Quick tips for a novice in the kitchen

If you’ve never particularly been fond of culinary arts, have only entered the kitchen just for the time it requires for you to either grab something from the refrigerator, and are now facing the fact that you might have to start picking up some kitchen skills, you will want to keep on reading!

Many of us are now realizing that possessing culinary skills is becoming a must because: a) dining out is costly; b) you may not always get food that truly flatter your taste buds; c) your waistline continually will expand as you eat out. If you have made the conscientious decision to take on cooking, I’m hoping to help you start at least with these following tips:

  1. Start with quick cooking grains – no matter the meal, a quick cooking grain will help minimize errors. Quinoa is one of my favorites because of its versatility and also as a great source of iron, protein and magnesium, you are sure to have a very healthy component to your meal. If you are not a fan of quinoa, you can easily substitute with one of the following grains: couscous, bulgur wheat, or healthy pastas made of the previously mentioned grains. If you are a real novice and need further guidance, you can search online through websites such as foodnetwork.com or allrecipes.com for step by step recipes. I’ll start you off with this list from Fitness Magazine: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/dinner/healthy-quinoa-recipes/?page=1
  2. Select a protein that is easy and quick to cook – my go to protein sources are boneless/skinless chicken breast and seafood: shrimp or snapper fillet to be more specific. These proteins are easy to clean and take usually less than 30 minutes to cook. They are as error proof as ingredients can be and require little experience to make a successful meal with them. You want to ensure that you properly clean them: shrimp needs to be deveined and the connective tissues need to be removed from the chicken breast. Once they are properly cleaned, you can be as adventurous with your seasoning or simply go with salt and pepper. Be sure to thoroughly cook your protein especially your poultry as you risk contracting salmonella poisoning if consumed undercooked. You can refer to the step by step guides following for more assistance: cleaning chicken: http://enchantedspoon.blogspot.com/2011/02/kitchen-basics-how-to-properly-trim.html; deveining shrimp:  http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_peel_and_devein_shrimp/
  3. Invest in great seasoning – the seasoning is what can differentiate a bland meal from an exceptional one! While many people think that producing a great tasting meal requires some of the fanciest seasonings, I’ve always thought that the more natural the seasoning, the better the taste. Some of the best spices to use as seasoning include: garlic, pepper, onion, and thyme (depending on the dish). In addition to these, I like to use lime in the cleaning process but it also enriches the taste especially with seafood. For a more depth in the flavor, you may use a small quantity of mustard and hot pepper. For my quick seasoning blend, see my DIY article: http://glamgirlonthego.me/2015/04/23/is-it-worth-it-to-diy/

It will take some practice before you start to feel comfortable in the kitchen, however, the essential part is that you decide to take on the challenge, start with something small and keep practicing until you feel comfortable enough to move on to more complexed recipes. Remember that you’re not alone in your journey, there are many outlets that will help you find new easy recipes to help sharpen your skills such as allrecipes.com or foodnetwork.com. Keep practicing and remember that your taste buds will guide you through the process. You may not become the next “it” chef but I promise that you will definitely learn your way around the kitchen.

Enjoy!

Reese

Advertisements

Healthy Quinoa Salad

Many times when we are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, we go and purchase a lot of the alternative foods that are making all the waves in healthy magazines and cooking shows. However once purchased, we are not quite sure on how to cook them or what to pair them with. One of my favorite alternatives to rice is quinoa and I’ll admit that it took a lot of research before I realized how to cook this ingredient. Below I’m sharing one of my favorite ways to quickly make a tasty meal out of quinoa:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of red or white quinoa (for white quinoa- be sure to wash it under water before cooking. This will avoid the bloating feeling you may usually get from consuming white quinoa)
  • 2 cups of water
  • Diced red onions to taste
  • Diced tomato to taste
  • ½ can of whole kernel corn
  • Parsley or Cilantro to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 2 table spoon of olive oil
  • Cumin to taste
  • Seasoning salt to taste
  • Juice of half of a lime

In a pot, bring the water to a boil with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Rinse the quinoa using a fine strainer to prevent the quinoa going into the drain. Once the water gets to a boil, add the quinoa and when the quinoa starts to absorb the water, reduce the fire to low and cover the pot for approximately 15 minutes. Once the time elapses, fluff the quinoa and taste for consistency. If it is no longer crunchy, remove from heat and drain the excess water and pour into a bowl. Flash rinse in some water to cool the quinoa or simply let it rest until it cools. Mix in the red onions, tomato, chopped parsley or cilantro. Add the mixed vinegar and olive oil and the lime juice and the cumin and seasoning salt to taste. Refrigerate until cool or until ready to consume. This dish goes well with seafood or chicken breast and is perfect for a quick dinner after a long day of work or lunch on a weekend day.

Check out a list of 5 common mistakes when consuming quinoa for some more tips on this healthy rice alternative: http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/common-mistakes/article/5-most-common-mistakes-when-cooking-quinoa

Stay healthy!

Reese

Making time for friends amidst a busy schedule

If you are a glam girl, chances are you are juggling many hats every day! Whether it is work, kids, school, or social responsibilities, it just seems like the weeks seem to fly by and before you know it it has been months since you last saw some of the people dearest to your heart. I have a group of girlfriends with whom I’ve been friends for over 20 years, and even with some of them residing in the same town as me, it is still hard for us to get together.
Last year, I made a resolution to not wait until a major life event for me to make plans to see my friends. Now to ensure that we catch up on a regular, the girls and I use small events as opportunities to get together. Here are some of the gatherings we usually plan:
– Cooking nights – since some of my girls are not big in the kitchen and I love to cook, whenever I have a new recipe that I would love to try, I call a few of them and plan to have them over for a night during the weekend. Each person brings something to the dinner and we usually catch up on either some good DVR or with a good newly released DVD. I would recommend these gatherings especially for the glam girls with families as it is informal and the kids will then have a chance to play together.
– Dinners – if we have been having hectic weeks, we might simply gather together over a nice dinner at a new restaurant that we have been wanting to try. These are especially great because then no one has to worry about the cleaning! These are especially great for the ultimate busy career glam girl who is trying to catch some time with her girls in between work projects.
– Movies – sometimes our schedules are more limited and do not permit for us to catch up as we would normally do. In those days, we would plan to catch a movie together. Sometimes it’s the latest showing possible and usually at the little movie theather around the corner where $15 will get you a ticket and some snacks! However, we still have the chance to get together and let some stress melt away. These gatherings will fit any glam girl and more particularly the one with a budget.
Overall, whether it’s your friends or it’s your family, we all need to catch up with those that are dear to us on a regular basis. They are a part of who we are and have been there with us through the struggles and the successes. Furthermore, I’ve found that my gatherings with my ladies have provided us with with an informal therapy session. I hope that my suggestions will help you spend some time with your loved ones a little more often.

Cheers!

Reese