1. Start with Quality Ingredients
Juicy plump tomatoes have a delicate sweetness, fresh wild salmon melts in your mouth, and crisp seasonal arugula delivers a light peppery essence. When you start with delicious food your prepared dishes will taste even better, and add abundant nutrition without several calories.
How to do this at home: Try to shop at your local farmer’s market to pick up seasonal treats that will jazz up any dish.
2. Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs add flavor, color, and nutrition. Herbs are considered mini vegetables, they are packed with micronutrients. Try adding fresh herbs to traditional dishes you already prepare, this easy add-in will take your meal from blasé to gourmet!
How to do this at home: Add fresh cilantro to your scrambled eggs in the morning. This little addition will add a bright zip to a simple meal. To store fresh herbs, lightly wrap the herbs in a dry paper cloth inside of a sealed plastic bag.
Knowing how to use spices can transform a meal and add a range of flavors, spices can add a kick of heat or a gentle touch of sweetness. Spices are very aromatic, the scent of the spice is a good indicator of what the spice will taste like and what dish it will pair well with.
How to do this at home: Your options are endless, play with spices, mix and match! My favorite combinations include; crushed red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning, garlic powder and cumin, or curry and cardamom. Utilizing spices will elevate your simple meal in a snap. Tip: Dried herbs and spices maintain their quality for up to 2 years.
4. Decadent Desserts
Desserts are sweet and indulgent and typically loaded with sugar and saturated fat. However, I substitute pureed 1% cottage cheese for oil or butter in popular desserts such as; chocolate cake, fudge brownies, or red velvet cupcakes (my favorite!). The addition of cottage cheese reduces the fat content yet, still keeps the tasty treat moist.
How to do this at home: When a cake-like dessert recipe calls for 1/2 cup of canola oil, substitute ¼ cup pureed 1% cottage cheese and add ¼ cup oil. Leaving a bit of the fat in the recipe will ensure the cake has a cake-like texture.
5. Slim down Sauces
Sauces are traditionally thickened with roux, equal parts flour to butter. These two items are caloric, and are not nutrient dense. Instead of using a roux to thicken sauces, I use a cornstarch slurry; equal parts cold water to cornstarch mixed.
How to do this at home: When making a traditional Italian chicken Marsala, skip the roux addition and substitute two tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with two tablespoons of cold water. Once the sauce is at a low simmer, slowly add the cornstarch slurry, and stir. This mixture will instantly thicken your sauce, creating an indulgent gourmet sauce.