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

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Easy Tuna Salad

Are you having a hectic week but are looking for a healthy and quick food option that will also keep you full? Tuna not only is a healthy source of protein but it also contains high levels of B vitamins and omega-3. In addition to being quick, filling, and healthy, tuna is a very versatile ingredient and can be mixed with a wide variety of ingredients and help complete any meal. I’m sharing below my favorite tuna salad recipe. It’s easy to make, does not require heat and is ready to eat in less than 15 minutes!

Ingredients:
– 1 can of your favorite tuna
– 1 Tablespoon of Greek yogurt
– 1 ½ Tablespoon of relish
– Diced onions
– Mustard
– Hot sauce
– Seasoning salt
– Garlic powder
– Ground pepper (black or white)

Open the can of tuna, drain the liquid and pour into a bowl. Add your seasoning salt, garlic powder, ground pepper, mustard and hot sauce. Add your diced onions (you may grate the onion if you rather only have the flavor and not the crunch and bite of the raw onion. Add the relish and the Greek yogurt in last place. You may add more of any of the ingredients to taste and finally refrigerate for best taste.

My favorite pairings with this salad are toast or crackers. For an appetizer for your summer party, simply spread a small dollop of the tuna salad onto your favorite crackers and decorate with either slices of green olives, sprig of dill or curly parsley. Your guests are sure to enjoy this delicious treat!

For some further readings on the benefits of tuna, you may enjoy the following links:
http://www.symptomfind.com/nutrition-supplements/health-benefits-of-tuna/
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-tuna-5596.html

I hope this quick recipe will help you find a new way to enjoy tuna. Please remember that while it is one of the healthiest foods, high consumption of tuna can be harmful and always speak to your doctor about any changes you may consider making in your diet.

Enjoy!

Reese

Common kitchen items, quick remedies

Living a healthy lifestyle has become a very big rave! And if you live in South Florida like I do, the amount of juice bars that you see will make your head spin! While these places offer very healthy options, they can quickly run you a pretty penny. So to help you reduce your spending, I’m sharing how a few common items from your kitchen that can be used to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle:

– Ginger – known for its distinctive spicy taste and strong aroma, ginger is commonly used in many desserts and in many Asian cultures, it is a staple in savory dishes. However, most people do not realize that ginger is also a very good natural remedy for fighting a cold, a sore throat, menstrual cramps, nausea, certain inflammations (colon) amongst other issues. And to make it easy on us, ginger tastes great! There is nothing better to me than a medication that is 1) not a pill, 2) affordable, and 3) has a great taste! The best thing about ginger is that even when used as a remedy you can ingest in various ways. Those who are brave may simply cut a piece and chew it, others may infuse it into a tea or if you grew up with creative grandmothers as I did, you might have eaten a ginger brittle to fight off a bad cold! For more information on the great benefits of ginger, please visit http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-961-ginger.aspx?activeingredientid=961&activeingredientname=ginger

– Lemon/ Lime – with its antiviral and immune boosting qualities, growing up limes (in my case) were a constant in my mother’s kitchen! It can be used a quick high dose of vitamin C to help boost your immune system during cold/flu season whether it is in a juice or just a wedge squeezed and mixed with some honey to help calm a cough, lime (or lemon) is one of the best remedies to have around! It can also be beneficial with an occasional upset stomach. For a quick list of various remedies that you can create with lemons (or limes), check out Natural News’ article on 100 remedies: http://www.naturalnews.com/036663_home_remedies_lemons_health.html

– Mint – Not only does it smell delicious, but mint can also do wonders for your health! From nausea to indigestion, a sprig of mint in some water can help your body feel much better. Rich with antioxidants, mint can be of relief with the most common allergies and with common colds especially as a decongestant. One of my personal favorite uses for mint is as a skin refresher. Whether it is to calm a headache or to cool down a fever or simply as a scalp relief, mint is a very inexpensive and quick remedy. Want to find out some more benefits of mint? You can visit the Medical News Today’s article http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275944.php

While there are great benefits to these every day ingredients, please remember to pay close attention to your body for any abnormal reactions and to consult your physician if you have any concerns. I have been incorporating natural remedies in my regimen when I am sick and have found that they have helped me recover with less side effects and at times much quicker. Just be sure to do your research.

I wish you great health!