Bright Side

15 Cooking Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner

You might think that adding oil to water when you`re cooking pasta will prevent it from sticking together. However, oil can do your meal a disservice. If you want to add sauce later, the oil will actually prevent it from mixing well with your pasta, and the results might disappoint you.

We at Bright Side want to make sure your dinner meets your expectations. So here are some things you shouldn`t do, to make sure you cook a tasty meal!

1. Adding oil to water when making pasta

Some people add oil to their water when they`re making pasta. They do it to either stop the water from boiling over, or to prevent the pasta from sticking together. However, adding oil might not be a good idea if you`re planning to eat pasta with sauce, because the oil will make it hard for the sauce to stick to the pasta.

2. Straining your pasta water and rinsing your pasta

When pasta is ready, most of us probably just pour out the water it was made in. But keeping the water can actually add flavor to your dish. And if you`re making pasta with sauce, that water can also help bring these 2 things together and make the sauce have a more even consistency. Rinsing the pasta can be the reason the sauce doesn`t stick to it.

3. Waiting too long before stirring the pasta

It`s important to start stirring the pasta right away. It`s more likely to start sticking together at the beginning, because of the starch that`s being released.

4. Not letting the meat thaw

You should take meat out of the fridge and let it reach room temperature before cooking it. Otherwise, the cold meat will cook unevenly, with the inside undercooked and the outside burned.

5. Not letting the meat rest before cutting it

When you cook meat, most of the juices are in the center. So it`s better to wait a little bit before cutting it so that the juices can spread out to the sides.

6. Stirring the rice

Unless you`re making risotto, it`s better to not stir the rice. Otherwise it`ll activate the starch, which will make your rice mushy.

7. Lifting the lid when cooking rice

If you`re cooking rice in a pot, don`t remove the lid to check whether the rice is done. If you do that, the heat will escape, and the top will be less cooked than the bottom. It will also mess up the water-to-rice ratio, and the rice will be more dry.

8. Frying food in extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke point. So if you cook it at high temperatures, a steak, for example, it will start to smell unpleasant and release toxic chemicals.

9. Not making sure the fish is dry

If the fish is wet on the surface and you start cooking it in a pan, it`ll steam rather than sear. That means it won`t have that golden crust at the end.

10. Sautéing wet greens

After you`ve washed your greens, make sure they`re dry. Otherwise the water will cause steam, and the vegetables will be too soggy after cooking. They`ll also lose their flavor.

11. Adding cold butter and cream to mashed potatoes

Adding these ingredients cold will prevent them from being properly absorbed by the starch in the potatoes. So it`s better to heat up the butter until it`s melted and the cream until it starts to steam, and only then should you add them.

12. Putting too much into one pan

When you`re cooking for several people, it`s convenient to just put everything into one pan. However, if there`s too much food in there, you can end up with a dry dinner. The heat will be reduced, and it`ll cause the meat to lose moisture.

13. Adding garlic too early

Garlic gets burned easily, so frying it first can ruin its flavor. Add it last, and you can be sure it won’t burn.

14. Not pre-heating the pan

You should heat the pan for a few minutes before frying anything in it. Otherwise the meat or the fish you`re making won`t be properly cooked.

15. Not pre-cooking potatoes before roasting them

If you put raw potatoes into the oven, they might end up burnt on the outside and not fully cooked on the inside. To avoid that, partially cook the potatoes in boiling water before roasting them.

Have you ever made any of these mistakes? Are there any other common mistakes you know about? Do you have any more dinner cooking tips? Let us know in the comments.