A good way to gain confidence in your cooking is by developing good habits that will make the whole process go much more smoothly, because preparation and forethought are better than winging it and risking a meltdown.
Unless the dish you're cooking requires whole chicken breasts or thighs you should be slicin' those mothers up into thin fillets, so they'll cook faster and taste better:
"Chicken will cook faster if you butterfly the breast, pound it to equal thickness, and cut it into fillets. Otherwise, the small end of the breast will be overcooked and dry by the time the larger side is cooked. It’s an easy extra step, makes a huge difference taste-wise, and looks so much better when plated." —stephaniev23
With steak it's a good idea to let the meat reach room temperature before you cook it:
"I learned this while working with a butcher. Cooking a steak directly from the fridge means that once it hits the hot pan, the fibers in the meat go into shock, tense up, and result in a tough steak." —Debby Murphy, Facebook
And you should preheat the oil in your pan before you place the meat in, so it'll cook more evenly and won't stick:
"Heat your pan first, then drop the heat to a nice medium setting. You can't just flash cook everything — you will ruin your foods' flavor and texture that way." —Zach Rathier, Facebook
But here's the best tip of them all, for my fellow guacamole lovers out there:
"I made some guacamole the night before, put it in a bowl, smoothed the top, then covered it with about 1/2 inch of water and put the lid on. I took it to work the next day and poured the water off. It was perfect." —Connie Tanksley Stover, Facebook
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