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10 Cooking Tips To Make Your Food More Delicious

10 Cooking Tips To Make Your Food More Delicious

Lately everyone wants to learn about healthy eating and even sustainable eating, but what about just making your food more delicious? Tasty food can make a huge difference in our quality of life and may even reduce the amount of waste you go through each week.

Here are 10 cooking tips you can use alongside a healthy diet in order to make your food even tastier. These are some quick changes that will make a huge impact on the reception of your food.

1. Quick Spice Guide

Spices can be intimidating to people who are unfamiliar with them. Instead of giving you a list of exotic spices to start using right away, here’s a simple list of some starter spices and how to use them.

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  • Cumin: Adds a rich smokey flavor and is often used in Mexican, Indian and African dishes. Add it to ground meats and stews.
  • Paprika: Adds a subtle sweetness and a nice red color. Used like cumin with ground meats, sauces and stews.
  • Allspice: For a touch of earthy warmth to sauces, marinades and baked goods. Used similarly to cinnamon.
  • Ginger and Ginger Powder: Ginger is often used in Asian cooking, with baking and is especially delicious when used in sauces and marinades.

2. Quick Herb Guide

Herbs can be equally intimidating to the uninitiated. Here are a few common herbs you can start incorporating in everyday meals.

  • Mint: Mint has a strong, fresh, green flavor and is used commonly with lamb, green vegetables and desserts.
  • Chives: Instead of using a whole onion, add the crunch and flavor of an onion using chopped chives. Chives are usually added after cooking, on top of baked potatoes for example, but also add flavor and texture to soups.
  • Rosemary: Another Italian favorite, rosemary adds a bright, piney flavor to your food, similar to citrus. Mediterranean cooking also favors rosemary. Use it in rich sauces, lamb and poultry for uplifting flavors.

3. Flavored Salts

We all know it’s important to use salt in moderation and you can use less salt if it’s more inherently flavorful. Flavored salts come in a number of enticing options, like lemon salt, sriracha salt, and even vanilla salt. Here’s a guide to making your own salt.

4. Be Careful About Seeds and Pits

Before cooking most fruits and vegetables, you’ll want to get all the seeds out first. Raw or cooked, seeds tend to be bitter and can leech some really toxic-tasting chemicals into the food when cooked. Tomatoes are the exception, where their seeds pack the most flavors and should be left in when cooking.

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5. Make Your Own Stock

Stock is really easy to make on your own and it’s leagues are better than the stuff you buy at the grocery store. You’re free to season it as you like and make it as thick or thin as you need. Here’s a recipe for a quick and easy vegetable stock that costs about as much as the stuff on the grocery store shelf.

6. Cook Pasta in Sauce or Stock

The experts will tell you that cooking your pasta in sauce is essential to infuse it with the proper flavor and achieve a nice, even distribution of sauce and noodle. Cook your pasta in water until it is al dente, or undercooked but flexible. Strain, then add your pasta to the saucepan and allow it to finish cooking there, stirring often. Alternatively, you may boil pasta in stock instead of water.

7. Chop Onion and Garlic as Needed

Both garlic and onion have strong, pungent qualities that add a big kick to our dishes, but from the moment they are cut, they begin losing flavor. Always prepare your onion and garlic right before cooking, and make sure the leftovers are sealed and put in the fridge to preserve.

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8. Versatile Vinaigrette

If you love acidic flavors, vinaigrette should be your new best friend. It’s not just for salads, and it’s incredibly easy to make on your own (again, leagues better than store-bought). Use vinaigrette on deli sandwiches, picnic salads like potato and noodle, French fries, grilled vegetables and more. Here’s a quick guide to making your own vinaigrette.

9. Grill Sandwich Breads

We promise that the time it takes to grill your bread before making that amazing sandwich you have planned will be worth it. You may have noticed restaurants always do this before sending out a sandwich and there’s good reason ; grilled bread tastes much better, and releases the aromas of the ingredients. It also holds up better against wet toppings and is ideal for soup. Even the modest PB&J can be enhanced with grilled bread.

10. Wheat Germ

Wheat Germ is a nutritious and versatile food that has fallen somewhat out of favor in recent years. We’d like to bring the trend back by sharing some of the ways you can incorporate this woody, nutty food in your diet. First, wheat germ is great on dairies like ice cream and yogurt. Just add a spoonful and enjoy the boost of flavor and texture. It’s great with fruit, and can be used as filler in recipes like meatballs.

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We hope you learned a couple new tricks to make your meals both healthy and delicious. By making your own staples like stocks and dressings, you can actually reduce the amount of sugar and preservative chemicals while enhancing flavor. Taking a few extra minutes in prep can also go a long way in making your food tasty, like always removing seeds from fruits and vegetables.

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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