Master Your Kitchen: Essential Cooking Tips
The Best Ways to Prepare Fruits, Vegetables and Chicken
Vegetables and Fruits
- Incorporate as many raw vegetables as possible into your diet.
- Do not overcook when steaming vegetables. Aim for the vegetables to retain their vibrant colors and remain slightly crisp.
- Drizzle olive oil, avocado oil or walnut oil over the vegetables right after they are steamed for extra nutrition and flavor. Sea salt, pepper, garlic, butter, and other spices will add additional taste and variety.
- Try “steam frying” your vegetables for safe “browning.” Add a small amount of oil to a pan and cook for 60 seconds. Add some water to the pan. Some people also like to add tamari or lemon juice. Cover with a lid and cook until vegetables are brown.
- Roast Brussels sprouts, leeks, onions, celery, eggplant, fennel, radicchio, squash, and zucchini in the oven. These are the best vegetables for roasting.
- Grill vegetables on an indoor grill. Coat the vegetables with olive oil and herbs for additional flavor. This method is wonderful for fajitas.
Key to remember when purchasing vegetables:
- Fresh is best
- Frozen is second best.
- Canned is the last resort.
- Enjoy fresh, summer berries all year long by freezing them. They are a great addition to smoothies, breakfasts and healthy desserts; and they will last 12-18 months after freezing.
- Use freezer-grade containers or bags for the best results. If you prefer to use regular plastic containers or bags, line them with parchment or waxed paper.
- Leave a 1-inch space at the top when packing food into containers. When packing the berries into bags, leave 2-4 inches at the top and then squeeze out the air to allow for expansion during freezing. Label, date, and freeze the berries.
- Thaw frozen berries in the refrigerator. For immediate use, thaw the container in cold water.
Special Tip: Freezing Bananas
- Freeze bananas whole. They keep well in the freezer and are great in workout smoothies.
- Blend frozen bananas with vanilla and coconut milk for a healthy ice cream-like treat.
- Peel the bananas before freezing, and then place them in a freezer bag lined with parchment paper. Slice before blending.
Roasting and poaching are the best methods for cooking poultry.
- Season the whole chicken and put it in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- Cook until a meat thermometer shows the internal temperature of the chicken is 170-180 degrees F.
- A general rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound of meat, with 10-20 minutes of additional cooking time at 350 degrees F.
Approximate Roasting Times for Chicken
- 2 1⁄2 lbs -3 lbs : 1 to 1 3⁄4 hrs
- 4 1⁄2 lbs – 5 lbs: 1 1⁄2 to 2 hrs
- 3 1⁄2 lbs – 4 lbs : 1 1⁄2 to 3/4 hrs
- 5 – 6 lbs : 1 3⁄4 – 2 1⁄2 hrs
- Place the chicken into boiling water, with or without chicken or vegetable stock, and cook until it is no longer pink in the middle.
- This will take about 15-20 minutes for chicken pieces; 45-60 minutes for a whole chicken. You can add seasoning to the boiling water for added flavor. Poaching is perfect when you want chicken for tacos or salads.
- Sauté or stir fry chicken with coconut oil, butter, olive oil or grape seed oil. Use a non-toxic, non-stick (non-Teflon) or stainless steel pan.
Looking for more rock-solid cooking tips?
As helpful as these tips are, there are still plenty more cooking essentials to keep you on track with our Core and Advanced Plans. Enjoy!