The #1 Dish Home Cooks Ruin: Eat This, Not That

The #1 Dish Home Cooks Ruin: Eat This, Not That

Look, we’re not all professional chefs, but you probably know your way around the kitchen. Chances are you can do the basics, from a simple chicken breast to a nice bowl of scrambled eggs. Maybe the perfect soufflé is elusive and maybe a pristine poached egg is a bit out of reach, but you’re a good cook, right? Don’t worry if you’re having trouble with the basics… you’re not alone.

Talker put together a list of the top 10 foods most home cooks get wrong, and comfortingly, it’s the simple things, the everyday foods, that give us the most trouble.

Here’s a countdown to dish n. #1 most home cooks screw up, according to Talker data. To prevent you from making the same mistakes, our resident expert Chef Claudia Sidoti offers some simple tips for getting these popular dishes right. Read on for the full list and tips, then be sure to check out these 30 Best Cooking Tips, According to the Experts.

Roasted Fish
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Fish is not easy to cook well. First of all, there are many different types of fish, from delicate white fillets to meaty halibut, shrimp, scallops, clams, and more. Each of these requires TLC in order not to turn into dry, lifeless flaky messes or inedible gummy bites. It’s honestly surprising that fish is so low on the list, as as a category it encompasses so many different varieties that can easily go wrong.

Sidoti says the biggest problem with fish is that most people overcook it and it dries out. “No two pieces of fish are the same,” he says, “think about the thickness of your fish and adjust the time accordingly, and don’t forget that all proteins, even fish, have carryover cooking, so they will continue to cook for as long as you like.” at least minus 5 minutes even after taking it out of the pan/oven.” He also recommends a special fish spatula if you’re sautéing or frying. “It really helps make it easier to turn.”

RELATED: All The Popular Fish: Ranked By Their Nutritional Benefits!

grilled chicken
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Grilled chicken is hard to get right. Working over a live flame, whether on a gas or charcoal grill, is an art. Understanding the hot zones of your grill can be challenging, but there are ways to stack the deck in your favor.

Sidoti says that to get grilled chicken right, don’t guess! “Use a thermometer to check the temperature if you’re not sure. Most chicken breasts only require 5-8 minutes per side, unless they’re very thick. If your chicken is very thick, set up an area for indirect heat so you can transfer it from direct heat after you get a nice sear and continue cooking over indirect heat until the chicken reaches 165 degrees. Let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing to preserve juiciness.” Here’s exactly how long you should roast the chicken.

RELATED: 73 Healthy Chicken Recipes For Weight Loss

White rice
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Rice requires the perfect ratio of water and rice to do well, but different stoves, heat levels, and pots can change the result. Sure, you could invest in a rice cooker, but if you don’t make a ton of rice, that might not make sense.

Sidoti says it’s essential to keep the heat as low as possible when simmering so you don’t burn the bottom. “Also, make sure the pot is well sealed to trap the steam…that’s what actually cooks the rice.” And just like fish and chicken, “let the rice sit for at least 5 minutes before fluffing and serving and use a timer because overcooked rice just turns to mush.” These are the top 20 mistakes people make when cooking rice.

bowl of mashed potatoes
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Mashed potatoes seem simple enough, but many can fail if you use the wrong mashing implement. Sticky potatoes are mixed with starchy potatoes. What #1 Sidoti says is don’t mash too much, “if you do, you activate the gluten which makes them starchy.” In addition, he recommends “heating the milk or cream before adding them and adding them little by little so that they are not too loose”. Try making them in your slow cooker!

sweet potatoes
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In general, sweet potatoes are very forgiving and easy, says Sidoti. Although they take time to soften. “Try poking a few holes in them and then microwaving them on high for 3-5 minutes (depending on their size) to soften them up,” she says, “then finish in the oven to get some texture on the skin.” .

RELATED: 25 Healthy And Delicious Sweet Potato Recipes

Chicken Soup with Vegetables
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If you walk into the soup aisle of a grocery store, you’ll see that soup is one of those things most cooks don’t want to bother with. Cans upon cans of everything from beloved chicken noodles, chilled tomato, and even cream of New England clam chowder can be yours with the flick of a can opener. But alas, these canned wonders often hide a dangerous excess of sodium, so it pays to make your own.

While soup is a huge category and the details would come down to the soup being made, Sidoti has this to say about making good soup: “Taste as you go and season accordingly. You can’t take the salt out of it, so let a soup sit, then taste and decide if you need more.”

RELATED: 23 Cozy Soup Recipes That Are Perfect For Weight Loss

macaroni and cheese
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There’s a reason cases of this iconic dish exist: it’s really hard to make homemade mac and cheese right. Classic macaroni and cheese is made with a bechamel sauce, which isn’t technically difficult, but it does take a bit of measurement and skill.

Sidoti recommends undercooking the pasta so it doesn’t get too mushy once you stir it into the cheese sauce for the stovetop version, but especially if you’re baking it. Also, don’t overcook your cheese sauce. “This is what usually makes a cheese sauce curdle, so you generally want to add the cheese, then turn off the heat and add the pasta right away,” he advises. The remaining heat will melt the cheese into a smooth sauce.

RELATED: 18 Amazing Mac and Cheese Recipes for Weight Loss

Cook pasta
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Pasta is a big category, like fish. Making pasta right has to do with time, the proportion of water and salt, and the taste.

Sidoti recommends reading package directions to make sure you don’t overcook and salt the pasta water until it “tastes salty like the sea.” And never, ever, EVER rinse cooked pasta! (Unless you’re making a cold pasta salad.) “It will remove the starch, which is what helps sauces stick,” she says. Here are the 15 worst mistakes you’re making when cooking pasta.

Different ways to cook eggs.
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Eggs look so innocent and simple, but they can go bad so fast. Scrambled eggs can be undercooked or woefully dry and overcooked in an instant. Hard-boiled eggs can turn green or be impossible to peel, and poached eggs can be a brilliant treat or fail in seconds.

“It’s hard to cook a perfect egg no matter if it’s scrambled, poached, fried or boiled,” admits Sidoti. She says to always set a timer when making a hard-boiled egg to make sure you don’t overcook or undercook. For other types, use nonstick. “I don’t usually use non-stick pans, but when cooking eggs, especially fried, it’s the best way to ensure they don’t stick.”

There is a lot to know about cooking eggs and this article is the perfect place to start: The worst mistakes we all make when cooking eggs, according to a chef

whole wheat pancakes
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Finally, the dish that most home cooks mess up is the beloved pancake. Since most of us don’t cook this weekend dessert every day, it’s easy to understand why pancakes are so hard to perfect. Sidoti says there are a couple of things home cooks do that will ruin pancakes.

“Usually people cook pancakes on too high a heat and they tend to burn,” says Sidoti. “Low and slow works best.” Also, when making pancakes with fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips, he says to wait until the bottom is set before adding them or they will break, burn and be very difficult to turn. “Wait until the edges are set and the dough starts to bubble in the middle, then sprinkle on fruit, chips, or nuts, then turn to cook the other side.” Sharpen your skills before this weekend with 13 Pancake Mistakes You’re Making.

Check out more of our delicious and healthy recipes:

19+ Best Healthy Pancake Recipes

15 Easy Frittata Recipes Anyone Can Make

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