Hi! Welcome to “good mood food” from Kale Me Maybe’s Carina Wolff. If you’re somehow reading this and aren’t yet subscribed, be sure to do so below. You can expect recipes in your inbox every Tuesday, and paid subscribers get even more!
It’s really easy to complain about social media, but I’ve found some of the best recipes of my life on Instagram. It’s why I stay on the platform, and it’s why I’ve made a job out of it. People are so creative when it comes to cooking, and I can confidently say I’m a better cook because of other food bloggers that I follow.
I know it’s easy to get lost in a sea of food in your feed, but this week, I wanted to highlight some of my all-time favorite food bloggers and give them a chance to let you in on their favorite cooking tips. They gave a good mix of advice that will not only make you feel more comfortable in the kitchen but will help you save time and money.
These women are some of my favorite people on Instagram, and I am proud to call them my friends! They are talented, inspiring, and have some really useful suggestions. Make sure to follow them so you can create some of their beautiful recipes.
“Master Techniques Before Recipes”
- Kylie Mazon-Chambers aka Cooking with Cocktail Rings
“Recipes are great, but learning the fundamentals of cooking and the way ingredients and flavors work together first is so important,” says food blogger Kylie Mazon-Chambers, aka Cooking with Cocktail Rings. “After that, recipes will be much easier to understand, and you can use them more like a guide. Understanding techniques will also allow you to play around with what you have on hand, making substitutions for ingredients resulting in less food waste!”
Some techniques you can start off with: roasting a chicken, preparing sauces, and mastering marinades. “If you learn how to roast a simple chicken, then from there you can play with different spices and herbs to create entirely different meals,” says Kylie. “Learn to make a roux because it’s the base of so many sauces (or even mac and cheese and nachos). From a simple vinaigrette equation of oil, acid, mustard, salt, and pepper, you can create endless salad dressings or marinades. And as you learn, anything you don’t know how to do, Google!”
“Don’t Sleep On Frozen Vegetables”
“[Frozen vegetables] are often more nutritious than fresh veggies because they're flash-frozen at peak ripeness, and they don't lose vitamins in transit and sitting on the shelf,” says journalist and wellness blogger Liz Moody.
”Plus, they'll never end up dying a slow and sad death in the back of your fridge (which will save you a ton of money in the long-term)!”
Liz’s favorites for keeping on hand: frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. “I roast the cauliflower and broccoli straight from frozen and use it as a side for any dish that could use more veggies,” she says. “The kale goes into scrambled eggs, stir-fries, anything that needs a pop of greens. Any fresh produce you have that's near the end of its life (hello, over-ambitious farmers market haul!!) can be popped into the freezer too!”
“Buy Yourself A Microplane Grater”
-Nicole Modic aka Kale Junkie
“While my most-used kitchen appliance is of course my Vitamix blender, my favorite, most-used inexpensive item is a microplane grater,” says food blogger Nicole Modic aka Kale Junkie. “It’s a small, handheld tool that makes adding flavor to your favorite dishes so easy! I use it to zest lemon, orange, almonds, cheese, and more. The grating is super fine, which makes the food look super pretty, too!”
“Take Inventory Of Your Fridge & Pantry”
-Anela Malik of “Feed The Malik”
Yes, we all know that keeping track of the food in your fridge reduces food waste and can help you save money. But according to food blogger Anela Malik aka Feed The Malik, it also helps you become a better cook. “Feeling confident in the kitchen is a process of trial and error,” she says. “Think of it as kitchen training in a very informal way, through experimentation.”
Her tip: Make use of those random odds and ends that you never use or always toss. “Getting really good with the bits of herbs, the sauces you don't know what to do with, will force you to work with new recipes and flavor profiles,” says Anela. “And through that process, you'll become a better cook, better able to pair complex flavors, and have an easier time cooking no matter what ingredients you have.”
“Cover Everything In Chocolate”
“I always keep a bag of dark chocolate chips and a jar of coconut oil on hand for when my sweet tooth hits,” says lifestyle and food blogger Olivia Noceda. ”All you need to do is fill a bowl with a handful of chocolate chips and a spoonful of coconut oil and microwave for 30 seconds,” she says. “Take it out, mix, and microwave again. Mix some more and it should be fully melted, glossy chocolate!
Olivia’s favorite thing to slather in melted chocolate? Sumo citrus. “Carina definitely has this recipe on her site, but the options are honestly endless,” says Olivia. “You can dip figs, strawberries, and even mangos into melted chocolate. Freeze em for about 10 minutes and you’ve got yourself a really healthy and yummy treat!”
“Don’t Microwave Your Leftover Pasta”
-Jane Hardy aka Foods of Jane
No one likes leftover pasta that’s dried out and clumpy. Thankfully, food blogger and pasta queen Jane Hardy aka Foods of Jane has a foolproof method that can help bring a leftover pasta dish back to life. Just remember the golden rule: DO NOT MICROWAVE! All you’ll need is a large skillet with a lid to reheat, plus a little olive oil, cream, or butter.
Start by dumping your cold pasta into the skillet. “Depending on the amount of leftovers, you'll want to use one or a few tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil,” says Jane. “If the leftover pasta has a cream-based sauce, a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or butter (or both!!) should be added to the pasta as well. I find that adding more moisture to a leftover pasta dish helps a lot as opposed to drying it out even more by trying to reheat it in a microwave.”
Once you've tossed the pasta in the oil and/or cream/butter for a few minutes over medium heat, and it has been heated all the way through, add the lid and turn off the stove, and let it sit for about five minutes. “This sort of mimics the act of ‘steaming’ and helps make the texture feel fresher by locking in more moisture,” she says.
If the leftover pasta is extremely dried out, add a tablespoon of broth or water in addition to your fat. “If you go this route you may have to season with a bit of salt and pepper since the liquid could water it down,” says Jane.
“Make Your Tofu Super Crispy”
-Diala Canelo aka Diala’s Kitchen
Getting your tofu to be that perfect texture can be a challenge, but food blogger Diala Canelo aka Diala’s Kitchen knows just the trick. “To get tofu to be super crispy on the outside, I use my tofu press on it for about an hour,” she says. “I add a bit of cornstarch before pan-frying it on a cast-iron skillet, always. This helps to get the tofu golden brown.”
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