Whether you’re a brand new cook or an experienced one, there are plenty of sources of frustration in the kitchen. No matter what your cooking skills are like, little annoyances can make preparing a meal much more stressful. Here are some cooking tips that will help preparing your meals go a little more smoothly.

Store your spices in a cool, dark place. The shelf life of spices is greatly reduced if they are exposed to heat, humidity, or light. When a spice is placed in a cool area with very little light, its life is extended and it will taste better. Meals prepared with fresher spices are simply more delicious.

Pasta is one of the best things that you can cook during the course of the day for the nutrients and carbs that it brings and its pleasant aroma. Make sure that your water is boiling for at least two minutes before you put your pasta into the pot for maximum quality.

It is extremely embarrassing to have lumps in your gravy. It happens to everybody from the beginner cook to the master chef. There is a simple trick you can use to eliminate them. Drain the gravy through a fine strainer and discard the lumps. This technique can be used for other sauces or soups too.

If you are following a recipe, make sure that you do not follow this religiously, as you should always add a personal spice to your meal. Instead of following a pizza recipe to the tee, add some red pepper to inject a punch into your dish to make it unique and individualized.

There are plenty of things you can do to take the stress out of cooking. Now that you’ve read this article, you have plenty of advice you can apply the next time you head to the kitchen. Now that you have these tips, you may find you’re willing to try cooking something a little more challenging.