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Chef T’s 3 go-to cooking techniques that you should use every week in the kitchen.
Pop quiz: You have a chicken breast, a few veggies, and a pantry full of spices, oil and vinegar. What’s the healthiest, most efficient meal you could make without another trip to the grocery store? I’ll give you the answer at the end of this article, but don’t skip ahead!
If you’re just starting out as a home chef, it’s a good idea to have a couple of healthy cooking techniques to turn to at a moment’s notice. No matter what’s in your fridge, knowing how to cook your ingredients properly is key to a delicious homemade meal.
Here are my 3 go-to cooking techniques that I use almost every week in my own kitchen (if not every day!). Try one or all of them for dinner tonight.
This is actually a step you’d take before cooking, but it’s a technique every home chef should know. Marinades and dressings give otherwise plain meals a burst of flavor while partly tenderizing tough or dry cuts of meat like chicken breast. There’s no need to buy the bottled stuff, which usually contains processed oil like canola.
It takes about 5 minutes to make your own using 4 elements: an acid (such as red wine vinegar), an oil (like olive oil), a large pinch of salt, and aromatics like fresh herbs. Coat your cut of meat or vegetables with the mixture, let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, then pan-fry or grill to perfection.
It’s not just for cakes! Baking is an easy way to cook your food without charring it. Try a sheet pan dinner with bratwurst, red potatoes, cabbage, and onions…
Chop the veggies so they are roughly the same size (to ensure even cooking and prevent burning). Throw them all on a baking sheet with the bratwurst. Drizzle with avocado oil and a few pinches of sea salt, then bake at 375° for 30-40 minutes, or until the brats are cooked through and the potatoes are soft. Dinner doesn’t get any easier than this.
Give your food a few minutes on the stove with a healthy fat like coconut or avocado oil, and you ensure that fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamins A, D, E and K) get properly digested.
The key to a great sauté is to make sure the oil is hot (but not smoking—medium heat will do) before adding the food. Turn off the stove when the food is almost finished cooking. Green veggies like broccoli and zucchini should just be starting to turn bright green. A little bit of crunch tastes so much better—and is so much better for you—than a limp, overcooked product.
Do Try This at Home
If you want to cook at home more often, it’s essential to master a couple of basic cooking techniques. You’ll maximize the nutritional benefits of your food, and you’ll actually look forward to eating what you make. This is truly Eating with a Purpose.
For more ways to sharpen your cooking skills and up your dinner game, check out my Instagram @OfficialChefT.
P.S. In case you’re wondering, the answer to the pop quiz at the beginning of the article actually has a few answers. Use any of the cooking techniques above to make a memorable, tasty meal using ingredients you already have on hand. You could even marinate and bake the chicken, then sauté the veggies, to practice all 3 techniques at once!