Sometimes we can all use a little advice in the kitchen. There are so many ways to develop flavors and textures in foods. Ask 10 people how to make a pie and you’ll get nine different answers. Learning these tips will give you new ideas for cooking meals that you’ve made a million different times.

When sauteing ingredients in a fry pan ensure that you don’t overcrowd the pan with too much food. Trying to cook too much at once will only lower the temperature of the pan and lead to steaming instead of browning. It is wiser to saute the ingredients in two separate batches, if necessary, and this will maintain the quality of cooking.

For pasta that is cooked perfectly all the way through, do not place it the in water until the water is boiling. Pasta cooks from the outside in, so to keep your pasta all one texture you need to cook it at the same consistent temperature from the beginning to the end.

Always use the freshest ingredients you can find for your cooking. Fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood all taste better when they are fresh. Besides better taste, fresh ingredients are usually healthier than pre-packaged, canned or frozen ones. Fresh foods have superior nutritional content and lack the unhealthy additives found in packaged foods.

Cooking can be a joy if you invest in a good, sizable cutting board able to handle all of your cutting and chopping needs. If a butcher block table is out of the budget, look for a durable bamboo or sturdy maple for the job. A cutting board with a recessed groove surrounding the cutting surface is handy to catch juices from carving meats and makes clean up easy. If you will be using a cutting board on a smooth surface, look for one with rubber feet to avoid slipping. Maintain your cutting board with food-grade mineral oil (vegetable and olive oils can turn rancid) and make sure that you properly clean, and more importantly, dry your cutting board after each use to prevent warping.

Learning never ends when it comes to cooking. These tips are just a jumping off point for your exploration into the vast world of foods. Keep learning and trying new ideas and techniques so you can see what works for you. We have to keep our eyes always open for new ways to do the ordinary.