One of my favorite things to talk about with family, friends, and audiences of one to a hundred is recipes. Recipes are the guiding lights that help take the individual foods and beverages we buy and turn them into meals and snacks we enjoy – and provide the nutrition we need. Recipes bring nutrition to life. These are a guiding light because it’s so much fun to experiment in the kitchen to make the recipes reflect our favorite spices, flavors, and let’s be honest – our level of interest, time, and cooking skills, too.
With the launch of "The Dairy Good Cookbook," I am inspired to share some of my recipe tips, but first… let me tell you about the cookbook, is brought to you by America’s dairy farm families and the people who bring you dairy products from around the world. The Dairy Good Cookbook helps reconnect folks with the people who produce their food through great-tasting recipes and stories that celebrate the goodness of dairy and the dairy farm families who provide us with the dairy foods we love.
Here are some of my favorite tweaks to take your recipes from standard to unique! Don’t be afraid to play in the kitchen to make the most of your meals.
1. Cook to music. While it’s not directly recipe specific, music is a fun way to make meal preparation an experience to enjoy versus a task. Enjoy your favorite tunes next time you make meals or even plan your grocery list and menu for the week.
2. Vary types of cheeses, meats, veggies, and fruits. Oftentimes, simply changing out various ingredients adds a whole new layer of flavor – and it’s a pretty safe way to start experimenting with recipes if you are new to modifying your favorite dishes.
3. Try reduced-fat versions of ingredients. Looking to shave a few calories or some fat? Looking to reduced-fat ingredients offers a simple way to adapt most recipes without noticing any difference in taste, quality, or texture.
4. There are many dairy-based solutions to help make recipes lactose-intolerance friendly, check out this video for a few of them.
5. Add more fruits and veggies. One of the easiest ways to gain more nutrition without adding too many calories is to increase the amount of fruits and/or veggies a recipe calls for. From salads to soups/stews to casseroles, it’s a pretty easy thing to do – and it looks nice, too!
6. Spend some time on spices (and herbs). Ever have a meal that tasted delicious and you couldn’t quite figure out why? It might be the herbs and spices. Not only do these delightful ingredients add flavor without sodium, but they “pop” the flavor of your food without too much effort. Next time you eat a meal out, if you especially enjoy the seasoning, ask the waiter or waitress to ask the chef what spices/herbs were used. Buy them, and find recipes that use them, and you will be off to a good start in finding your next favorite recipe.