Jewish Journal


May 9, 2013

25 Tips To Help You Become A Pro In The Kitchen



So, you're a beginner? Perfect. A lot of my clients were once, too. Today they invent their own recipes, such as my Pita Pizza and Sweet Potato Fries... some of the recipes you'll find in my 10 Day Shred and 3D-Xcelerated packages. Rest assured, I am not here to turn you into the next Martha or Wolfgang. But when it comes to weight loss, the old sayings "you are what you eat" and "six packs start in the kitchen" could not be more true. Remember: when you cook your own food, you know what goes inside your body and you are in control of how much and when. If you really want to do your body good, a little investment in the kitchen can go a long way. How long? Long enough to extend your expiration date.

I found that cooking can actually become a fun hobby, and these tips can turn your cooking anxiety into cooking fantasies. The best part is that with this tips you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen. In fact, in less than 60 minutes you could probably prepare your lunch, dinner, and snacks for the next 3 days! Just take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, get your favorite music going, and follow these tips, which will save you time, money, and unnecessary frustration.

1) Read the recipe from beginning to end. Get all of the ingredients and kitchen tools out and ready to go. It will save you precious time, and eliminate defeat.

2) No fancy equipment required! Cooking is easier when you have the right tools, but most recipes require is a pot, a non-stick frying pan, a baking sheet, a good knife, a few measuring spoons, and a simple blender or mixer.

3) Keep your kitchen clean and organized. Nobody likes a messy, dirty work area.

4) Music will automatically put you in a better mood, especially if you're someone who gets bored being in the kitchen.

5) You don't have to have all of the ingredients! For most recipes, if you have 3 out of the 5 spices listed, go ahead and try it anyway. Don't have all the vegetables that listed in the recipe? Just use what you have (especially for soups, stews, and casseroles). Don't be afraid to experiment. Cooking is an excellent opportunity to be creative!

6) Buy a loaded spice rack. They fit perfectly anywhere in your kitchen, and will give you an instant access to all the herbs and spices you need to flavor your food.

7) The perfect hard boiled egg is easy! Place the eggs in a pot and cover them with cold water. Add 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow eggs to cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat, leave covered, and let eggs rest for a few minutes.

Tip: Running them under cold water makes them easier to peel.

8) If you want leftovers, double the recipe and refrigerate or freeze! Just one more simple way to make your life easier.

9) If you have a barbecue, grill more! Chicken, meat, fish and even vegetables. It changes the flavor of the food for the better, and it's a great way to get the family involved.

10) Speaking of family, make it a point to eat dinner together at least once a week. It will bring the family together to discuss, create memories, and remind you what's really important in life. It's also a great way to make sure your kids are eating healthy and getting the nutrients they need.

11) Not all olive oil is created equal. I recommend using best quality extra virgin olive oil that is cold pressed, unfiltered, and packaged in a dark glass bottle that protects it from the damaging effects of light. Store the oil away from both heat and light.

12) Soak wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes before using them, so they won't burn. If you prefer to use metal skewers, use square or twisted skewers, because they hold the food better than round skewers.

13) Use real, quality ingredients. There is no substitute for real food. Not only does real food taste better, it will fill you up, which will cause you to eat less.

14) When measuring honey, coat the measuring spoon or cup with nonstick cooking spray before adding the honey. This way, the honey will slide right out!

15) Have a pizza night! Use a whole wheat pita or whole wheat Lavash bread for the crust, add low sugar tomato or marinara, low fat cheeses, and plenty of vegetables as toppings. Pair it with a side of mixed greens and balsamic for a complete meal and dig in!

16) Start by cooking things you already know you love to eat. You'll be more motivated to cook, and way more invested in the outcome.

17) Rose water is an amazing liquid to add to your oatmeal, shakes, tea, and distilled water. Just as little as 1 teaspoon goes a long way, and adds fabulous flavor and aroma. You can purchase it at any Middle Eastern supermarket.

18) A Crock-Pot could be your best kitchen investment, because you can cook just about anything in it. From whole chickens, to soups and stews, desserts, snacks, and more!

19) Invite your friends and family over to enjoy your food. Food is a blessing, and sharing it with others is double the blessing!

20) Microwave your lemons for 15 seconds. This will double the juice when you're squeezing it. You can also microwave a garlic clove for 15 seconds to help slip the skin off.

21) Leftover wine? No problem! Freeze it into ice cubes for future use in sauces and casseroles.

22) If you don't like the strong flavor of garlic in your food, saute it first.

23) The best way to store fresh celery is to wrap it in aluminum foil and refrigerate it.

24) When mincing garlic, sprinkle a little salt over it so that the pieces won't stick to your knife or cutting board.

25) Don't beat yourself up if your dish doesn't come out right the first time. Cooking is a very flexible art, and chances are you'll know exactly what went wrong. Keep at it, and before you know it you'll be writing your very own cookbook!

Get my e-book Eat Everything, Lose Big for easy 30-minute recipes for every meal! (Including desserts and cocktails!)

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