Better Meals In No Time! Cooking is a wonderful art to learn. Whether it is purely for nutritional purposes or for the joy of creating a meal from scratch for your family and friends, the relaxation that can be associated with this skill is immense. But if you were never taught the basics of cooking, and finding your way around a kitchen is not your forte, here are a few handy hints you need to know. Store your spices in a cool, dark place, such as a cabinet or pantry. One of the biggest cooking mistakes people make is storing herbs and spices above the stove. The heat, humidity and light will causes herbs and spices to lose their flavor. For the most flavorful meals, take good care of your spices. One of the things that you can do if you are cooking cauliflower is to add milk, which will help to brighten your vegetable. This will add to the aesthetic appeal of your food and will also maintain the freshness until you decide to serve it to your friends or family. When you are making guacamole you need to make sure that you have a lime on hand to squeeze over it after it is prepared. If you do not sprinkle lime juice on the top of guacamole the avocado will start to turn brown and it will give the guacamole a very unappetizing appearance. When working with hot peppers, wear gloves and, as an extra precaution, safety glasses. The veins and seeds hold the heat of the peppers. If you try removing them with your fingers, the heat-bearing capsaicin will transfer to your fingers resulting in a burning feeling. If you touch your eyes you will be in serious pain. Learn to saute your food. One of the best ways to improve your cooking skill fast is to learn proper saute and braising techniques. Educate yourself on the correct form when braising, and teach yourself how to deglaze a pan. You can quickly make five star meals once you get good. When cooking any kind of packaged pasta, cook it a few minutes less than what the instructions tell you to. It will continue to cook when you put it in the pan with the sauce that you are making. This way, the pasta is not likely to dry out from too much cooking. To test the freshness of an egg, place it in a cup of water. If it sinks, it's fresh. If it floats, it's getting old. As an egg ages the fluid inside slowly evaporates as oxygen and gases seep inside. This makes the egg lighter and causes it to float. You want to cook healthier meals, and one place to consider with regard to changing your menus is in sauces and dressings. Rich, creamy dressings and sauces tend to be extremely unhealthy. You do not need to eliminate these meal-toppers entirely; simply learn how to make lighter, healthier alternatives. Healthier sauces and dressings can go a long way towards making your entire diet healthier. If you realize that you have made too much sauce, you can take any excess sauce and put it in the freezer in an ice tray. This is very convenient because the next time that you need sauce for something you can pop a few cubes in the pan instead of making a sauce. If you love to cook but have minimal space for a library of cookbooks in your kitchen, consider purchasing a small laptop or netbook exclusively for kitchen use. You can keep your own recipes and notes on the computer, pull up thousands of recipes online, and listen to your favorite radio stations or TV shows as you cook. Chicken broth should be used when you are sautΓ©ing your vegetables. Chicken broth can be purchased at any grocery store. It is important to choose a chicken broth that is low in sodium so that you do not eat too much sodium. Sodium can cause you to retain water which is not good. There is no longer a need to hold onto any fear of the kitchen. By following these ideas and learning the basics of cooking, you will be rewarded. With a little time and practice you will be whipping up gourmet meals to impress your friends in no time at all.