Top 10 cooking basics every girl should know

by SheKnows
Aug 10, 2012 at 1:45 p.m. ET
Roasting a chicken is one of the easiest and most flavorful ways to prepare this popular poultry. To begin, you need a basic, yet mouth-watering recipe, like this one. To make sure your chicken stays moist and tender, baste it every 20 minutes with its own juices. Photo by Brandy Clabaugh.

1 /9: Use a slow cooker

1/9 :Use a slow cooker

This is one cooking tip that will not only give you better tasting meals, but it'll give you more time to spend with your family. All you do is put your ingredients into the basin, add liquid, cover and set the temperature! Most stews and meats cook best on low for no less than four hours while many soups can be cooked on high for just two hours.

2 /9: Pit and peel an avocado

2/9 :Pit and peel an avocado

Simply slice your avocado in half around the pit. Then carefully twist the two sides apart. To remove the pit, hold one side of the avocado then firmly tap the center with the blade of a chefs knife (hard enough so the knife sticks into the pit). Then pull the knife and the pit should come out. Use a spoon to remove from flesh from the peel and mash or enjoy!

3 /9: Bake with yeast

3/9 :Bake with yeast

Yeast is a very intimidating ingredient, we whole-heartedly get that. The most important thing to remember when using yeast is proper water temperature. The water you add needs to be no warmer than 110 degrees or it could kill the yeast. You also need to be patient when using it. Most recipes will ask you to let the dough rise at least three or four different times.

4 /9: Prepare homemade stock

4/9 :Prepare homemade stock

What is it that makes grandma's soup so good? The answer is the stock! Making this stuff is simple, just put a whole chicken (omit this if you're making veggie), whole onion, garlic, carrots, celery and fennel into a large pot, let simmer for 2 - 3 hours then strain!

5 /9: Poach an egg

5/9 :Poach an egg

First, your water needs to be rapidly simmering, not boiling. Secondly, add a dash of white vinegar to your water. Third, crack your egg carefully into a shallow bowl first then transfer to the water. Fourth, use a slated spoon to quickly move the egg whites back over the egg yolk. Lastly, use the same spoon to gently remove egg from pot.

6 /9: Peel and saute garlic

6/9 :Peel and saute garlic

To remove the peel from the garlic, simply press your knife's blade sideways onto the clove. Carefully press down until you hear a slight snap. This will remove the peel from the clove so you can easily tear it. Then simply chop or mince. To saute, always add garlic after you've added the onions since it cooks in half the time. Photo by Gretchen Powell.

7 /9: Grill a steak

7/9 :Grill a steak

When it comes to grilling a steak, there are a few key things to remember. For one, know your cut and buy it fresh (red with fat marbled throughout). The best cuts for the grill are the rib-eye, top sirloin, top loin, T-bone and tenderloin. Secondly, preheat your grill! Last, but not least, invest in a meat thermometer that lists the right temperatures for doneness.

8 /9: Cook with herbs

8/9 :Cook with herbs

Nothing adds flavor to a dish without unnecessary calories or fat like fresh herbs. If you're worried about cooking with the fresh stuff, begin with dried. When using dried herbs, always remember to add them at the beginning or the middle of cooking so they release flavor. If your recipe calls for fresh herbs and you have dry, remember this; three tablespoons of fresh herbs is equal to one dry.

9 /9: Properly chop vegetables

9/9 :Properly chop vegetables

You first need a good chef's knife. After you have your knife, you begin by cutting the vegetable in half. Place each half cut-side down then slice the vegetable length-wise starting at one end. Then, cut through the vegetable at right angles to the board (or going the opposite way you cut the strips).