Healthy Cooking Tips
Try these tips from Bea’s own kitchen to add health and flavor to all your favorite recipes.
There are areas in the kitchen/cooking arena just as important as the ingredients for our best in taste, visuals, and nutritional value.
One of those being the choice of cookware.
There are many to pick from and each has its own set of pro and con issues to consider.
I have tried and tested almost every option out there over the years.
This is a wonderful website for a breakdown of those pro and con issues.
For many years I’ve had a mix of one or two pieces from what I consider to be the best for the purpose intended.
I have/use/and love (Cast-iron) for any recipe that cooks in a liquid base. Soups, stews, dried beans, most all veggies…EXCEPT…tomatoes. Never cook red sauce in a cast-iron pot, it will react with the acid and leave a bitter taste to your food.
(Stainless Steel) a good all-around choice for almost any recipe. What I don’t like about SS for some foods/meat being the main one, it does not evenly distribute and/or hold a steady heat.
(Copper/Copper clad)bottoms are my favorite choice for cream soups, sauces, etc. If copper is of good quality it is almost perfection!
(Glass) I love the vintage Fire King for any baking needs, even heat holds moisture when needed and soaks it up when not needed.
Easy to clean and no reactive issues to any food.
A must remember, glass is not to be used in most Convection ovens
(at least in the smaller/countertop ovens.)
If you don’t have one, get one…a Copper mixing bowl…it is fabulous for mixing egg whites, Copper ions will actually assist the egg whites to stiffen and peak. French chefs prefer to use copper on a regular basis.
The Worlds 7 Healthiest Oils
The health benefits have been well-documented for years as our understanding of the Mediterranean Diet has grown. In summary, this monounsaturated fat can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, while increasing life expectancy and quality of life.
A less popular oil, grape-seed, is made from- grapes, and it’s thought to have the same powerful disease-fighting properties as wine, also from grapes. Grape-seed oil has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce the risks of cancer, improve diabetes and vision problems, and act against the aging process.
Avocado. perhaps the world’s fattiest fruit, is also one of the most healthful. Virgin avocado oil is green and delicious, and it’s extremely high in vitamin E and chlorophyll. As a bonus for every home chef, it also has a much higher smoke point than other vegetable oils (at a whopping 500°F), so you may feel more comfortable using it as a sautéing, frying or grilling oil.
Walnuts, along with many other nuts, have been shown to be very powerful against cardiovascular disease, in large part due to their high concentration of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid. Walnut oil in particular is rich in antioxidants and contains strong amounts of heart-healthy, disease-fighting fatty acids.
Sesame oil, while strong in flavor and intensity, is also rich in antioxidants, as well as minerals like magnesium, copper, iron and calcium. The darker the oil, the more disease-fighting antioxidants – as well as heart-protecting vitamin E – are present.
Commonly used by vegetarians seeking an animal-free way to ingest omega-3 fatty acids, flax-seeds are a rich source of the disease fighting fat. The oil, while not as powerful as the full seeds, has been shown to treat heart disease, lower cholesterol and aid with certain autoimmune disorders.
Fish oil taken for years by grandmothers around the globe, has been used in households to prevent disease. We now know that the high concentration of DHA and EPA, two omega-3 fatty acids, are what’s responsible for making fish oil so powerful in fighting heart disease, strokes, mental decline and other aging disorders.
Herb and Spice Chart
While cooking with herbs and spices really have no hard and fast rules, there are some time-honored ways of using them that seem to be traditional.
Allspice – Stews, peaches, apple dishes and tomatoes.
Anise – Baked Goods, fruits, and some vegetables.
Basil – Tomatoes, fish, lamb and soups.
Bay Leaf – Stocks, stews, soups, chicken & tuna.
Cardamom – Baking, good cinnamon substitute.
Chervil – Asparagus, eggplant, mushrooms, fish, poultry.
Chives – Eggs, salads, baked potatoes and soups.
Cinnamon – Baked goods, rice pudding, coffee, Mexican food.
Clove – Sweet baking, sweet potatoes, apples, hot teas.
Coriander – Indian and curried foods, rice pilaf, chicken.
Cumin – Chili, curries, brown rice, black beans.
Dill – Fish, eggs, potatoes, pasta salads and squash.
Fennel – Seafood, pork, squash, beets and pasta sauces.
Ginger – Winter fruits, Oriental dishes, carrots, hot teas.
Marjoram – Vegetable soups, fish, poultry, most meats.(oregano substitute)
Mint – Roast lamb, hot/cold teas, fruit dishes and salads.
Nutmeg – Spinach, sweet potatoes, squash, cream soups, baked goods.
Oregano – Tomato dishes, vegetable juices, broiled fish, Greek dishes.
Parsley – Eggs, meats, fish, cream cheese.
Paprika – Egg salad, pasta salad, fish, Cajun cooking.
Rosemary – Lamb, beef, roasted potatoes, grilled foods, eggplant, tomatoes.
Sage – Pork, stuffings, squash, cornbread, stewed peaches.
Tarragon – Eggs, chicken, crab, mushrooms, herb vinegars, French sauces.
Thyme – Chowders, soups, stews, stuffings, meatloaf, cheese & grilled food.
This works very well for those who wish to use less eggs:
1 Tablespoon flax-seed (ground well)
3 Tablespoons water (other liquid can be used)
A large batch can be made and stored in the frig for up to a week or 10 days.
Warning: Sugar is a slow killer! Take as much as you can from your diet. This is vitally important for children. Try these hints to reduce sugar intake:
- Stevia is a natural sweet herb, great for tea, coffee and simple dishes, and can be used in baking with some adjustments to ingredients.
- Use a lot of nuts, raisins and other dried fruits in your baking.
- Insist on healthy munch foods and save the “Dessert” for special times.
Remember, just a small amount of will-power will pay off in feel good ways!
Using Honey in Place of Sugar is a Healthier Alternative
While calorie counts are pretty much the same, honey is a natural substance and your body uses it in a different way. Sugar is a chemical and adds nothing but empty calories to your system and has long term side effects in many ways.
Cooking with honey is fun and beneficial…give it a try.
- 3/4 cup of honey for one cup of sugar, up to one cup
- Reduce all other liquids in the recipe by 1/4 cup per cup of honey
- Lower baking temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over browning