How to cook like a pro– without recipes!

I do not like following orders. I have always been one to do my own thing and not go by the rules. That goes the same for cooking, I do not like recipes. I may not make a whole lot of recipes, but my kitchen always has good food for everyone.

I am just now beginning to realize that my skill in the kitchen isn’t due to great recipes. Its due to me learning as I go, and more importantly recognizing my cooking and baking mistakes. I am becoming a great foodie scientist, not a good home chef. But I will take the latter label any time.

To be a great foodie scientist, you learn from your hypothesis..or ie recipe research.

You may change a variable or two, but really each time we bake and cook its really a big science experiment and hopefully results in great food.

I am going to share with you how to cook great, without using recipes in the kitchen. Granted I do read a WHOLE lot of recipes, as anyone on Facebook knows, I do a whole lot of research into my hypothesis of what I want to make. And my cookbook collection mostly from 1970 is starting to be a bit impressive. I love looking at the pictures and getting ideas for foodie experiments, and pinterest recipes and Google are well abused also.

But I rarely am sitting in the kitchen, recipe in hand, measuring each ingredient trying to make something perfect, cause its no fun for me to follow directions. So here are a few tips to help you not have to look at recipes in the kitchen either.

How to cook without recipes.

  1. Know who your feeding: For one know what your family likes to eat and what they do not enjoy, if no one wants to even eat it, don’t try to make it. If you want to try your own foodie experiments, try them whilst making everyone their normal food so that no one is mad that you tried making something different. Usually when I try something new, I make sure I have the extra ingredients to spare, (in case it doesn’t work)and that at least one person in the house will eat it, even if its only me. 
  2. Know what you have: Going to the store for one ingredient, that you don’t have is never fun. So build your meals around what you have. Look in your pantry and fridge for meals before ever going to the store. Start with a protein, pair a veggie and add a carb, its as simple as 1,2,3.
  3. Know your ingredients: Getting to know the basics of food, your favorite grain, your favorite flour to bake with, your favorite fruit to bake with, your favorite spices for meats and desserts, even your favorite veggie to make, makes cooking a lot easier. Getting to know what each ingredient is for and its function, can help you dissect recipes better. You will eventually be able to look at a recipe and realize what you can substitute easily and what is necessary and what isn’t.
  4. Know your spices: This is really important and also goes with the number 1 rule. Know what spices your family likes and what they do not. My family cannot take anything too spicy, so we use mostly garlic, paprika and salt and pepper. My family also doesn’t like ginger, or curry, so we are very limited to our spice rack. I am lucky to have memorized a few spice charts and I will try and include some in this post. The most best thing you can memorize isn’t recipes, its spice charts. You will thank me.   http://www.cooksmarts.com/cs-blog/2014/09/ultimate-infographic-guide-spices/
  5. Know what you can substitute: This is also very important. If you have anyone in your house with food allergies as I do, you will be substituting ingredients all the time. So the more you get to know your ingredients and how they function, the better you can know what to substitute. I will also include some amazing substitution lists in this post. I have learned a whole lot from reading vegan and paleo recipes for how to substitute things for food allergies also. Vegans are very creative when it comes to substitutes.   http://greatist.com/health/83-healthy-recipe-substitutions
  6. Know whats in season: This is more of a shopping tip. But if your a busy mom like me, you need to know whats in season so that you can get deals on produce. Get to know your local farmers and even try gardening some veggies at home. You really get to know produce well, when you grow it yourself and learn to use the whole plant and not just the parts you buy in the store. Knowing whats in season can help you have a well stocked fridge and freezer. When you buy fruit and veggies on sale in season, freeze for later use.
  7. Know your mistakes are not the end of the world, your learning. Have fun, be creative and never have a closed mind. When we keep our mind open and test our foodie hypothesis’s after thorough research, most of the time, we regurgitate what we learned and our subconscious cooking hands come up with great food.
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