Cooking Basics 

Like any new skill, cooking takes time and practice. Learning and understanding of cooking basics will help you practice the skills you need to become a star in the kitchen.

Sharpen your cooking skills with these helpful tips:

  • Start by picking a recipe and planning each step.
  • TIP: Use this guide to see what fruits and vegetables are in season right now to help pick ingredients and recipes.
  • Gather all the ingredients and utensils you need.
  • Dry and liquid measuring cups are different from each other. Use a dry measuring cup for ingredients flour, sugar, baking soda, or powder. Liquid measuring cups are for oil, water, milk, melted butter, or any other fluid.
  • If you don’t have the tools above, use your hand to help measure portion sizes.

Measuring Portion Sizes

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Measurement Conversion Chart:

Use this chart to reference cooking measurement equivalents. This can be used for measuring liquids in a recipe.

1 Tablespoon = 3 Teaspoons0.5 fluid ounce
1/8 Cup = 2 Tablespoons1 fluid ounce
1/4 Cup =4 Tablespoons = 2 fluid ounces
1/3 Cup = 5 Tablespoons + 1 Teaspoon2.65 fluid ounces
½ Cup = 8 Tablespoons =4 fluid ounces
2/3 Cup =10 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons5.3 fluid ounces
¾ Cup =12 Tablespoons =6 fluid ounces
1 Cup =48 Teaspoons =8 fluid ounces
1 Cup =16 Tablespoons = 8 fluid ounces
1 Pint =2 Cups = 16 fluid ounces
1 Quart =4 Cups = 32 fluid ounces
1 Gallon =4 Quarts = 128 fluid ounces

Cooking Terms:

  • Al Dente:  Italian to describe pasta that is cooked until it offers a slight resistance to the bite.
  • Baste:  Foods moistened during cooking by pan drippings or by sauce for flavor and to prevent the food from drying out.
  • Braise: To brown meat in a small amount of fat, then cook slowly in a covered container with a small amount of liquid.
  • Broil:  To cook on a grill under strong, direct heat.
  • Cored:  With the stem and hard center part removed.
  • Cream: To stir or mix ingredients until they are soft and creamy.
  • Diced:  Cut up into cubes or squares about the size of dice.
  • Fillet:  To remove the bones from meat or fish. A fillet (or filet) is the piece after it has been boned.
  • Minced:  Finely chopped.
  • Marinate: To allow food to stand in oil and acid mixture to add flavor or tenderize.
  • A Pinch:  Small amount you can pinch between your finger and thumb.
  • Pitted or Seeded:  With the pits or seeds removed.
  • Poach: To cook food in hot liquid.
  • Sauté:  To cook something gently in a little oil.
  • Simmer:  To cook at a very gentle boil. A liquid is simmering when bubbles form slowly and break just below the surface.
  • Stir Fry: To cook and stir small pieces of food quickly in a small amount of oil until just tender.
  • To Taste:  Taste it to see whether you want to add more or less of an ingredient.
  • Toss:  To mix together lightly.

Cooking Abbreviations:

c = Cup

t or tsp. = Teaspoon

T or Tbsp. or Tbs. = Tablespoon

oz. = Ounces

lb. = Pound

Slow Cookers and Food Safety

Winter, spring, summer, or fall, slow cookers are great for making any kind of meal and saving you hours of prep time! Not sure how to use a slow cooker or what steps to take to make sure you are prepping your foods correctly? Click here to learn about slow cookers and food safety!