Time-Saving Kitchen Tips from Chef Ronaldo Linares
Resting meat after cooking will yield juicier and more tender meat. Resting allows the juices to redistribute.
How do you know when beans are done? Place one of them between your fingers and gently press it together. There should be little give. This indicates the beans are ready.
During the summer, freeze berries for shakes and smoothies when you're short on time. Berries freeze well in resealable plastic bags and don't lose their flavor. Plus, they're full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Look for pumpkins with hard shells that are heavy. If they are light, they are dry.
Ronaldo Linares brings the zing of the Caribbean to fresh, authentic dishes that are a fusion of his Cuban-Colombian heritage. This former U.S. Marine is a classically trained chef and restaurateur. His cookbook with the American Diabetes Association, Chef Ronaldo's Sabores de Cuba: Diabetes-Friendly Traditional and Nueva Cubano Cuisine, will be available on May 10, 2016.
Food Network Star Ingrid Hoffman Dishes on Easy Prep Sides and Meals
Cooking proteins in aluminum or parchment packets allows for them to cook in their own juices and it's a great way to cook your veggies and protein at once.
When boiling sweet potatoes for mashing, it's best to cook them with the skin on so that they do not absorb a lot of water. The skins slip right off the cooked sweet potatoes. But if you like a chunky texture, mash the skins, too. They're full of fiber!
If you do not have a roaster, use whole carrots and celery sticks to lift the chicken and act as a roaster, plus you will be cooking your veggies at the same time.
If the brand of quinoa you are using does not come pre-washed, make sure to rinse it well to remove the saponin which causes bitterness.
To ripen avocados faster, stick them in a brown paper bag. Darkening skin color and a softer texture are clues that your avocado is ripe.
Ingrid Hoffmann brings the flavors and traditions of Latin America to life. The star of the Food Network's Simply Delicioso and, en Español, Telefutura/Univision's Delicioso says forget dieting—feel the power of making healthy choices.
Weeknight Meal Expert Aviva Goldfarb Talks Cooking Strategy
The easiest way to get the flesh from an avocado is to slice it in half lengthwise, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh with a large spoon.
To get beautiful grill marks on your meat, don't move it at all before flipping it. To get crosshatches, rotate meat 1/4 turn before flipping it.
To peel an onion easily, slice off both ends with a sharp knife. Score the skin and outside layer of the onion from end to end with a knife. Then peel the skin and outer layer with your fingers.
When you halve oblong vegetables such as zucchini or carrots, halve them lengthwise and put the flat sides down on the cutting board for quick, easy , and safe slicing.
When adding dry spices to a recipe, never measure or shake them over a boiling pot as the moisture and humidity from the pot may affect the color and flavor of the remainder of the bottle.
Before juicing an orange, lime, or lemon, use a microplane or fine grater to remove the zest. You can refrigerate fresh zest for 3 days or freeze it for up to a month. Use the ready-and-waiting zest to add flavor to dressings, marinades, and stir-fries.
If you've got extra lemons or limes sitting around and don't want that flavorful juice to go to waste before they go bad, freeze them! Just cut them into quarters and put them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place them in the freezer until frozen. Then place the fruit in a freezer-safe bag to store in the freezer until you need a squeeze of fresh flavor for whatever dish you're fixing.
Using small amounts of strong cheese is a great way to add flavor without excess fat and calories. If you anticipate that you won't use a package of cheese in a timely matter, freeze it! Just be sure to press out as much air as possible before sealing the package or freezer bag.
Cucumbers will last longest if you store them in an unsealed plastic produce bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. They are freshest when eaten within five days of purchase.
To keep guacamole from turning brown, cover it tightly until you are ready to serve it.
If you plan to freeze a casserole, completely cool it first to avoid condensation.
As fresh shrimp can be a bit costly, buy it frozen or purchase it fresh when it's on sale at your store and then freeze it until needed. Raw shrimp can be frozen for 4 to 6 months.
Aviva Goldfarb has solutions for weeknight meals. As founder of the dinner-planning service The Six O'Clock Scramble, she focuses on quick and easy family recipes. Her cookbook with the American Diabetes Association, The Six O’Clock Scramble Meal Planner: A Year of Quick, Delicious Meals to Help you Prevent and Manage Diabetes, will be available on February 9, 2016.
Chef Jackie Newgent Takes Flavor-Filled Approach to Healthy Food
Be liberal with herbs! Fresh herbs can add fragrance and flavor along with antioxidants to a finished dish. For the freshest, fullest flavor, add fresh herbs toward the end of the cooking process or just before serving a dish.
Marinating ingredients before cooking them can help boost nutrition, tenderness, and flavor. If you're marinating food at room temperature, marinate for no more than two hours. Ideally, you should marinate foods in a covered container in the refrigerator. Try marinating poultry breasts in buttermilk or yogurt; it creates more juicy meat.
Balance and uplift flavors with citrus juices, vinegars, or wines. Try matching by color: Lemon pairs well with fish, orange with chicken, and red wine with beef. Add a few splashes of aged balsamic or red wine vinegar to bottled spaghetti sauce when simmering or to fresh tomato slices when serving.
Be boring! Variety isn't always the spice of life. When a recipe calls for four types of beans, three types of bell peppers, or two types of berries, it's often for color variety. But these recipes will still taste good with only one type of bean, bell pepper, or berry. It'll save shopping and prep time !
When raw, onions can be pungent. If you like your onions on the mild side, tone down the sharpness by soaking diced or sliced onions in cold water for up to 20 minutes, then draining well and patting dry before use.
Along with nutritional goodness, vegetables add texture, visual appeal, and natural savory flavor (and sometimes slight sweetness) to meals. Don't hunt for perfection. Sometimes the most delicious vegetables are those that appear a little odd or that still have a little dirt on them, which is the way nature intended. Just clean and love these vegetables like any others.
I recommend leaving the edible peel/skin on most veggies and fruits. That's because it can provide a boost of texture, color, and overall nutrition, including fiber, to a recipe.
Experiment with aromatic oils, like truffle, toasted sesame, hot chile, or garlic- or herb-infused extra virgin olive oil. A little healthful fat can go a long way in added flair.
Experiment with different sea salts. Try Celtic gray sea salt, Italian sea salt, or fleur de sel. Each has a unique taste. Or try naturally-flavored sea salt flakes, such as citron or wild garlic flavors. By finding a salt you love, you may be satisfied with less of it.
Once you bring tomatoes home from the farmers' market or grocery store, keep them on the counter, not in the refrigerator. Refrigerating unripe tomatoes halts the ripening process and adversely affects their texture and flavor.
When produce is in season, it's at its peak of ripeness, nutritional value, and flavor. It's usually least expensive then, too!
If you're having difficulty finding a certain fresh fruit or vegetable, it may be out of season in your area. When produce is out of season locally, it's often better to purchase it frozen, not fresh. Frozen produce is picked and frozen at its peak of ripeness, nutritional value, and flavor.
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, takes an all-natural approach to healthy cooking. Her whole foods-based recipes are full flavored and true to the philosophy that "fresh is best." Newgent is the award-winning cookbook author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook: The Flexible Approach to Flavorful Diabetes Cooking and the newly updated The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook: The Whole Foods Approach to Great Taste and Healthy Eating.
Barbara Seelig-Brown Takes the Stress Out of Cooking
If a recipe calls for fresh herbs and you only have dry on hand, you can easily convert to dry and vice versa. The ratio of fresh to dry is 3 to 1, so you will use 3 times the amount of fresh to dry.
To crush and peel garlic at the same time, you can place it on a cutting board and crush it with the side of a large chef's knife or a flat meat pounder.
One of the tricks to roasting veggies is to make sure that you consider texture when cutting them. Cut harder veggies like carrots or potatoes into smaller pieces than the softer eggplant or zucchini if you are roasting them together.
Some vegetables only require grilling on one side. Heat kills vitamins and minerals, so the crisper the better.
White pepper is often used in cream sauce so you don't see black pepper specks, but black pepper is okay to use if you don't have white pepper in your pantry.
Holiday Tip: Get all serving pieces, ice buckets, trays, etc., out ahead of time and place sticky notes on them as to what menu item they will hold to avoid last-minute rummaging through cabinets. This will be beneficial to those helping you at the last minute.
Keep a permanent magic marker in your kitchen so that you can date containers as soon as you open them and you won't throw out as much "questionable" food.
When you buy a piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, save the rind and use it in soups or sauces for a low-calorie way to add the flavor of cheese to the dish.
Barbara Seelig-Brown focuses on creating healthy twists to old favorites that are both satisfying and delicious. She is the host of the TV cooking show, Stress Free Cooking, and author of several cookbooks, including The Healthy Home Cookbook: Diabetes-Friendly Recipes for Holidays, Parties, and Everyday Celebration and the recently released Secrets of Healthy Cooking: A Guide to Simplifying the Art of Heart Healthy and Diabetic Cooking.