If you are looking to improve on your cooking skills, a refresher course in the basics can be a great investment of your time. But if you are too busy for that, the following tips can help you get back to some cooking basics that you may have forgotten or overlooked.

Try to plan for a week’s worth of meals. If you can get in the habit of planning a weekly menu, it will save time on grocery shopping, and will reduce the stress of having to come up with a meal idea at the last minute. Also, keep a magnet-backed notepad on the refrigerator, and jot down any items that you are running low on. This way, your kitchen will always be stocked with the ingredients that you use regularly.

Save sauces in ice cube trays. If you make several meals during a week, consider saving sauces from them in ice cube trays. This will allow you to add some interesting variety to any dishes you might be making later in the week. It will also make the process simple.

Ice water can save the color of your vegetables. Dull washed out vegetables do not look as appealing to eat. If you want bright and vibrant vegetables, then you should plunge them into ice water after blanching them. Vibrantly colored vegetables look much more appetizing in salads and pasta dishes.

Cooking is all about preparation. To take the edge of cooking, whether it is a small appetizer, simple dish, full nine course meal, or elegant dessert, prepare for your cooking a day or two ahead. Plan what you are going to make and for how many people you are going to make it for. Gather your ingredients ahead of time to ensure that you won’t have to rush.

Cooking the daily meal can seem like a chore sometimes and throwing ingredients together quickly becomes tiresome. Cooking for pleasure can be relaxing, entertaining, and can be delicious. Remind yourself of some of the basic rules of cooking and make cooking fun again for you and your family.