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Healthy Cooking Tricks

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Change cuts

Love red meat and pork? Choose leaner cuts. You'll get less saturated fat from them. Select a cut with "loin" (like sirloin or tenderloin) or "round" in the name.


Get grilling

For flavor without extra fat, grill or broil your meat, fish, or poultry. While it cooks, the extra fat will drip away from the meat. Dobbins uses a nonstick countertop grill to cook chicken, often making extra so she has leftovers for the next day or two. It’s also great for smaller items, like sliced bell peppers or zucchini strips.  


Sauté simply

This cooking method traditionally uses oil or butter in a warm pan. It's a fast way to cook chicken, fish, meat, tofu, or vegetables. You can cut back further on fat by using a nonstick pan with cooking spray, low-sodium broth, or water instead of oil or butter.


Rely on roasting  

The dry heat of roasting creates a caramelized crust on meat or vegetables. You can roast veggies on a baking sheet (Dobbins loves sweet potato chunks drizzled with olive oil and dusted with cinnamon). For poultry, fish, and meat, place a rack inside a roasting pan to let the fat to drip away during the cooking process.


Make marinades

Whether you’re grilling, sautéing, or roasting, a marinade helps keep meat moist. Dobbins' favorite recipe: For four chicken breasts, mix together two teaspoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of lemon juice, and one or two minced garlic cloves. Pierce the chicken breasts with a fork and marinate in the mixture for at least 30 minutes (up to 8 hours) in a refrigerator. 


Braise better

This technique involves browning your food on the stovetop before slowly cooking it covered with water or broth. It's a good way to tenderize any kind of meat. You can thicken a bit of the flavor-packed cooking liquid afterwards to create a gravy or sauce. A slow cooker is also good for braising. Trim any extra fat from the meat before placing it in the slow cooker.


Start steaming

Dobbins often steams vegetables on the stovetop over boiling water. You can steam fish in the oven. Put a fish fillet on foil, adding chopped vegetables and seasoning with herbs (dill is a classic for fish dishes). Seal the packets and cook them. The moisture in the veggies and fish provide the steam.   


Season smarter

Use herbs, black pepper, spices, garlic, onions, peppers, and citrus to add flavor and zest instead of salt, oil, or butter. Fresh herbs make a huge difference. Add them at the end of the cooking process. If you’re using dried herbs, you can add them sooner, but use about half the amount.


Some of Dobbins’ classic pairings are rosemary with potatoes and tarragon with chicken. Other flavorful additions to consider are basil, cilantro, and smoked paprika.



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