Health 105: How To Cook

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Health 104: Ailments

Cooking isn’t hard, it’s just a matter of trial and error

  • The experience of cooking should be enjoyed as its own part-time job
    • Generally, most men fail to see enjoyment in it, and it’s to their loss
  • Try out different ideas to see what works
    • Most of the best recipes ever known are made from a shortage of resources
    • Check out Great Depression Cooking to see an extreme example
  • You don’t need to be a professional chef to understand what you need to survive!

Most people are afraid of either under-cooking or burning their food

  • Once the food has pervasively reached the temperature of boiling water, it is sterile
  • On the other end, after you turn off the heat the food will still cook from the heat that radiates inside the food
  • Most badly made food is simply cooked at the wrong temperature or for the wrong amount of time
    • Too Hot – well-cooked outside but almost raw on the inside
    • Too Cold – flavors don’t develop and aromas don’t fully open up
    • Too Short – food isn’t thoroughly cooked, “raw” flavor
    • Too Long – dry and brittle, not enough moisture or flavor in the food
  • There are simple tricks to resolve all of this
    • Try all the burners without anything on them and watch them as you crank up the heat
      • Don’t try to save time by cranking up the heat, it will be more likely to burn
    • Use more than one burner
    • Frequently stir the food
    • Don’t walk away from the cooking area or try to multi-task
      • Once you get the hang of it and can do it without thinking about it, you can multi-task
    • Make sure there’s enough water in the pot, since burning only happens when the water has evaporated

Pay attention to your time and space limitations

  • Since you don’t have all day, separate the cooking into batches
    • Work assembly-line style to prepare the ingredients quickly
    • Plan ahead of time to know how your meal preparation and diet will go
      • Use Supercook to enter the food you have and find out what you can make
  • If you have a small kitchen
    • Cook and bake ahead of time if you’re making for several people
    • Place all the items for cooking in easily accessible locations
    • Put a cutting board over an open drawer to make more space
    • Keep a surface area open for whatever miscellaneous thing you will naturally forget to plan for
  • Observe the weather
    • A blisteringly hot summer day is the worst time to start the oven
    • Cold days allow cooking the opportunity to save on heating bills

Have good utensils to make life easier

  • Divide food into working components better
    • Graters will shred into consistent smaller pieces
      • Nutmeg grater, ginger grater
      • Box grater, zest grater, microplane grater, rotary grater
    • Presses push food through it to make it into a new form
      • Potato ricer
      • Pasta mill
      • Food mill
      • Citrus press, garlic press
      • Nutcracker
    • Grinders tear apart items into smaller pieces
      • Pepper grinder
      • Mortar and pestle
      • Wheat grinder
      • Spice mill
    • Blades cut food in different ways
      • Clam knife, fish knife
      • Bread knife
      • Santoku knife, chef’s Knife
      • Paring knife
      • Mezzaluna
      • Meat knives – cleaver, boning knife, slicing knife
      • Cheese knives – soft cheese knife, parmesan knife
      • Scissors – kitchen shears, poultry shears
      • Slicers are special knives for specific situations
        • Cheese slicer
        • Egg slicer
        • Mandoline
        • Cheese plane
        • Fruit divider
        • Wheels – pastry wheel, pizza wheel
    • Strainers separate out food from other parts of the food
      • Handheld strainer
      • Salad spinner
      • Sifters – drum sifter, sugar shaker, sifter
      • Scoop colander, colander
      • Chinoise
      • Fat separator
      • Spider
  • Manipulators allow you to change the food into other things
    • Openers – can opener, bottle opener, corkscrew
    • Spoons/spatulas
      • Spatula
      • Slotted spatula
      • Rubber spatula
      • Fish spatula
      • Turner
    • Pastry tools are specifically for bread product preparation
      • Cookie cutter
      • Rolling pin
      • Pie weights
      • Pastry blender
      • Pastry bag
    • Whisks – balloon whisk, flat whisk
    • Basting – meat baster, basting bulb
    • Mashers – meat tenderizer, potato masher
    • Tongs – salad tongs, metal tongs
  • Containers allow food to be stored, eaten and manipulated in a civilized way
    • Food Storage – canisters, plastic containers
    • Bowls – batter bowl, mixing bowl, prep bowl
    • Scoopers/servers permit transferring food without having to touch with hands
      • Ladle
      • Wooden spoon
      • Ice cream scoop
      • Slotted spoon
      • Melon baller
      • Spaghetti server
      • Serving fork
      • Serving spoon
      • Cake server
  • Measurers permit guidelines about foods when making recipes
    • Temperature measurement – candy thermometer, meat thermometer
    • Volume measurement – measuring cups, measuring spoons
    • Weight measurement – digital scale, scale
    • Time measurement – egg timer, kitchen timer
  • Protection allows safety and wellness with preparing food
    • Heat protection – pot holder, oven mitt
    • Cutting boards – prep cutting board, butcher block

Keep things clean and in working order

  • Test bowls before microwaving them
    1. Place the bowl in the microwave with a mug of cold water and heat on high for 1 min
    2. It’s safe if the water is hot and the container is cold, but unsafe if the container is hot
  • Try to use the two-bowl method to manage waste and washing dishes
    • One bowl for scraps and garbage to throw out all at once
    • One bowl for dishes to soak to washe all at once
  • As you are finished using items, clean them to avoid an end-of-cooking massive pile of dishes to do
  • Don’t mistreat pots and pans
    • Do research to find out what is best to clean each cookware surface
    • If you’re using cast-iron pans, do not clean them with soap and water, since the built-on “seasoning” is what makes cast-iron taste great
      • To clean cast-iron, pour in some oil and a handful of kosher salt, then scrub the salt into the pan with an old rag or paper towels
  • Always have a few staple items on hand that work for almost everything
    • Pasta is a common base for most dishes
    • Rice is also very common, and also very cheap
    • Canned vegetables are useful when you don’t have access to fresh vegetables and need them for a recipe
    • Canned chicken and tuna is useful for a quick meal when hungry
    • Ground beef is a necessary staple for many simple meals
    • Salsa is a great condiment for most meals
    • Chicken and beef bouillon are useful to make gravy or broth when you need it
    • Flour is useful for thickening gravy, breading and for baking bread
    • Butter is a great addition to any meal
    • Plenty of herbs, spices and extracts for all occasions

Stay safe as you cook

  • Be careful around heat
    • Keep the containers of oil far from the heat source
    • Try to tie down or not wear loose clothing that could get caught on the heat source
    • To keep pot lids propped open, push a thumbtack into a wood clothespin to hold it up
  • Use knives properly
    • Grip the handle with the 3 back fingers and pinch the neck of the knife with the pointer finger and thumb
    • Keep it sharp
      • Dull knives are the cause of most kitchen injuries
        • Get a sharpening steel or sharpening stone
        • Grind against the bottom of a coffee mug
        • Cut through aluminum foil
      • if you don’t want to keep sharpening it, research buying a good-quality knife
    • watch a video to see a proper forward slice, back slice, tip-down rocking and chopping
  • Don’t thaw meat at room temperature, instead use a cold-water bath changed out every half hour to avoid excess bacteria growth

Learn better ways to prepare food

  • General tricks
    • Prepping
      • Handle sticky foods by getting hands cold and wet before holding to avoid messy hands
      • When measuring, use cups that are still wet with hot water to make cleaning them easier
      • Cut herbs, thin vegetables, pizzas, bread and wraps with scissors instead of a knife
      • Cut and mince meat, veggies and cheese with a pizza slicer
      • Cut soft foods like cheeses and cakes with unflavored dental floss
      • Instead of a piping bag, put the food, pastry or frosting inside a freezer bag and cut off the corner
      • When using an electric wisk, stab beaters through a paper plate before attaching to prevent messes
    • Heating
      • Make hot water quickly by running a coffee machine without coffee grounds
      • Microwave two bowls at the same time by putting one bowl on top of a coffee mug
      • Put the stirring spoon inside the hole on the pot to avoid a mess
      • If water starts boiling over, pour in some olive oil to keep it from overflowing
      • When frying, sprinkle a little salt in the pan to help keep the oil from splattering
  • Grains
    • Add oil to boiling water to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan
    • Add cinnamon sticks to rice, couscous or lentils for a unique flavor
    • Bake bread into a tin can to make it portable
    • When cutting bread
      • Turn it upside down to keep it from getting smashed
      • Stick the knife in hot water to get the knife hot, then wipe it quickly and slice
    • If a cake recipe instructs to flour the baking pan, use some of the dry cake mix instead
  • Produce
    • Clean vegetables and fruits with baking soda by sprinkling in water, then soaking and rinsing the produce
    • Vegetables
      • Add vinegar to water when boiling to retain the vegetables’ colors
      • Potatoes
        • Peel potatoes easily
          1. Boil until a fork can be stuck into them easily
          2. Drain the hot water
          3. Run them under cold water, the skin should slide off
        • To make potatoes dry and fluffy when cooling, add a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt when boiling, then drain and place over heat again for a short time
      • Cut mushrooms with an egg slicer
      • Microwave heads of garlic for 15-20 seconds for the cloves to slip right out of their skins
      • Cut onions without tears
        • Cut off both ends of the onion and then cook in the microwave for 30 seconds
        • Chew gum while cutting onions
      • If you’re making more than can be eaten in one sitting, slightly undercook them so they don’t get soft when reheating
      • Keep stuffed peppers upright when cooking with a muffin tray
    • Fruits
      • Clean large amounts of fruit all at once in the sink
        • Fill the sink with water
        • Add 1 cup of vinegar and stir
        • Add all your fruit and let soak for 10 mins, including berries
        • The water will be dirty and the fruits will sparkle without any wax and will stay longer
      • Clean large amounts of fruit in the dishwasher by running it without soap
      • Get more lemon and lime juice out by microwaving for 10-30 seconds before slicing
      • Roll fruits on the counter before cutting to get more juice out of them
      • Cut citrus fruits by chopping off the ends, cutting a line down the fruit, then unrolling it
      • To cut a watermelon without a knife, make a small incision with a quarter and then karate chop it in half
      • To redistribute the sugar evenly in a pineapple, store it for 30 mins in the fridge before cutting it
      • Peel fruits like tomatoes and peaches by microwaving for 30 seconds, then letting cool 2 mins
      • Cut cherry tomatoes by sandwiching between plastic lids, then cutting through with a serrated knife
  • Dairy
    • Grate refrigerated butter to make it easier to work with
    • Melt margarine or butter for 1 min in the microwave instead of risking burning it in the stove or waiting on the counter
    • To test if butter is real or artificial spread it on a piece of paper and light it on fire, if it’s real it will smell nice but will smell horrible if it’s a substitute
  • Meats
    • Slow cookers are simple to cook anything that needs long-term breaking down, such as tougher meats
    • When scalding a chicken, add 1 tsp baking soda to the boiling water for the feathers to come off more easily
    • Add baking soda to the water for cooking wild game to remove the “gamey” taste from the meat
    • Slide cinnamon sticks into meat before roasting for a unique flavor
    • Tenderize meat
      • Soak in vinegar overnight
      • Rub vinegar on both sides and let sit 2 hours
    • Cook fish fillets in the microwave
      1. Dry the fish, then overlap the tails when plating
      2. Remove the fish while it’s still opaque
      3. Though it appears opaque, it’s still cooking, so let it cool
    • Hold kabobs for cooking or serving in an upside down colander
  • Beans/nuts
    • Soak lentils and beans faster
      1. Add a pinch of baking soda with enough water to submerge
      2. microwave for 10 mins
      3. Let sit for 30-40 mins
    • Nuts can be toasted in the microwave in 4-5 mins by stirring every min

Start with extremely easy recipes to improve your confidence

  • Breakfast
    • Make bacon in a variety of ways
      • Cut a package of bacon in half to make preparation and storage easier
      • To keep bacon from shrinking
        • Run it under cold water before cooking
        • Cook with 1 mm of water at the bottom
      • Frying in the pan allows the grease to stay on it
      • Cook it in the microwave by wrapping inside paper towels and cooking for 3-5 mins
      • Bake it open in the oven at 365°F for 10 mins
      • Put it on tinfoil, heat the oven to 400°F and bake for 12 mins
    • Eggs are a very versatile breakfast item
      • Test an egg’s age by submerging in cool water with a pinch of salt added
        • If it’s fresh it’ll sink to the bottom and lay on its side
        • If it’s a week old it’ll sink to the bottom and tilt partially upward
        • If it’s two or three weeks old it’ll sink to the bottom and balance on the pointed end
        • If it’s bad it will float
      • Get everything out of the egg by scraping the inside of it with a spatula or your finger
        • Wet your hands to pull out shell pieces
      • Separate eggs with a water bottle
        1. Crack the egg into a shallow bowl
        2. Squeeze some of the air from a water bottle
        3. Place its mouth on the yolk, then slowly release your grip to push the yolk into the bottle
        4. Squeeze the yolk into another container
      • Scrambled eggs are the easiest and are simply swirled around in a frying pan with preferred ingredients
        • Make them in the microwave instead
          1. Beat them in a mug and mix in salt, cheese and herbs
          2. Microwave for 3 mins
        • Many leftovers from the previous night can be used inside scrambled eggs
        • Overcooking bacon is still good for crumbling and adding to scrambled eggs
      • Omelettes are like scrambled eggs with more steps
        • The conventional way
          1. Whisk together eggs and other ingredients
          2. Pour into a frying pan that has butter in it
          3. Add cheese on top of it and fold over, if desired
        • Using a coffee mug
          1. Mix 2 eggs, cheese, add-ins, salt and pepper in mug
          2. Microwave 30-60 seconds, stir, then microwave another 30-60 seconds
      • Fried eggs are cracked over a greased frying pan and then cooked on both sides
        • Sunny side up is the same as a fried egg, but only cooked on one side
          • Crack eggs into cookie cutters for fun designs
        • Make eggs in a basket
          1. Cut out the inside of a slice of bread and crack an egg inside it in a frying pan
          2. Add sandwich meat and cheese
          3. Place the cut-out piece on top and let it finish cooking
        • Make eggs in a nest
          1. Cut a hole in the middle of a slice of bread or press a square into it and butter the bread up
          2. Throw onto a greased frying pan and crack an egg in the middle, add seasonings if you want, then fry it
        • Make bell pepper eggs by cutting horizontal slices of peppers and cracking eggs inside them, then frying them
        • Make an egg burger
          1. Cut out a circle in the middle of hamburger meat with a cup inside a frying pan
          2. Crack open an egg in the middle
      • Over easy keeps a hard form from being fried in a pan inside butter or oil
      • Poached eggs keep a hard form from being cracked into boiling water
        • Make them in the microwave
          • Crack eggs and place in a microwave-safe bowl filled with water and a pinch of vinegar
          • Stick toothpicks in the egg yolks, then wrap the bowl with plastic wrap
          • Cook for 30 seconds, turn and cook for 20 more seconds
      • Hard-boiled eggs are boiled in water inside the shell, and are also used for many other recipes
        • Add a pinch baking soda to make the shells easier to come off after cooling
        • Keep eggs from cracking when boiling by adding 2 tbsp vinegar or a pinch of salt to the water
        • To boil cracked eggs, add a little vinegar to the water to keep anything from boiling out
        • To test if an egg is hard-boiled
          • Spin it, it will keep spinning if it’s hard-boiled but will wobble if it’s fully cooked
      • Bake 12 eggs for English muffins in a muffin tray at 350°F for 15-20 mins
        • Make breakfast bites by mixing them together with bacon or ham
    • Make pancakes by mixing batter and pouring over a flat hot surface, then flipping when it shows holes
      • Make oatmeal pancakes by mixing 1/4 cup instant oatmeal, 2 egg whites and 1/2 mashed banana and pouring into a pan
      • Make flourless pancakes by mixing 1 banana and 2 eggs together and pouring into a pan
      • Make perfect circle pancakes by pouring onto the surface with a meat baster
      • Mix new ingredients into pancakes
        • Dunk bacon in pancakes or pour pancake batter over bacon to make bacon pancakes
        • Cut and dip apple rings into pancakes to make apple pancakes
        • Dip pineapple slices into pancakes to make pineapple pancakes
  • Lunch
    • Microwave corn on the cob by putting the husked corn for 2-4 mins, cutting on one side and sliding the cob out of the husk
    • When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn’s natural sweetness
    • Make a giant pita sandwich
      1. Cut out the inside of a bread bowl and add any ingredients you want
      2. Put the top back on and flatten under some heavy weight
      3. Cut into slices
    • Make orange marmalade
      1. Grate the rind of 3 oranges
      2. Simmer 2 cups orange juice in a pan
      3. Blend the orange rinds with 5 oranges with the seeds removed into a pulp, then add to the pan
      4. Let the mixture simmer for 1-2 hours
      5. Place the mixture into jars once it cools, and it will keep for 3 months in the refrigerator
    • Make a sandwich roll
      1. Flatten bread with a roller, add slices of cheese and roll up tightly
      2. Set on medium heat with butter in a pan
      3. Press and turn to keep it browning and staying together
    • Make a spaghetti sandwich by putting spaghetti inside slices of bread, adding garlic, and baking inside a sandwich maker
  • Dinner
    • Make roasted vegetables
      1. Partly boil root vegetables like carrots and potatoes
      2. Drizzle them with oil, then finish cooking them in the oven
    • Make roasted potatoes
      1. Cut potatoes almost all the way through
      2. Drizzle olive oil, butter, sea salt and pepper on top
      3. Bake at 425°F for 40 mins
    • Make a French baguette
      1. Mix 1 cup warm water, 2 tsp active dry yeast, 1 tbsp salt and 2 tbsp sugar into a bowl
      2. Let stand for 5 minutes in a warm place for the yeast to activate
      3. Add 6.5 cups flour to a bowl and create a well in the center
      4. Add in mixture and mix to make firm dough
      5. Cover the dough with a wet cloth and place under the sun
      6. Toast 2 tbsp sesame seeds and 2 tbsp poppy seeds in 2 tbsp olive oil in separate container
      7. Remove dough from bowl and punch it down, then let rest for several more minutes
      8. Place dough on baking tray and make 3-4 balls out of it
      9. Elongate dough balls into ovals, then make deep diagonal cuts
      10. Bake at 400°F for 30-40 mins

Try out new spices and unconventional seasonings to invent your own cooking style

  • Generally, the more fat, salt and sugar in the food, the easier it is for the food to taste acceptable
    • If you ever over-salt the food while it’s still cooking, drop in a peeled potato
  • Learn what herbs and spices work with what cooking mediums, flavors and oils
    • When cooking over an open flame, use fresh herbs instead of marinades or rubs
  • Cook with the correct oils for the recipe
    • Each oil has its own purpose
    • Some are very flavorful and some are bland
  • Make your own seasonings
    • Big Mac secret sauce
      1. Stir the following ingredients together in a small container
        • 1/4 cup salald dressing (like Miracle Whip)
        • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
        • 3 tbsp French Salad dressing
        • 1/2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
        • 1 tsp sugar
        • 1 tsp dried minced onion
        • 1 tsp white vinegar
        • 1 tsp ketchup
        • 1/8 tsp salt
      2. Microwave on high for 25 secs and stir again
      3. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour before serving
    • Doritos Seasoning can be made by crunching up Doritos and putting into a dispenser
    • Italian seasoning
      1. Grind 3 tbsp each of dried sage, dried marjoram, dried basil, dried oregano and dried parsley in a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle
      2. Grind in 1 tbsp garlic powder
      3. Grind in 1 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, dried rosemary, black pepper and white pepper
      4. The mixture will keep for 6 months
    • Curry powder
      1. Add 10 tbsp coriander seeds, 8 tbsp cumin seeds and 2 tbsp mustard seeds to a pan
      2. Let them brown completely, then thoroughly mix in 5 tbsp ground cinnamon, 10 tbsp pepper, 2 tbsp ground nutmeg, 2 tbsp cloves, 1 tbsp ground cardamom seeds, 3 tbsp turmeric, 2 tbsp ground ginger and 2 tbsp chili powder
      3. Let it cool, then grind to a fine powder in a coffee grinder
    • Dry your own herbs by microwaving them in a cup 2-4 mins, then crumpling onto paper towels strewn around the cup

Find out what substitutions you can use to make the food healthier or cheaper

  • Many substitutions will change the cooking times
    • Generally, adding moisture to the mixture increases the cooking time and removing moisture decreases it
  • Breads & Flours
    • Bread crumbs (1 cup dry)
      • 1 cup rolled oats
      • 1 cup crushed bran cereal
      • 1 cup cracker crumbs
      • 1 cup chia seeds
    • Cake flour (1 cup)
      • 1 cup flour minus 2 tbsp
    • Cracker crumbs (1 cup)
      • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
    • Flour (1 cup)
      • 1 cup whole wheat flour (anywhere)
      • 1 1/4 oats ground in a blender
      • 1 heaping cup quinoa ground in a blender
      • 1/4 cup nut flour mixed with 3/4 cup wheat flour (cookies, sweet breads and cakes)
      • 1 cup nut flour mixed with 1/2 tsp of rising agent like yeast (cookies, sweet breads and cakes)
      • 1 cup pureed black beans (brownies)
      • 1/3 cup coconut flour, 1 extra egg per oz of coconut flour and a dash extra water (pancakes, cookies, cakes)
        • Using more than 1/2 cup at a time could bring out its bitterness
        • May need to reduce baking time
    • Self-rising flour (1 cup)
      • 1 cup flour mixed with 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • Rice (1 cup)
      • 1 cup quinoa
  • Dairy & Fats
    • Butter (1 cup)
      • 1 cup olive oil
      • 1 cup coconut oil
      • 1 cup mashed bananas (brownies and cookies)
      • 1 cup pureed avocados (brownies and chocolate cookies)
      • 1/2 cup apple sauce mixed with 1/2 cup butter, but more if you can’t tell the taste difference (any sweet bread or muffins)
      • 3/4 cup prunes blended with 1/4 cup boiling water (dark baked goods like brownies, chocolate cookies and cakes)
      • 3 tbsp flax meal mixed with 1 tbsp water and left to sit for 5-10 mins (anything with a strong nutty flavor)
      • 2-3 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 1 cup water and left to sit for ~15 mins (muffins, cakes and breads)
    • Buttermilk (1 cup)
      • 1 cup yogurt
      • 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tbsp vinegar
      • 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • Cream/half & half (1 cup)
      • 1 tbsp melted butter mixed with 1 cup whole milk
    • Heavy cream (1 cup)
      • 1 cup evaporated skim milk (anywhere)
    • Margarine (1 cup)
      • 1/2 cup apple sauce
      • 1/2 cup pureed prunes
    • Milk (1 cup whole)
      • 1/2 cup evaporated milk mixed with 1/2 cup water
      • 1 cup water mixed with 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
    • Oil (1 cup)
      • 1/2 cup apple sauce mixed with 1/2 cup oil, but more if you can’t tell the taste difference (any sweet bread or muffins)
      • 1 cup mashed bananas (brownies and cookies)
    • Shortening (1 cup)
      • 1 cup butter
      • 1 cup vegetable oil
      • 1 cup coconut oil
    • Sour cream (1 cup)
      • 1 cup plain yogurt
      • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • Condiments & Seasonings
    • Cajun seasoning (1 tsp)
      • Mix 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried basil and 1 clove minced garlic
    • Marinades (oil-based)
      • Wine, as needed
      • Balsamic vinaigrette, as needed
      • Fruit juice, as needed
      • Fat free broth, as needed
    • Mustard (1 tbsp)
      • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
      • 2 tsp vinegar
    • Poultry seasoning (1 tsp)
      • 3/4 tsp rubbed sage
      • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • Chocolate & Sweets
    • Chocolate, semi-sweet (1 oz square)
      • 3 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
      • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate and 1 tbsp sugar
    • Chocolate (1 oz square)
      • 3 tbsp baking cocoa and 1 tbsp shortening
      • 3 tbsp baking cocoa and 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • Chocolate chips (1 cup)
      • 1 cup cacao nibs
    • Frosting (1 cup)
      • 1 cup marshmallow whip
      • 1 cup meringue
    • Honey (1 cup)
      • 1 1/4 cup sugar mixed into 1/4 cup water
    • Molasses (1 cup)
      • 1 cup honey
    • Oreo cookie (1 cup crushed)
      • 1 cup graham crackers crushed (any pie)
    • Rice Krispies (1 cup)
      • 1 cup brown rice cereal mixed with 2 tbsp flax meal (Rice Krispies Treats, baked chicken coating)
    • Sugar (1 cup)
      • 1 cup packed brown sugar
      • 2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
      • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
        • Reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup per cup of apple sauce
      • 4 tsp pure vanilla extract (cookies, cakes, sweet breads, brownies)
      • 1 tsp liquid Stevia
      • 2 tbsp Stevia powder
  • Baking powder (1 tsp)
    • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar mixed with 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp corn starch
  • Corn starch (1 tbsp)
    • 2 tbsp flour (as a thickening agent)
  • Corn syrup, dark (1 cup)
    • 3/4 cup light corn syrup mixed with 1/4 cup molasses)
  • Corn syrup, light (1 cup)
    • 1 cup sugar mixed in 1/4 cup water
  • Eggs (1 egg)
    • 1/4 cup egg substitute
    • 2 egg whites
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1/2 banana
    • 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
    • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
    • 1/4 cup canned squash
    • 1/4 cup pureed prunes
    • 2 tbsp potato starch
    • 1 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 1 cup water left to sit for ~15 mins
    • 1 tbsp flax meal mixed with 3 tbsp water and left to sit for 5-10 mins (muffins, cakes and cookies)
  • Lemon juice (1 tsp)
    • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Lemon peel (1 tsp)
    • 1/2 lemon extract
  • Peanut butter (1 cup)
    • 1 cup almond butter
  • Soups (as thickening agent)
    • Mashed potato flakes, as needed
    • Potatoes, as needed
    • Tofu, as needed
  • Tomato sauce (2 cups)
    • 3/4 cup tomato paste mixed with 1 cup water

Educate yourself on how long food can hold

  • Store any open snacks to prevent them going stale
    • Use a pants hanger or a bobby pin as an improvised chip clip
    • wrap the tops of bananas near the stem with plastic wrap to make it last 4-5 days longer
  • Pay attention to the shelf life of the food
    • Use water bottle tops to make opened bags airtight
      1. Cut off a water bottle top
      2. Unscrew the lid and run the bag through the bottle through the top
      3. Close with the bottle’s lid
    • Store food in airtight containers or mason jars whenever possible
    • Keep food used for preparation longer
      • Breads
        • Wrap bread in a cloth napkin, a towel or in the bag it came in
        • Store pasta in Pringles containers
        • Store pancake batter in a ketchup bottle in the fridge
        • Stale or hardened cookies can be made soft again by putting a piece of bread with them overnight
        • To keep a cake moist
          • Put a piece of bread on top of it overnight
          • Use toothpicks to hold up slices of bread against the cut part of a cake
      • Meats & Cheeses
        • Protect cheese from mold
          • Wrap in a vinegar-soaked cloth
          • Rub the cut edge of cheese with butter
        • Cut a pack of bacon in half to store it more easily
      • Vegetables
        • Keep produce fresh longer by filling a large bowl with hot water, submerging for 3-6 mins, then placing on paper towels
        • Keep potatoes from budding by putting an apple with the potatoes
        • Put a piece of stale bread in the crisper drawer to keep vegetables fresh for 1-2 days longer
        • Wrap herbs and delicate greens in moist paper towels and store in zip-type plastic bags
        • Wrap celery in aluminum foil to keep in the fridge for weeks
      • Condiments
        • Microwave crystallized honey with the top off for 2 mins
        • Spices can have their aroma restored by microwaving for 15 seconds
        • If sugar ever solidifies, put a cracker or a slice of bread in with the sugar
        • Keep brown sugar soft
          • Put marshmallows in the container
          • Place a slice of apple in the container
        • Store spices in empty pill bottles or Tic Tac containers to keep them waterproof
    • Quickly cool cooked food and store it properly to guarantee the longest shelf life
      • Use containers that transfer heat quickly such as metal
      • Place the food on shallow portion-sized dishes
      • Add ice cubes to soups or stews
      • Once cooled enough, put anything with significant moisture in the refrigerator immediately to make sure it’s below 41°F
        • Avoid overfilling to allow air to circulate properly
          • If you need more room, put a Lazy Susan in the fridge
    • Store whatever you can in the freezer, freezing flat for quicker defrosting
      • Wrap thoroughly or store in sealed containers
      • Label it as cooked or uncooked and the date it was frozen
      • Never refreeze defrosted food, it can cause massive bacterial growth
      • Watch for things you can’t freeze like eggs and soft herbs
      • Make large amounts of food to cut down on how much cooking you need to do
      • Freeze red and white wine in ice cube trays for casseroles or sauces later
      • Make easy herb add-ins
        1. Fill an ice cube tray with chopped herbs, minced garlic and olive oil
          • Alternately, use ~2/3 chopped herbs covered with olive oil or melted butter
        2. Store in the freezer until frozen, then transfer to zip-type bags
      • Pre-cook rice, sauces, legumes and mashed potatoes, then freeze them for recipes later
      • Seal raw meat in a plastic bag and press flat, press down a thin utensil in a grid pattern and break off the pieces you need later
      • Make large batches of oatmeal or porridge and freeze in a cupcake tin for portions later
      • Pack ingredients for smoothies in individual bags and freeze to be blended later
    • Listen to what your common sense tells you
      • If it smells odd or tastes odd throw it away, since it’s not worth your health to eat it
      • Generally, a cold and dry environment will give a longer shelf life and a warm and wet environment makes food go bad faster
      • Most food’s expiration date will indicate a “sell by” date, not when it is best by
        • Generally food that is past code is still good for recipes as a secondary part of it
      • Don’t bother refrigerating foods that don’t require refrigeration
  • Most prepared food can be restored to their original quality
    • Reheat the food thoroughly to stop any decomposition
      • Thaw frozen foods in the fridge, which should defrost within 24 hours for food 5 lbs or less
      • Reheat all leftovers to at least 165°F
        • Make a circle in the center of the food when reheating in the microwave to heat them evenly
      • Cover foods to ensure they retain moisture and stay hot throughout the food
      • A toaster oven is perfect for warming plates because it can heat at temperatures lower than most standard ovens, which typically have a minimum heat setting of 200° F
    • Breads & Starches
      • Reuse stale bread by turning it into croutons
        • Cube stale bread and mix it with olive oil, herbs and spices
        • Spread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven on a low temperature until golden brown
        • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 weeks
      • Bread staleness can be removed by adding moisture
        • Wrap the slices with a damp kitchen towel and microwave for 10 seconds at a time
        • Put a small amount of water in a glass and microwave with the bread to keep it from getting chewy
        • Put it into a damp paper bag and bake at 300°F for 3 mins
      • Dry bread items like crackers, cereals and chips staleness can be removed by microwaving for ~30 seconds
      • Frozen sandwiches and baked goods won’t get soggy when microwaved by wrapping in a dry paper towel
      • Muffins are best reheated in the oven at 350°F covered for 15 mins and then uncovered for 3 mins
      • Pasta is best reheated on a hot plate with a little oil and water added
      • Pizza is best reheated in a nonstick frying pan for 3-4 mins at mid-low heat
      • Potato chips can be made crispy again by placing on paper towels and microwaving for a few seconds
      • Tortilla chips can be made fresh again by putting them in the oven at 375° for 10 mins
    • Meat & Nuts
      • Casseroles are best reheated in a microwave covered with wax paper that has vents cut in it
      • Seafood is best reheated in an oven on a low temperature for a long while
      • Steak and chicken is best reheated when sliced to small pieces and placed in a skillet
      • Stir fries are best reheated in a microwave, stirring regularly and letting stand afterward
      • Nuts and seeds can have their flavor restored by microwaving for 15 seconds
      • Test a lobster’s freshness by pulling the tail back, if it snaps back it’s fresh but if it goes back slowly it’s been kept for a few days
    • Vegetables
      • Boiled vegetables are best reheated in a microwave spread out and covered with a damp paper towel
      • To make lettuce crispy again
        1. Squeeze half a lemon into a bowl of cold water
        2. Put the lettuce in and let sit in fridge for an hour
      • Perk up limp greens
        1. Place them in a large bowl
        2. Fill them with ice water to cover it
          • Optionally, add 1 tbsp vinegar
        3. Let it sit for 15 mins, then drain and spin in a salad spinner
      • Roasted vegetables are best reheated in an oven drizzled with a little oil for flavor
      • Soups are best reheated on the stove with 1/4 cup water added to prevent scorching
    • Dairy
      • If you drop a live frog into milk, the secretion from its skin will keep it from spoiling

Make cooking a memorable experience

  • After about 30 consistent meals, you will know your way around the kitchen
  • Find new ways to improve your cooking experience
    • Reach out to friends and family for ideas
    • Read recipe books for new things to try cooking
  • You will eventually find food items that you had for a recipe that you didn’t end up making
    • Create new recipes with new substitutions, or enter it into MyFridgeFood to find a new recipe
Next: Health 106: Weight Management