These are 9 of the most common mistakes that people make when cooking


2. Over-crowding a pan

There are many reasons home cooks pile a bunch of food into one pan or baking sheet. They may want the food to cook faster, or they just don't want to dirty another dish that will then need to be washed. But in fact, over-crowding a pan not only takes longer for the food to cook, it also fails to give you the results you're looking for, as an over-crowded pan will never fully brown food.

Instead, place food in a single layer and make there's lots of room on all sides of each item. This will allow the heat to rise up from the bottom of the pan, circulate around the entire pan and the food within it, and actually cook it quicker. When the pan is over-crowded, heat gets trapped at the bottom underneath the food. It then steams the food instead of browning it and takes way longer to get to the finished product.

3. Using lean meat

There are many reasons to choose lean meat, mostly because it's considered to be healthier than fatty meat. But considerable research has been done showing that fatty meat isn't quite the health risk it was once considered to be. When meat has no fat in it, it will likely be tough, chewy and dry no matter how you cook it. This happens because when fat melts, it sinks right into the meat and helps to make it juicier and more flavorful. And as they say, fat really is flavor.

Remember that choosing dark meats of chicken, which are inherently fattier, will result in better tasting meals. Furthermore, medium-ground beef is always better than lean, particularly when you're making things like hamburgers, meatloaf and meatballs. When choosing a steak, look for ones that have plenty of marbling (those thin white lines) throughout. This will ensure that the fat will be distributed throughout the entire cut of meat.

4. Not seasoning enough

Just as many people think too much fat is bad for you, many also think the same about salt. While there have been no studies showing that an increased sodium intake can actually improve your health, just because you shouldn't use too much salt doesn't mean you should be stingy with its use for meat. Start to season more, and you will enhance the flavor of that food without making it taste too salty.

The problem here is that people don't have the right impression of salt, so they think even the smallest bit is too much when that's just not true. A good rule of thumb is one teaspoon for every pound of meat, and for vegetables, a generous sprinkling. The real sodium killers come from processed foods, so if you're cooking from scratch at home, you don't need to worry too much about salt.

5. Using a cold pan and cold oil

Many people throw a pot onto the stove, add the oil followed by the food, and only then do they turn on the heat. This is a big mistake. As the food sits in that cold oil, it will start to absorb it, resulting in greasy food. So, what's the right order to cook food?

First, place a pan on the stove and turn on the heat under it. Let the pan get hot, and then add the oil or fat. Once the oil gets hot, add the food. This will ensure that your food starts to cook and sear as soon as it hits the oil and won't have any time to absorb it.

6. Turning food too often

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