Dinner Done Right

I love making dinner with my husband.  I’ve shared this in previous posts, but one of our biggest moves towards losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle was to make more of our meals at home.

This actually started while we were dating.  My husband, then boyfriend, would be quick to take me out to restaurants around the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina… until one day, I suggested we go get groceries and cook together instead– this girl was tired of eating out… and packing on the pounds…(Those love lbs., ain’t no joke!)

Once we started making meals together, I quickly learned that my husband’s pantry was limited…. I mean, he was a bacheolor, so it made sense.  Meanwhile…. this is what my college/grad school seasoning game looked like:

Seasoning Extras

Seasoning on Seasoning

Seasoning In Action
Those photos are from 2009/2010. I took my cooking VERY seriously.

We’ve definitely matured over the years and grown together in a lot of ways– including our cooking.  In fact, my husband is busy working on dinner as I draft this post.  He’s taken over a lot of the weekday cooking while I work on this blogging thing. (It’s time consuming yall!)

One thing that we both agree on is how much better freshly ground seasoning tastes. That’s the focus of this post– if you want to “Do Dinner Right,” use freshly ground spices. Moreover, whole spices have a longer shelf life than do ground spices (which should be replaced after one year to preserve the quality of your prepared recipes).

Here are some tips from America’s Test Kitchen that I try to follow:

  1. Clean out your pantry REGULARLY. I mentioned above that many seasonings need to be replaced because they loose their potentency after one year.  When’s the last time you checked your spice rack?  
  2. Keep spices stored in locations that are COOL and DARK. This will help to prolong their freshness.
  3. BLOOM for BIG flavor.  This means cooking your spice in an oil before liquid is added to the pot.  It may sound complicated, but if you’re using an oil to coat your pan– just add the spice to that oil first.  If your recipe calls for oil, add the seasoning immediately after you add your oil.  Your recipe won’t be a bust if you do this in a different order, but this tip makes a signifiant difference in the flavor profile of your meal.  It’s worth a try if you’ve never done it before.

Finally, I’d like to share a recent review with you all.  Approaching new techniques can be intimidating at times, but I’d recommend that you grab a grinder and try this out.

I recently reviewed a grinder set that includes its own storage rack.  It even has an adjustable grinder setting on each device that allows you to grind seasonings as fine (or as course) as you’d prefer.

You can view the video using the link below: