Cooking Tips, Seasonings

Whether you're just learning how to cook, or have been whipping up meals for a while, there's always room for improvement when it comes to amping up the way you prepare your meals.

For example, brining your poultry before you cook it can make your meat dishes more flavorful and tender, and adding on some Parmesan before you toss your pasta can help it not to stick.

To find out how to take your meals to the next level, take a look at these nine tips from America's top chefs!

Cooking Tips, Pasta Colander

1. Brine Your Poultry: "Brine, baby, brine! Ya gotta brine that poultry to really give it the super flavor," Diners, Drive-ins and Dives star Guy Fieri told The Food Network. How do you brine? You essentially soak poultry in a mixture of cold saltwater mixture for about two hours before you cook them. Doing this adds tenderness, flavor and reduces cooking times. Check out this basic brining recipe.

2. Spice It Up: To amp up your seasonings in the kitchen, famed chef Emeril Lagasse suggests mixing up your own seasoning blend. according to To do this, mix together your favorite spices, such as garlic, onion and basil, and store it in a container. Then, break it out and sprinkle it on as you prepare your next meal.

3. Grate Parmesan on Pasta Pre-Toss: "My grandfather taught me this tip: After you drain pasta, while it's still hot, grate some fresh Parmesan on top before tossing it with your sauce. This way, the sauce has something to stick to," Giada at Home star Giada De Laurentiis told the Food Network.

Cooking Tips, Fried Chicken

4. Clean Seafood With Salt: "A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water," Chanterelle Owner Chef David Waltuck told "This helps to dislodge the dirt and grit from around the lip of the shells." After you soak it, scrub the mussels under cold running water with a stiff brush to remove any remaining grit.  

5. The Secret to Deep-Frying: "When you deep-fry, hold each piece of food with long tongs as you add it to the oil," FishTag and Kefi Chef Michael Psilakis told the Food Network. "Hold it just below the oil's surface for five seconds before releasing it. This will seal the exterior and stop it from sticking to the pot or the other food."

6. Don't Be Afraid of Salt and Acid: "Learn to balance flavors with proper use of salt and acid (lemon juice, lime juice, balsamic, rice vinegar)," Scratch|Bar's Phillip Lee told "Seasoning should never taste 'salty'. Salt is used to activate your taste buds and allow you to taste unmuted flavors. The simple, yet correct use of the two will elevate any home dish to that of restaurant quality."

Cooking Tips, Roasted Vegetables

7. Caramelize Roasted Veggies: "To get nice, crispy caramelization on roasted vegetables, simulate the intense heat of an industrial oven: Bring your oven up as hot as it goes, then put an empty roasting or sheet pan inside for 10 to 15 minutes," Beast Chef Naomi Pomeroy told the Food Network. "Toss the vegetables — try carrots or Brussels sprouts — with olive oil, salt and pepper, and put them on the hot pan. This method will give you the high heat you need to caramelize the sugars in the vegetables quickly."

8. Taste Your Meatloaf Mixture First: "When making meatballs or meatloaf, you need to know how the mixture tastes before you cook it," 112 Eatery Chef Isaac Becker told the Food Network. "Make a little patty and fry it in a pan like a mini hamburger. Then you can taste it and adjust the seasoning."

9. Keep These Three Elements in Mind: "You need three elements to balance a dish: salt, acid, and fat," Lonesome Dove Chef Tim Love told Thrillist. "I always finish a grilled steak with a squeeze of citrus like lemon or orange. This adds the needed acidity and brightens the flavor of the meat."

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