Sometimes you work hard to make a meal from scratch only to have it fall … a little flat. Despite our best efforts, there are occasions when snacks or meals turn out flavorless (which can be soooo frustrating!).
But there are a few easy ways to make meals not only nutritious, but packed with tastiness, too!
And well … if you’re not in the mood to do ANY cooking? (we don’t blame you!) When having friends or family over, there can be a lot of pressure to prepare the perfect meal and this is often quite stressful. Proper Good is here to help! Our soups and chilis are so nutritious and yummy it’ll be like you made them yourself. They taste homemade AND you can add toppings to make them look pretty with a hand crafted touch. You can even add a side dish such as tearable bread for dipping or a simple side salad. Whew! Pressure is off. ;)
For those times when you ARE hankering to do a little cooking, read on for a few tips!
Have you heard of the term umami and aren’t quite sure what it means? No worries!
This cooking buzzword is basically just another word for savory. Umami literally means “essence of deliciousness” in Japanese, and the taste is described as the meaty, savory deliciousness that deepens flavor.
To get a liiiittle more specific, umami is the taste of glutamate, an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of protein. Glutamate occurs naturally in the human body and in many foods we eat often, such as aged cheeses, cured meats, tomatoes, mushrooms, salmon, steak, anchovies, green tea … and much more!
Umami is popular because it has 3 distinct attributes–the taste spreads across the tongue, lasts longer than other basic tastes, and provides an absolutely scrumptious sensation.
Adding umami rich flavors like the ones listed above can make your meals taste better than ever before!
Add fresh herbs
Fresh herbs are another way to pack an extra punch of flavor into your meals! But with so many options, knowing which herbs to add to what dishes can be confusing. Here are a few of our favorites.
Basil: A close relative to mint, basil has a floral and clove-like flavor and aroma. There are two main types of basil: Sweet or Asian. Often, basil is used in yummy Mediterranean foods like pesto and tomato sauce. Sweet basil also pairs extremely well with tomatoes, but it can be used with meat and seafood, too! Asian basil has a distinct flavor and is often used in soups, stews, stir fries and curry pastes.
Parsley: A commonly used herb, parsley has a light flavor that complements a variety of seasonings. It's used in sauces and salads, and it can even be sprinkled over dishes for a leafy, fresh taste. Flat-leaf or Italian parsley has the BEST texture and flavor for cooking, while curly parsley is best used as a garnish. Grilled cauliflower with parsley and garlic or french fries with parsley butter are two yummy meal options.
Cilantro: Cilantro has a flavor that some people find "soapy," (true story!) but it's still a very popular spice. Many people love its bright flavor, and it's a common ingredient in many Latin and Asian dishes. The stems and leaves can be eaten raw or even added to a dish after it’s been cooked.
Rosemary: This herb has an almost woody flavor. Rosemary leaves can be used fresh or dried for cooking in soups, meats, stews or sauces. The flavor tends to be strong, so it’s best to add rosemary in small amounts to start, then add more if desired. Rosemary can be stored for about a week in the fridge too, so you can continue to use it again and again!
Think your dish needs a little extra flavor kick but don’t want to reach for salt and butter? Believe it or not, vinegar can add a really pleasant flavor to many different types of dishes.
Vinegar is a light and refreshing way to make an average dish taste way better in no time at all. But don’t think that white vinegar is the only type of vinegar you can use! Red wine vinegar is super flavorful and helps brighten the flavor of braised meat. Plus, balsamic vinegar can balance flavors in a soup that tastes too salty.
Eat foods in season
Seasonal food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than food consumed out of season. And unlike out-of-season produce which is harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to retail stores, crops picked at the absolute peak of ripeness are better tasting and full of flavor.
Foods that are grown and eaten during in-season times are more nutritionally dense. In a study monitoring the vitamin C content of broccoli, it was found that broccoli grown during its peak season had a higher vitamin C content than broccoli grown during the spring. Who knew?!
A way to eat foods in season is to try and buy locally grown produce. Locally grown foods don't have to travel nearly as far as those sourced from elsewhere, so the associated fuel emissions and transportation costs are minimal. Buying local food also helps support your local farmers!
See, you CAN make meals more tasty and homier than ever using just a few simple ingredients and tricks! So get in the kitchen and give it a go!