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30 Days to a Cleaner Diet: Day 30

gas stove range burnerDay 30 Goal: Try a new Cooking Method today!

Congratulations! You’ve made it to day 30! By this point, your food choices are probably much better than they were on day 1. All that’s really left, is to keep the creative juices flowing so that healthy never gets boring. To this end, I’m encouraging you to try a new cooking method today. You can check out this slideshow of 15 basic cooking methods and see if any look interesting for some ideas. I’m going to attempt braising for dinner, because slow cooking methods don’t happen often in my kitchen. I may also poach some eggs for breakfast if I’m feeling froggy. Come back and tell me what method you tried and how it worked out!

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5 Fast Marinades for Dinner

quick marinade optionsHave you ever found yourself at 5pm, staring at a thawed meat on the counter with no idea what to do with it? You know you want to have dinner on the table in an hour but… umm… what do you do with it? You make a fast marinade!

I love a good marinade. Soak your protein and let it absorb all the flavors, then you can do anything to it and it turns out great! You can grill, bake, pan-fry, or saute your meat and it WILL be awesome. So here’s 5 marinades that you can throw together quickly when you just don’t know what to do for dinner.

  1. Italian salad dressing- I douse chicken with this and sprinkle a little sugar to make an awesome marinade. The sugar helps balance out the vinegar in the dressing.
  2. Worcestershire sauce- This stuff is for steak, all the way. I often combine it with one of my McCormick’s Grillmates to marinate steaks before they hit the grill.
  3. Adobo+Sazon- These two seasoning blends work on EVERYTHING. I add a packet of Sazon and sprinkle some Adobo and olive oil and my porkchops or chicken are bangin’!
  4. Soy sauce+ Ground Ginger+ Sesame oil- When I’m looking to quell an Asian food craving, this is my default. It’s an awesome starting point for a chicken or shrimp stir-fry.
  5. Parmesan cheese+ Ritz® Crackers+ Butter- Ok… so this isn’t a marinade. It’s a crusting. And it works deliciously on tilapia and other fish. It also works great on chicken when you’re looking for a little crunch. I coat the meat in melted butter and roll it in a mix of crushed crackers and Parmesan cheese.

marinades with ramiroAny of these marinades can be boosted with a little salt and pepper to suit your individual tastes. They’re also a great base to make your own custom marinades. Come back and share them in the comments section so we can try them too!

Thanks for reading! Which marinade are you tucking into your back pocket for emergencies?

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My Cooking Philosophy

philosophy of cooking

I learned how to cook from my dad, who taught me how to make my own ramen and scrambled eggs as soon as I was tall enough to safely manipulate the stove. He taught me 90% of what I know about cooking. He also never used a measuring cup… EVER.

For the longest time, neither did I (baking is something only recently added to my repertoire). To be quite honest, the only reason it’s taking me so long to post all my recipes is because I never measure anything, so now I have to go back and cook these dishes and measure them so that I can write them down to share with you all.

Everything I cook goes by taste. Toss in an ingredient, taste; if it’s not right, sprinkle some more until it is right. Your tongue is the chef, not any piece of paper telling you 1 cup of this and 2 teaspoons of that. I will NEVER be insulted if you adjust a recipe that you find on this site to suit your palate. I feel like you aren’t really a cook until you can make decisions like that and make them well. If I use cheddar and you prefer provolone, use provolone. The recipe SHOULD still work, and now you’ve created your own dish!

You may have already noticed that I don’t specify certain types of ingredients. If something calls for vinegar, I don’t necessarily indicate whether you need apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or rice vinegar. Use whichever is your favorite. That’s how I cook. I use what I have because when I’m at the grocery store, I buy what I like.

Now to be fair, I must tell you that when I’m using a recipe that I didn’t just throw together on my own, I follow the recipe 100%… the FIRST time. When I see a recipe that I want to try, it’s only fair to try it the way the original cook intended. If there happens to be an element that I don’t like, I’ll change it the second time I try that recipe; assuming I liked it enough to try it again.

I hope this little bit of insight into my cooking logic makes my recipes easier to understand and follow.  Tell me about how you think in the kitchen! I love hearing new perspectives.

Happy Cooking!!

The Hungry Coqui aka Blerdy Momma

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10 Basic Rules of Cooking for Beginners

gas stove cooking

There are some basic rules that every cook should know before you get started. These apply to every cooking adventure unless otherwise stated:

1. Heat the pan before you put food in it.
2. When baking, eggs always go in last.
3. Chop your vegetables to the same size so they all cook at the same speed.
4. Clean as you go. (It’s just easier.)
5. Make sure you have all your ingredients before you start.
6. Prep in advance if you can.
7. Never cut meat and veggies on the same cutting board. (Cross contamination is gross and extremely unsafe.)
8. Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible. (Before unsafe bacteria start to grow.)
9. Wash your hands often. (another cross contamination hazard)
10. Always assume that less is more. (You can always add later if you didn’t put enough, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there.)
Learn these and heed them well and you will avoid 90% of kitchen blunders.