Cooking at home is a good habit, and we know that. There are, however, some challenges, like taking more time to cook whole foods, and convincing veggie-hating members of the family to eat their greens. Here are 5 tips for cooking great tasting meals that contain whole ingredients that anybody will eat. Below is an example recipe of how to put these tips to action.
5 Tips to Healthy Cooking
1. Include one full portion of meat One portion of meat for each person is like a palm-sized piece of meat. It can be meat or poultry or fish/seafood. The best is to buy them raw and natural (not processed in any way). This portion of meat will guarantee enough protein in the meal. Protein is essential for growth, makes us full so that we don’t over-eat, and is a fat burner.
2.Offer a lot of fresh vegetables Buy more vegetables than you think you need. You cannot go wrong stocking the fridge with these. Frozen raw vegetables are a good substitute too, but they have to be unseasoned with no processing other than freezing. Fresh vegetables are your best source of carbohydrate, cancer fighting phytochemicals, protein, minerals and fiber.
3. Chop vegetables finely How to get fussy kids to eat their veggies? Mash them. Get a hand held blender, and purée everything down to a mash. The recipe below contains lots of carrot, spinach and brussels sprouts, that do not look like they contain that much veggies in the first place. Some vegetables like carrots are actually sweet when cooked this way.
4. Creatively use spices Spices add ‘color’ to taste. Any boring piece of meat can be transformed with spices. Explore. Buy different spice mixes and experiment with them. Spices make whole foods interesting to eat. Some spices also have “fat burning” and disease fighting properties. In the recipe below, I used some chilli flakes and pepper to add the “surprise” to the lower carrot layer, while on top of the fish I added fried garlic for aroma.
5. Healthy fat is your friend Forget low fat diets. They were bad advice from the past. Fat is an essential dietary component, so feel free to include good fats like olive oil, nut oil, some cream and butter in your recipe. Fat is also a carrier of aromatic flavours. When you use spices, it is the fat that “moves” the flavour around the mouth, and provides the good taste sensation. In the recipe below, olive oil is used for frying the fish, and garlic topping, while full cream was used to cook the creamed spinach.
Recipe in Action
Last weekend, the supermarket we were at had stock of fresh salmon. I made this dish, which I shall call “Salmon Surprise”.
It’s called a surprise, because beneath each layer is a new taste sensation. The fish sits on top a layer of creamed spinach and brussels sprouts, between which is goat cheese, below the spinach is a sweet layer of mashed carrot seasoned with spicy paprika. I cook intuitively without measures, so here is a pictorial demonstration of the recipe:
Salmon Recipe “Salmon Surprise”
Boil some carrots and purée. Add some spices (here I sprinkled very spicy chilli flakes). Plate the mashed carrot on a dish. Do the same with some green vegetables. Here I puréed a mix of spinach and Brussels sprouts . These were bought frozen. I thawed them before chopping them up. Put a cup of whipping cream in a pot. Add chopped garlic, salt and pepper (to taste). Let the cream simmer to allow flavours of the garlic to mix through. Add your green mashed veggies, and cook thoroughly. Spoon the green creamy layer carefully over the mashed carrot. Top this layer with cheese. Here I used goat cheese which was a leftover in our refrigerator. You can use any kind of tasty, creamy cheese. Place the dish in a warm oven (150degrees Celcius) to keep warm and melt the cheese. Meanwhile, cook the fish: Here are some salmon fillets. They have been de-boned. The skin is left on. In a skillet, heat a little oil, and fry the fish on the skin side. Fry till the skin is brown and crusty. At this point you may want to season the fish with a little salt. Flip the fish over and slowly cook to the doneness you prefer. Some people prefer salmon a little raw, some people like it cooked through. Remove the trays from the oven. Place the cooked fish over the spinach layer. I’ve topped the dish with fried chopped garlic for extra flavour. Hope you enjoyed this recipe!