of apple you like, and you could substitute two 12.5-ounce cans of chicken for the cooked chicken breast.

  • 3 cups cooked chicken breast
  • 4 celery ribs
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 cup seedless grapes
  • 1 apple
  • 3/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Chop chicken into small pieces.

2. Wash fruits and vegetables.

3. Dice celery, green pepper, and onion into small, equally sized pieces. Cut grapes in halves or quarters. Chop apple into small pieces.

4. Toss everything in a large bowl with the yogurt and pepper and mix until well combined.

5. Keep chilled until serving.

For more recipes, use the keyword “recipe” in the search box.

By Cheryl DeVine
Cooking Matters Program Assistant, Tarrant Area Food Bank

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