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.
- 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.
- Basil: Flavorful Italian cuisine uses a lot of basil, oregano, and thyme to achieve that bitter, spicy flavor we all know and love. Basil is the most versatile of these herbs, and can be used in almost any savory dish, including with vegetables.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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