The #1 dish destroyed by home cooks – eat this not so

Look, we’re not all professional chefs, but you probably know your way around the kitchen. You can probably make the basics from a simple chicken breast to a good bowl of scrambled eggs. Maybe the perfect soufflé eludes you and a pure boiled egg may be out of reach, but you’re a good cook, aren’t you? Don’t worry if you struggle with the basics… you’re not alone.

Talker put together a list of the top 10 foods that most home cooks get wrong and comfortably, it’s the simple things – everyday foods – that get us the most trouble.

Here’s a countdown to the #1 dish most home cooks destroy, according to Talker data. To prevent you from making the same mistakes, our resident expert, Chef Claudia Sidoti, offers some simple tips to get these popular dishes right. Keep reading to see the full list and tips, then be sure to check out our 30 best cooking tips, according to the experts.

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Fish is not easy to cook properly. First of all, there are lots of different types of fish from thin white fillets to delicious halibut to shrimp, scallops, oysters, and more. Both of these require TLC so they don’t turn into dry, lifeless, flaky messes or chewy, inedible bites. Honestly, it’s surprising how low the fish is on this list since it includes so many different varieties that it could easily be mistaken as a category.

Sidoti says the biggest problem with fish is that most people overcook it and it gets dry. “No two pieces of fish are the same, think about the thickness of the fish and adjust your timing accordingly, and don’t forget that all proteins, even fish, have a phased cooking so they continue to cook in at least 5 minutes even after you remove it from the pan/oven,” she says. She also recommends a special spoon for fish if frying or frying. “It really helps make it easier to turn around.”

Related: Every Famous Fish – Ranked for Nutritional Benefits!

Grilled chicken
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Roast chicken is hard to make properly. Working over a live flame whether you’re grilling with gas or charcoal is an art. Understanding the hot spots on the grill can be a challenge, but there are ways to stack the surface to your advantage.

Sidotti says to get the chicken properly roasted, don’t guess! “Use a thermometer to take the temperature if you’re not sure. Most chicken breasts only require 5-8 minutes per side unless they’re very thick. If the chicken is very thick, set up an area for indirect heat so you can remove it from direct heat after it’s done. Scald well and continue to cook over indirect heat until the chicken reaches 165 degrees, let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing it to retain its juices.” Here’s exactly how long you should grill the chicken.

Related: 73 Healthy Chicken Recipes for Weight Loss

White rice
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Rice requires the perfect ratio of water to rice to get the right ratio, but different stoves, heat levels, and pots can change the outcome. Sure, you could invest in a rice cooker, but if you don’t make a ton of rice, it might not make sense.

Sidoti says it’s important to keep the heat as low as possible when boiling so you don’t burn the bottom. “Also make sure the pot is closed properly to trap the steam…that’s what really cooks the rice.” And like fish and chicken, “Let the rice rest for at least 5 minutes before flipping and serving and using a timer because overcooked rice turns mush.” Here are the top 20 mistakes people make when cooking rice.

mashed potato bowl
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Mashed potatoes seem simple enough, but a lot can go wrong if you use the wrong masher. Sticky potatoes happen over mixed starchy potatoes. The number one thing Sidoti says is not to over-mash, “If you do, you activate the gluten making it starchy.” Additionally, she recommends “warming the milk or cream before adding and adding slowly so it isn’t too loose.” Try making it in your slow cooker!

sweet potato
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In general, sweet potatoes are very forgiving and easy to make, says Sidoti. Although it does take a while to soften. “Try making a few holes in them and then microwave them on high for 3-5 minutes (depending on their size) to soften them,” she says, “and then finish in the oven until you have some texture on the skin.”

Related: 25 Healthy and Delicious Sweet Potato Recipes

Chicken soup with vegetables
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If you walk into the soup aisle of a grocery store, you’ll see that soup is one of the things most chefs don’t want to bother with. The cans on cans of everything from grainy chicken noodles and soothing tomatoes to creamy New England clam chowder can be yours at the start of a can opener. But, unfortunately, these canned wonders usually hide an abundance of dangerous sodium, so it’s worth making your own.

Although soup is a huge category and the details are about the soup being prepared, Sidoti says this about making good soup: “Taste as you go and season accordingly. You can’t get rid of the salt, so let the soup settle, then taste and decide if it’s It needs more.”

RELATED: 23 Relaxing Soup Recipes Perfect for Weight Loss

Mac N Cheese
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There are reasons to have boxes for this specialty: Homemade macaroni and cheese is so hard to get right. The classic macaroni and cheese is made with a béchamel sauce, and it’s not technically difficult, but does require a little measurement and skill.

Sidoti recommends cooking the pasta well so it doesn’t become too mushy once you stir it into the cheese sauce for a stovetop version, but especially if you’re baking it. In addition, do not overcook the cheese sauce. “This is what generally makes cheese sauce curdled, so you usually want to add cheese, then turn off the heat and add pasta right away,” she advises. The high heat will melt the cheese and turn it into a smooth sauce.

Related: 18 Amazing Mac and Cheese Recipes for Weight Loss

cooking pasta
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Pasta is as big a class as fish. Getting pasta right is all about timing, water-to-salt ratio, and taste.

Sidoti recommends reading the package directions to make sure you don’t overcook and salt the pasta water until it “tastes as salty as sea.” And never rinse cooked pasta! (Unless you’re making a cold pasta salad.) “You’ll wash away the starch which is what helps the sauces stick,” she says. Here are the 15 worst mistakes you make when cooking pasta.

Different ways to cook eggs
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Eggs look very innocent and simple, but they can spoil quickly. Scrambled eggs can be undercooked, woefully dry, or overcooked in an instant. Hard-boiled eggs can turn green or be impossible to peel, and hard-boiled eggs can be a shiny treat or a fail-over in a matter of seconds.

“It’s hard to cook a perfect egg regardless of whether it’s scrambled, boiled, fried, or well-boiled,” Sidoti admits. She says to always set a counter when making a hard-boiled egg so you can be sure you’re not overcooked or overcooked. For other types, use a non-stick coating. “I don’t usually use non-stick pans, but when cooking eggs, especially fried eggs, this is the best way to make sure they don’t stick.”

There’s a lot to know about cooking eggs and this article is the perfect place to start: The Worst Mistakes Everyone Makes Cooking Eggs, According to a Chef

Whole wheat pancakes
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Finally, the dish most home cooks spoil is the beloved pie. Since most of us don’t cook this weekend’s treat every day, it’s easy to understand why pancakes are so hard to master. Sidoti says there are some things chefs do at home that would ruin pies.

“People usually cook pancakes at a very high heat and they tend to burn,” Sidoti says. “Low and slow work best.” Also, when making pancakes with fruit, nuts or chocolate chips, she says you need to wait for the bottom to set before adding or else it will crack, burn and make it very difficult to stir. “Wait until the edges are set and mixture begins to appear in the middle, then sprinkle with fruit, chips, or nuts, then flip to cook on the other side.” Hone your skills before the end of this week with 13 pie mistakes to make.

Check out more of our delicious and healthy recipes:

19+ Best Healthy Pie Recipes

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