There are very few things more panic-inducing for any home cook than realizing a major error has been made in preparing a particular dish. Whether the meal you were planning to serve is overbaked, underdone, or just plain wrong, it’s not unusual for people to throw imperfect meals away without even trying to save them. In truth, however, there are a number of different steps you can take to try to salvage even the most damaged dish. You’ll learn more as you continue reading.


Add herbs and spices to fix the flavor.


Putting additional herbs and spices into your meal can potentially save it in two dramatically different situations. If you realize you inadvertently added too much of a specific spice and the flavor is overpowering, you might be able to balance it by adding more of some other herbs and spices too. On the opposite end of the spectrum, adding extra herbs and spices can also correct foods that are too bland.


Serve the meal with sauce.


A sauce can heal many ills when it comes to cooking mistakes. If, for example, you were making chicken and it got slightly too done, a delicious mushroom or cream sauce will soften it and fix the problem. Or, if you made something that was supposed to be served plain and completely lacks flavor, adding a last-minute sauce is an almost surefire fix. Just make sure whatever sauce you choose works well with the meal.


Keep emergency repair food in your cupboards.


The term “emergency repair food” is used in reference to a rather wide variety of kitchen staples that can often be used to salvage meals that have gone awry. Among them are flour, eggs, butter, cooking oils, jello, vinegar, cake mix, oatmeal, and salsa. In many cases, these foods and the rest of the staples that are included in the list can be used to make meals edible after some type of error has been made during their initial preparation.


Whip-up a side dish.


Quite frequently, side dishes are saviors when it comes to rescuing ruined meals. They are typically quick to put together, feed a lot of people, and are almost universally appealing in most instances. If you can’t save your original dish, whip-up a side dish or two to take its place. Your guests will be none the wiser and you’ll know not to make the same mistake twice next time you try your hand at the first recipe.


Change the menu on the fly.


If there really is nothing you can do to save your meal, have some fun changing your entire menu spontaneously! This doesn’t have to be stressful. Have chicken, olives, feta cheese, and spinach in your fridge? Make delicious Greek salads! Have spaghetti noodles and a killer recipe for homemade meat sauce? Make an Italian treat! The options are only limited by your imagination.


Next time you make a cooking error that costs you a meal, keep in mind that there are local stores, such as Bricco Salumeria and Pasta Shoppe, that can be very helpful in situations like this. Delis offer a lot of quick ingredients like herbs and spices that can be helpful remedies for the “almost” ruined meal. The calmer and more collected you remain, the easier it will be to fix the problem or create a new dinner quickly and efficiently. You might even discover you’re more resourceful in the kitchen than you ever thought you were!