Vegetarian Cooking Tips

Tips and tricks to save you time and money as well as make cooking easy!







Vegetarian cooking tips - that's what this page is all about.  Here we hope to provide you with short articles or bits of information that will make your vegetarian cooking and vegetarian eating experience fun, easy, more fulfilling and will, hopefully, save you a little money from time to time too.

One of the ways you may save a buck or two is by visiting our FREE COUPONS page. The coupons are updated weekly and you can enter your zip code to find valuable coupons that are being featured at stores right in your own area!

But we really want to provide good, useful information too. So take a look at some of our vegetarian cooking tips and articles. And as always, feel free to Contact Us with tips of your own. We'll publish your tips on the site and give you full credit. And we'll send you a FREE copy of our eCookbook so you can enjoy even more vegetarian cooking!





TIP#1

Want to know the secret to making great fried rice?  Check out what we have to say in our
FRIED RICE SECRETS article.




Article  -  Skip article and go to the next TIP

Color Matters

Did you know that only about one quarter of adults in the U.S. eat three or more servings of vegetables a day? That's according to a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report. This is far short of the national objective that at least half of Americans reach this benchmark by 2010. However, it’s not just eating more that matters: fried potatoes (like French fries and chips) are the biggest single source of those vegetables. How frightening is that? Fewer than 15 percent of adults meet recommended targets for dark green and orange vegetables according to the CDC researchers. To obtain the nutritional benefits that can come with eating more vegetables we need to expand the variety of our choices. So don't think that you can accomplish the goal by eating another helping of fries or more chips! Get some color in your diet - go green...and orange.

Why are dark green and orange veggies important?

Dark green vegetables are a significant source of potassium and magnesium. These minerals have been linked with healthy blood pressure and blood sugar. Deep orange vegetables, such as carrots, winter squash and sweet potatoes, have a lot of beta-carotene and are often high in potassium, too. Romaine lettuce, and even darker green leafy vegetables – spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens – offer not only beta-carotene, but other carotenoid cousins called lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein may help slow the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an age-related cause of blindness. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin all are powerful antioxidants that seem to play a role in blocking early stages in the development of cancer.

Dark greens also can supply a significant amount of folate. Folate is a B vitamin that promotes heart health, helps prevent certain birth defects and is also necessary for DNA production and repair. Without that repair, damaged cells can develop into cancer. Watercress, arugula, bok choy, broccoli and kale are dark green vegetables that provide additional cancer-fighting compounds.

Orange vegetables are easy to include in stir-fries and stews and are delicious simply oven-roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and perhaps some herbs. Dark green vegetables with small tender leaves add zip to salads or sandwiches. Instead of putting iceberg lettuce on your next sandwich, why not use baby spinach instead. You can quickly stir-fry medium to mild-flavored greens in a bit of olive oil with garlic or sweet onion, though some like to add two to four tablespoons of broth at the end and cook just a few minutes to tame the somewhat bitter flavor. Some chefs even suggest blanching stronger-flavored greens (such as turnip and mustard) for a minute or less in some boiling water before sautéing them. Dark green vegetables taste great served with a cruet of red wine vinegar or lemon juice-olive oil dressing on the side.

The specific goals being recommended range from two to three cups of dark green vegetables and one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half cups of orange vegetables per week. That really isn't too much to ask - in a week - to help keep yourself healthy, is it?  Why not set some goals in the coming year to put more color in your diet! 




TIP#2

Tips for Saving Money grocery shopping

1. Eat First

Everything looks appetizing when you’re hungry. All you need is one sniff of that freshly baked bread and you’ll be buying more than one loaf. It’s best to shop after you’ve eaten a meal. You’ll buy what you need, rather than what looks good to eat at the time.

2. Make a Plan

Do a quick inventory of your kitchen, and make a list of all the items you need. That extra few minutes will save you money at the grocery store. Also, give yourself enough time to shop - this will prevent you from dashing down the food aisle and grabbing the first items in sight.

3. Buy Non-Grocery Items Elsewhere

Try a discount market, such as a dollar store, when buying non-grocery products. You can easily purchase items like toothpaste and sandwich bags for half the grocery store retail price.

4. Try Store Brands

5. Beware of Marketing Strategies

Avoid promotional tactics designed to attract you to a particular product. Knowing some of the tricks of the trade will ultimately save you money. Watch out for end-of-the-aisle dump bins and island displays. This is usually where higher priced products are placed.

6. Watch the Scanner

Mistakes happen, and if you catch one, you might not have to spend that last few dollars in your wallet.

7. Use Coupons and Club Savings

Although it can be time consuming, cutting coupons will save you a headache at the check-out counter. In addition, store clubs offer great savings that shoppers can't get anywhere else.

8. Compare Products

A company offers a product at a high price. A different company offers the same product at a lower price. Buy the cheaper item. It's that simple.

9. Set Limits on Impulse Buying

It's Friday night and you want to end your week with a glass of wine. Buy a bottle! Just be sure to set a limit on how much you will spend.

10. Stock Up When Items Are on Sale

Buy discounted items in bulk (within reason) if you know you or your family will use them frequently.




TIP#3

Want to: Change your eating habits?  Eat less that's bad for you and more that is good? Lose weight? Adapt a vegetarian or vegan diet that you haven't yet? Retrain your taste buds!

Tricks to Retrain
Your Tastebuds


• Use pureed white beans instead of fat to create a creamy
texture in soups and casseroles.

• Flavor foods with more herbs and spices, using twice or
three times more herbs than salt. Look at a book on how
to use herbs and spices and try some unfamiliar ones,
such as cumin, coriander, turmeric or ginger.

• Try roasting vegetables like squash or peppers to enhance
their sweetness. For dessert, try broiled peaches or a baked
apple.

• In baked goods, replace half the fat with a moist low-fat
ingredient like unsweetened applesauce.

• Top cakes or brownies with powdered sugar or sliced fruit
instead of frosting.

• Fill your plate with minimally processed foods and cancer fighting
vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.





TIP#4

Did you know...

that food waste reportedly makes up about 12 percent of landfill material? These landfills are costly to operate and maintain. But, the "real" issue is one of importance not only to our wallets but to our earth itself. As organic materials (like vegetables, fruits and grains) decompose in landfills, they release the greenhouse gas methane into the environment. In fact, according to a recent article by the American Institute for Cancer Research, landfills are the largest source of methane emissions in the U.S. While composting plant foods, which does not produce methane, is one solution, strategies for wasting less food should also be explored.

Research in the U.S. estimates that at least 14 percent of purchased food ends up in the garbage. Skyrocketing obesity and a mounting national health crisis dictates that we not be victims of the thinking of our parents! BY that we mean - we cannot adapt a position of "clean your plate" in order to reduce food waste. The answer should be more in line with preparing less food for meals and shopping smarter. That would not only help to reduce our "carbon footprint" a bit but also allow us to cut grocery costs and eat smarter!

So...how do we shop smarter? Well, buying more food than we need is easy to do when we shop without a list or when “buy one, get one free” offers tempt us to pile food that will often go to waste into our grocery carts. So, in order to be a smarter shopper try following these helpful hints:

Check your refrigerator to see what needs to be used or frozen before it spoils.

Check your calendar to see if there are meals that you know you will be eating away from home.

Decide how many days worth of food you need and make a shopping list.

Plan enough breakfast, lunch and dinner meals to last until your next trip to the grocery store.

Be flexible - adjust as you go if necessary (specials, bargains, etc) but if buying non-perishables, only buy sale items you are sure to use. If perishable items are on special, choose them as a replacement for something else you had planned or buy and freeze for later use.

What if you still have leftovers? If you consistently prepare more food than you need, the simplest solution is to cook less. While this may seem obvious, many of us continue to cook the portions we always have, even when our households shrink in size or when we stop eating as much food as we used to.

Another approach is to plan ahead to repurpose leftovers as the basis for one or two new meals each week. The money you save from purchasing fewer meals will add up substantially. Leftover chicken can go on pizza, a burrito or in chili or soup. Extra fish or seafood is a great addition to a salad or a pasta dish. And already cooked vegetables (or fresh veggies that won’t last much longer) can be combined in a stir-fry, soup or chili. Before you let fruits go to waste, add them to your morning cereal bowl or a green salad.

To make sure your leftovers are safe, follow these rules: Refrigerate cooked food within two hours. Clearly label and date leftovers. Reheat solids to 165 degrees and bring soup to a rolling boil. And when reheating in the microwave, cover and let food stand for five minutes to let the heat distribute throughout


TIP#5

Leftovers

Did you know

that you can safely keep leftover cooked veggies, soups or stews for three or four days in your refrigerator? That's right. You don't need to use up your leftovers the next day.

Part of our aversion to leftovers is sometimes the fact that, well, we just had that dish the night before! Most experts agree however, that as long as you refrigerate the leftovers quickly after first-use, they can stay "fresh" for up to four days.

Of course, the best thing to do for leftovers is to repurpose them altogether. In other words, create another dish by adding or combining freshly made ingredients with the leftovers. As an example, you might want to cook a nice wild or brown rice; throw in some garlic and onion and then top it off with the leftover veggies from the fridge. It makes a nice little stir fry or rice pilaf and helps you use up the leftovers.

Another great way to use the leftover veggies is to cook a whole wheat pasta and use the leftovers as a topping to combine with the pasta rather than using a red sauce. Or, if you have some veggie sausage in the freezer, thaw it and cook it in a skillet with a tiny bit of olive oil. Then heat up some of the leftover veggies and combine them all on a hoagie bun or kaiser roll with ketchup - a great sandwich idea.

Of course - never ever leave food sitting out for more than two hours after cooking. This can lead to the development of dangerous bacteria growth and cause serious illness. We all hate to waste food. That's one more reason to make our portion sizes smaller and cook less. But remember, when in doubt about the safety of your leftover food items, it's better to discard them than to take a chance.



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