Cooking is more than just throwing a few dishes into a pot and heating them up. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the kitchen soon realizes that there is a certain level of skill and art in good food preparation. Whether you're cooking for two or preparing a feast for a hundred there are a few basics that every good chef follows that can help to make every meal a success. Here are some easy cooking techniques from the Food Network.

It's All About The Prep

When you watch well-trained chefs on TV, they make the entire process look very simple. But what you don't see are the many steps that they've made before the camera is turned on. Making sure that all of your ingredients are prepped and ready to use before you start the meal can simplify the entire process. Try doing the prep the night before your meal; chop all the ingredients, marinate the meat, or prepare the sauces. When everything is already prepped ahead of time, your meal will go off without a hitch and your kitchen will stay neat and tidy too.

Whenever Possible, Keep It Small

Another of the easy cooking techniques from the Food Network is understanding that cooking times are directly related to the size of what you're cooking. A turkey will take 3 or 4 hours while a turkey leg will probably take 20 minutes. Another thing to keep in mind is that the smaller the item, the higher the baking temperature. This will help you to determine how to adjust temperature as you adjust different recipes for size and quantity.

Preserve Ingredients For The Best Quality

Spices always need to be stored in a place that is cool and dark. Don't keep them in the cabinet above the stove. While access to them is very convenient the environment will easily deteriorate the flavor of your spices and will eventually have an impact on the end result of the meal.

Freeze Large Quantities

When you frequently make soups and ingredients that use stock it's best to make large quantities ahead of time and have them frozen for when you're ready for them. You can measure out the stock in cups, pints, or quarts and freeze them in plastic bags so you can save time in the overall cooking process. Stocks take a long time to prepare and having to make it each time you need them will consume much more of your time than you need to. When you're ready for it, simply pull a bag out of the freezer and you're good to go.

Learning how to prepare a great meal may not be a difficult task but you can make it difficult by not preparing well. Learning these easy cooking techniques from the Food Network can simplify your cooking more than you can imagine. By preparing the work involved in any meal ahead of time your guests will be none the wiser. Choose something that you're completely comfortable with and that you know will turn out well every time you try it. By applying these basic cooking techniques, it will be easy for you to cook like a master chef every time.