Creative Cooking and Healthy Living Tips
From the Good Housekeeping Magazine
A Little Goes a Long Way
Pouring olive oil can quickly get out of hand. To control the amount used, always keep a tablespoon measure attached to the bottle with a rubber band.
A Little Skewed
Skewer Tricks: If you want crispy edges and more well-done meat, allow space between chunks of meat on a skewer. Spear onions, mushrooms, whole cherry tomatoes and bell pepper diagonally to prevent splitting. Steaming mushrooms for a few minutes before threading on skewers prevents splitting too
Add A Touch of Sunshine
Large pieces of citrus peel lend a touch of magic to the flavor of slow-cooked and smoked food. Try putting it in the cavity of a turkey to be smoked, in the sauce for basting it or in the water pan of the smoker. As a guide, use the zest of two lemons or three limes for one whole turkey.
To save time, purchase a butter slicer and keep butter sliced into tablespoons for easy use.
Add a little Asian influence to your barbecue turkey burgers by adding a dash of soy sauce and topping with chopped green onions.
Get Rid Of The Goo
Hate gummy rice? Use a wide saucepan when preparing so that rice stays in a thin layer and cooks evenly. Also, never stir rice as it cooks or cools. This rubs off the starch and makes the grains sticky.
Don't guess - use a meat thermometer to gauge doneness and your grilled turkey will always be moist and juicy.
Propose a Toast
Intensify the flavor of any nuts you use in recipes by toasting them first.
Rub turkey drumsticks and wings with your favorite spice or herb rub and bake or grill for a finger-licking appetizer.
Spice Up your Salad
Looking for ways to add zip to your salad? Try using some different greens such as romaine, arugula, spinach, radicchio or mesclun mixes for a change. Then toss in some fresh herbs and grated citrus zest.
Spit Roasting - Slow and Easy
Spit roasting a whole turkey is an excellent way to achieve a moist, perfectly-cooked bird. Make sure the bird is balanced on the spit to ensure that it turns smoothly and cooks evenly.
That's a Wrap
To prevent food from sticking to the grill, use well-oiled aluminum foil pricked with holes to allow heat circulation, cooking spray designed for grills or try wrapping your turkey cuts in large cabbage or lettuce leaves. The greens will wilt, but the meat comes off the grill easily every time.
Throw It In The Tub
Oven and outdoor grill racks can be difficult at best to keep clean. An easy way to take care of both is to soak the racks in your bathtub. Fill the tub with hot water, add DISHWASHER detergent and a little white vinegar to cut the grease. Soak for an hour, then rinse and racks are all clean.
Become a Sugar Guru
It's easy to spot sugar-coated cereals, but hidden sugars are not so obvious. Take a look at the nutrition label. Those with less than 3 grams of sugar per serving offer fiber and nutrients rather than empty calories.
Bigger Is Not Always Better
Portion control - people often think of restaurant-sized portions as the norm, but this is not the case for healthy eating. A good rule of thumb is a portion should fit in your hand. Gradually reducing your portion size is one easy step in making meals healthier. Also, try using smaller plates - that way smaller portions will look bigger.
Curb Cheese Cravings
Add fresh and flavorful herbs - such as chives, thyme or basil - as a garnish instead of high-fat cheeses.
Cut the Carbs
Use sweet potatoes or beans in place of white potatoes. Use brown rice or a grain in place of white rice.
Prepare your own salad dressings which will have less sodium and no preservatives.
Dress to Impress
If dressing is a must on your salad, have it on the side, then just dip your fork in it for each bite.
Use fresh herbs instead of dried to liven up your meals and cut down on salt.
Steaming fresh vegetables instead of boiling them preserves many more of the vegetable's nutrients. Look for a metal steamer insert that will hold vegetables just above the water. These steamers adjust to fit a wide range of pots and are readily available and inexpensive.
Kick the Cream
Rather than adding sour cream or whipping cream to homemade soups, add thickness and texture by using beans, peas, or potatoes. Pasta can help too, but add only at the end of cooking.
Spray to Sauté
Using nonstick cookware means less oil or butter is needed to sauté meats and vegetables. Less oil means less calories and less fat.
For a healthier alternative, use stock or broth instead of oil or butter for sautéing.
Take It Slow
Sit down for meals, take your time. Eat slowly and savor every bite. Did you know it takes about 20 minutes for most people to feel full after they have started eating?
Use evaporated skim milk to lighten up cream sauces and gravies.