January 16, 2009 12:00 am
Here are some ideas for adding herbs and spices to your cooking:
Mix rosemary and Italian seasoning with olive oil and brush onto chicken breasts to coat. Grill or sauté.
Other herbs and spices to try with chicken include oregano, tarragon, sage, ginger, marjoram, and allspice.
Stir-fry your choice of vegetables with garlic in oil. Add cubed white fish (such as flounder, halibut, cod, haddock, or trout) and stir-fry 3–4 more minutes; fish will be opaque when fully cooked. Add finely chopped or squeezable lemongrass and cilantro and toss to combine. Serve on top of noodles or rice.
Other herbs and spices to try with fish and seafood include chili pepper (fresh, ground, or red pepper flakes — great for grilled seafood), basil (especially good with lobster and scallops), oregano, dill, paprika, ginger, parsley, marjoram, rosemary, anise, and saffron. Lemongrass is particularly good with shrimp.
Make an easy ham pizza as follows: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix together 1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning and 1/2 tablespoon garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil, adding in some basil and cilantro if desired. Put a prepared pizza crust on a metal tray or cookie sheet and top with thinly sliced fresh tomatoes and the olive oil mixture. Cover with grated part-skim mozzarella and thinly sliced ham. Cook until cheese starts to bubble.
Some other herbs and spices that go well with ham include allspice, cilantro, basil, and chili pepper (fresh, ground, or flakes).
Perk up grilled or sautéed red meat by coating it with pressed fresh (or squeezable) garlic and/or dusting it with chili powder near the end of cooking.
Some other options for flavoring meat dishes include oregano (especially great in hamburgers), pepper, thyme, marjoram, ginger, parsley, rosemary, bay leaf, clove, and allspice.
For Thai-style pork kebabs, cut pork steaks into cubes and thread pieces onto skewers alternately with plum wedges; set aside. Stir together ginger, lime juice, Asian fish sauce, and sweet chili sauce to taste. Heat grill and brush each kebab with sauce; grill 3–4 minutes on each side. Serve over rice.
Also try garlic, onion, sage, and coriander to flavor pork.
Add garlic or chive to any stir-fry dish for added flavor.
Make a vegetable omelet and add squeezable or fresh minced dill, garlic, and/or basil.
Slice an apple, place the slices in a ceramic bowl, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Microwave for 2 minutes for a sweet, fiber-rich treat. Try adding ground allspice or ground ginger for variety.
Sprinkle a little chopped, squeezable, or ground ginger on pineapple, sliced apples, and other fruits for a boost of flavor. If you use ground ginger, microwave the fruit for 30 seconds to help the flavors blend.
Liven up steamed carrots with a sprinkle of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, or ginger. For a more savory taste, sprinkle with marjoram or sage.
Steam cauliflower and sprinkle with dried, squeezable, or fresh minced dill.
Add fresh or squeezable cilantro or chili pepper to mashed potatoes. Serve baked potatoes with a dollop of fat-free sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped chive.
Other herbs and spices to try with potatoes include garlic, paprika, parsley (great in potato salad), sage, and dill (also good in potato salad).
Sprinkle a little cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, or ginger on mashed sweet potatoes. They’ll taste like a sweet treat.
When making your own or using a store-bought jar of pasta sauce, spice it up by adding some garlic and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning or a pinch of basil, oregano, thyme, or rosemary.
Fresh salsa is relatively easy to make: Dice 4 ripe tomatoes and drain the juice. In a bowl, combine tomatoes with 2 diced avocados and half a diced red onion. In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon each of squeezable basil and chili pepper (or use minced, fresh basil and chili pepper). Pour the liquid mixture over the tomato mixture and combine.
Try adding the following herbs and spices to your usual recipes for a new taste:
Baked desserts and pastries: allspice, anise, cinnamon, clove
Breads: oregano, dill, marjoram, rosemary
Cheese or cream sauces and dips: chive
Pasta dishes: parsley, garlic, oregano
Rice dishes: garlic, lemongrass, chili pepper (fresh, ground, or flakes), rosemary, dill, saffron (used to make yellow rice)
Salad dressing: garlic, cilantro, oregano, marjoram, thyme, black pepper
Salads: basil, cilantro, garlic, Italian seasoning
Soups and stews: basil, oregano, chili pepper (fresh or ground), bay leaf (for tomato soup); dill (potato soup); chive (cold soups); ginger, cilantro, dill, thyme, bay leaf (other soups and stews)
Stuffing: oregano, marjoram, sage, parsley
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