5 Food Hacks You Have to Start Doing Today

Cooking can be challenging, sure, but it’s incredibly satisfying, too. The good news is that everyone can cook; it just takes some practice. 

If you’re just getting started in the art of cooking, we recommend you make simple dishes that you enjoy, don’t tackle complicated recipes or whole dinners by yourself. Baby steps are the way to go. 

Having said that, there are some tips and tricks that can help you step up your game and increase your confidence. Here are some basic cooking tricks and food hacks you have to start doing today.

1. Use your Microwave Correctly.

microwave on counter
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OK, you know how to use the microwave, but you’re probably using it wrong. The problem with reheating things in the microwave is that it dries stuff up. Picture yesterday’s pizza (because who doesn’t love leftover pizza!) The microwave heats it all right but doesn’t bring it back to life. 

Place a mug filled with water in the microwave along with your food. The water will hydrate your food as it evaporates. This works with lots of food and not just pizza; even stale bread will regain its fluffiness after thirty seconds in your new moisturizing oven.

2. Cook the Right Pasta.

pasta carbonara

Pasta is one of the first dishes we all attempt and master. It’s not that hard, and good pasta is both a perfect midnight snack and a fancy meal for date night. You’ve probably seen there are dozens of different types of pasta; what you might not have realized yet is that each serves a purpose.

Hollow pasta like penne, and rigatoni or conchiglie (seashells) are better for chunky sauces like a bolognese with ground meat; thick noodles like fettuccini and linguini are ideal for creamy sauces since more sauce adheres to them; and thin pasta like spaghetti work best with thin tomato sauces or oil-based sauces. Try an aglio e olio (just olive oil and garlic) with spaghetti and you’ll see what I mean!

3. Brighten up Your Tomato Sauce.

tomato sauce

Since we’re already talking about pasta, here’s a fantastic hack used in fine Italian restaurants. Add three fingers of sugar to your tomato sauce. You see, tomatoes are acidic in nature, they might not feel like it, but your palate knows it’s true. 

Sugar balances the tanginess in tomatoes, bringing up the flavor. Don’t worry; your sauce won’t taste overly sweet, it’s just a matter of balance. A pinch of salt goes a long way, too.

4. Use Your Ice Trays Wisely.

ice cubes
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Ice trays are the easiest, most convenient way to store individual portions of things besides water. You can make coffee ice cubes for a refreshing brew without diluting it, and you can also make wine cubes with leftover wine. 

You can also use your ice trays to preserve fresh herbs like basil if you mix them in olive oil or butter. Those little cubes are perfect for basting a steak or for starting a sauce.

5. Test Your Eggs for Freshness.

egg inside carton
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Here’s a lifesaving hack. It’s impossible to know if eggs are fresh or not until you crack them open, isn’t it? Well, not anymore. If you have any doubts, fill a glass with water and drop the suspicious egg. If the egg floats, it’s no longer fresh to eat. 

In case you realize you have a bunch of not-so-fresh eggs, but still OK to eat, hard-boil them; that way, they’re just as tasty as their fresh counterparts.

There you have it.

Cooking is not so scary after all, and the more you do it, the better you become. 

Cook for your friends and family, cook for that special someone, but most importantly, cook for yourself. You’ll feel great.