Cooking Staples and Techniques
As a young, and frugal-minded, student, cooking for me has become an art. Every artist has their go-to genre, how they complete the piece is a different story. Sometimes the art is intricate and detailed, sometimes the art is in the efficiency of creating a similar masterpiece. Below are some of my favorite go-to products and how I use them, as well as some hacks to save time in the kitchen so you can spend more time eating and getting back out there!
TJS Umami Seasoning
Mustard, Red Chili Flakes, Garlic- what could be a better mix? Everyone’s favorite speciality store has done it again. This seasoning blend includes some bold spices, as well as dried porcini mushroom. Fun fact: Porcini has the HIGHEST levels of beta-glucans, the antioxidant component of adaptogenic mushrooms, followed by the shiitake mushroom. I love roasting potatoes in this, or use it to season your favorite cut of grass-fed steak!
HOPE Foods Nut Based Dip
So if you’re a fiend for Mediterranean food, especially hummus, try HOPE Foods Almond&Cashew dip! Pick your favorite flavor (mine happens to be the Roasted Garlic) and use it every chance you can- seriously. Dip for veggies, a savory spread for toast, or slather it on some salmon and roast/broil for HOPEfully the best Creamy Roasted Garlic Salmon of your life.
Primal Kitchen Teriyaki
Here at CC, we believe in high quality and trusted brands that give us the good, warm feeling of eating our favorite foods, while staying healthy. Primal Kitchen by far is the leading brand to do this. From collagen-based protein bars, to avocado mayo, PK has taken over grocery store aisles, making healthier alternatives incredibly accessible. Growing up, I LIVED for a solid teriyaki chicken bowl. Now being gluten-free and conscious of sugar-consumption, Primal Kitchen’s No-Soy Teriyaki is bringing me right back to my childhood. With no sugar added and made from only whole food-based ingredients, this sauce is great to have on hand when your Hawaiian food kick hits.
Literal lifesavers. If you’ve ever completed a Whole30, you know the sentiment. But aside from being a good emergency bar, these brands make protein bars what they should be: about the protein. Many popular protein bars are either filled with sugar (so as much as candy bars) or have low-quality protein sources. EPIC meat bars are perfect when you something hearty, and RX for a good pre or post-workout bite. For me, especially during my W30, having RX bars, or Larabar/HardBoiled egg combo, was essential during long-serving shifts. I highly recommend these to my clients who are active and need a go-to snack that will keep up with them.
On-hand Nourishment: Cedar Lane Paleo Bowls
I recently stumbled upon these on a grocery haul at my local Sprouts. Now, a freezer TV Dinner? Aren’t those, like, bad? Not these ones! Low in sodium, high in real food. Cedar Lanes new Paleo Dinner Bowls are my new favorite on-hand dinners. I’m all about connecting and proper preparation of food, but in this day and age, being convenient is also a priority. I’d rather be fed and nourished with a real food dinner then driving through a driveway and picking up my food at a car-side window.
Back to microwave. If I’m prepping a big batch of my go-to potatoes or veggies, I’ll use a steamer- potatoes steamed for approximately 15 minutes and then cooled. For days I haven’t prepped for, sticking a potato in the microwave for 3-5 minutes does the same! Stop here if you’re making a “baked”-style potato. Continue once the potato is slightly cooled for a “roasted”-style potato. Cut up how you like, toss in avocado oil, and broil on high for 2 minutes. Flip potatoes, then broil for another 2 minutes. Just like that, you have perfectly crispy, but soft in-the-center, potato bites- or fries like my Steakhouse Sweet Tater French Fries
A Usual Suspect: Tahini and Mustard
Tahini is a sesame-based butter, tasting similar to peanut butter, and is commonly used in Mediterranean dishes to serve as neutral and creamy complement to the bold spices and herbs. To zest it up, I combine tahini with yellow mustard and vinegar (balsamic, AC, or coconut aminos). This can be served as a delicious salad dressing, marinade, or sauce to add to any dish. You can customize the amounts based on how creamy, tangy, or both you want this dressing to be. My favorite way to use? Tossed like a vinaigrette on some roasted Brussel sprouts or broccoli. Fun Fact #2: the polyphenol of mustard enhances the effects of sulfur and it’s bioavailability. Sulfur is a mineral that aids in liver function and detoxing.
Seasonal Convenience: Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Another convenient win, and one that doesn’t break the bank. Fun Fact #3: Vegetables and Fruits that are frozen are picked at peak times, meaning in the middle of their season, when they contain the most nutrients. Frozen produce also tends to be cheaper regardless since these products are not dependent on a seasonal fluctuation. With a rise in demand for organic, it is easy to keep following the dirty dozen and clean fifteen when purchasing frozen produce!
Got some greens that you’re trying to use before they go bad? Use this recipe or another similar one here for a nutrient-dense and minimal pesto. Use the same amount of greens as what is called for and blend away. Pesto is also one of my top go-to to batch make. Making a big batch will be useful for a quick pasta sauce or toss with roasted veggies and sun-dried tomatoes.
Slow and Steady wins the Appetite
Lastly, who doesn’t love a slow-cooker idea (or InstantPot for our new-aged folks like myself)? Whether it’s chili, like this one, or Salsa Verde Chicken, meal prep or cooking for a large crowd is easy when you have this option. For my usual Salsa Verde Chicken, take two pounds of chicken breast, 1 can of Salsa Verde, and spice it up with 1 ½ TBSP of cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Let simmer until chicken is tender. Remove from pot, shred, and then place back into pot to simmer until ready to serve.