Are you one of those people who hates healthy eating because you think you have to eat mulch? Or at least dry, rubbery chicken breasts and steamed broccoli- the official dinner of sadness?
You don’t. And you also don’t need to go to culinary school or quit your job in order to prepare good food. You can start with seasoning. That’s right, most people don’t properly season their food.
Listen, eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and thankfully something we get to do multiple times a day. Nobody wants to be staring down a lifetime of ground turkey, flaccid vegetables, and salads.
One of the easiest ways to add flavor is seasoning your meat several hours before cooking. Yes- hours. So plan ahead. Ideally, you should season your meat 24 hours before you cook it. We’ll talk about that in a minute.
Need a quick dinner? Grab a couple of chicken thighs (bone-in, skin on) and a couple of cups of vegetables. Coat them in olive oil, season with house seasoning, and spread into a single layer on a sheet pan. Cook everything at 400 for about 30 minutes or until the juices in the thighs run clear. There, you’re done! Drizzle balsamic glaze over it. Or just squeeze a lemon. Or a lime. Or even a little sprinkle of apple cider vinegar. Just something acidic to wake it all up.
I created a seasoning mix that I use for cooking both proteins and vegetables. Having it already mixed speeds up prep time and gets food on the table fast.
Easy Ways to Use Seasoning to Dress Up Your Meal
When you’re pressed for time, chop some vegetables, coat them with olive oil, and sprinkle them with this seasoning, put them in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, and you will have a flavorful side dish that is ready to be eaten with little preparation or attention.
Now, let’s talk about seasoning meat. In Samin Nosrat’s book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, she says ideally you should season your meat 24 hours before, but at the very least a few hours. She says it is the most important step. I do this religiously now, and it has made a world of difference in not only the taste of the meat, but also the texture. The seasoning tenderizes the proteins and the connective tissue, it also displaces the fluid in the meat with flavor. Seasoning won’t make meat salty, it will make it taste more like meat.
The next most important step in cooking meats is to make sure they are room temperature before you begin cooking; if they aren’t they won’t cook evenly and you’ll have a less than desirable texture.
Make Your Kitchen Work for You: Pre-make Seasoning Blends
I keep jars of house seasoning, taco seasoning, and barbecue seasoning made at all times, and then I know that I have several different ways to season my meats and get dinner on the table fast. The one piece of advice I will give you is to use fresh spices. If you have access to a spice store in your area, use them. I have found that our spice store is much cheaper than buying those cans and bottles of spices in the grocery store. If you don’t have access to a spice store, consider ordering them online. I like the Savory Spice Shop or Spiceology.
The Healthy Southerner House Seasoning BlendPrint
- 1 cup sea salt
- 1/2 cup garlic powder
- 1/2 cup coarse black pepper (if you prefer smaller pepper granules, use whatever texture you like)
- Mix ingredients in a bowl.
- Transfer to a jar.
- Serving Size: 20