Fall is the perfect time to try out new recipes, get creative in the kitchen and upgrade your cooking. I mean, what better time to hop behind the counter than pumpkin pie and turkey season? Here are a few clever ways to hack your cooking techniques and prepare meals that are sure to impress the whole family.
1. Splurge On a New Appliance
If you’ve been thinking about buying an air fryer for the past few months, now’s the time to do it. Refresh your cooking techniques by splurging on a new appliance or two. Get that KitchenAid mixer and bake all the cookies or invest in an Instant Pot and make easy, delicious comfort food well into winter. Treating yourself might motivate you to experiment more in the kitchen and keep you from ordering take out so often.
2. Get Herb Scissors
Do you love herbs and spices but hate spending half your prep time chopping them up? Get yourself a pair of herb scissors. This handy tool lets you strip, chop and cut herbs with ease. No longer will you spend 10 minutes removing the leaves from your rosemary and thyme sprigs. Plus they cost less than a family trip to Starbucks, making them well worth the convenience.
3. Cook With Parchment Paper
Avid campers know all about foil-packet meals and how flavorful and juicy they can be. They may even use tin foil to cook at home. Yet, as popular as foil may be in the kitchen, parchment paper allows the food to breath, producing less soggy dishes. Cut a heart from a sheet of paper, place the ingredients inside and fold over the edges to seal the packet shut. Then, cook in the oven on a baking sheet.
4. Utilize Your Muffin Tin
Your muffin tin is good for more than simply baking muffins. In fact, you can make dozens of other foods in those tins including quiche, pizza, oatmeal cups and even mini tacos. The best part about using your tins in this way is you create a bunch of bite-sized treats that make for great finger foods. Use mini muffin tins for sweet, sugary foods and larger tins to make breakfast cups, hamburgers and other more filling foods.
5. Use Healthy Oil Alternatives
You might also update your fall cooking by finding healthier oil alternatives. Hydrogenated oils contain saturated and trans fats which can have negative impacts on your health. Yet, many fall recipes for soup, marinades and sauces call for some type of oil. Opt to use a vegetable or plant oil from avocados or olives, instead. Cold-pressed and expeller-pressed oils are the best as they’re free of any harmful chemicals and contain more natural nutrients.
6. Purchase a Cookbook Stand
Is your favorite cookbook full of greasy fingerprints and food splatters? Purchase a small stand to hold your tablet, recipe book or phone so you can easily read measurements and cook mess-free. Some can even double as a sauce ladle and lid stand to prevent drips and make post-dinner cleanup less of a hassle.
7. Keep a Trash Bowl On the Counter
As you prepare meals, rinds, peels, plastic and other items tend to pile up on a corner of your cutting board or kitchen counter. Obviously, this can create quite a mess and continue to send you to the trash can every few minutes. Skip the extra steps to the garbage bin and keep a trash bowl on the counter. As you unpackage, cut and chop, place all your rubbish in the bowl. Then, simply dump it when you’re done.
8. Master a Pesto Recipe
One of the most useful sauces to have in your recipe arsenal is basic basil pesto. Homemade pesto is always more fresh and flavorful than the stuff that comes in the jar. Plus, it only takes 15 minutes and will instantly enhance everything from leftover chicken to pasta. Simply combine the ingredients in a food processor an blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
9. Invest In a Quality Knife
Are you hesitant to purchase a full knife set? You aren’t the only one. Those things can be expensive. Yet, owning a quality chef’s knife is essential if you want to update your fall cooking. Moreover, it minimizes the chances of you accidentally cutting yourself. Find a multipurpose knife with good reviews and follow more advanced recipes by chopping, mincing, slicing and dicing your way to success.
10. Find Low-Sugar Substitutions
Fall is the season of pumpkin pie, whipped cream and all things warm and chocolaty. If you plan to indulge in these sweet treats, consider swapping out sugar for low-sugar substitutes. Use cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips to make cookies, add sweet fruits to plain greek yogurt and swap reduced-fat peanut butter for natural nut butter. These simple substitutions will allow you to enjoy all the yummy treats the season has to offer without feeling too guilty about it.
Sparking Creativity In the Kitchen
Sometimes, all you need to update your cooking is a new recipe or kitchen utensil. Even something as simple as a pair of herb scissors can be enough to spark creativity and encourage you to try new recipes and dishes. Get a little wild, add an extra dash of cinnamon and don’t forget to taste test along the way.