1) Melt the cheese in the pan!
Yes, literally on the pan/skillet. It sounds insane, but gives an amazing texture that you don’t get from melted cheese and somehow also enhances the flavor. I’ve tried this with tacos, eggs and sandwiches and it does NOT disappoint.
For example, here’s how to do it with mini tacos: Heat your skillet and spray with nonstick spray. Put a small square of cheese directly on the skillet (I do about 1/4 an ounce per mini taco). Use a spatula to push the cheese around in a tiny circle. When it’s 70% melted, place the tortilla on top and press down firmly. Let cook for about 30-60 seconds more and remove from pan. Then add taco fillings!
2) Salt & pepper everything.
Even a salad! Unless you’ve been told by a doctor to limit salt or you eat mostly processed foods/eat out all the time, it’s unlikely a little salt on your eggs, meat and veggies isn’t going to hurt your health. Salt is a flavor enhancer and pepper adds a little spice (just make sure not to over do it). Take even something super plain and basic like broccoli. Roast it in the oven until crispy and then add a dash of salt & pepper; suddenly it’s delicious and you’re welcome.
3) Make miniature versions of higher calorie foods.
Biscuits are one of my ALL TIME favorite foods. If I want to make the most delicious version of a biscuit, it could be easily 400-600 calories per biscuit. NOTHING wrong with that, but making a mini version with more like 200 calories is more fun and gives you more options!
You could do this is cookies, cupcakes, pies, etc. Again, there is nothing wrong with a big ol’ regular cookie — in fact, there are many things right with it! BUT if you sometimes feel like certain foods are “off limits” because they are so calories dense, make a smaller version. A 150-250 calorie cookie and easily fit in an 80/20 lifestyle on the daily.
4) Use spray oil.
YES, SPRAY OIL HAS CALORIES. But you can control the amount of oil so much more easily than accidentally pouring 5 extra tablespoons on your salmon. Regular oil is great and sometimes is the right fit for the job. I just find that sometimes I’d rather spray the crap out of some brussels sprouts rather than pouring on olive oil, getting my hands oily while tossing, etc. Healthy fats are an important part of a balanced diet, but can also easy add up calorically. So at least be aware or maybe think about a spray oil.
5) Make any dish more exciting with onions, garlic and tomatoes.
For some reason, a LOT of my clients hate tomatoes so you can stick with onions and garlic if that’s more your jam. You can make broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, kale, carrots, eggplant or any vegetable more delicious and filling with some super caramelized onions and garlic! If I’m really on my game, one night of the week I’ll chop up two onions, quite a few grape tomatoes and a bunch of garlic, caramelize it and stick it in the fridge so it’s ready to go at any time.
Your turn! Do you have any cooking hacks you’ve discovered in the past few months that have upped your cooking game?
Share them in the comments!