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Cooking Basics Part Six: Cooking Substitutions

In our Cooking Basics series, we’ve covered Getting Started, Herbs and Spices, Oils, Kitchen Safety and Frying. Today, we’re covering a topic that will extremely useful to you when putting together recipes spontaneously. This topic is Cooking Substitutions.

As you become more comfortable with cooking, you’ll realize that unless you plan out an entire week’s meals, it can be difficult to have everything at hand that you need for a recipe you want to try.  Let’s say you found a recipe you really want to try on your Pinterest, but you just used your last egg, or you’re completely out of butter.

Cooking substitutions can’t always save you, but they can make life a little easier and may save you some trips to the local grocery store. Here’s a simple example: let’s say you have a recipe that calls for beer, but you don’t have any beer and it isn’t usually on your shopping list. You can substitute one cup of beer with one cup of chicken broth in this case.

Here are some more examples of some common substitutions in cooking:

Brown Sugar. You’re ready to bake but you never bought brown sugar. If you have white sugar and molasses you can mix it, decrease the liquid in the recipe and use it in place of the brown sugar.

Butter. Butter is used so often that it isn’t uncommon to run out of it when you really need it. If you have one cup of shortening on hand you can use it to replace one cup of butter.

Egg. In a pinch, three tablespoons of mayonnaise can replace one egg. For a healthier choice, use half a banana and ½ teaspoon of baking powder.

Fresh Herbs. Sometimes buying a whole new batch of fresh herbs can be frustrating. It adds cost and you may not need to buy a whole bundle of one herb for one recipe. In this case, use one teaspoon of a dried herb to replace one tablespoon of its fresh counterpart.

Mayonnaise. If you’re out of mayonnaise, don’t fear. One cup of plain yogurt can be used in place of one cup of mayonnaise.

Stock. Replace one cup of fresh chicken or beef stock with one cup of water mixed with one bouillon cube.

Not only will substitutions empower you to finish the recipe you’ve been wanting to try without going to the store, but substitutions will also prevent you from spending money on a bottle of package of an ingredient you are only going to use for one recipe.

Have fun in your cooking adventures, and don’t forget to turn on your kitchen range hood while you are cooking on your stove top. Cooking activities, like frying, produce grease, smoke and smells that will stay in our kitchen and go into our lungs if it isn’t ventilated. The range hood takes care of this for us, but you have to remember to turn it on. Browse RangeHoodsInc.com for wall mount range hoods, under cabinet range hoods, island range hoods and more.

Cooking Basics Part 1: Getting Started

Unless you eat out every single day or purchase readymade foods, cooking is a daily part of life. Perhaps you just finished a kitchen remodel, installed a new range and range hood, bought new cookware and upgraded your sink. The great news is you’re ready to start cooking! Cooking can be a rewarding activity that will engage your creativity and your taste buds.

If you’ve ever flipped through a recipe book or browsed the cooking section at a book store, you know there are countless recipes out there. If you’re new to cooking, the best thing is to start out with something simple and easy. Here are some cooking tips for the beginners out there or a refresher for those more familiar with cooking:

  1. It will make things easier if you plan out the meals for the entire week. You can find a meal plan schedule and shopping guide online. This will ensure that you have all the ingredients on hand before you start cooking and help you stay within budget. You can find a meal plan that accounts for the number of people in the home and any special dietary concerns, such as sensitivities to dairy.
  2. Before you start working with any recipe, read the recipe in its entirety. You don’t want to get halfway through the recipe and realize you didn’t measure something out correctly or you don’t have all of the ingredients.
  3. Prepare everything before you begin. Measure out all of the ingredients and have them ready to throw in the pan or in the pot.
  4. Clean while you go. You will be much more likely to keep cooking if you take the time to clean the kitchen as much as you can while you’re cooking.
  5. Always be safe while you’re cooking. Turn on the range hood so it will vent out unwanted odors, grease, smoke and gases. Have a fire extinguisher nearby, and make sure everyone understands fire safety precautions in the kitchen. For example, know what to do in the case of a grease fire or how to safely stop a fire on the range. If a fire starts, call emergency services and evacuate the home.
  6. Invest in a set of herbs and spices. You won’t regret it. Soon, you’ll notice that with the right herbs and spices you can make anything taste delicious. You’ll probably eat out less because you’ll realize you can create the same dishes at home for a better price and in healthier ways. Remember, you can use dry or fresh herbs for cooking.
  7. It can’t hurt to keep some basics in stock. For example, salt, pepper, lemon, garlic, olive oil and butter are simple ingredients that are necessary in many recipes.

Cooking can be very rewarding, especially when you are able to pack up leftovers for lunch the next day and you learn enough to make good use of whatever you have in your fridge or pantry. Cooking skills are essential to becoming more sustainable and leading a healthier lifestyle.