Using a new recipe? Better check it twice

Person looking at a recipe book
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Have you ever started working on dinner to later realize you don’t have an ingredient? How about the time you realized you were supposed to let the meat marinate in the refrigerator overnight? These are classic examples of not fully reading the recipe well before mealtime. How does the story end? Either a not-so-yummy meal or a quick run through the drive-thru.

Particularly when making unfamiliar recipes, you should read the entire recipe at least twice before preparing it: once when meal planning and once more prior to making the item. Reading the entire recipe when you are planning your meals will help you in your decision of whether to make the item or to adjust ingredients or equipment where needed. For example, you may discover that the preparation process takes up too much time or it takes a skill that you are afraid you may not have so you decide not to make the recipe. It’s also important to read the whole recipe again before preparing the meal so that you have a clear understanding of what to do. 

Pay attention to how things are worded. “1 cup sifted flour” means to sift the flour and then measure one cup. “1 cup of flour, sifted” means to measure one cup of flour and then sift it. As such, “1 cup minced onion” will yield much more onion than “1 cup chopped” onion. “Chopped” refers to cutting into small pieces, “diced” is even smaller, and “minced” is smaller yet. Reading the whole recipe is an important step in successful cooking!


20-Minute Chicken Creole (Printable PDF)

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice

1 cup chili sauce

1 green pepper, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil and chicken and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (3-5 minutes). Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes with juice, chili sauce, green pepper, celery, onion, garlic, basil, parsley, cayenne pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 10-15 minutes. May serve over rice or whole wheat pasta. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Yield: 8 servings


Nutrition Facts (per serving): 70 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 105 milligrams sodium, 6 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 7 grams protein


Recipe Source: Food Hero, Oregon State University Extension.

Source: Reading a Recipe, The LSU AgCenter, Cathy Agan


This blog first appeared in the Pantagraph on March 3, 2021.