• woman cooking food at home springfield illinois

    During this time of social distancing in Springfield, Illinois, more of us are learning how to cook at home and would like to enhance our cooking skills. Don’t be intimidated, our ultimate cooking guide brought to you by our cooking experts at Loukinens’ on 4th is here to help you become a master chef, home edition. With a few tips about food preparation, knife skills, and the best way to cook your basics like beans, pasta, grains, and meat, you’ll be cooking up a storm and eating good while you wait out this pandemic to pass.

    Food Preparation

    The most important aspect of cooking is being properly prepared. This means having your ingredients out and ready, measurement cups ready to use, and your workstation organized. Taking the couple of minutes to prep makes the process easier and won’t overwhelm you. If you are following a recipe, have it easy to access and read it over until you feel comfortable you know what you’re doing.

    man cutting tomatoes springfield illinoisKnife Skills

    Mastering knife skills is not something that happens overnight; it takes time, practice, and understanding the right techniques. Don’t just start slicing and dicing as fast as you can, that’s how accidents happen. At first, you will be slow, and that is okay – at least you won’t be losing a finger in the process. With practice, you’ll be able to turn those time-consuming tasks like chopping and dicing peppers and onions into a couple of minutes work. The better the technique, the better your chances are of not injuring yourself.

    Food Storage

    Grocery shopping is less frequent during the pandemic, with many people social distancing not wanting to catch or spread the virus, which means you need to learn how to stock up on food and keep your proteins and produce as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Whether it is storing herbs in a jar with water or freezing soups and stews in efficient storage backs, food storage is an important aspect of home cooking.

    Pantry Staples


    Beans are diverse, come in a range of shapes, colors, and each type has its own unique flavor. It also gives the benefit of being able to prepare them in various ways, adding them to chili, puree for soups, and even putting them in a healthy salad. A true staple of any pantry and a long shelf-life, beans should be a cornerstone ingredient in all kitchens.


    Pasta is a great comfort food option; it has various types of pasta and countless recipes. Whether you want spaghetti, carbonara, or a nice Alfredo pasta, this is a great staple to have and is easy to cook. When you are looking for carb-filled dinners, you can’t go wrong with pasta.

    Rice and Grains

    Rice and grains can mean a wide number of things: wheat-berries, oatmeal, corn, and a range of different rice options, barley, rye, and so much more. They are pivotal in just about every type of diet and cuisine across the globe. From homemade bread to risottos and porridge, there are a million different ways to cook them and knowing a few can be very beneficial.

    a closeup portrait of a deviled eggEggs

    Eggs pack a lot of protein, nutrients, and fat, and there are different ways to cook them: fried, scrambled, poached, and hard-boiled. Whether you want to make deviled eggs or fry an egg sandwich, they are perfect for the most important meal of the day – breakfast. Gordon Ramsay says that he can identify a great chef based on whether they can properly cook eggs.

    The next time you go grocery shopping, considering stocking your pantry with these staples and find recipes that suit your taste buds. Any recipe you find is guaranteed to have some of these ingredients in it and soon, you’ll be a natural in the kitchen.