Every new year, we promise to make big changes in our lives. Well this year, Tim Hagedorn, a Food and Trend Innovator in our Test Kitchen, has some different, more delicious options for your New Year’s resolutions. Here are some little bad habits he thinks we should all resolve to break this year, as well as some new, good habits to start. These little changes make a big difference in your daily meal prep.
Tim Hagedorn, Pampered Chef Food & Trend Innovator. Tim worked at a number of Michelin-starred, fine-dining restaurants in Chicago before coming to Pampered Chef. He believes that cooking isn’t just about putting food on the table, but learning, exploring, and creating special memories that enrich people’s lives.
New year’s resolutions don’t always require a huge amount of effort to have an impact on your everyday life. Here’s a list of four little resolutions I think everyone should consider making this year.
1. Get comfortable with your knives. The Chef’s Knife is one of the most important tools in your kitchen. There are few times where I don’t use it, which is why I think it’s so important to practice good knife skills. Of course, it’ll take time to get comfortable using some of the techniques in the video below. It just takes a little practice.
Tonight, when you’re getting dinner ready for your family, take one second to practice your pinch grip, rock slice, and claw grip. Then tomorrow, take two seconds, and the next day, take three seconds, and so on. By the end of the year, you’ll be better, faster, and safer with your knife.
2. Buy one fewer jar, can, or box meal item each week and make it from scratch. I know how it feels to get home late and have hungry people you need to feed. It’s so easy to open a jar of marinara and a box of pasta, and call it a night. But, making a sauce from scratch is healthier, tastier, and easier than you might think. Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers for those nights when you’ve got empty bellies and a full schedule. The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. And a homemade pesto or tomato sauce is one great habit, if you ask me!
Three More Homemade Sauces to Keep Handy
- Chimichurri is a cilantro and parsley condiment that’s great to have on hand to spice up grilled foods or vegetable side dishes.
- This easy pad thai sauce adds oomph to stir-fries, veggie noodles, or rice.
- A healthier Alfredo sauce made with Greek yogurt is a nice alternative sauce for pasta night.
3. Stop leaving spoons or spatulas in pots and pans. If you open your drawer and every handle of every spoon, spatula, ladle, or scraper has a little burned or melted spot on it, it’s time to break this bad habit. No matter how heat-resistant your cooking tools are, they’ll eventually burn if you leave them on the stove. Use a spoon rest and save your tools.
It’s also safer. Leaving a spoon in a pot full of hot soup is asking for trouble. It’s one more thing to get snagged on or bumped into. Get creative and use an empty can as a spoon rest if your recipe calls for a can of beans or tomatoes. Or use the empty package your vegetables came in. Just don’t leave the spoon in the pan.
4. Stop peeling foods over the trash can. You know how it goes. You’re getting dinner ready, chopping onions and peeling carrots, but to “save time,” you peel directly over your trash can. Inevitably, you drop your carrot into the trash, and you’re forced to make the decision: Do I get a new carrot or pull this carrot out of the garbage and feed my family trash-carrots? Avoid it by using a bowl for your veggie trimmings.
What bad cooking habits do you want to stop? What good habits do you want to start? Tell us in the comments below.