What Cooking Lessons Have You Picked Up?

I’ve been cooking for a couple of decades now. I am no where near the level of The Pioneer Woman or Julia Child. I mean, I can definitely take a few swigs of alcohol while cooking like Ms. Child. In general, though, I’m an average (below average if you ask my kids) cook.

Please, with that knowledge, take this post with a HUGE grain of salt.

Over my years of cooking, I have learned some lessons. I decided to share them with you in case I’m: 1. WRONG and someone needs to let me know or 2. You happen to learn something. In which case, YAY!

Pre-Heat The Pan

I learned to start doing this first when I actually read the directions on how to pan cook frozen chicken breast. (I wish I was joking when I say I learned this about a month ago.) Who knew pre-heating the pan would make the cooking time faster? Then I got a stainless-steel pan and pre-heating is a must.

This can be a dangerous practice, though. Let’s pretend you go to warm up your pan. You set it on the stovetop, turn on the burner, then walk away to stop your child from eating that small toy their sibling left out.

Now that you’ve rescued your toddler’s life for the 18th time that day, you walk back into the kitchen to get your preschooler a drink. With all these distractions, you completely forgot you were warming up a pan. As you reach into the cabinet to retrieve a sippy cup, you notice a pan sitting on the stove. You go to grab it to throw it in the sink for later cleaning, only to BURN YOURSELF!


Okay, seriously though. Who grabs a pan anywhere BUT on the handle?

You’ve been warned, though.

Read the Recipe Through at Least Once, Then Start Cooking

This might seem like a “duh” thing to write. I will be the first to admit I’ll just glance to make sure I’ve got a majority of the ingredients then get to it. Well, with all the ads, pictures, and other whatnot attached to recipes nowadays, I have discovered I tend to miss the last few ingredients. Or the cooking method of the recipe. Or the number of servings. Or the time it will take.

You can’t start dinner for a large family at 5 pm only to discover the new recipe you’re trying is going to take 3 hours and it only feeds 2.

Please, don’t be like me. Read the whole thing first.

Check Expiration Dates

Did you know eggs have an expiration date?! Did you know if you use baking powder past its expiration date, you won’t get the rise you were expecting? Did you know most ground spices will last YEARS after their use by date? They might lose some of their potency, but they won’t hurt you.

SECRET CONFESSION: I usually have no idea when my bread has expired. If it’s green, it’ll be mean! Otherwise, I EAT IT.

Scramble an Egg

You’ll never be without a meal once you know how to make a scrambled egg.

SIDE NOTE: The first thing I remember learning how to cook was pancakes. I didn’t even put the ingredients together. I just cooked them. I learned to put the batter on the pan, when to flip it, and when to take it off the heat.

I can’t make a pancake to save my life today. They are usually under-cooked, aka the middle is still pretty much batter. My pancakes can put bricks to shame. And they’re always HUGE. Not in circumference, but in height. Anyone else out there make 4-inch-high pancakes? Please let me know so I don’t feel so alone.


Okay, back to the point. Don’t pick something complicated to learn first. You can even do something as simple as boil water. The idea is to get comfortable in the kitchen.

Temperature of Your Ingredients Matter

My husband had nothing to do with this point. Just kidding. He’s the one who taught me this!

A lot of ingredients work their magic best at room temperature. Especially butter in baking.

One ingredient that surprised me was STEAK! I was for sure it would quickly get rancid, but turns out you should set it out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour prior to cooking.

Did you learn anything from this post? Am I wrong on any of these points? I want to know!

It’s your turn to share some tips and tricks! How do you make the perfect soup? How do you know what to mix to get something delicious and not atrocious? What’s your favorite method of cooking? Have you found any good online cooking classes? Please use the comment section below to teach me more important lessons in cooking.

2 thoughts on “What Cooking Lessons Have You Picked Up?”

  1. Here’s a tip for eggcellent (get it?) scrambled eggs:

    Beat the heck out of them with a whisk. You can never whisk eggs too much when you’re going to scramble them. Melt a little pat of butter in a non-stick pan just under medium heat. Add the eggs and literally stir them – actually scramble them (not just turn them) with a rubber spatula. When I say spatula I do not mean a flipper, that most people call spatulas. As they get more and more solid, but before they are completely cooked, turn the burner off and continue to scramble them until they are as cooked as you like them. I like my scrambled eggs just cooked so they have a creamier texture. My husband prefers them more well done.

    Give it a try and let me know what you think!

    1. Well I learned all sorts of new things today! I had to look up flipper vs. spatula because I honestly had no idea they were two different things. Unfortunately, the first thing that popped up was a picture of a flipper of a whale. . . not helpful. I’m going to do a post soon about different kitchen utensils so we can all learn!

      I have a question though, since you and your husband like different doneness of eggs, do you pull your serving out when they’re done to your liking and leave the rest to cook a little longer? Or do you make separate scrambled eggs?

      Also, now I need to know! Do you use ONLY eggs, or do you add anything in, like milk or spices?

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