Our new reality is that most of us have spent a considerable amount of time at home in the last couple of weeks/months. And if you weren't used to whipping up gourmet meals for your family, who is also cooped up at home, then you're just like the rest of us. Even if you love to cook, sometimes the tediousness of doing it three times a day for hungry kids and family for days on end is...a bit much. And let's be honest, some of us didn't know the difference between a cutting board, and a cutting knife before now!

USA Today has an amazing list of basic cooking skills that will really help you ourt during quarantine. I love to cook, and some of these were even new to me. Some of my favorites are below, but be sure to check out the entire gallery. I mean, you probably have a little time on your hands, right? Bon Appétit.

  • Always salt the pasta water. Alot. A tablespoon of salt for every quart of water is a good ratio
  • Prep ingredients before you start. Things will go so much smoother if you already have everything out, measured, and ready to go.
  • Pat dry meat and vegetables before you cook them. Makes a huge difference if you are trying to brown something in the pan
  • When baking, do not over-mix. This is way more important than you think it is.
  • Don't open the oven unless absolutely necessary. I say this goes for the crock pot too. Heat escapes, which prolongs the cooking time.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to measure batter for cookies and cupcakes
  • Crack eggs on the counter, not into the bowl/pan. Way less chance of eggshells ending up in your food. And they are hard to get out!
  • Spices don't last forever, they have a shelf life. Look at the expiration date, and toss them once a year, even if they cost a bundle.
  • Put a lid on the pan if you're boiling water. Saves so much time. Really.
  • To make buttermilk for a recipe (and who has THAT in your fridge?!) add one teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk. You can also substitute plain yogurt.