♣ Leave the stove-top light on to remind you that something’s cooking. When finished, turn it off. That way you avoid worries about leaving the stove on!
♣ Double soups, stews and pasta sauces, and freeze what you don’t eat. The flavors develop while spending time chilling out, and you’ve got ready-to-go leftovers when you don’t have the urge to cook.
♣ Label your frozen leftovers to avoid mealtime disappointment and mystery dinners (“but I thought I was defrosting the. . ..”) Masking tape works well and stays on the container. I keep a roll handy in a kitchen drawer, along side a Sharpie marker. Efficient and cost-effective.
♣ Prepare the entire bag of potatoes when you make mashed potatoes. They keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge, freeze well and then your potatoes won’t sit there in the pantry, growing “eyes”.
♣ Don’t let recipes intimidate you! Remember: they’re just guidelines. Work your way around them and find your comfort level for preparation. Recipes want to be played with and adjusted. The main point is that you’re cooking healthy meals at home.
♣ Timing pasta to coincide just right with the sauce can be tricky. Avoid sticky pasta by cooking it according to package directions, while you’re preparing the sauce. Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to the pot after you put in the pasta. The vinegar’s acid will prevent the starch in the pasta from breaking down, which is what makes it sticky. Drain water from pasta pot. Cover with lid. It can sit until the sauce is ready. You will end up with picture-perfect pasta!
♣ Rinse cooking implements and dishes as you prepare the meal. It makes dishes, and the process of cooking itself, less intimidating, if you can avoid a huge stack of dirty cookware and tools. They’re easier to clean that way, too!
Award-winning Chick Lit author Emily Kemme writes about the quirks of human nature. Find musings, recipes, and satire on her blog, Feeding the Famished. Novels | Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage | In Search of Sushi Tora | Other works in progress