I pulled up my blog the other day and saw that it consistently gets hundreds of viewers every day. I was humbled and grateful to see this so I wanted to say a formal THANK YOU to all of you who use my blog as a resource and share it with people you know.
I have a passion for health and for cooking and love sharing the recipes I make in my own kitchen. Like many of you, I have a very busy schedule so I am always looking for easy meals to make and time-saving tricks to make the job easier. Here are some of my favorites:
Wet Chop – this is an amazing tip for chopping things like onions, celery, cauliflower (think cauliflower rice) or carrots when you need a lot of them. I often cook for hundreds of people at a time so this trick is an absolute necessity. Simply chop the vegetables into large chunks and put them in a Vitamix or high powered blender. Fill the blender with water to cover the vegetables and start on low then increase the speed. The higher the speed, the smaller the chop. Typically, I will go to a 4 on the Vitamix to get a nice dice. When done, simply drain the veggies into a strainer and they are ready for your recipe. Here is a how-to video.
Freezer Staples – There are some things I always have on hand in the freezer. I started doing this when I found I was having to throw away things because I wasn’t using them fast enough. Peppers – bell peppers, jalepenos, poblanos, etc. I slice them up and put them in a freezer bag to pop out for fajitas, stir frys, soups, and to add a bit of spice to my recipes. Ginger – I will buy a giant piece of ginger and put it in a bag and right into the freezer. When I need it, I pull it out, peel a portion, and microplane it. Another trick with ginger is to use a spoon to take the peel off. Berries- organic berries can go bad very quickly so before the do, I lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze them (if you try to put them all in a bag together while they are fresh, they clump together). Once frozen, you can throw them into a bag together. Bones – I will take the bones/carcasses of whole turkey, chicken, t-bones, etc and put them in the freezer. When I have enough accumulated, I make bone broth. See recipe here.
DIY Money Savers – Many people say that eating healthy is too expensive so I am always looking for budget tips. One of my favorites is to do things myself that the stores charge a premium for. For example, you will pay extra to buy shredded cheese as opposed to shredding it yourself. The other benefit to this is that you avoid the added ingredients they have to use to keep the cheese “separated”. You can get grass-fed cheese and grate it yourself when you need it. Another great example is to buy bone-in meats. Again, when you buy boneless, skinless meats, you are paying for that service. It is much cheaper and healthier to cook meats with the bones (plus you will have them to make bone broth with afterward). If you must have a boneless cut, you can de-bone it yourself easily at home with a good knife. Some grocery store butchers will even do it for you if you ask. That way, you pay the lower price but still get what you want. There are so many new and convenient products in the produce section as well. Rather than picking up the riced cauliflower, the chopped lettuce, the chopped green beans, etc. Buy the whole item and do it yourself. You can save a lot of money this way.
Cook Once, Eat Twice – Cook with the intention of having leftovers. Since you are spending time in the kitchen anyway, it is not any harder to make extra to have for another meal. You can eat it for lunch the next day or have a second dinner.
Make Your Own Nut Butters and Nut Milks – If you have a Vitamix or high powered blender, it is simple to make your own nut butter. Simply put the nuts in the Vitamix and blend until desired consistency. To make your own nut milk, simply soak the nuts overnight and drain. Put them in the blender with some water and then drain with a nut milk strainer to get rid of the skins. Both of these are quick, easy and will save you a ton of money.
Healthify Your Soups – You can blend cooked cauliflower to add to soups. This makes a nice, creamy addition to any soup and adds an extra punch of nutrition.
Oven Turkey Bacon – I found that when cooking for a crowd or making multiple breakfast items, it can be labor intensive to stand over a skillet frying bacon. I started putting it right into the oven. For easy clean up, you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper and cook bacon at 350 degrees to desired doneness. Be sure to flip it over when done on one side.
Oven Meatballs – Meatballs can be very labor intensive, from rolling the balls to standing over a pan making sure they don’t burn or fall apart, it is a process. I started using the oven to my advantage when making meatballs. I simply put the meatballs into a baking dish (ideally, you want them spaced a bit) and bake until done, turning them over a couple of times. When done, you can either drain the drippings or use them to make a gravy. My favorite meatball recipe is for Swedish Meatballs.
Tenderizing Grass-Fed Meats – I’ve had many people tell me that their grass-fed meats are tough. Slow cooking things like roasts, oxtails, and short ribs make these cuts of meats very tender and juicy. However, for steaks, I like to use a Jaccard Tenderizer. It works perfectly every time and makes for a nice, tender steak.
Add an Omega-3 Punch – I have fallen in love with the little hairy guys I wouldn’t have touched with a 10-ft pole in the past – ANCHOVIES! I can eat them right out of the can now but many people just can’t so here is my trick. Heat a bit of oil (avocado is preferable but if you use olive oil- DO NOT let it smoke. You should not heat olive oil very much at all). Throw in some anchovies and stir for a few minutes. They disintegrate into nothing and you are left with a salty, smoky infused oil that is LOADED with healthy omega-3’s. You can then pour it over salad or veggies or use it in soup.
I hope these tips help you in your kitchen and again, thank you so much for your support!