The kitchen is a scary place for people who don’t like to cook. Sort of like looking under the hood of a car is for me! But the more you know, right? So just like I was scared to check the oil, but learned how to and now it’s not scary, you can learn a few tricks in the kitchen to make cooking for diabetes less scary and more fun.
Here are a few tips for beginner cooks:
How to chop veggies and basic knife skills: start with this quick 6-minute video from Tasty.com to learn the basics. This is an important step in order to add more fresh vegetables to your cooking. The important part is the safety and proper holding and motion of the knife. For most home cooks, the size of the dice or type of cut really doesn’t matter. It takes practice to get comfortable. As for the onion part, I prefer this method from Rachael Ray. Try chopping fresh garlic; it’s kitchen therapy!
Foil is your friend. If the thought of cleaning up the kitchen is what stops you from cooking, try simple sheet pan meals with foil lined baking sheets. These are so versatile, easy to prepare and easier to clean. Be sure to cover all of the bottom and up the sides of your sheet pan to keep the pan totally clean during cooking. Here are sheet pan meal ideas from Eating Well. Foil packets are a great option for first-timers cooking fish, too. Try this Lemon Butter Baked Cod in foil packets.
Use seasoning blends to shorten ingredient lists. For instance, if a recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, dried thyme and dried rosemary, just use 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning instead. It might have a few more herbs in there, but your end product will be good, maybe even better. If the recipe calls for spices like garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper, a blend like Code 3 Spices Grunt Rub combines these and more. It’s excellent on vegetables, chicken, fish, pasta and potatoes. Side note: their Top Gun rub is the best, single item I’ve found for baking, grilling or smoking chicken breast you’ll actually crave.
Chicken breast is on 99% of grocery lists of people making diet changes for better health. And by week 3, 99% of those people are burned out on baked chicken breast. Here are 5 ideas for healthy meals that are chicken breast free.
Burger Bowl: think of everything you like on a cheeseburger and put it into a healthy burger bowl. You can use brown rice, Banza chickpea rice or cauliflower rice as the base. Use lean beef, ground turkey or ground chicken for the “burger” meat. Try this Classic Cheeseburger Bowl.
Cottage Cheese and fruit salad: use your favorite salad greens, top with cucumber and a fruit or two (examples: diced apples or pears, sliced strawberries, pineapple tidbits, halved grapes). Top it with 1/2 to 1 cup cottage cheese for 13 to 26 grams of protein.
Chili Mac: this dish is great for prepping ahead a few meals for the week. Try it over bean pasta or whole wheat pasta.
Bean pasta con broccoli: cook and combine a bean pasta like Banza penne pasta, cooked frozen broccoli and a light Alfredo sauce like Bertolli Alfredo with Cauliflower and Milk or Simply Organic Alfredo Sauce Mix.
Overnight Oats: breakfast for lunch is perfectly acceptable! Mix up your flavors with various fruit and add nuts or peanut butter for heart-healthy fats. Blueberry Walnut ONOs are a classic combo.