These 5 Cooking Hacks Will Flavor Blast Your Meal in No Time
Over the last decade of some pretty intensive home cooking I've created these little hacks and types of preparations that give me a leg up as a home cook. These certainly aren't hacks you're going to be learning in a restaurant or at culinary school because they are true home cooking survival skills. So today what I'm going to be doing is showing you five of my favorites that I continue to use on a weekly basis so I can pump out incredible meals at home for my family of four.
Cheat Code #1: Having Pre-cooked Beans/Legumes in Your Kitchen
We’re not talking about the canned stuff because the flavor is just not as good and they tend to have a softer texture than the homemade stuff. Two of my favorites are chickpeas and white beans. All you need to do, soak ⅓ cup of the beans of your choice in a container with 2 cups of water. Leave them overnight and then boil them for 30 minutes. Drain them and store in your fridge for 4 - 5 days.
Not only will they be the best tasting beans, they are so versatile in your meals. A few of my favorites are sprinkling them over a salad, roasting them in the air fryer for a nice snack, smashing them into a dip or adding them to a soup or stew or curry. The best part is that they are already cooked so you dont need to plan ahead with them.
Cheat Code #2: Aromatic Paste
This one is an absolute game changer. This is a ground up paste of all the aromatics that I already have in my pantry. I’m usually stocked up on garlic, scallion, ginger, turmeric, and chilies. I grab equal amounts of everything and blend into a thick paste. With this intense aromatic bomb at the palm of your hands, you are ready to flavor blast each and every one of your meals in an instant.
Some of my personal favorites are cooking the aromatics down in a coconut curry, making an aromatic fried rice, or using the paste straight as a marinade for chicken thighs!
Cheat Code #3: Pre-cooked Potatoes
In my opinion, pre-cooked or parboiled potatoes are more versatile than any raw potato. I like to peel and cut my potatoes into wedges before I boil them until they are fork tender. Fully cooked but not falling apart is where you want them to be. They will last in your fridge for a few days but it's not long enough before I make some delicious air fried wedges. I will also dump them into a frittata,soup or curry and you don't need to wait for the potatoes to cook or worry that they will starch up your meals!
Cheat Code #4: Having Steamed Veggies On Hand
My favorite steamed veggie to have in my fridge is broccoli! I cut a broccoli head down to smaller florets and chunk up the stem into smaller pieces. Ill steam them until they are cooked through and bright green. For me, its about 3 minutes. You want to be able to use them just as they are as well as being able to drop them into a stir fry or a pasta. A perfectly steamed al dente broccoli is what you want to have stored in the fridge, ready to use.
Cheat Code #5: Pre-soaking Rice Noodles
This sounds almost dumb but the worst thing is to throw them in some boiling water or soup and have them get super mushy or clump together. Your rice noodles will take about one hour to hydrate but you can leave them longer and they will be okay. Drain them and pop them into a container and they will be good for a few days.
Rice noodles that have been pre-soaked require much less liquid to cook through, leaving you with perfectly al dente rice noodles in your stir fries. You also don't need to boil the noodles if you are eating them in a soup. Just pour over the scorching hot broth over the noodles and cover for 3 minutes and they will come out perfectly.
By Alex C
Senior Food Writer at Pro Home Cooks
- Place 1 cup of dried chickpeas into a container along with 2 1/2 - 3 cups of water. Cover and let hydrate overnight.
- The next day, pour the beans into a pot with another cup of water.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes.
- Drain and let them cool down before you store in the fridge for 4 - 5 days.
- 1 cup of dried chickpeas
- 3 cups of water
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