Wholesome Cooking Techniques: Part 1

Mediterranean inspired comfort foods that you can cook in batches and eat anytime.

Lesson Objectives:
• Why Grilling, Poaching & Roasting are healthy
• Understand the food science behind healthy cooking techniques
• Learn Proper Kitchen Techniques

Lesson Plan:
Do you ever feel overwhelmed in your kitchen? During this lesson, you will not only observe simple cooking techniques, but the science behind what makes nutritious and delicious. Learning these techniques will give home cooks the confidence to cook and even improvise using swap outs depending on what you have lying around.

Featured Video Recipe Tutorials:
• Herbed Chicken Kabobs
• Babaganouj
• Citrus Tabbouleh

Basic Cooking Methods

There are three basic methods of cooking and controlling heat. Heat can be dry, moist, or a combination of both. Believe it or not, oil/fat is considered dry heat. Heat energy transfers in three different ways: convection, conduction, and radiation. For example, you can cook a hot dog in a pot of boiling water (convection), in a pan (conduction), or over the fire (radiation).

Technique: Grilling

Recipe 1: Herbed Chicken Kabobs

By using a zippered bag, all the ingredients are self contained and clean up is quick and easy. The skewers are just for the looks. If you do use skewers, make sure to pre-soak them in water beforehand.

In the video, the chicken is grilled on a French grill pan rather than an outdoor grill. Both methods are useful, but the grill pan uses conduction heat while an outdoor grill uses radiation so this will affect the cook time. Once the chicken is on the grill, don’t peek for 2-3 minutes because you would disrupt that beautiful caramelization that happens. When the chicken changes from pinkish to white, then that is a good indication to flip it.

I really love cooking with herbs and spices and they infuse a ton of flavor when it comes to this yogurt sauce. This dish provides a variety of texture and flavors which will create satiation. The chicken itself is chewy and crispy while the yogurt sauce is creamy. The chicken provides umami flavor, the herbs and zest are a little bitter, there is some salty flavor and the yogurt is sweet and sour.

Technique: Roasting

Recipe 2: Babaganouj

Babaganouj is great as a sauce, side or dip and hits a “healthy comfort” factor. Once the eggplant is done in the oven, it is going to be very silky, soft and creamy and the skin is going to come right off.

Adding the garlic and herbs provides an element of freshness to balance out the smoked paprika. Cooling the babaganouj down is going to temper the bitterness that comes from the spices. Finish with a little garnish, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of some cumin or paprika on it.

Technique: Poaching

Recipe 3: Citrus Tabbouleh

Bulgur is a whole grain from the red wheat family. It can have a really chewy texture, as long as it is rinsed to get rid of the extra starch; if not it will be a creamy texture. It’s important to salt the boiling water to provide flavor to the food.

Make sure to use a glass or ceramic bowl to hold the bulgur because it’s going to help hold heat and allow the bulgur to carryover cook. When it’s done all that water should be absorbed inside and if it’s not you can drain a little bit of that residual water. Then we want to spread these grains out onto a sheet pan or cookie sheet so that it can continue to evaporate and cool.

So you know that consistency in size is consistency in cooking, but it’s also consistency in eating.  The lesson here is that if we want people to enjoy our cooking then make sure they can get all those flavors on one fork.

Acidity is a really important way to enhance the flavor of this tabbouleh. A little tip with oranges, if you want to get twice the yield roll it out then cut and squeeze it. If you don’t like a lot of juice, you can use part zest and part juice. This tabbouleh has chewy texture of the bulgur and crispy from cucumbers. It also provides umami, salty, sour, sweet, and bitter flavor making it quite the satisfying dish.

Reinventing Leftovers

Learn how to maximize your food purchases using a blueprint to quickly create versatile, delicious and nutritious meals.

Lesson Objectives:
• Transform pantry staples and leftovers into delicious meals
• Use simple techniques to elevate flavor, convenience and variety
• Save time and money

Lesson Summary:
Are you tired of tossing expired foods? Perhaps your inspiration for microwavable “has beens” have passed their prime? In this creative lesson, we share a strategy for high cuisine that helps purge those perishables with a creative and fool-proof system. With this knowledge, you will not only save time and money, but score big on taste, and not the waist.

Making something from nothing is like making lemonade out of lemons… at least when it works. And that’s why practice makes permanent!” -Chef Ryan

Did you know – Fast food and convenience is a go-to option for busy households and leftovers often get forgotten about. An average American eats out between 4-5 times/week. This packs on an additional 800-1000 calories each week. 1 pound of weight is equivalent to 3,500 calories, so this consistent pattern could equal a weight gain of 1 pound per month, or 13 pounds per year! Could leftovers be a solution?

So, let’s recap, shall we???

The 3 S’s of Improv Cooking

Stock Up on Pantry Staples for Cooking

“Mustgo” Blueprints

Do you have enough in your pantry for a soup? A salad? A stir fry? Maybe even enough for all three??

Suddenly Sauces

Inspires home cooks with a foolproof method for elevating the comfort food factor in their meals, simply using basic pantry and fridge staples.

Lesson Objectives:
• Learn a simple procedure that enhances flavors and textures in any dish
• Transform ingredients that you have laying around into flavorful sauces
• Understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy sauces

Lesson Summary:
When it comes to mindful meals at home, this interactive cooking lesson explores dressing up those lean proteins with big flavor. With a focus on the flexibility of using common pantry and fridge items, we will teach you how to break free from recipes, taking your healthy food efforts from zero to hero.

VIDEO: Suddenly Sauces Tutorial

Repeating the Steps for Suddenly Sauces

“Consistency in cut size, equals consistency in cooking” is especially important with the Suddenly Sauces improv cooking technique.

#1) Aromatics include anything from the onion family. Garlic, onion, shallots, scallion and chives are examples. Carrots, celery and parsnips are examples of other flavorful aromatics that give aroma and deep flavor to sauces.

#2) Veggies should be softer vegetables. Fresh mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, bell peppers. Canned or PreCooked roasted red peppers, mushrooms, capers, olives, carrots, bell peppers, beans, butternut squash, diced tomatoes, corn, etc.

#3) Liquids can be anything from the condiment family, but rather than typical options like ketchup, BBQ sauce and honey, which are oftentimes loaded with saturated fat and sugar, think about these healthier options. Thick liquids make help create a sauce that adds flavor, moisture and texture while clinging to your food. Remember, we are trying to enhance flavor, not mask it. These include pizza/spaghetti sauce, salsa and light coconut milk. Thinner liquids like traditional broth/stock or bouillon can be a great vessel for more delicate, aromatic flavors that come from the veggies your previously added. For more pungent, yet light textured sauces, think about Worcestershire, steak sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, tomato juice, just go easy because of the sodium levels! And for more traditional, put a dash of lemon juice in your pan sauce.

#4) Herbs can be fresh or dried. These provide more flavor and seasoning to your sauce without loading up on sodium. Some examples include oregano, dill, parsley, or cilantro.

Want to add more flavor to a pan sauce?

When making a pan sauce, you can increase the flavor by first searing your protein in the pan that you then use to make your sauce. Remember the searing technique below?

When deciding which protein to start with prior to this version of your Suddenly Sauce, here’s some lean protein ideas. Whether you cut your flank steak into thin slices or sear your whole chicken breast, once cooked, remove the lean proteins from the pan, leaving behind the crust and healthy fats (oil) and begin your Suddenly Sauce technique.

INFOGRAPHIC: The Step-by-Step “Suddenly Sauce”

VIDEO RECIPE: Zucchini Fettucine

RECIPE: “Suddenly Sauces” Homework

Now it’s your turn! Try using the “Suddenly Sauces” technique with this recipe below. “Practice makes permanent!”

The Finished Product

So what did you learn about this improvisational cooking pattern? Is it something that you already use in your kitchen or is it a new way of looking at making good food taste great?

Slow Cooker Meats

Outlines the steps to simplifying comfort foods, using lean meats that satisfy in flavor, variety and convenience.

Lesson Objectives:
• Create countless varieties of stews and soups using an ingenious guide
• Learn which meats are best for slow cookers
• Learn to how simply store and reheat batch cooked items

Lesson Summary:
So you want to master your slow cooker, huh? For a better foundation in healthy comfort and convenience, you’ll love this session. This lesson features Chef Ryan’s versatile formula for improvising ethnic inspirations, harmonizing the flavors and textures we truly crave.

On average, Americans only spend 1 hour of their leisure time on cooking…why not make it count? Mastering your slow cooker will help you save time in the kitchen, without compromising on flavor.

Slow Cooker Meats

Slow Cooker Staples

Slow Cooker Step by Step Technique

The longer that meat is held at high heat, the more the protein inside of it will break down. The protein is connected to water molecules so as the protein breaks down, water is released. Once it has reached tertiary break down, the meat becomes stringy and dried out – definitely not delicious.

Storing & Reheating Slow Cooker Meats – Let’s say you make a big batch of tasty, juicy pork shoulder in the slow cooker. How are you able to freeze it for later, but keep that same juicy texture? Once the meat has cooled to a safe temperature, you can portion it out into zippered bags. Make sure to include some of the liquid from the slow cooker to keep it moist and flavorful. Then place these bags flat in the freezer so they are easy to stack. Just take the bag out of the freezer and place on a plate in the fridge to defrost next time you want to use it!

Nutritious Food Design

How to avoid the feeling of deprivation when making the choice to eat well. Discover a simple system that will serve as a guide for intuitive eating decisions when crunching calories isn’t an option.

Lesson Objectives:
• Explore the foods that both fuel AND satisfy you
• Understand the building blocks of a balanced meal
• Learn tips and tricks around the portions that fuel you

Lesson Summary:
Creating better eating habits are best achieved when nutritious ingredients are both crave-able and filling. In this lesson, we’ll teach you how that’s possible with a simple lesson in building a proper plate of food. Along with helping you understand which food groups fuel you, these tools serve as a framework for making better decisions, even when you are dining out.

Plate Real Estate

Our version of Plate Real Estate is simpler and more inclusive than USDA MyPlate. While MyPlate provides basic dietary needs, it has more of a narrow scope than what is encompassed in Plate Real Estate. MyPlate includes dairy as a necessary component. Approximately 65% amount of the population has digestive problems with milk so we want to be more supportive of an adaptive pattern of meeting nutritional needs. The nutrients found in milk such as calcium and vitamin D can easily be found in other components of Plate Real Estate. Carbohydrates include more than just grains, as seen in the MyPlate model. We believe in the power of fiber and its importance in the body, so we have expanded this section to include not only grains but also starchy vegetables. Healthy fats are also an important part of the diet so we want to make sure we highlight the need to include them, in small amounts of course.

Complex Carbs

What does “complex” carb even mean? This means that the sugar molecules that make up a carbohydrate are strung together and branched out like a coil. Complex carbs are often rich in fiber making them satisfying and health promoting. Complex carbs can be found in whole plant foods such as whole grains, beans, lentils, and even potatoes. Whole grains contain all parts of the wheat which includes the germ, endosperm and bran. The germ and bran provide fiber and nutrients such as B vitamins. Refined grains such as white bread have stripped away the germ and bran so they only provide energy and no additional nutrients.

Lean Proteins

Lean proteins are the building blocks for leaner body mass and help repair damage done through environmental factors and physical exertion. “Lean” refers to protein that is trimmed of unnecessary fat and has little to no marbling and no skin. Examples of lean protein include beef tenderloin, skinless chicken breast, firm white fish, pork tenderloin, and even plant sources such as beans, nuts and seeds.

Colorful Produce

Eat the rainbow! Colorful produce provides a wide range of vitamins, micronutrients and antioxidants. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for everyday body functions like heart function, digestion, bone growth, and much more. Antioxidants play an important role in slowing and even preventing oxidative damage. They may also improve immune function.

Healthy Fats

Fat helps with healthy cellular and brain function as well as metabolism which converts food into energy. The trick is choosing the right fat for the job. Saturated and trans fats, or the “bad fats”, will raise total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol which increases risk for heart disease. Bad fats are found in butter, shortening, and animal fat. The “good fats” are mono and polyunsaturated fats which will lower total and LDL cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. These can be found in olive or other cooking oils, avocado, nuts, seeds, and fish like salmon or mackerel.

What does your plate real estate look like? Does it include all four components?

Learning How To Enjoy Healthier Foods

Learn simple decision-making strategies that influence eating satisfaction while still nourishing you.

Lesson Objectives:
• Understand the psychology of feeling full and nourished
• Learn how texture, flavor, color and temperature influence our eating habits
• Understand techniques that elevate flavor and texture

Lesson Summary:
Getting bought into eating well can be a challenge. Because many of us associate healthy eating with flavorless foods that don’t satisfy. When we lose the enjoyment that eating brings us, we lose the motivation that fuels our health goals. In this lesson, we’ll crack the code on understanding what behaviors and patterns will support and influence you to fill up on the foods you need and the flavors you love! 

Satiety & Satiation

Satiety is the duration of fullness until next meal. Satiation is the feeling of fullness or satisfaction. Satiety and satiation are influenced by a number of factors in a meal. The key is to include a variety of all of these factors to create a satisfying meal.

Factor 1: Texture

Good eating and the enjoyment of eating starts with texture. There should be no sense of monotony with textures. You want to include contrasts because this will make you think about what you are eating.

  • The first texture is chewy. Chewy is not just caramel or tootsie rolls, it represents other savory elements. Chewy textures include whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins.
  • The next texture is crunchy or crispy. Fried foods are crispy so we tend to associate crispy with comfort. By adding a crispy element to your food, you can gain some of that comfort.
  • The final texture is creamy. Creamy foods have moisture, whether it is dips, sauce, or even mashed potatoes. Creamy foods also provide comfort, and comfort fills our bellies. Including creamy texture on your plate is what will truly win you over.

Try it at home: To get a better idea of chewy texture, grab a couple dried cherries or raisins and slowly eat them to experience what chewy texture is like, and how it can elevate a dish. Next, try sprinkling some of those crumbs at the bottom of a chip bag or even rice cereal on your salad to take it to the next level. As for creamy, try some hummus or greek yogurt. What are some ways you could include that creamy texture in your meals?

Factor 2: Flavor

Flavor should be a rollercoaster ride on your tongue. Believe it or not, flavor is about 80% aroma or smell. Only 20% is taste, so we want to make what’s on our taste buds count. Heating food releases aroma thereby enhancing the flavor. For example, the Maillard reaction occurs when amino acids and sugar come into contact with heat, creating golden brown deliciousness. This not only changes the flavor but also the texture. Manipulating heat to change flavor is crucial to winning yourself, and others, over with healthy food.

  • Sweet
  • Sour
  • Bitter
  • Salty
  • Umami – discovered in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda, it translates to “savoriness”. Examples include cheese, mushrooms, or miso soup.

Umami Taste Test: Take a cherry tomato or a piece of cheese. Close your eyes and hold your nose closed. Start to slowly chew the food, but don’t swallow yet! After about 5 seconds, let go of your nose and take a deep breath in through your nose. Notice how intense the flavor of the food is!

Factor 3: Temperature

Temperature of foods will influence satiation. Ice cold drinks and hot foods provide more satisfaction than room temperature drinks or cold food. Temperature also can affect the nutrition of the food. Heating food denatures protein, meaning that it will unbind and loosen up so that our bodies can absorb it more easily. Protein helps keep us feeling full so if we absorb more of it, we are likely to be more satiated.

Experiment time: Get two glasses. Fill one with room temperature water. Fill the other with ice and cold water. Now take a drink from both of the glasses, which is more satisfying?

Factor 4: Color

Color reveals flavor. As Americans, the affinity for all that is quick, cheap, and convenient is directing us to the cracker, cereal, and cookie aisles which leads to a high-fat and highly processed “beige diet” that is nutrient impaired. Instead, eat the rainbow! We need phytochemicals and micronutrients from our food rather than excess sugar and starch. Contrasting the colors of the food with your plate tends to make foods look more appetizing. The same goes for contrasting between the different kinds of food on your plate as well.

Eat the rainbow! Check out your plate…how many colors do you have on there? Aim for at least three different colors.

Factor 5: Plate size

When our plate is not full of food, we will perceive this as not being enough food to satisfy us. The Delboeuf illusion is an optical illusion that the size of an object is perceived to be smaller when it is on a larger surface. Check out the images below; it is the same amount of salad, but it looks much smaller on the 12 inch plate compared to the 8 inch plate. A study was done to examine the Delboeuf illusion on plate and portion size and it was found that people consistently overate if they were served on a larger plate. A simple fix for this is to just use a smaller plate!

Challenge: Did you know that on average, eating out adds an extra 134 calories per day? And most Americans eat out 4-5 times per week. That’s almost 700 extra calories every week! Next time you go out to eat, ask for a salad plate. When your entree comes out, fill up the salad plate and take the rest home. Not only will you save yourself the extra calories, but you get two meals for the price of one!

Factor 6: Communal eating

Nearly half of all adult eating occasions are completely alone. However, research from University of Oxford shows us that the more often people eat with others, the more likely they are to feel happy and satisfied with their lives. Satiation goes beyond meals.

Think about it: Did you know that 65% of Americans eat lunch alone at their desks? When is the last time you ate a meal with someone? Maybe take your next lunch break with a coworker or sit down at the table for family dinner.

Wholesome Cooking Techniques: Part 2

Learn new techniques that boost the flavors and textures of the foods you already love that just happen to be good for you.

Lesson Objectives:
• Why Searing, Simmering, Blanching & Shocking, Sautéing and Roasting are healthy
• Understand the food science behind healthy cooking techniques
• Learn Proper Kitchen Techniques

Lesson Plan:
When it comes to mindful meals at home, this experience continues on the foundations of simple cooking. During this lesson, you will not only observe practical cooking techniques that you can easily replicate, but also understand why it’s better for you. You’ll love experimenting with new ways to create the flavor and textures you crave with these featured recipes.

Featured Video Recipe Tutorials:
• Perfect Chicken Breast with Grape Glaze
• Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
• Garlic Sautéed Green Beans

Technique: Searing

Recipe 1: Perfect Chicken Breast with Grape Glaze

Remember, consistency in size is consistency in cooking so make sure to pound the chicken breast until they are the same size. Blot away excess moisture on the chicken to ensure proper searing. Don’t peek under the chicken for the first two minutes! This will disrupt the caramelization process, or the Maillard reaction, which gives you that golden brown deliciousness. When the grapes and shallots are added, we are sweating them, meaning the moisture is evaporated so that the flavor is concentrated. Once the balsamic and mustard are added and simmered until thick, the sauce will be ready. Chunky, rustic sauce is perfect for chicken or salmon, while pureed sauce makes a great glaze or can even be used in a vinaigrette!

Technique: Roasting

Recipe 2: Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Crispy is the closest we can get to fried while still being healthy. By soaking the sweet potatoes, the excess starch and water is pulled out which allows them to crisp up once they are roasted. Another way to get them nice and crispy is to make sure the sweet potatoes are evenly spread out on the pan. These sweet potato fries are a slam dunk to win you over with the idea that healthy can be easy and delicious.

Technique: Blanching & Shocking, Sautéing

Recipe 3: Garlic Sautéed Green Beans

Let’s try to break the stigma that healthy foods have no flavor. If salt is added to the water when blanching foods, it will provide the food with flavor but less sodium because the water will be poured off. Blanching and shocking will help to preserve the texture as well as the nutrients of the food. Its important to dry the beans off before sautéing so they can develop a nice caramelization, similar to how we did with the chicken. Flavor mostly comes from aroma or smell so when we add the citrus zest at the end, it creates another dimension and jazzes up the green beans. Definitely try the pan flip to look like a pro and impress your guests!

Salads That Actually Satisfy

Learn a guaranteed formula for inventing great-tasting salads that feed your appetite while filling you with goodness.

Lesson Objectives:
• Master a formula for simple but hearty salad combinations
• Learn how to make tasty salad dressings that enhance any salad
• Learn why green leafy vegetables and healthy fats are beneficial
• Save money using ingredients already in your fridge or pantry

Lesson Summary:
We all know that salads epitomize better eating options, but they often fall short on satisfaction. In this lesson, our DIY salad design will inspire new talents for creating nutritious salads on the fly, with maximum flavor and satiation. Take your salad skills from cliché to connoisseur, whether it’s quick and easy at home or making better choices when dining out.

“The most important and most powerful tool you have to change your health and the world is your fork.”

– Dr. Mark Hyman

Satisfying Salads Tutorial

There is no reason to settle for salads that have no flavor and leave you feeling hungry. Satisfying salads provide full flavor while still filling you up. Building a better salad is a great way to increase satisfaction without increasing calories.

Satisfying Salad shortcut signage

At the heart of a good salad is a vinaigrette. One component of a vinaigrette is oil. Oils are considered a fat and choosing a healthy fat for your vinaigrette is important. Healthy fats include olive oil, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil. Not only do these oils provide necessary nutrients for brain function and heart health, but they also help absorb other nutrients found in the salad. Follow this simple ratio to make a vinaigrette that you can always have hanging around and can last up to 2 weeks in your fridge. These are a couple really cool cheat sheets to help you win over your taste buds when you go to create that salad. 

These are your vinaigrette pantry staple ingredients. Below are examples of how to bring them together, with simple recipe ideas.

Try these vinaigrette recipes!

The essential components to a Satisfying Salad

Component #1

Feel free to mix and match a variety of greens to build the base of your salad. You can even throw in some herbs to enhance the flavor. Leafy greens contain a variety of vitamins and micronutrients that are necessary for your body to function properly. Leafy greens are rich in folate, carotenoids, iron, calcium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and many more!

Start building your salad with 2-3 cups of leafy greens. Make sure to rinse them and dry them of excess water, or your vinaigrette won’t cling.

Component #2

Lean proteins help to fuel your body. Include different types to get different flavors.

Choose at least 1 cup (or 4 oz. weight) of your favorite lean protein. For cheeses, use sparingly to accent flavor and texture, as opposed to allocating an entire 1-cup portion to just cheese.

Component #3

Complex carbs will bulk up your salad and help keep you feeling full. Some complex carbs, like beans, will even boost the protein content.

Add at least 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of complex carbs for a healthy, filling serving.

Component #4

Adding fruits can add a touch of sweetness to the salad and play well with the other savory ingredients. This step is always optional if you’re not feeling the sweet/savory vibe.

The daily recommendation for fresh fruit is 1 1/2 -2 cups per day. Why not put some fruit on your salad to help yourself get closer to that daily recommendation?

Component #5

A variety of colorful veggies in your salad will provide a boost of nutrition, not to mention make it look even more appealing!

The daily recommendation for vegetable intake is 2 1/2 – 3 cups of veggies per day. Why not bulk up your salad even more so you can feel full and hit your recommended daily portion?

Component #6

Crunchy salad toppers will add essential texture to your salad.

Texture is essential to feeling satisfied. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of something crunchy to top your salad and fill your belly with goodness.

Putting it all together

“Practice makes permanent!” -Chef Ryan

This simple pattern will help you commit this to memory. If you want to follow a recipe… no problem. But if you’d rather to test your skills and IMPROVISE, that’s what I’m talk’n about!

Are you on the go?! Try the salad jar technique!

Jar A

  • Greens: Swiss Chard
  • Lean Proteins: Shrimp & Chick Peas *most beans & grains are high in protein and ALSO act as complex carbs
  • Complex Carbs: Chick Peas
  • Veggies: Cucumber, Radishes, Tomatoes, Red Bell Pepper
  • Fruit: Avocado *technically it’s a fruit;)
  • Crunch: Toasted Black Sesame Seeds

Jar B

  • Greens: Spinach
  • Lean Proteins: Black Beans & Quinoa
  • Complex Carbs: Black Beans & Quinoa
  • Veggies: Red Onions *and yes… spinach counts as a veggie too😉
  • Fruit: Mango & Avocado *technically it’s still a fruit;))
  • Crunch: Nothing yet… what would you top it with?!

Now that you’ve got the idea, here’s some recipes to consider…

  • Beet Salad –  Serves 4
    • Leafy Greens: 4 cups spring mix, 4 cups spinach
    • Lean Protein: 12 oz shredded chicken, 2 tbsp goat cheese
    • Complex Carbs: 2 cup cooked quinoa
    • Fruit: 1 cup sliced orange, ¼ cup dried cherries
    • Veggies: 2 cup diced beets, 1 cup diced tomato, 1 cup julienned carrot
    • Crunch: ¼ cup slivered almonds
    • Vinaigrette: 6 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp dijon, 2 tsp dried thyme, salt and pepper
  • Asian Slaw Salad – Serves 4
    • Leafy Greens: 3 cups green cabbage thinly sliced/shredded, 3 cups kale thinly sliced/shredded, 1 cup chopped cilantro
    • Lean Protein: 1 block of tofu, cubed and cooked
    • Complex Carbs: 2 cup brown rice
    • Veggies: 1 cup edamame, 1 cup julienned carrot, 1 cup broccoli, ½ cup green onion
    • Crunch: 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
    • Vinaigrette: 6 tbsp peanut oil, 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2 tsp dijon mustard, 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp honey, 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • Italian Riviera Chopped Salad – Serves 4 
    • Leafy Greens: 3 cups green leaf, 3 cups red leaf, 2 cups Bibb lettuce
    • Lean Protein: ½ cup trimmed prosciutto, 1 cup tuna, ½ cup bleu cheese
    • Complex Carbs: 2 cups chickpeas 
    • Veggies: 1 cup diced tomatoes, 1 cup diced celery, 1 cup diced cucumber
    • Crunch: ½ cup croutons
    • Vinaigrette: 6 tbsp avocado oil, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp dijon, 2 tsp dried oregano, 1 small clove garlic minced, salt and pepper

Your turn: Use the blueprint to build your own salad! Post a pic in the group. And remember, you can even use this blueprint when you order a salad at a restaurant.

Knife Skills 101: Cutting Time in the Kitchen

Discover a set of simple techniques for quicker, safer, and more consistent meal preparation in the kitchen.

Lesson Objectives:
• Working safely with knives
• Selecting which knives to use
• Proper cutting techniques
• Understanding knife cut terminology

Lesson Summary:
Efficient and confident home cooking depends on proper knife skills. This lesson focuses on the cornerstones of proper cutting. With a little practice you’ll be amazed at your increased efficiency will, which not only saves you time, but yields more consistent and delicious results.

Fun Fact: Knives have been around for a long time. More specifically, they were invented all the way back in 3000 BC during the Bronze Age. Read on to discover how to use this historic tool in today’s modern kitchen!

Part 1: Knife Safety

How to confidently and comfortably handle your knife

Proper knife skills and technique will increase efficiency and reduce the chance of injury and food waste, thereby saving you time (and money!)

Proper Hand Positioning

By pinching the knife between your index finger and thumb, then grasping with the other 3 fingers, this will allow you to increase the hinge in that movement and contour around what you’re cutting.

Part 2: Knife Selection

Choosing the right knife for the job

Using the right knife in the can create efficiency and enable you to take control in the kitchen.

Examples of the right knife for the job

TIP: Consistency in cut size equals consistency in cook time!

Knife Anatomy

You really only need these 3 knives to get through the day, the rest are decorative. The anatomy of the knife is also really important. Most of the cutting takes place either on the tip or on the heel of the knife

How Do I Sharpen My Knives?

When you don’t have a sharp knife, you will put more pressure into your cuts which may cause you to slip and possibly injure yourself. The steel helps realign the edge of the knife to create a sharper surface.

Part 3: Tap Chop

The first of three basic cutting techniques that everyone should know

This is the knife cutting technique that makes everyone look awesome. The tip of the knife comes downward, similar to a hatchet.

Part 4: Rock Chop

The second of three basic cutting techniques that everyone should know

The rock chop uses the same motion as a rocking chair. Rock the heel of the knife forward to easily cut through thick veggies.

Part 5: Cross Chop

The third of three basic cutting techniques that everyone should know

The cross chop combines the two techniques you just learned to finely chop up garlic, herbs, or even nuts.

Part 6: Bringing It All Together

Cutting comes full circle with a lesson on cutting an onion

Additional Equipment

Knife Cuts & Sizing