Tips For Healthier Southern Cooking
Remember grandma's cooking? The awesome aromas and hearty flavors coming from her kitchen where certainly enticing and the entire family would hang around the kitchen until she finally shouted "Supper's Ready!" Aunts, uncles and cousins would rush the table to get their favorite seat, rush through the blessing just to dig in to the outstanding flavors of grandma's kitchen. As unhealthy as those meals were, we certainly loved them. Wouldn't it be fantastic to turn out meals with hints of her kitchen mixed right in to healthier foods?
Find out, from her if possible or from other family members what grandma's favorite spices were and try to obtain some of her recipes. Examine her old recipes and see where you can make modifications to make the old recipes a little healthier. Perhaps where she made heavy, greasy gravy, you can try using a lighter au jus. Instead of mashed potatoes with heavy cream and a ton of butter and salt, you may be able to substitute those ingredients with 2% or even skim milk and butter buds. You may try adding some garlic instead of salt or possibly adding shredded low fat cheese to the mashed potatoes for more flavor without using so much salt.
While salt rubs were typical on large cuts of meat that were baked for hours, these days we have so many other seasonings at our disposal. Mix and match other seasonings until you can duplicate her pot roast, but with less salt. Try using a crock pot to achieve the long cooking times she used because a crock pot uses very little electricity when compared to an oven. The crock pot tends to hold more of the natural juices in the meat. Try using a wok to stir fry vegetables to a crisp tender consistency. This helps to maintain the nutrients in them instead of boiling all the vitamins out only to steam away.
Many of grandma's baked goods were so yummy, but so very fattening and unhealthy. These days we have so many options with baked goods like cakes, cookies, pies and the like to make them much healthier. Two ideas that may be of interest to you in your own personal quest to move towards healthier eating habits may be to purchase the half cake mixes at the store or try to cut her recipe in half. Don't forget to share your yummy creation with friends, family member or your neighbors. This will help you avoid the temptation of eating up the whole cake yourself at one sitting.
Grandma's pies were usually made of real fresh picked fruits but tons of sugar was usually added. Sugar was often even put in the crust before being rolled out. Today we can use a graham cracker crust or we can add vanilla extract as part of the liquid required to add flavor to a regular crust. Fresh fruits or canned fruits that have been packed in their own juices are available now, and they are much better for you.
Keep experimenting to capture the familiar flavors of Grandma's kitchen. You will be eating healthier without losing any of those comforting flavors.