You probably think you have this whole cooking thing figured out. You can scramble eggs. You can mash potatoes. Heck, maybe you can even flip an omelet using only one hand.
But I bet there are still some rookie mistakes you're making in the kitchen. How many of these bad habits are you guilty of?
1. You're not using enough salt.
via: ShutterstockReal chefs season at every step of the cooking process. In most cases, that means you're adding salt before, during and after you cook your dish. Now, I'm not saying to add a full teaspoon of salt every five minutes, but you definitely shouldn't only be adding salt once your dish is already on the plate.
2. You're not adding acid to your dish.If you've ever felt like your dish is missing something (and you definitely already added enough salt), it's probably acid. Acid can come in the form of juice from any citrus fruit or a dollop of vinegar.
3. You're not letting your pan heat up before dumping food into it.This might sound crazy, but food gets cooked when heat is added to it. (I know. Mind-blowing stuff, here.) If you're cooking a steak, you should be preheating your cast iron skillet for a full 30 minutes before you even think about putting the meat in. In the same vein, if yu're using oil to cook your food, make sure it's also up to temperature before you put any food in the pan. Actually, now that we're talking about oil, there's something else you're probably doing incorrectly...
4. You're using the wrong kind of oil.
via: ShutterstockA lot of amateur cooks use extra virgin olive oil for pretty much everything, but that is actually not the best option. See, olive oil has a pretty low smoking point.
5. You're not prepping your food before you start cooking.
via: ShutterstockYou know when you watch a cooking show and the chef has all their ingredients pre-chopped and sitting in those fancy little bowls? As it turns out, that's because it's way easier to do all your prep before you start cooking.
6. You're burning your garlic.Nothing ruins a dish quite like burnt garlic. It's super bitter and has an unpleasant texture as well.
7. You're not patting your proteins dry.
via: ShutterstockWhen you cook a protein (whether it's beef, chicken, tofu, or something else), what you typically want is a nice caramelized crust.
8. You constantly stir the pan.
via: ShutterstockRemember what we just said about wanting a nice sear on whatever you're cooking? Well, that's not gonna happen if you're constantly stirring your pan. Let the food rest in there and give it time to develop some color (a.k.a flavor).
9. You're using the wrong measuring tools.
via: ShutterstockLiquid measuring cups are only to be used for liquids. Solid measuring cups are only to be used for solids.
10. You're not letting your meat rest.
via: ShutterstockLook, I get it. You just cooked a beautiful juicy steak. It has a brilliant sear, the perfect grill marks, and maybe even some (non-burnt) garlic butter on top.