If your family doesn’t run to the table, maybe it is time to take an honest look at your cooking routine and see if you have fallen into a menu rut. Generate some mealtime enthusiasm and put a smile on your family’s faces with some fresh new ideas that are sure to please.

Prepare your ingredients, cookware, and cooking utensils in advance of starting to cook. Your time spent in the kitchen will be greatly reduced, and you will have less chance for error, when you do this. Make sure you remember to get the spices you will need ready as well.

If you are planning on grilling, make sure that you take your steaks out of the freezer at least one hour before you cook so that they can match the room temperature. This will allow you to cook them easier and achieve the quality that you are looking for, by cooking them on the grill.

Don’t substitute romaine lettuce when making caesar salad. Romaine has the perfect texture and flavor to stand up to the strong ingredients in a classic caesar dressing, such as garlic, anchovies and parmesan cheese. Select romaine that has dark green outer leaves that curl away from the center. To store, leave the head whole and unwashed in the refrigerator, and tear off leaves as needed.

Brownies made for a bake sale are much more enticing when potential buyers can see what goodies are in them. To accomplish this task, when the pan of brownies has about eight minutes left of baking time, remove the pan from the oven, cover the top with a layer of miniature marshmallows and then sprinkle chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nuts, caramel chunks and anything else you like to add to your brownies on top of the marshmallows. Put the pan back into the oven for the final few minutes of baking to allow the marshmallows to soften and toast and give time for the chips to melt. When the pan comes out, you will have an irresistible pan of brownies that look as good as they taste.

It is important to know that the smaller the item, the longer it takes to cook. Many people think that smaller items do not take long to cook, therefore the item does not cook thoroughly. Usually, larger items do not take as long to cook and because people think they do, these items get burnt.

Sometimes it can seem like a good idea to pile on all of your ingredients into the pan to save you time from having to cook them all separately. However, this can only prolong the cooking process since most foods need room to breathe in the pan to cook properly while soaking up the spices. Take the extra bit of time to cook them spaced out properly in the pan and you’ll have a better tasting dish.

Never cook when you are tired. You need to be alert when you are cooking, to increase your level of safety, and put you in the best position to create quality food. Besides, you’re not going to enjoy the experience if you feel exhausted.

Place fruit that is not quite ripe in a plastic bag with a few small holes to allow it to ripen. The plastic helps retain the gases used by ripening fruit while the holes allow fresh air to circulate across the fruit. This also helps you keep your fruit fresh longer!

You may or may not have heard of schmaltz, but it is a very useful component when cooking. Schmaltz, otherwise known as chicken fat, is very rich. The flavor of schmaltz is deeper than duck fat and can be used for many things, such as cooking meats or poaching fish.

When you are going to make a dish that requires garlic, be sure to buy the freshest garlic you can. Generally, garlic will taste sweeter if it’s fresher. Fresh garlic will have firm skin and cloves. In addition, it should not be shriveled or have any bruises.

If you took an honest look at your mealtime offerings and decided that they could use some help, start with the fresh ideas in the article above and you will have your family running to the table in no time. These practical tips will get you on your way to success.