Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a long and difficult task. Cooking can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Think of fairly short cook times but a finished product packed with flavor as the ultimate goal. The following are my favorite tips to help make your experience in the kitchen more enjoyable.
1. Shop for produce that is in season for a better taste and price. Local farmers markets usually have comparable prices, and you know exactly where your food came from. They might even have some useful storage and cooking tips for you, just ask the farmer.
2. Chicken broth or vegetable stock is a great, virtually calorie free, flavor enhancer. Choose a low-sodium option and cook your rice and other grains in broth instead of water.
3. Adding a little baking soda to onions when caramelizing onions can speed up the process. Yay science
4. Store your fresh herbs like you would fresh flowers. Once you get home from the store, clip the ends and place them in a cup of water before storing them in the fridge, except basil which doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
5. Boil your pots of water or broth with a lid to speed up the process. Maybe this seems obvious, or maybe it just blew your mind.
6. Putting a damp kitchen towel or paper towel under your cutting board can help it to stop slipping.
7. Taste and THEN season your dishes to avoid over seasoning.
8. Store your spices and oils in a cool, dry and dark place so they keep their flavor. Heat and humidity will cause them to lose flavor. If you’re not sure how your spices are holding up, give them the sniff test. If they smell good, they are still good to cook with.
9. Cracking an egg on a flat surface, like a countertop, instead of bowl will help minimize shells making it into your dish.
10. Cooking times are a suggestion, so use your senses like smell, taste and touch to decide when your food is done.
11. A little lemon juice might be just what your dish is missing. Not just spices add great flavor.
12. Fully read and understand a recipe before you decide to go rogue. Creativity in the kitchen is encouraged, you just don’t want to overlook a critical step in the process.
13. To prevent an avocado from browning and ripening, leave the pit in or add a little citrus juice, like lemon or lime, to the exposed surface. Then seal it with as little oxygen as possible.
14. If you are grating cheese, spray the cheese grater with a little cooking spray like canola oil or olive oil spray. This will make your cleanup a breeze.
15. When cooking with hot peppers, you might want to wear gloves. Oils from the pepper can absorb in the skin. Whatever you do, don’t touch your eyes after cutting hot peppers. (I learned this lesson the hard way.)
16. Don’t waste your money buying extra virgin olive oil if you will be heating it.It loses its extra virgin properties during cooking. Regular olive oil or canola oil are great options.
17. The number one kitchen tool to invest in is a good knife. Some other favorites if you want to get more cooking tools are an avocado slicer, a zester or microplane and a food processor. These just make some of the cooking processes easier, but you don’t have to have them.