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The Most Common Places You Forget to Clean in Your Kitchen

The Most Common Places You Forget to Clean in Your Kitchen



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You may want to give your spring cleaning another go...

You May Want to Rethink Your Spring Cleaning Routine

The Dishwasher

Not only should you wipe down your dishwasher, you have to load the dishwasher correctly for dishware to actually get clean. “I’m still shocked how many people don’t know that plates should go on the first row of the bottom basket and that the second row is reserved for bowls and large dishes,” says Paxton. “To maximize space on the top shelf, always hand-wash wine glasses and spatulas, and never place knives in the dishwasher.”

The Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal helps you get rid of waste from other parts of your kitchen, but what about keeping it fresh and clean? “Often, people leave raw chicken, eggs, vegetables, and other discarded items in the disposal,” says Paxton. Just think of all of those germs hanging out in there. “Running the disposal daily and cleaning twice a month with lemon or orange peels will keep it clean.”

The Individual Cup Coffee Maker

Kids’ Cup’s Straws

“For those of you who have toddlers, get rid of the cups with straws,” Paxton warns. “Most have black mold that your kids are drinking through on a daily basis. Consider replacing with a reusable stainless steel alternative. Not only is it safer, but it will also save a lot of space.”

The Kitchen Sink

‘Recycled’ Bags

“On the floor of most pantries lives about six months of bags we are ‘totally going to use.’ Chances are, bugs and spiders will use them as well,” Paxton cautions. “Start using reusable canvas bags (not the plastic Lululemon ones) and put the rest in the recycling bin immediately upon coming back from the store.”

The Stove Backsplash

“Most people clean the oven and the burners,” says Paxton. “But many of us forget to clean out the backsplash or vent, where old food residues live for months.”

Under Old Stove Burners

Thinkstock Photos

“Single-handedly the grossest place I’ve ever seen in the houses I clean,” states Paxton. “When not in use, lift up the burners and see the debris that has accumulated under your burners. You’ll be shocked, and you may realize where the mice have been staying in your house! Yes, I just said that.”

Under the Trash Can Lid


14 Kitchen Tools Chefs Swear By—and They're All Under $25

Perfecting your cooking skills is endlessly easier when you've got a fully equipped tool arsenal.

Believe it or not, you don’t need to go to culinary school to cook like a pro. When it comes to the fast-paced environment of a professional kitchen, maximizing efficiency and accuracy are key. Here are 14 essential tools chefs swear by that will make your life in the kitchen significantly easier𠅊nd best of all, they’re all under $25.


Make a solution of one part distilled white vinegar to one part water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, mist it lightly over your windows, and let it sit on the glass for a bit before wiping it down it with a microfiber cloth. 

To clean your oven without the noxious fumes, use a baking soda paste, elbow grease, and a vinegar spray. After letting the baking soda paste sit on oven grime overnight, wipe it out and then spray any excess with vinegar. Wipe the inside of the oven out with a damp cloth. 


Get Rid of Cockroaches Using These Natural Recipes

They don’t bite but cockroaches can be a menace in your home. They prefer hiding in warm places and roam freely at night. These bugs like living in dirty corners, dumpsters, drains, and nasty places. Sadly, they can help in transmitting illnesses. There are many products in the market that can help in their removal. However, some of these pesticides we use are pricey and contain harmful chemicals. There is no need for endangering the health of your family.

Here are some shortcomings associated with the use of pesticides:

Children who are exposed to pesticides may experience short-term and long-term problems, which include:

• Insomnia
• Agitation
• Nervous system disturbances
• Forgetfulness
• Depression
• Confusion
• Respiratory problems
• Weakened muscles
• Nervousness

Exposure to pesticides in adults may lead to complications including:

• Brain tumors
• Fertility problems
• Birth defects
• Skin and eye irritation
• Hormonal imbalances

It’s worth noting that even your pets can also experience some health problems associated with the use of some household pesticides.

Safer Natural Cockroach Solution

While most pesticides used to deal with cockroaches have many shortcomings, there are safer and cheaper means to deal with these disgusting insects.

Ingredients

• 1 onion
• 1 teaspoon of baking soda

Preparation

• Simply chop the onion and add the baking soda.
• Place the mixture in every corner of your house or in crevices in your cabinets
• Don’t forget to pay more attention to areas where cockroaches are common, including your kitchen and bathroom.

Apart from killing the cockroaches, the mixture will also eliminate them from your home.

Advantages of Onion and Baking Soda

• They are natural and safe for your children and pets
• It is cheap, easy to prepare, and convenient for every household
• Unlike most pesticides, this solution doesn’t trigger any adverse side effects or reactions

Tips To Get Rid of Cockroaches

• Always keep your house clean, especially the kitchen. Use an antibacterial spray when cleaning your kitchen counter.
• Sweep and mop your kitchen to get rid of food crumbs and spills. Seal all sticky spots on the floor.
• Clean all the dishes after meals. Allowing them to sit in the sink for too long will attract roaches.
• Drain your trash regularly. Don’t let the trashcan to sit in your house for more than two days. It is also advisable to use a trashcan with a lid.
• Fix all the water leaks in your house. Note that cockroaches can live for a month without food but not a week without water.
• Always rinse your bottles and can prior to putting them in the recycle bins.

Conclusion

Though cockroaches are not dangerous like some other household pests and insects, they can be sickening and embarrassing. They may symbolize how negligent you are when it comes to cleaning your house. There are many products that claim to eliminate cockroaches within a short time, but most of them have some downsides. Fortunately, mixing an onion with baking soda can make the best and safest remedy for eliminating these awful bugs. Give it a shot today!


The Best Ways to Reuse Your Most Common Kitchen Leftovers

If you've had people over for a party, made a big meal, or you just happen to have a lot of scraps in your kitchen, there's a lot of ways you can use those things instead of throwing them all out.

Leftover Beverages

If you have leftover soda, mixers, wine, champagne, or beer that's gone flat, you can still get plenty of use out of them.

Soda

You can make barbecue sauce with any leftover cola you have. The flavor and sugar content of dark sodas makes for thick and flavorful sauces, and the sugar also caramelizes when you grill. After you simmer the cola and the other ingredients together, you'll have a sweet, tangy barbecue sauce that will last several months in the refrigerator. If you have leftover Sprite, 7Up, or some other brand of lemon-lime soda, you can use it to make some delicious, flaky biscuits . The clear, citrus soda adds flavor, lightness, and a little sweetness to them. You can use citrus soda to prevent fruit from browning too. Most of the time, people use lemon juice, but you can use lemon-lime soda and it works just as well. Just soak your cut fruits in the soda to maintain freshness, which can be helpful when you're prepping your slices for a fruit salad. However, keep in mind that using citrus soda will up the sugar content of your fruit compared to using lemon juice.

If you're not interested in making barbecue sauce, you can use it to clean your toilet bowl instead. Pour some in your toilet and let it sit for an hour. The acids in the cola will help break down stains and other residue so you can scrub everything off easily. You can even use leftover carbonated drinks in the garden. Take those lemon-lime flavored drinks and add a little to your watering can before you water your flowers. The citric acid and the sugar from the soft drink will give your flowers a growing boost. You can do the same with leftover club soda to to make your plants grow faster and healthier . Club soda has phosphate and other nutrients that help enrich your garden soil.


In Your Kitchen: Counter-Top Safety

The last place you want to get sick is your own kitchen. With poor food safety practices, your counter-top can be crawling with bacteria and viruses. Luckily, there are simple ways to prevent these bad boys from making trouble.

It’s a basic fact that our current food supply is tainted with bacteria. Even though every egg or piece of chicken may not contain salmonella, we still need to handle food as if they do. We do many tasks on our counters from chopping veggies to cleaning raw chicken to preparing our kids' bagged lunches. This gives the food bugs opportunities to hang out on our counter-tops. Cross-contamination and poor personal hygiene are two easy ways pathogens can get onto our counter-tops. A third way is allowing high risk foods (like raw chicken and cooked eggs) to sit on our counter-tops for a long period of time.

Here are some common examples of food safety faux pas:

  • Defrosting meat on your counter-top.
  • Not washing your hands after going to the restroom and preparing food.
  • Using the same cutting board and knife to prep raw foods like chicken and meat, then using the same area, board and knife to cut veggies for a salad.
  • Cleaning the counter-top with a wet sponge only.
  • Using the same kitchen towel to dry your hands, clean the counter-top, and then dry the dishes.
  • Someone with the flu or cold touching the counter-top where food is eaten or prepared.

Prevent Cross-Contamination

It’s easy to transfer bacteria from one surface to another. In order prevent illness from cross-contamination, use 2 separate surfaces, cutting boards and utensils when preparing raw food (like chicken and fish) and ready-to-eat food (like salad greens). Also, be sure to wash your hands before handling each different type of food.

If you have a small kitchen and only have one area to work on, you must clean AND sanitize the surfaces, cutting boards and utensils between tasks. One method is to rinse items, and then wash them with warm water and liquid dish detergent. You can also rinse items and run them through a dishwasher.

And don’t forget your counter-tops. Warm water will help remove visible dirt, but won’t do much to the bacteria or viruses. You’ll need to get out the big guns—a chemical spray or wipes. Many wipes require rinsing after use. But being a working mom with 3 kids, I like time-savers. Disinfecting wipes by Scotch Brite and Seventh Generation don’t require surfaces to be rinsed after using.

As for those sponges, it’s important to change used ones frequently. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Health found that microwaving sponges for 2 minutes destroyed more than 99% of germs. Some guidelines include:

  • Only microwave sponges that don’t contain metals like steel.
  • Be sure sponge is wet.
  • Only microwave for 2 minutes. You don’t need to do it longer.
  • Let the microwave cool before removing the sponge from the microwave.

You can also run sponges through your dishwasher. If you cook often, you may want to disinfect your sponges daily or at least several times a week.

Good Personal Hygiene

Washing hands properly is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do so. It’s also important to remember to wash hands after doing mundane tasks like using the restroom, talking or texting, scratching your head or nose or fixing your hair.

Controlling Time and Temperature

When you leave raw meat or chicken to defrost on your counter-top at room temperature, bacteria will have a party. They can multiply to such high amounts that the heat from cooking won’t be enough to destroy them. Besides defrosting, properly handling leftover food is important. Use our tips to help you out (hint: you’re not supposed to defrost on your counter-top!).

TELL US: How good are you at keeping your counter-tops safe?


24 Essential Cooking & Baking Skills Your Teen Should Know

Whether a kid’s college bound, planning a gap year or diving straight into the workforce after they graduate, they all have one very important thing in common: Everybody’s gotta eat. Another thing they have in common? They’re not going to spontaneously know how to feed themselves sans Mom and Dad, drive-thru and DoorDash the moment they cross the threshold to their new place. That’s why it’s important to teach them to cook before they leave the nest.

Though I’m quite the cook now, when I went off to college, I could cook exactly one dish “from scratch.” It consisted of canned tuna, cream of mushroom soup, canned peas, milk and onions. Then, I became a vegetarian in the middle of Nowheresville, Texas, where people thought “vegetarian food” was fish, salad and side dishes (never mind that most of our side dishes have bacon). It was then that I had to learn to fend for myself. I quickly learned that not only was cooking a means to a (vegetarian) end, it was a really damn good option to avoid the freshmen 15 and, most important, one a poor college student could actually afford.

Guys, your kids have to learn to cook for themselves. They might complain now, but they’ll thank you later.

Whether you started your kids young or just began teaching your teen to get their gourmand on, make sure your bambino knows these fundamental cooking and baking skills before they graduate.

1. Grocery shopping

Goodness knows teens are more than capable of shopping (and spending), but when it comes to grocery shopping, they need to know how to budget and save, plan a (healthy!) menu and get home without too much (or too little) food.

2. Basic knife skills

It can be scary to let your kids handle knives, even (or maybe especially) if they’re teens, but learning to do so under supervision sure beats learning the hard way when your roomie isn’t home. They should learn basic cutting techniques and what each knife’s purpose is.

3. Safety & first aid

The USDA actually has training materials for all age groups. And don’t forget about knife and general kitchen safety and first aid for cuts and burns.

4. Using kitchen appliances

They don’t need to know how to use all of them, but think about what they will use. Instant Pots and slow cookers are a lifesaver for anyone who’s busy, including college students and kiddos in the workforce. And if your child is dorm-bound, don’t forget to teach them all the things you can cook if all you have is a microwave.

5. Measuring & weighing

Teach them how to properly measure out ingredients &mdash the sprinkle and scrape method for baking, the difference between liquid and dry measuring cups and how to weigh ingredients when it’s called for.

6. Reading & following directions

Your teen’s teachers will thank you for this one. It essentially involves reading the recipe carefully (twice!) and getting any questions you have answered before beginning.

7. Cutting & doubling recipes

Knowing how to cut a recipe when you’re cooking for only one or two is a handy skill to have once they strike out on their own, and doubling recipes will help them make big-batch meals that can be frozen for later.

8. Cooking mise en place

Mise en place is French for “set up.” Cooking mise en place essentially means you have everything set up and prepped before you start cooking. It’s best practice for every cook, but especially for teens who are still learning.

9. Popcorn & healthier snacks

If they know how to pop popcorn that’s not in a bag and season it with healthier flavors, they’ll be able to make healthier choices on that front. But they should also know how to make trail mix, granola &mdash even Chex mix &mdash for healthier-than-chips snacking options.

10. Making a salad

I know salads sound like a no-brainer, but knowing how to make a really great salad means they might actually do it. Some teens might also enjoy making homemade croutons.

11. Making soup

Soups are generally pretty simple and can make a healthy and filling meal. Try starting with a broth-based soup, a cream-based soup and a cheesy soup. If they can’t get enough ramen or pho, they can even learn this healthy hybrid.

12. Cooking casseroles & one-pot meals

Casseroles and one-pot meals are essentially dump or layer recipes, which couldn’t be easier. They really only need to learn three or four basic recipes to master any other recipe they could find. Try a classic casserole revamped to avoid high-sodium canned soups, a lasagna and a dump casserole or chili.

13. Cooking meats

Unless they’re vegan or vegetarian, they’ll likely want to cook up a carnivorous delight here and there. They should know how to cook up a pound of ground beef and how to make hamburgers, meatloaf and other budget eats. They should also know how to roast, grill (indoor or outdoor), braise and pan-fry so they aren’t limited to ground meat dishes and casseroles. And don’t forget about breakfast meats like sausage and bacon.

14. Cooking vegetables (& fruits!)

All vegetables are pretty much roasted the same basic way, making for a quick, easy and flavorful side with very little labor. But they should also know how to blanch, sauté and boil. They should know the difference between onions being translucent and browned and when a potato or other veggie is “fork tender.”

15. Other sides

They’re not likely to be satisfied with just roasted or steamed veggies every meal. They’ll also want the occasional mac and cheese or mashed potatoes or other home-cooked faves.

16. Cooking eggs

Rubbery, uninspiring eggs aren’t exactly going to motivate anyone to stay out of the McDonald’s drive-thru before class or work. They should know how to boil, poach, fry (sunny-side up, over easy) and scramble &mdash any preparation they’re likely to crave. They should also know how to make an omelet.

17. Cooking pasta & grains

If your teen is interested in making pasta from scratch, go for it! But we mean teaching them how to cook dry pasta, rice and other grains they like, such as quinoa.

18. Dressings & sauces

Dressings and sauces can be purchased, but not only will they be tastier and healthier (less packed with sodium, sugar and preservatives) homemade, they teach fundamental cooking skills like making an emulsion, making a roux and deglazing a pan.

For dressings, they should know how to make a vinaigrette, a creamy dressing and a Caesar dressing.

Sauce-wise, they should know how to make pan gravies for meats (and cream gravies if that’s how your teen rolls, of course) and Hollandaise sauce (to teach double-boiler skills). And don’t forget about pasta sauces. The five best pasta sauces to start with are the classics: a simple tomato sauce, a meat sauce, a pesto sauce, a garlic and olive oil sauce and a cream sauce &mdash with those basics, they can confidently make any other sauce they find a recipe for. For those of us in certain regions, a basic authentic enchilada sauce may also be a must, as it requires different skills than the other sauces (namely, roasting dried chilies).

19. Basic baking

If your teen has a sweet tooth, they should know how to make a handful of simple treats. What specific recipes they learn may be based on their preferences, but good places to start are cookies, brownies and simple frosted cakes. Pies and breads are more advanced, but teens who are likely to crave Mom’s pecan pie or Granny’s famous hot rolls when neither Mom nor Granny is around should learn those skills too.

20. Drinks

No, we’re not encouraging you to teach your kids to play bartender at your next party. We mean the basics, like tea, fresh-squeezed juices, coffee and punch.

21. Time-management

When cooking a meal, it’s vital that you know when to start various components so they all finish around the same time.

22. Storage & freezing

Proper storage of leftovers and knowing how to freeze large-batch meals like soups, chilies and lasagna is essential for anyone striking out on their own, especially if they don’t have roommates to cook for.

23. How to clean the kitchen

If they don’t learn how to clean, their kitchen will eventually get so gross they’re afraid to cook in it (and you’ll definitely be afraid to come within 100 feet of their apartment without a hazmat suit). Essential cleaning skills include cleaning as you go, disinfecting areas and dishes that came into contact with raw meat, what can and can’t go in the dishwasher and how to clean (without destroying) any appliances they’ll have with them when they move out.

24. Failure is a learning experience

By far the most important thing you can teach your teen &mdash about cooking or life in general, really &mdash is that failure is a learning experience. A lot of people get discouraged about cooking because they fail once and think they suck at it. And that’s because they probably do&hellip for now. And that’s OK. They should know that instead of fearing failure to the point of letting it stop them, they should research what they did wrong and try again. It’s all part of the learning process, and in the case of cooking, the fun part is that even your failures are (usually) pretty darn tasty.


10 Kitchen Tips To Help Your Kitchen Run Like A Restaurant

Go ahead and polish your copper pot with ketchup. Yup.

We covered the best cooking tips in existence&mdashthe next logical step is to cover kitchen tips, no? Here are a few game-changing things to remember before getting crazy in your kitchen.

No one's really sure why, but crumpling up newspaper and stacking it into smelly Tupperware overnight has been known to finally get rid of bad odors. Just make sure to thoroughly wash your containers after the fact, as newspapers aren't exactly clean.

If any of your pots are boiling over, quickly place a wooden spoon across the rim&mdashthat'll settle the frothy bubbles and prevent more over-boiling.

Put some on a few cotton balls and have at it!

Seriously, it's a foolproof way of cleaning your dirty vegetables when hand-washing won't suffice. Make sure there's no soap in the machine, of course, and a simple rinsing cycle will do the trick.

Trust us: If you put some dish soap on your dish rag, heat the rag itself for a few minutes, leave the rag in the microwave for about half an hour, return to the rag, and wipe the walls of the microwave down, you will be free of that fishy microwave smell that's been plaguing you since, well, the last time you microwaved fish.

You can use an actual filing system to hold your baking sheets upright and in an orderly fashion. It might not look very cute, but it'll make your life infinitely easier than having to climb to the top of your highest cabinet to get to them.

In the off chance you drop a raw egg (I mean, it never really happens) (I'm kidding, this is the worst and most common kitchen problem ever), throw some salt on the remnants. It'll soak up the egg whites. Science! Magic!

Dab some ketchup (yes, ketchup) on a cloth and rub it all over your copper. Rinse it in warm water and voilà: good as new.

For just a few seconds when it's (seemingly) irreparably gross.

When measuring out super sticky ingredients (hey, @honey, I see you), coat your measuring cup with a butter- or oil-based cooking spray first. It ensures the sticky substance will slide right out and prevent you from having to scrub at your cups forever afterward.


You're overwatering it.

Overwatering your orchid can be a kiss of death. "Many orchids can go for weeks without water and still survive," says Horak. "But if they are overwatered or watered improperly, they can die within days." While different types of orchids require different amounts of water, "most orchids benefit from being allowed to approach dryness between watering," Horak says. In fact, a good rule is "if you cannot decide if it is dry enough, wait another day," he advises.


1. Gambas al Ajillo Recipe (Spanish Garlic Shrimps) with Butter & Sherry

Gambas al Ajillo or Spanish Garlic Shrimps is among my favorite classic tapas dishes. It is easy to prepare and is quite a crowd-pleaser, too!

This Spanish Tapas Food is so well-loved that you will find so many varying recipes on the web and in books. I like making mine with butter and sherry.

Other people add in pepper, lemon zest, parsley, and even other seafood varieties in their Gambas al Ajillo Recipe.

When making your own at home, don&rsquot be afraid to try adding in other ingredients that you think will work with the shrimps.

When serving your Gambas al Ajillo, try topping it with toasted garlic to add more flavor and texture to your dish.

Make it extra special by preparing some toasted bread and a glass of white wine to go with your tapas.

2. Delicious Spanish Gazpacho

One of the numerous Spanish Tapas Food which never fails to make it on every Spanish tapas bar menu is the classic Gazpacho. Everybody just loves this cold tomato soup!

Gazpacho is well-loved in all of Spain. It has many cousins, so to speak. In Cordoba, for example, they have Salmorejo which is quite similar to Gazpacho. In Antequera, too &ndash they have what they call porra Antequera.

Especially when it is made fresh, this Spanish tomato soup is both hearty and delicious at the same time.

Because this dish is simple to make and requires only a few ingredients, it is very easy to assemble a delicious Spanish Gazpacho at home.

Once you have all the ingredients needed, just blend them together and place them in the refrigerator to chill.

After a few hours, you get to enjoy a tasty and freshly-made Spanish Gazpacho right in the comfort of your dining room!

Read the detailed recipe: SPANISH GAZPACHO

3. Setas a la Plancha

This is one of the best Spanish Tapas Food that is greatly enjoyed while harvest season permits! Not only is it flavorful in every bite but it is also easy to recreate in your own kitchen.

Because a good portion of the surroundings of Spain is forested, wild mushrooms are plentiful in many regions.

When you see these mushrooms in their prime being sold in markets near you, buy a handful or two and try making Setas a la Plancha at home.

In English, the dish translates directly to grilled wild mushrooms. What if you do not have a griddle at home?

You can simply substitute it with a large flat pan and fry the mushrooms in batches.

Use herbs of your choice, drizzle with olive oil and you have a good classic tapas ready to be consumed along with a cold draft beer!

Read full recipe: SETAS A LA PLANCHA

4. Tortilla Española

You can call it Spanish omelet, potato omelet, tortilla de papas, pincho de tortilla, tortilla de patatas or Tortilla Española. It is all used to describe one of the traditional Spanish Tapas Food.

Tortilla Española is tasty and simple. In fact, it is among the easy Spanish appetizer recipes I have come to love.

If going the traditional route, this dish is basically eggs, potatoes, and salt. Doneness is dependent on your preference some like their eggs runny while others prefer theirs dry.

Tortilla Española is enjoyed not just as a tapas dish. Because it does not require you to heat it up prior to eating, the dish can be part of your picnic basket and can be enjoyed even at room temperature.

Sometimes, it is also treated as a main dish in itself along with some greens on the side.

5. Patatas Bravas

A lot of cuisines have this one simple dish dedicated to the celebration of potatoes. You have French fries, hash browns, and the likes.

With Spain and all the potato dishes that it has up its sleeve, can it possibly be Patatas Bravas?

If indeed it is, I am not shocked at all. Patatas Bravas is one of the common Spanish Tapas Food which easily captured my attention (and appetite) when I was scouting for Spanish vegetarian recipes.

It is a staple part of a Spanish appetizer menu &ndash and once you&rsquove tried it, you&rsquoll know why.

Patatas Bravas has two simple components: the potatoes and the spicy sauce that goes with it.

Fried potatoes in itself can already be filling, but once the kick from the sauce blends in, the dish becomes all the more flavorful.

As you make Patatas Bravas at home, you can adjust the level of spiciness to your liking. Just don&rsquot omit the pepper altogether, otherwise, it won&rsquot be Patatas Bravas anymore!

Read the detailed recipe: PATATAS BRAVAS RECIPE

6. Salmorejo

When you see Salmorejo being served alongside all other Spanish Tapas Food, you might quickly judge it as Spanish Gazpacho.

While the base of both dishes is practically the same, there are notable differences between the two popular tapas dishes.

Salmorejo comes from Cordoba. It is a tomato soup that is thick in consistency.

You would think that there just might be cream in the recipe because of its richness, but a traditional one simply just has really good tomatoes.

Add in cloves of garlic and olive oil to the mixture and you have a delicious dish that is best served cold.

Once you try making Salmorejo at home, you will notice how more straightforward making Gazpacho is. While the latter calls for you to blend in all ingredients together, Salmorejo calls for more detailed preparation.

Once served, though, both are equally flavorful and fit to be part of your list of Spanish tapas cravings.

7. Pan con Tomate Recipe (Toasted bread with tomato, olive oil, and ham)

All (if not most) of the types of Spanish Tapas Food that I have been recreating are easy enough to make at home. One of these traditional Spanish tapas which easily won my heart is Pan con Tomate.

Tomatoes are juicy and flavorful on their own, but once bread and herbs come in, they take this well-loved fruit to a whole other level.

There is freshness and crunch in every bite. What makes it a total winner is the fact that it can be prepared in minutes!

I envision myself serving up this Pan con Tomate recipe to surprise guests. Toasted bread layered with tomato, ham, and olive oil will surely be a hit alongside all the other great Spanish tapas food I recently learned to make.

What makes a good Pan con Tomate?

If you ask me, it is all about the variety and ripeness of the tomatoes which you are using. Ensure that they are the best in the market or are freshly-picked from your garden.

Read the detailed recipe: TOMATE CON PAN

8. Berenjenas al miel

Berenjenas al Miel is among the Spanish starters I encountered when I was trying to search for vegetarian tapas to recreate. In English, the dish translates to Fried Aubergine and Honey.

It is basically what its name says it is: you fry some cut eggplants and drizzle them with honey.

At first, I was truly not sure about the flavor combination. As it turns out, this tapas dish is famous in Andalusia as well as in other Spanish regions.

Berenjenas al Miel is one of the easiest Spanish appetizer recipes which you can try in your kitchen. You only need four basic ingredients which are eggplants, flour, milk, and honey.

What is the milk for? The dish calls for you to soak the cut eggplants in milk so that the bitterness of the vegetable washes off.

Flour will then make it crisp and then the honey will give sweetness to this delicious Spanish food.

Read the detailed recipe: BERENJENAS AL MIEL

9. Champinones Al Ajillo

Champinones Al Ajillo, in English, translates to Spanish Garlic Mushrooms. It is easily one of the best Spanish Tapas Food that you can get from a Spanish tapas bar.

What if you feel like recreating this delicious dish at home?

It is easy to do so. This classic Spanish dish only requires a few ingredients &ndash but be ready to be overtaken by so much garlic flavor!

Many recipes in Spanish cuisine call for garlic. This, among many other notable aspects, characterizes the country&rsquos kind of cuisine.

Champinones Al Ajillo is best cooked and served with a lot of garlic and a bit of spice, if you are keen to have a good kick from your tapas.

Once cooked, serve your garlic mushrooms immediately. This dish is best enjoyed hot.

Champinones Al Ajillo, when ordered in a tapas bar, is usually paired with dark beer or red wine.

Read full recipe: CHAMPINONES AL AJILLO

10. Croquetas de Jamón (Ham Croquettes)

Spanish Ham Croquettes or Croquetas de Jamón are always included in a classic Spanish Tapas Food menu. This dish is widely cooked in Spanish homes.

Making Croquetas de Jamón in your own kitchen is not going to be a challenge at all.

While the French croquettes call for potatoes, the Spanish version calls for creamy bechamel. For this recipe, we are adding in ham to the mix.

When making Croquetas de Jamón, make sure that you make your bechamel very thick so that you are able to shape a dough from it.

If you are preparing a big batch, you can make the dough ahead of time, freeze them and continue coating and frying them on the day that you will be serving them.

Once you perfect that golden brown Spanish Ham Croquettes, be confident to serve it to guests as snacks or appetizers.

With a sip of beer or wine for every bite, this Spanish dish will surely be a party favorite.

11. Calamares a la Romana (Fried Squid Rings)

Take your home cooking to the next level by trying some easy to make Spanish appetizers such as Calamares a la Romana.

Fried Squid Rings are a staple favorite by many. The dish is among the Spanish tapas which you can conveniently cook in your own kitchen.

If you want to ensure the freshness of the squid that you will use, it is good to buy whole squid which you can clean and cut on your own. This entails some kitchen skills for you to perform.

Alternatively, you can easily buy squid rings that are already cut up.

Your batter can either make or break your Calamares a la Romana. You can use any flour of your choice, but it will greatly affect the taste of your tapas.

For this portion of the recipe, it will be trial and error until you find the flour that best meets your preference.

12. Jamón, Queso y Chorizo con Pan (Ham, Cheese, and Chorizo With Bread)

Simple Spanish starters are my go-to when I want something quick and easy to prepare. This Jamón, Queso y Chorizo con Pan recipe, in particular, never fails to deliver.

This ham, cheese and chorizo appetizer is commonly found in a traditional Spanish tapas menu. Many will have different flavor combinations that they serve with bread, but these three ingredients are a true classic.

Serrano, the ham typically used for this dish, is special. You may not be able to get it from your local supplier &ndash but if you do find it through other means, the effort is definitely worth it.

Spanish chorizo is also special. It is firm and dry as compared to other chorizos such as those from Mexico.

If you are going to substitute Spanish chorizo with another type that is readily available, at least look for something with almost the same flavor profile.

13. Pulpo Gallego (Grilled Octopus)

Pulpo Gallego or Grilled Octopus originated in Galicia, that is why it is also commonly called Galician Octopus.

It is also regarded as pulpo á feira because it is the most celebrated of the Spanish appetizers that are served during festivities and parties.

Pulpo Gallego is not as easy to prepare at home as compared to some of the most popular tapas dishes. First of all, you need to get your hands on a massive octopus.

If you are able to score the core need of this dish without a sweat, then you have most of the difficult work done. Making the octopus tender will require a lengthy time, so study the recipe beforehand.

After all the preparations, next comes easy cooking, wherein a traditional Pulpo Gallego only requires salt, olive oil, and smoked Spanish paprika which they call pimentón.

Once you get to taste Spain&rsquos Grilled Octopus, you will be taken aback by the richness of the flavor of the octopus &ndash even though it required minimal seasoning.

14. Boquerones en Vinagre (Anchovies Marinated in Vinegar)

Boquerones en Vinagre, as its English translation gives away, are Anchovies Marinated in Vinegar.

If you are searching for Spanish appetizers menu ideas for your next get-together, this is one of the popular tapas dishes which you should include.

Honestly speaking, it may not sound much. Some will even directly say no to the idea of anchovies. Hopefully, this simple Spanish recipe will make them think twice about this delicacy.

The key to loving anchovies, I believe, is by getting fresh ones and marinating them yourself. Make sure not to scrimp on your fish because it affects your overall tapa.

While the preparation part is easy, the marination can be quite a long wait. However, once you serve this with your choice of wine, you will be glad to have tried this delicious recipe.

15. Tigres or Mejillones Rellenos (Stuffed Mussels)

Tigres or Mejillones Rellenos is a kind of tapas Spanish food. In English, it translates to Stuffed Mussels.

It is one of the very popular Spanish tapas in the region of Galicia (along with Pulpo Gallego.) This is all thanks to their near proximity to fresh seafood sources.

Why is Mejillones Rellenos also called Tigres? What do tigers have to do with this delightful tapa?

They say when you take a mouthful of Mejillones Rellenos, it is as fiery (to the taste) as a tiger.

When preparing your mussels to be stuffed, make sure to throw away any open shell before cooking. Then, after being cooked, throw away any closed shell from the pot,

The mussels, after being thoroughly cleaned and cooked, are then stuffed, breaded, and fried.

This may seem like a really elaborate recipe to follow, but the final product is worth every step.

Pair your Tigres with either a glass of white wine or a beer.

16. Chorizo al Vino Tinto (Chorizo in Red Wine)

Chorizo al Vino Tinto or Spanish Sausage in Red Wine is just like finding a valid (and delicious) reason to have more wine to go with your tapas.

Chorizo is special. You cannot just simply substitute it with anything else. Make it even more sumptuous by braising it in red wine, and I would think I have just entered tapas heaven!

Don&rsquot just choose any red wine for your Chorizo al Vino Tinto. I suggest you use dry Spanish red wine.

Of course &ndash don&rsquot forget the garlic. In fact, be generous with it.

Get ready to eat this Spanish Tapas Food after just a short time of preparation! Fast and easy &ndash just how we like our recipes to be.

Serve your Chorizo al Vino Tinto immediately. It is best served while still piping hot!

Chop some fresh herbs as garnish and slice some loaf of bread on the side.

Read the detailed recipe: CHORIZO AL VINO TINTO

17. Brochetas de Gambas (Spanish Shrimp Skewers)

Brochetas de Gambas, in English: Spanish Shrimp Skewers is another delicious Spanish tapas food made with shrimps.

The Shrimp Skewers are marinated with garlic, sea salt and paprika.

You can use an outdoor grill, grill pan, or broiler to prepare the Brochetas de Gambas.


Chefs Reveal the One Thing You Should Always Have in Your Pantry

The importance of a well-stocked pantry cannot be overstated. Without it, you'll find yourself searching for common baking substitutions, like baking powder substitutes or heavy cream substitutes, or making unnecessary last-minute trips to the grocery store. The right kitchen basics will make it much easier for you to pull out your favorite recipes (or try something new!) and put together a meal at any time of the day, even if you don't have a lot of fresh produce or meats or poultry on hand. You especially want to focus on ingredients with a long shelf life that can be shelf-stable for a few weeks or months (or, in some cases, even years), until you need to add them to something you're making.

Some popular pantry staples include items like basic spices and seasonings (think dry herbs or sea salt), olive oil, dry or canned beans, bags of rice, and canned tomatoes. But if you want to expand your list to include more options and flavor, take advice from the pros. Here, we asked chefs to share the one thing you should always have in your pantry.

Don't be turned off by the name or the smell: Chef Daniel England of San Diego-based OMG Hospitality Group says he swears by fish sauce, which he explains is a "Thai and Vietnamese sauce used as a flavoring or condiment, prepared with fermented anchovies and salt." Fish sauce is typically used in Asian dishes, but can be used in almost anything. "It adds everything you need to a dish! Sweet, salty, fishy, tangy," says England. "It&rsquos really a mouthful explosion of flavor. I love putting it on vegetables like cucumbers, but it&rsquos really good to mix with different marinades for meat, fish, and poultry. It really boosts the flavors of simple dishes like rice and noodles. I've even put it on fried chicken!"

Be sure to add hot cayenne pepper to your spices and seasoning drawer. Chef Lauren Lagosz of Bylette's Foodz says everyone should have it, explaining, "It's one of my favorite go-to spices to use because you can add subtle heat and flavor, and it's a heart-healthy ingredient for both savory dishes and even desserts. It's a beautiful spice and has excellent flavor to kick up your dish. You can make your food have a slight kick or make it pretty spicy as well, but it's subtle enough that I can add it to my 3-year-old's food for some added health benefits and she doesn't even notice it."

You may already keep red wine and balsamic vinegar on hand, but you should add rice wine vinegar to the lineup. Chef Jose Mendoza of the Great Oak Steakhouse at Pechanga Resort Casino says, "Typically associated with Asian-style dishes, this inexpensive kitchen staple livens up homemade salad dressings, aioli, stir-fry, as a marinade for grilled veggies and meats, making French fries and homemade chips, and more. I like to do my own pickling at home and I&rsquoll use rice wine vinegar, herbs, some salt and a few other ingredients and make a really easy brine for cucumbers, radishes, cabbage, and anything else you&rsquod want to eat in the pickled form."

Canned coconut milk is something you should always keep in your pantry because it's incredibly versatile. "Use for breakfast smoothies with frozen fruit. Make a quick lunchtime soup by simmering with Thai red curry paste or curry powder, fresh or frozen veggies and some cut, leftover chicken," says Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Development for McCormick, Chef Kevan Vetter. "Or use it in place of oil with a box cake mix to make a rich, moist post-dinner treat."

If you're a vegan (or even if you're not!), you should always keep xanthan gum close by. "It&rsquos a naturally gluten-free emulsifier, and does a lot of heavy lifting, like binding in gluten-free bread or stabilizing in ice cream," says Australian-based vegan chef Zac Bird. "For a home cook, it can be a miracle savior when making sauces. If your roux or sauce isn&rsquot as thick as you like, blending through a small pinch of xanthan gum at the end can thicken it right up without having to start again."

Sure, you have ketchup in the fridge, but what about a jar of Dijon mustard? Chef Alyssa Gagarin, founder of Meal Prep Chef, says dijon is her must-have pantry staple. "Dijon is packed with flavor and is extremely versatile. It can be used on its own as a condiment added to sauces, dressings, and marinades to bring depth of flavor or even as the star of the dish coating a piece of fish or chicken. It instantly boosts flavor and with it's thick, creamy texture, also acts as an emulsifier. You get a massive bang for your buck!"

A box or two of orzo is great to have on hand because it can be used as either rice or pasta. " It seems like a large grain of rice and combines well with many delicious dishes," says Heloise Blaure, founder of Home Kitchen Land. "You can throw it on hot beverages such as soups or consume it with roasted vegetables. Additionally, it is a nutritious topping and gives salads a unique taste. You should buy the one made from whole-grain flour instead of white flour as it provides more calories."