In addition to providing entertainment and a wealth of information regarding new delicious foods to try, cooking shows always make it look so easy. The reality is: cooking is a tough job. It requires preparation and cleanup - not to mention the tasks involved in the cooking process itself.
This is part of the reason why fast foods and 'restauranting' has become the norm for many American families. However, the fact remains that healthy, home-cooked meals - shared around the family table - is the healthiest thing your family can do for your body, mind, and soul (not to mention the budget!).
The following tips will make it quicker and easier to keep healthy meals and snacks in your pantry and refrigerator.
1. Steam hard-boiled eggs
Tired of losing half the egg whites when you peel your hard-boiled eggs? Steam them instead. Set up a pan and steaming basket the same way you would for veggies. Add eggs and steam (covered) for 10 minutes. Let them cool in the pan. Voila! Easy peel eggs are a great go-to snack, high-protein salad topper, sandwich filler or a favorite toddler/little kid snack they can get for themselves.
2. Save squeeze bottles for pancake batter
All those economy-sized condiment squeeze bottles can be put to work on weekend mornings. Wash them in the dishwasher when they're empty. Then funnel pancake batter into them and it's mess-free pancake squeezing right into the pan!
3. Peel multiple cloves of garlic in a flash
Well, it's a shake actually. Take two metal salad bowls of the same size. Set a head of garlic on its base on the countertop. Gently smash it with your hand to separate the cloves. Sweep it all into one of the bowls. Cover with the other bowl and shake like heck for about 10 seconds. The bulbs are all peeled. Niiiiiice!
4.Make homemade stock from every chicken bone
Save bones from legs/thighs as well as those from whole roasted chickens (even the kind pre-roasted at the store). After eating, stick the bones in a large pot, cover them completely with water and throw in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (that helps to open the bones and get the healthy, flavorful marrow out). Bring it to a boil and then reduce it to a very low simmer overnight (12-hours if possible). Strain in the morning and you'll have a couple of courts of healthy, delicious chicken stock for your next recipe.
5. Keep spices stored away from the stove
We know it's convenient, but the heat and humidity around the kitchen stove causes spices to lose their flavor. Instead, store them in a cupboard or pantry away from the stove top.
6. Soak your pasta
Put pasta in a gallon zip-sealed bag of water, or a covered bowl and let it soak overnight. The next day, you can cook it super quick in boiling water or just put it in a pan with your sauce of choice and let it finish cooking right in the sauce.
7. Microwave corn in the husk
Shuckin' corn is time consuming and gets silk threads everywhere. Instead, cut just the silky tops off and wrap the corn, husks-n-all, in a double layer of damp paper towels. Microwave on high for 1.5 minutes, turn them over and repeat. Remove using oven mitts and let rest for 5 minutes. Husks will come right off revealing perfectly tender corn.
8. Easy potato wedges
Baked potato wedges are way healthier than fries. Make 'em quick, using an apple corer/slicer to "chop" instant wedges and then bake them crisp!