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How to Salvage a Meal That Seems Ruined

Even the most experienced cooks sometimes find themselves faced with disaster in the kitchen. Whether they leave something on the stove too long, overbake a dish, or dump in the wrong amount of a particular spice, there are few things worse than seemingly ruining a meal. Fortunately, if this happens to you (and it probably will at some point), there are several steps you can take to salvage your dinner instead of throwing it in the trash.

  1. Adjust the herbs and spices - One option is to adjust the number of herbs and spices in your dish to accommodate for whatever mistake you made. If, for instance, you dumped in too much chili powder, consider adding more of the other herbs and spices the meal calls for as well. This just may balance out the original issue, making your food perfectly edible.

  2. Add a sauce - In certain situations, whipping up a quick sauce is an excellent way to salvage a meal. This works particularly well when something is too bland for your liking. Maybe, for example, you were planning to serve a pasta dish sans sauce with just cheese and spices, but it simply lacks flavor. Adding marinara sauce or Alfredo sauce is an easy fix for this type of problem.

  3. Have emergency repair food available - “Emergency repair food” refers to staples that can sometimes be used to rescue dishes that seem like might be beyond saving. This list includes butter, flour, oatmeal, bread, eggs, chicken and beef broth, salad dressing, tomato sauce, cooking oils, and baking powder. In certain circumstances, adding one or several of these can fix food preparation errors.

  4. Make a new side dish - If the meal is well and truly ruined, consider making a relatively easy side dish, such as a salad or a rice pilaf, to serve in lieu of the original recipe. This obviously works best if it wasn’t the main course that had to be thrown away, but with a little creativity, you can make it work even if your entree did bite the dust, so to speak.

  5. Change the whole meal - If the worst-case scenario occurs and none of the previous suggestions is an option for you, you might have to change the meal you were intending to serve entirely. Don’t look at this as a problem, but rather a challenge! Consider what you have in your kitchen and what delicious dish you can make with it in a time crunch.

Hopefully, these five ideas will help you salvage dinner next time you have a kitchen mishap. Remember, though, it happens to everyone at some time or another, so don’t fret if you make a cooking mistake. Therefore, living near a deli, such as Cerra’s Market in Saugus, MA, is great especially during situations like this! Delis usually have all ingredients that can help you save that meal of yours. Just do your best to fix the blunder and move on! Soon, you’ll be laughing about it with your friends and family.

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