Thursday, April 7, 2011

Three Tips for Thursday--Flavor without Fat

I'm really excited about Three Tips for Thursday.  Each week I will pick a different topic and share three tips with you.  If you have a specific topic you would like covered, please let me know!

We all know how good dishes full of butter and cream and cheese can taste.  But how about how we feel after eating them?  I don't know about you, but I feel over-full and guilty.  Here are three ingredients you can use to freshen up your dishes and add great, natural flavor.  Not to mention they look beautiful too!

Caleb and I joke that if we aren't sure what to do for dinner, we put onions and garlic in a pan and go from there.  It's true, I put garlic in just about everything.  And I'm telling you, if you're not using fresh garlic, you are missing out.  The flavor is so much more pungent and fresh than what you get from garlic powder or even minced garlic in a jar.  The best part?  Whole heads of garlic are 5 for $2.00 at Meijer, and each head has about 20 cloves in it! That's a great deal for great flavor!

Fresh Citrus:
Fresh citrus adds a freshness like no other ingredient.  Especially now as we head into Spring, citrus is a wonderful addition to your dishes.  Try zesting the peel--just lightly so you don't get any of the white pith.  The natural oils in the peel give a strong flavor.  For a little less flavor, try squeezing a lemon or lime, cut in half, over your chicken as it cooks, on top of your pasta as a finishing touch, or make your own vinaigrette by mixing 1/2 minced shallot, 2 Tbs champagne vinegar (apple cider or rice wine vinegar would also work), 1/2 cup citrus juice and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.  Whisk in 1-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, and you have delicious homemade salad dressing.  Fresh citrus also looks beautiful in a large bowl as a centerpiece on your table!

Fresh Herbs:
I've just gotten on the fresh herb train within the last year.  Can I tell you something?  I have no idea why I haven't done this sooner!  Fresh herbs are cheap (.89 for a large bunch of cilantro or parsley!), and they make a huge difference in the look and taste of any dish.  Like citrus, they add a wonderful freshness, and of course, beautiful color.  Simply rinse and tear or chop any leafy herb and sprinkle into ANYthing!  For "branchy" herbs like rosemary or thyme, remove the leaves from the stalk and give it a quick chop to release the flavor.  Other great choices include mint, basil, and chives.

Next time you are at the grocery store or farmer's market, be sure to pick up these three simple ingredients to add wonderful freshness, color, and flavor to your meals, without adding extra calories and fat!



Cheri said...

Thanks!! I just bought fresh lemons, need to make some healthy dressings!

Nic said...

I new we were friends for a reason, onions and garlic is where we usually start to !;) People don't realize that everything bought fresh and local will always taste better and be a healthier option. Stella and I were having this conversation last night we were making a whole wheat pasta salad to go along with our first grilled mahi mahi of the season and I told her it is always important to try and feed your family fesh ingredients and that some families because of time constraints or lack of enjoyment in cooking would use something boxed for a side. She was like what is boxed food? So glad she has no idea and I plan to raise and teach her that way!
Also fresh garlic can be kept for a few months if stored in a cool dark spot ! ;) Good Job Em !