Adjusting to a new apartment kitchen takes time. Before you crank up the oven or fire up the stovetop, take a look at our tips to help you avoid some common cooking mistakes - and perhaps save your dinner, if meal preparation goes badly.
Avoid a major malfunction
Major appliance malfunction, that is. When you move to a new apartment, your cooking techniques may need to be revised to make them work with your kitchen. Cooking with a new stove or oven may take some getting used to: if you had a gas stove in the past and are switching to electric, for instance, it could take longer for your burners and oven to heat up.
On the flip side, if you are going from electric to gas, you may find yourself burning or overcooking your meals. Before you invite everyone over for dinner, do a few test runs to get comfortable with your new appliances.
The same rule goes for your refrigerator and freezer. Keep an eye on the temperature so you don’t end up with frozen milk for breakfast or half-thawed ice cream for dessert. You should also get an oven thermometer to get an idea of how hot your oven runs; with that information, you can adjust your recipes as necessary to get the results you are used to achieving.
While everyone loves home cooking, no one wants to have to evacuate their home just because they tried a new recipe. Be aware that the smoke alarms in your new apartment might be closer to the kitchen or more sensitive than your previous ones. The fan for your range may also function differently. Before you fire things up, know how to open your windows quickly in order to air out your apartment in case things get smoky.
Shop for new stock
When you move into a new apartment, the first things you might stock up on are decorative items, furniture and linens. While you are shopping, don’t forget one of the most important rooms in your apartment - the kitchen. Now is a great time to toss your old dried herbs and replace them with fresh containers. Did you know most herbs only stay flavorful for one year? The same goes for other dry goods like flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Invest in a fresh batch of baking supplies to make sure your cakes and cookies come out perfectly. You might also want to replace old pots, pans and bakeware. Over time they can get worn or warped and won’t heat evenly, so refresh your recipes with a new set of tools. You might be surprised to find everything tasting better!
Make a back-up plan
Even if you test your new cooking equipment, buy fresh supplies, and read your recipes thoroughly, there is always a chance that you’ll have a meal mishap. Your best strategy is to be prepared with a backup plan. Make sure you have easy-to-prepare foods on hand to serve guests or your family at the last minute. Stock your freezer with pizzas, mini-quiches and vegetables. Pack your pantry with instant mashed potatoes, spaghetti sauce and macaroni and cheese. You might spend a little extra and buy gourmet pre-packaged products, so your guests will be impressed with your recipe rescue skills.
Apartment cooking can be really fun, if you are prepared. Be aware of common cooking mistakes, so you can avoid them in your own kitchen. Soon, you’ll be on your way to preparing the best meals you can and making the most of your apartment kitchen.