February 4th 2013

Dinnertime: the 10 best cooking methods

When you’re getting dinner prepped, it’s easy to fall into the same old methods for getting dinner on the table. But there is more to throwing everything together and calling it a meal.

In fact, tons of folks tout why they don’t like certain foods, but really, it is in the style of cooking.

So here’s the ten best cooking methods you can use, and the best times to use them.

Steaming

When you steam foods, such as fresh vegetables, fish or certain grains, it lets them cook in their own juices without losing any of its nutrients. The result is a softened, nutrient-rich product, full of moisture. When steaming, opt to season it at the end, with a little bit of sea salt or citrus juice.

Broiling

Broiling is great for those times when you want that charbroiled taste of the outdoor BBQ without having to go outside (especially if the weather is less than compliant). It helps keep cuts of meat tender, because it cooks food under high and direct heat for just a short period of time. Some vegetables can do well with broiling, but can burn quickly, so keep a close eye. One winner? Portobello mushrooms.

Microwaving

Using the microwave certainly has heard its drawbacks, as we hear that it isn’t good for cooking at all and adds harmful elements to the food. However, it actually is quite a healthy cooking method, using short cooking times and low on the scale of nutrient decrease. Cooking in the microwave is similar to steaming, in that adding some seasoning or lemon after the fact can up the taste factor.

Roasting

For anyone who says that don’t like certain foods, they need to try them roasted. Roasted vegetables, for example, bring out a fantastic natural sweetness that is hard to find elsewhere. Some vegetables, when steamed or eaten raw, can have a bitter and sometimes unflavorful taste, but roasting can turn it completely around. A good example is the ol’ Brussels sprout… when steamed, it is slightly bitter and the texture isn’t anything to love, but once roasted, it becomes sweet and creamy. Check out Ina Garten’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts here. Make them, and you won’t be sorry.

Boiling

If you need to do something quick and easy, add some water and a pinch of salt to boil what you’re cooking. But because water tends to wash away water-soluble vitamins, use this only for foods if you’re in a big rush.

Simmering

However, if you’re boiling and then simmering the ingredients for awhile, keep them all together and make it into a stew or soup. This retains all of the nutrients involved, and allows for a simple one-pot meal. Even better, you can invest in a slow cooker and make all sorts of easy, slow cooker dinners that essentially will simmer your ingredients together all day for amazing taste and ease.

Poaching

Poaching, like steaming, is a simple method where no additives are needed to make the flavors shine. Poaching is cooking in a small amount of near-boiling water and gently cooks foods. This is effective for certain fish dishes and eggs, and a good method to keep on hand for a quick protein at your meal.

Grilling

Grilling, whether on the barbecue or indoors, is a delicious cooking method that adds a load of flavor without the need for additional fat, sauces, or anything else. It adds a bit of a smoky flavor, keeps foods juicy and moist, and can be done quickly and easily. Just note not to char your foods, as the charring has been linked to ailments, such as cancer.Here are some more healthy grilling tips to keep in mind, too.

Stir-Frying

Stir-frying is a tasty, quick, and effective way for… making a stir-fry. It is awesome for using leftover ingredients. Just add whatever vegetables, proteins, and grains you have, then toss them all together with a bit of oil, give ’em a swirl on high heat, then top with a sauce of choice. Dinner will be done in just a few minutes.

Uncooking

Okay, so sometimes, you totally don’t want to cook your dinner. It might be too hot. You might be feeling a little too tired. You might just want something fresh and juicy. In that case, opt for a raw dinner, eating a plant-based dinner loaded with fresh vegetables.

[Alright. We can’t really forget about dessert… so here is a reason to start baking as well, with five cupcake recipes that you’ll definitely love].

 

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.