cooking

Sneaking in Veggies… Still So Delicious

Image from Pixabay

Who disliked vegetables in their youth? Many of you? I didn’t. But I’ve always had a stronger craving for carbs and sweets. Sometimes, in recent years, I didn’t even eat enough fiber.

But then I discovered that you can sneak in vegetables into your favorite meals, including sweets. Yes, you read that right.

Now I chop vegetables pretty small and put them in pasta dishes, mac and cheese, eggs, and more. I have also tried putting beets in brownies, which can actually work. But that one didn’t turn out good.

Anyway, if you’re going to sneak in vegetables into your food, whether it’s savory or sweet, here are some tips.

1: If you find chunks distracting in some dishes (which I do), you can chop them fine. But not too much—otherwise, they make the texture of your meal grainy. For instance, if you put overly finely-chopped veggies in mac and cheese, your cheese sauce becomes rough instead of smooth. I’ve used a blender, but unless you don’t mind the change of texture to your food, I would not recommend this. Honestly, you are better off chopping them on a cutting board. I know—it’s old-school. Yet, it gives you more satisfying results (this varies).

2: If you are making a dessert, be aware that some veggies work and others don’t. For example, while beets are okay in brownies, I would recommend against putting spinach or broccoli in desserts. They don’t mix well. You can use sweet potatoes or carrots, though.

3: Depending on your tastes, you can microwave, steam, or sauté your vegetables before you add them to your favorite foods. Like them firmer? Skip this step.

So, there you have it. You can still enjoy your favorite carbs and sweets (in moderation, of course) and sneak in veggies, whether it is for you, your kids, or anybody else. They may not notice at times.

cooking

Why I Microwave My Potatoes Before Cooking Them

Image from Pixabay

Many of us enjoy potatoes in various forms: roasted, mashed, baked, fried, and so forth. We eat them at home, in restaurants, and more.

However, when you make them at home, do they take longer to cook? Are they not as soft or crunchy as commercial potatoes?

If the answer is yes, I have a trick for you: microwave them before you cook them. Okay, this obviously depends on how you cook them. If you’re baking or boiling them, then microwaving is unnecessary. But if you’re frying or roasting them, it saves you a ton of time and impatience, especially if you’re in a bit of a hurry.

When the potatoes are already soft, they cook faster. You may have crunchier fries, hash browns, or roasted potatoes. If you like scalloped potatoes, they will be softer when you put them in the oven. Say goodbye to undercooked potatoes.

So next time you make French fries for you or anyone else, consider microwaving them as you heat the oil or oven, depending how you prefer to cook them. I hope this trick works for you as it does for me. Also, if you can, try to use not-very-old potatoes. They get crystalized after some time.

cooking

My Life with Making Steak

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Image above from Pixabay

Cooking steak is no piece of cake. I’ve been cooking since I was 12 and it wasn’t until recent years that I made full steaks by myself. Before, I would ask my dad or I would cut them up into strips.

If you like steak, you probably know that steaks are cooked rare, bloody, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, or well-done. I like mine medium-rare.

That can be challenging in order to avoid salmonella-poisoning. One trick I learned is to press lightly on a cooking-steak. If it bounces back immediately, it’s cooked and safe to eat. You don’t necessarily have to stick a knife into the steak and check the inside. You can, though, especially if you’re new to culinary arts. Another thing to know is that steak should sit a few minutes to let the juices out before you serve or eat it.

As soon as I knew how to cook a full steak, my method is patting it dry, seasoning it with salt and pepper, cooking on the stove in butter, and putting it in the preheated oven for as long as necessary. Recently, I’ve learned that meat cooks best if you let it sit to room-temperature. It really does make a difference by becoming more tender and cooked.

I would like to marinade my steaks, too. However, that requires a lot of time. My problem is that I decide to cook things last minute. I want to change that habit, though.

cooking

Food, Wonderful Food, & Great Dietary Accommodations

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Nearly one year ago, about a month after graduating from college, I had developed an “allergy” toward tomatoes. Now why do I put the word, allergy, into quotation marks, you might ask? Well, although anything with tomatoes would cause my face to break out or my lips to tingle, I got tested for that, and it turned out to be an intolerance. So if somebody else consumes tomatoes around me, I’m fine. However, if I ate tomato products, it would lead to a problem.

For the next few months, I was let down on how I couldn’t have all those goodies I used to be able to enjoy, like marinara sauce, ketchup, salsa, barbecue sauce, and more. I would only be able to eat pasta with pesto, alfredo, or garlic and oil.  I would also have to ask about dish ingredients in restaurants.

However, in September, I found a new solution to my tomato intolerance. That was red bell peppers, which my body could still tolerate. I would make nearly everything I’d listed above (except barbecue sauce) with peppers. I would broil them, let them sit in brown paper bags, peel them, and prepare them like tomatoes. They taste a little similar, but not really close to alike.

Bu a few months ago, or so, I mixed carrots with peppers to make marinara sauce. And guess what? It really made a difference. The carrots made the sauce taste more like tomatoes than ever. And I didn’t receive an allergic reaction.

So if you ever develop an allergy or intolerance to certain foods, you can experiment with substitutions. I actually have a couple friends with dietary restrictions. One has come to my past parties in recent years. She is allergic to peanuts, which are in so many different products. I had to make a lot of my party food from scratch. Not only that, I would have to check ingredients and research them. I have even contacted companies to confirm, whether or not, the products had nuts.

You can always substitute ingredients for cooking, whether it’s for you or someone else. You would be surprised how easy it is and how much you can learn.