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Ina Garten Fall Cooking Tips

10 Cooking Tips to Trust From the Barefoot Contessa

If there's anyone whose cooking advice you should wholeheartedly trust, it's Ina Garten. Thankfully for you and me, Ina loves sharing cooking advice on the "Ask Ina" section of her site, in interviews, and in her own recipes. Gear up for your meal prep days ahead and channel your inner Ina with these foolproof tips.

  1. Stuff roast chicken with herbs. There are a million roast chicken recipes out there, but Ina's perfect roast chicken is the most reliable one. Her secret is to stuff the inside of the chicken with salt, fresh thyme, lemons, and garlic, so that it's seasoned from the inside out.
  2. Prep butternut squash before you make risotto. Ina says that saffron risotto with butternut squash is one of her favorite last-minute dinners because she preps all the ingredients and roasts the butternut squash in advance. Then, all that's left to do is simmer the stock and cook the risotto on the stovetop.
  3. Never buy store-bought grated parmesan. Everyone knows Ina's famous motto is "store-bought is fine." When Time asked her if there's anything that's not OK to get store-bought, Ina responded, "grated parmesan." No surprise there; studies have shown grated parmesan cheese can contain wood pulp and other unpleasant additives.
  4. Roast butternut squash with thyme. While you can roast butternut squash with just olive oil, salt, and pepper, Ina's roasted butternut squash recipe kicks the flavor up a notch with the addition of fresh thyme.
  5. Turn your grilled cheese into croutons for soup. Transform your average tomato soup and grilled cheese into an even cozier meal. Grab a can of crushed tomatoes to make Ina Garten's tomato soup, and top it off with her gooey grilled cheese croutons.
  1. Freeze scone dough before baking. A fan asked Ina about the best way to freeze scones to save time before baking, and she advised, "I would roll out the dough, cut out the scones out, and freeze them before baking. Then, defrost and bake when you get there!"
  2. Add a little extra liquid when reheating soup. Regarding a question about reheating Ina Garten's Winter minestrone soup, she said, "The soup may need a little bit of extra liquid (stock or water) when it's reheated, but otherwise it should be totally fine."
  3. Freeze foods that have a lot of sauce. According to Ina, the foods that freeze well are "the ones that have sauces to keep the food from getting dry." She recommends soups, stews, pot pies, and baked pastas.
  4. Use Pinot Grigio in recipes that call for white wine. Recipes like lemon chicken and risotto tend to call for white wine, but what's the best kind to use? Ina suggests Pinot Grigio because it's "versatile and easy to find."
  5. Use Crisco shortening in pie crusts. Fall means baking all the pie, and Ina's secret to a flaky crust is shortening — Crisco, specifically.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry
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