Post # 1
Does anyone know of a good resource for cooking times and temperatures for various meats and vegetables?
I’m not a great cook, but I’m trying to get better. I’m getting better about not doing everything from a recipe, but the greatest barrier I find is knowing how long and the temperature to cook something at! I’m constantly doing this for chicken breasts, you’d think by now I would at least have that one down, but nope!
Post # 3
This is a decent site for meats and poultry. I think these are the big tips for cooking meats:
1)get a good thermometer and test it. In boiling water is should read 212 degrees fahrenheit. Check meat temperatures by inserting the thermometer about halfway into the meat (Not touching a bone).
2)Meat cooks an extra 5-10 degrees when you take it out of the oven/stove. So if you want a perfectly done steak, you actually take it out of the oven when it reaches 10 degrees below the temperature you want.
3)Two basic ways to cook any meat- high temp or low temp. High temp is good for tender cuts of meat like chicken breasts, fish, high quality steaks. You get your oven or pan on stove top nice and hot before putting the meat on. The high heat creates a sear(a crisp outercrust) that seals in moisture. Depending on how thick the meat is it cooks pretty quickly. Low temp is great for tougher cuts of meat- roasts, whole chickens, etc. You put the meat into a low temp oven for a long time which will help to tenderize it.
For veggies try http://www.thekitchn.com/how-long-to-cook-vegetables-a-beginners-guide-to-preparation-times-171231
They have two great tips on there-
1)stop cooking when the veggie is still slightly crisp- most veggie taste better when they aren’t completely limp.
2)Just like meats veggies are still cooking even when you take them off the stove. To get that “restaurant perfect” veggie, try taking a bowl of ice water, dumping the cooked veggies in it to stop the cooking, and then put them briefly into boiling water right before you serve.
Post # 4
I like to judge by sight and touch
Pork/chicken – done when the juice runs clear when you press down on the top
Vegetables (especially green ones) – when they’re really bright in colour
Steak – do the finger feeling test:
Roast beef/pork – have to use a thermometer, a cooking one will have it marked right on it the doneness temperatures for various meats
Post # 5
My Better Homes and Gardens cook book has several great reference guides on times and temps, as well a more than several other guides that I find very useful.