How To Check the Doneness of Steak with a cooking Thermometer

The temperatures and cooking time of steak differ depending on the size and shape of the cut, degree of doneness that you want, and preparation method that you used. It is faster and easier to accurately identify the doneness of steak using a thermometer compared to checking it using the touch or finger test.

Guide for doneness temperature in roasting, broiling, grilling, or braising steaks

  • Rare – 520C or 1250F, the center color of the steak is cool red
  • Medium Rare – 570C or 1350F, the center color of the steak is warm red
  • Medium – 630C or 1450F, the center color of the steak is a warm pink
  • Medium Well – 660C or 1500F, the center color of the steak is slightly pink
  • Well Done – 710C or 1600F, the center color of the steak has little or no pink

Make sure to properly check the temperature of your steak for your desired doneness will not be accurate if you based it on the steak’s color alone.

Here is the step-by-step process on how to find the thermal center of the steak

  • Insert and push the meat or cooking thermometer in the center part of the steak.
  • Locate the coolest temperature reading but pulling back the thermometer. This is where you can find that temperature reading is called the thermal center of the steak.
  • Remove the steak from the grill when you reach your preferred pull temperature.

To prevent overcooking

How food continues to cooking a short time after being removed from the heat, so remove the steak from the heat 5°F before the desired doneness to prevent overcooking the steak.

Cook’s Notes

Temping the steak from its side is recommended by various grilling experts. You can do this by using tongs to lift the steak from the grill and inserting the thermometer to the center of the steak’s side then follow the same step stated above.

Resting and serving the steak

After your steak reaches your desired pull temperature, you need to remove it from the grilling surface or the heat and use a foil to loosely tent the steak. You have to make sure not to tighten the foil, for it can soften the steak’s crust and make it soggy or less crispy. Rest the steak for 3-6 minutes, so the juices can be reabsorbed into the steak to achieve its perfect doneness. This method of identifying the steak doneness temperature guarantees an accurate and consistent result.

Cooking – Turkey Cooking Times

So, what is the cooking time for a turkey? This is a common holiday cooking question.

General Rule For Cooking A Turkey

As a guide, cook your thawed turkey 20 minutes per pound, but the actual cooking time will differ depending on whether your turkey is stuffed and the actual oven cooking temperature. 

Note:

  • For food safety reasons: It is strongly recommended that stuffing on the side and cook the turkey unstuffed.
  • Plus, you can actually cook more stuffing if you have a large enough dish and sufficient ingredients, than the inside of a turkey would have the capacity to hold.

How long to cook a turkey

  • The times on the chart below are based on the turkey being placed a preheated ( 350o F / 175o C) oven with the roasting pan on the center rack.
  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is maintaining the proper temperature, once preheated.
  • When roasting a turkey, always cook your turkey to a safe temperature (165o F / 74o C), use a meat thermometer, and check the thermometer often.

Turkey cooking times reference chart

Turkey WeightUnstuffed Roasting TimeStuffed Roasting Time
10 to 18 pounds3 to 3-1/2 hours3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds3-1/2 to 4 hours4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds4 to 4-1/2 hours5 to 5-1/2 hours
24 to 29 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 hours5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

Turkey Roasting Tips

  • Start with a completely thawed turkey; for food safety reasons, plan ahead and use the refrigerator to thaw the turkey.
  • Always Preheat your oven
  • Basting is optional if you want a browner and more even browning of the skin.
  • Cook the turkey uncovered until the skin is lightly golden and then cover loosely with a foil tent.
  • remove the foil tent for the last 45 minutes of baking to finish browning the skin.
  • The only safe test for turkey doneness is the temperature of the meat, and the turkey is cooked when the thigh meat has reached an internal temperature of (165o F / 74o C).  To get an accurate internal reading, be sure that your meat thermometer is not touching the bone.
  • If you stuffed the turkey, the stuffing must reach the temperature of (165o F / 74o C), which can result in a drier and slightly overcooked turkey
  • When the turkey is cooked, remove the turkey from the oven and allow the turkey to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving. Resting the turkey allows the juices to redistribute throughout the turkey and makes for easier carving.

Oatmeal Equivalent Measures

Sometimes when working with recipes the ingredients are not always provided in the measure with which we are most familiar.  So, here is a quick reference for converting dry oatmeal to an equivalent measure which you use regularly.

Amount In CupsAmount In Grams (g)Amount In Ounces (oz)
1/8 cup10 g0.4 oz
1/4 cup20 g0.7 oz
1/3 cup25 g0.9 oz
3/8 cup30 g1.1 oz
1/2 cup40 g1.4 oz
5/8 cup50 g1.8 oz
2/3 cup55 g1.9 oz
3/4 cup60 g2.1 oz
7/8 cup70 g2.5 oz
1 cup80 g2.8 oz
2 cups160 g5.6 oz
4 cups320 g11.3 oz

Using a square cake pan for round cake pan recipe

If you have a recipe for a round cake and want to bake it in a square tin, use a square tin which is 2.5 cm (1 in) smaller than the round tin size.

For example, the recipe for a 23 cm (9 in) round cake could also be used to make a 20 cm (8 in) square cake. Halving the quantities given for the 23 cm (9 in) round recipe will make a 12.5 cm (5 in) square cake or doubling the quantities will be sufficient for a 28 cm (11 in) square cake

Cooking – Green / Bell Pepper Equivalent Measures

Recently while translating an old handwritten recipe, I ran across one of those recipes where the ingredient is simply listed as a green pepper. However, not all green or bell peppers are the same size so having some explanation of an equivalent may be useful. Additionally, if you ever need to make a substitution with another kind of pepper or you’d like your recipes to be a little more consistent having a measured equivalent is also useful.
So to make things easier, here is a quick list of bell pepper equivalents based on size, which I hope you find helpful.

Bell Pepper Equivalents

  • 1 small bell pepper = 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 medium bell pepper = 3/4 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 large bell pepper = 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 pound (3 large, 4 medium, or 6 small) = 3 cups diced bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons diced fresh bell pepper = 1 tablespoon dried bell pepper flakes
  • 1 large bell pepper = 1/2 cup dried bell pepper flakes
  • 10-ounce package bell peppers = 2 1/4 cups diced bell pepper

Cooking – Substitutes For Vanilla

Natural vanilla bean gives your recipe a richer and more unique flavor, especially if it is the primary flavoring additive. However, they are costly as their production is labor-intensive. There are several equivalents you may use if you do not want to use the vanilla beans, the vanilla extract, or the vanilla beans paste.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar resembles ordinary sugar just that it is flavored with vanilla. It is easier common to notice fine vanilla beans particles in the sugar. When preparing desserts, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar to give you the same flavor as a vanilla bean.

Honey

Honey serves as an excellent substitute for vanilla extract in your recipe. You should, however, be very careful to minimize the amount of sugar so as not to over-sweeten it. Too much sugar added to the honey may also make your dessert stickier and hence unpleasant.

Bourbon

Bourbon is more common in baking as it enhances the texture and moisture content of the recipe. It is matured in oak giving it a vanilla-like flavor which is suitable for boosting the flavor when baking.

Almond Extract

Almond extract has an aromatic flavor similar to that present in vanilla beans making it suitable. It makes more economic sense as it has the same results, but it’s affordable.

Spices

Spices are great alternatives as they are cheaper and more durable as compared to vanilla extract. The most common spices that can serve as a replacement for vanilla include cloves and cinnamon.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup serves as an excellent alternative for vanilla extract as they have an almost similar taste. The fantastic thing about it is it can be used for a variety of foods including cakes, preparing French toasts, and also waffles to enhance their flavors.

Conclusion

Culinary skills are improved by adding a little creativity. Your recipe does not have to be dull as a result of lacking vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. With the above alternatives, you will do just fine, if not better!

Cooking – Oven Temperatures Crosswalk Reference

Depending on the age, origin, and type of oven you are working with the oven temperatures contained in a recipe may need to be interpreted.  So, here is a quick reference table to help crosswalk your recipe oven temperatures depending upon whether you are working with Fahrenheit, Celsius, a gas oven, or just a descriptive word.  

  Fahrenheit Celsius Gas Number
Very Slow 225o -275o 110o – 140o ¼  – 1
Slow 300o -325o 150o – 163o 2 – 3
Moderate 350o – 375o 177o – 190o 4 – 5
Moderately Hot 400o – 425o 200o – 220o 6 – 7
Hot 450 o  – 475 o 230o – 245o 8 – 9
Extremely Hot / Broiling 500o – 550o 260o – 290o 10
Oven Temperatures Crosswalk Reference

Cooking – How To Measure Ingredients Properly

We can all recall that one time, maybe two times, that we came across a recipe that is carefully and lovingly prepared and yet, it fails. In fact, this could be because the ingredients weren’t properly measured. There is no doubt that measuring ingredients the right way can make or break a recipe; too much flour to a cake batter can result in a dry cake, while on the flip side too much flour and you may end up with a badly structured cake that can collapse in the oven. Some might argue that properly measuring ingredients only applies to baking–since it is indeed a science.  However, properly measuring ingredients can also apply to cooking, if you don’t have the right amount of ingredients, your entire recipe can end up with subpar results or a total disaster. Incorrect measurements can:

  • Cause you to waste ingredients which in turn wastes money
  • Cause an immense amount of frustration when the recipe does not come out right
  • Cause you to sometimes lose faith in your cooking abilities

In this article, you will learn how to properly measure ingredients so that you can produce phenomenal results and also cook like the pro that you are.

Weighing Ingredients

Weighing ingredients as opposed to measuring ingredients is the most accurate way to have consistent cooking results. While it may take a little getting used to and you may have to consult some conversion tables to convert some older recipes it is worth it in the end. Also, when recipe say things like one large potato, etc., after you’ve measured a few times repairing your recipes you’ll reach an average which can be used as a consistent unit in your recipes.

How To Measure Wet Ingredients Properly

In Cooking, wet ingredients and dry recipe ingredients need to be treated differently and measured in different measuring cups. Let’s take grains for example, by not adding enough or too many grains to water ratio your desired outcome won’t be possible. Here are some things to consider when measuring wet ingredients:

  • When measuring fluids such as water, oil or milk use a cup that is meant for liquids- a glass or plastic cup. The container needs to placed on a flat surface and viewed from eye level (not overhead or on the table). Pour the liquid in until it is just under the line. You should squat or bend down so that your eye is precisely level with the liquid.
  • You might notice that the surface of the liquid is not completely flat but instead somewhat climbs up the walls of the measuring cup. This top surface is called a meniscus. For accuracy, ensure that the bottom of the meniscus is at the desired measurement line.
  • Measuring spoons also work well with measuring liquids but in smaller amounts; be sure to keep the spoon level to ensure accuracy.
  • For smaller volumes, fill tablespoons or teaspoons to the brim. You can measure over the sink so that there won’t be too much mess.
  • When measuring dense, sticky and viscous wet ingredients such as honey, a pro tip is to spray the measuring utensil with cooking oil before so that it does not stick and comes out smoothly.
Bulgur wheat in an American cup measure

How To Measure Dry Ingredients Properly

When it comes to measuring dry ingredients like flour and sugar it is important that they are measured in dry measuring cups- typically those that are flat rimmed. There are several methods for filling dry measuring cups such as sifting, spooning or scooping. The truth is, the method that you use to fill a dry measuring cup affects the mass of the ingredient you are measuring. Here are some things to consider when measuring dry ingredients:

  • Always use a knife or straight edged tool to level off or sweep off the excess with ingredients such as baking soda, flour, and baking powder.
  • Refrain from packing the ingredients – especially flour -unless the recipe specifically calls for it. In most cases, brown sugar is typically required to be packed and should be done with the back of a spoon.
  • A flat cup measurer and a level spoon is a must for measuring. Ensure that the spoon is straight with no bends or kinks.
  • As mentioned before, there are several methods for filling dry cups, sifting being one of them. It is important to never sift flour directly into the measuring cup as pockets of air might form which can off put the final results of your product. Instead, sift the flour onto a piece of wax paper or aluminum foil, measure the amount you desire and spoon it into the measuring cup.

Additional Tips For Measuring When Cooking Or Baking 

  • Tableware and cutlery are not for measuring. Measuring spoons and cups are relatively inexpensive and can be found everywhere; even at the dollar store.
  • A coffee cup, teacup or mug is not equivalent to a measuring cup.
  • Do not measure any flavorings (extracts) directly over the bowl as spillage can occur.
  • Butter/ Lard or Shortening can be measured with a butter ruler which can be found in many specialty kitchen stores.
  • Another effective way to measure liquid ingredients is by using a scale. In fact, some recipes call for the use of a scale, especially in baking, because it is more:
    • Accurate– There isn’t any compressibility when you measure by weight. Three ounces of flour will always be three ounces of flour regardless of the vessel used. With that being said, each recipe will guarantee the same results every time you make it.
    • Less messy– So instead of using different measuring utensils that are required to be washed after you’re done with your recipe, all you need when using a scale is one bowl.
  • When using a measuring scale, you are considered to be measuring using volume- the amount of space something takes up. One should note that recipes written in ounces are not the same as those written in fluid ounces.

Everyday Cooking Measurements To Memorize

Here are some simple recipe measurements that you can memorize for quick everyday cooking. It’s a great idea to have a couple of measurements stored in your memory as this can cut back on measuring time which in turn cuts back on cooking time so eating time is closer than you think.

  • 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons = 1 ounce
  • 4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
  • 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
  • 2 cups = 1 pint
  • 2 pints = 1 quart
  • 4 quarts = 1 gallon

A Reference Guide To Potato Sizes For Cooking

Recently, I was experimenting with an old recipe and the only gains it gave for the amount of potatoes to use was one large potato. This got me to thinking, what constitutes a large potato or medium potato for that matter.  Potatoes are variable in size and when you add to that the fact that everyone may peel a potato a little differently he gets a little difficult to know exactly how much usable food potato will be remaining once you peeled. So, please keep in mind there will always be some variability in that the guidelines provided in this post are essentially averages for the most common outcome.

Table Potato sizes

Even amongst the general weight category, potato will vary in weight, length, girth and general shape. That said, however, here is a helpful guide to provide reasonable consistency when purchasing potatoes and using potatoes for cooking.

Quantity

Size

Measurements

Weight

1

Small

1.75”
to 2″ in diameter

4-5oz
(113-140g)

1

Medium

2 to
3″ in diameter

5-8oz
(140-225g)

1

Large

3 to
4.25″ in diameter

8-12oz
(225-340g)

1

Pound

3 – 4
Medium Potatoes

16oz
(453g)

Diced potatoes

Table of Potato Preparation Equivalents

Some recipes don’t call for just a larger, medium or small potato; sometimes, recipe will call for it in measures of diced, mashed, peeled or even instant potato flakes, which you may be wanting to replace with fresh potatoes from your vegetable garden or local grocer.

Quantity

Size

Instant Potato Flakes

Peeled And Sliced

Shredded

Diced

Mashed

1

Small

¼ cup

¾ cup

¾ cup

½ cup

¼ cup

1

Medium

1/3 cup

1 cup

1 cup

¾ cup

½ cup

1

Large

½ cup

1 ¼
cups

1 ¼
cups

1 cup

¾ cup

1

Pound

1 1/3
cups

3 cups

3 cups

2 ¼
cups

1 ½
cups

Cooking – Bean Food Protein Levels

Here is a quick reference for when you’re choosing which beans to put on your family’s plate.  This is a quick list of some the more common types of beans have protein levels. It seems like a small thing, but if you’re choosing to grow them in your home garden and/or you’re planning to purchase beans to feed your family, then having an informed choice could make a lot of difference in the protein levels of your meals. This also could be helpful, if you’re one of those folks who is following the vegetarian meal pattern as not all beans are equal in their protein levels. I hope you find this helpful.

Table of Bean Protein Levels In Beans for 1 Cup Cooked

Type

Serving
Size

Protein

Adzuki
Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

17 g

Black
Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

15 g

Black
Eyed Peas

1 cup
(170 g)

14 g

Cannellini
(Runner) Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

17 g

Fava Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

12.9 g

Garbanzo
Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

14 g

Kidney
Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

15 g

Lima
Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

15 g

Mennonite
Pole Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

15 g

Mung
Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

14 g

Pinto
Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

15 g

Runner
Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

17 g

Soy Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

29 g

Tepary
Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

24 g

White
Northern Beans

1 cup
(170 g)

15 g