Every night when you go home, you have to make a decision about what to have for dinner. For the most part, we would like to eat nutritious food, but many of us didn't grow up learning how to cook healthy meals. If you're watching your health, eating out is not the best option, so most people look in their cookbooks for recipes. This isn't always the best solution, because recipes lie. But, if you know the right way, it’s very easy to cook nutritious food every night of the week. This is the process that many people go through:
- You come home from work, and have to start planning dinner.
- You’ve already cooked the 5 things you know how to cook this week.
- You need more ideas,
- You look through the pantry, consider calling for pizza…
It’s not only exhausting, but you have to re-educate yourself every single night. It's not going to get you the results you want or deserve for yourself and your family. If you’re looking to cook more nutritious food at home, save time and have endless cooking ideas, you’re in the right place. There are 5 simple steps to cooking with fresh ingredients.
Step 1: Get Fresh Ingredients
- The first step for using fresh, seasonal ingredients is to actually GET some.
- This could be the most difficult step for many of you that are used to the huge mega-mart grocery store.
There are alternatives. My eyes were opened to more alternatives during my trip to Paris, France. The food culture in Paris is so much different from where I live in the US. There were very few corporate “chain” restaurants there. Many of the restaurants were small, 10 table places where there were three people on staff, the chef, the maitre d’ and the dish washer. They had their service each night and went home. Each time I asked why their food tasted so good, they all had the same answer. And, not a single person bragged about their recipes.
Instead, I was told that I needed fresh, simple ingredients. I discovered that I needed to examine where my food is coming from. This doesn't mean simply the store where you shop, but what is the country of origin for your food. Think about how you feel about your money going to another country when there are farmers in your community that need your help. Now think about how long ago that vegetable was harvested in the far away country, and what happened to it during its travels.
It might be inconvenient to drive past dozens of mega-marts to find a farmers market. But you may find that there’s a local produce roadside stand near you that you’ve avoided. In my case, I signed up for “The Produce Box” which delivers fresh community supported agriculture to my doorstep. Fresh is important because fruits and vegetables degrade as soon as they’re picked.
- Nutrients are lost
- They become visually unappealing
- Harder to cook successfully
- Loss of flavor!
Step 2: Select the freshest ingredients when you shop
Be aware of what you're choosing, even if you shop at the local produce stand or farmers market. Some items may still be fresher than others and the most nutritious, healthy food is the freshest. You have to be even more aware if you shop at the local mega grocery. In understanding how to cook healthy, you need to be able to understand the difference between fresh food and food that has been ripened artificially or is not ripe at all. Do you know how to tell a fresh orange or grapefruit? Did you know that color is NOT an indicator of freshness in peaches?
Step 3: Storing Fresh Ingredients
For maximum shelf life, nutritional preservation and budget savings, there are three issues in storing fresh ingredients:
- Air circulation
Not everything can be thrown in to the drawer in the refrigerator and preserve their freshness. In fact, some things will suffocate in a plastic bag. Other produce will need to be wrapped tightly to retain moisture. Other items will need to be kept cold, while others will degrade under the cold.
Step 4: Master a few basic cooking techniques
At the very least, master the following techniques:
- Understanding the transfer of heat
- Saute method
- Know how to make sassy sauces
But there are so many more. All of the basic methods in cooking are covered in my live cooking classes. Giving you the tools to understand these basic methods is what makes my approach to teaching cooking so unique and why people rave about my Web Cooking Classes. Web Cooking Classes empowers you with a thorough understanding of basic methods which allows you to cook and create without a reliance on recipes. Pure freedom!
Step 5: Finishing the Process with Fresh Herbs
This is the number one question I get during my live cooking classes: Q: "Which herbs to use and how much to use?" A: "Use the ones you like." Seriously! Use your nose to see what it reminds you of, use the ones that you like and use as much as you like. You want to know my number one herb secret? Herbs go last! Fresh herbs should not be cooked. In fact, just the heat of the finished dish is enough to release the aromas of fresh herbs. These are the secrets that chefs know about how to cook healthy which are so easy to incorporate into your every day cooking. You can cook nutritious food that you want to eat for your health and for how wonderful it tastes. You can do it!