We all know the value of home cooked meals, their health and social benefits. but often get tempted by the glitz and convenience of eating out.Eating in restaurants and from take-aways is becoming more frequent than it ever was .When we are eating at home we know what is going into our meals. We chose healthy and fresh ingredients and cooking methods which make the meal as nutritious as possible for our family.
Just like many of our other blessings we tend to take our health for granted. It is only after getting home-bound for almost two months following a viral infection that started after eating a salad platter from a popular and seemingly hygienic food joint which left me with severe joint pains that I have learnt to appreciate this amazing blessing called health.My family gifted me a new oven to cheer me up and motivated me to put up this post after what seems like ages.
The first dish I made in this oven was a Rotisserie chicken which turned out to be juicy,succulent and honestly outdid the rotisseries I had eaten out by far in taste. Of course the pics do not do full justice to the recipe because I was just recovering and did not have the patience to go out and click them in natural light. But if you will go by my word the recipe turns out delicious and worth giving it a try.
The key to a juicy and succulent chicken,besides a fresh bird and ingredients is brining. It is a beautiful cooking technique which will make a big difference to your chicken.The process of brining keeps the chicken plump and moisturized. The two must ingredients in your brine would be salt and sugar. You can add or remove any other ingredients to suit your taste.
Recipe: Rotisserie Chicken
- A quart of water
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- One whole lemon sliced
- 1 tbsp. black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
- A sprig of rosemary or thyme or any herb of your choice
Heat a cup of water from the quart and add the salt and sugar. Stir till dissolved. I prefer sea salt but you can use table salt.Brown sugar gives a nice caramelized finish to the chicken.Cool it and add the rest of the water and the ingredients. Put in one whole chicken with skin and put a weight on it so that the chicken remains submerged. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.Remove chicken from the brine and discard the brine solution. Rinse the chicken well. Pat dry.
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. red chilli powder
- 1 tsp.ginger paste
- 2 tsp. garlic paste
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp. yogurt
- 2 tsp. Tandoor masala
- 1/2 tsp. garam masala(cloves,cinnamon,cardamom)
First rub the chicken with butter all over the skin and under it.Mix all the other ingredients and massage the chicken with this marinade inside out.Leave in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven on rotisserie mode at 200 º C.
- Truss the chicken with a string.
- Slide the chicken through the rotisserie rod and fix it tightly with the help of spit forks making sure the chicken is balanced and the spit is secure and snug.This method of cooking allows the chicken to baste itself as it rotates, resulting in moist meat and a well browned skin.
- Insert it into the oven.
- After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 180 º C and grill till done. To check insert a skewer to see if juices run clear.
While I was putting up this post,I got a request from Jane to do a guest post for me. She has worked as a life coach for several years and wants to share her experience on how it’s possible to achieve a happy, healthy and balanced lifestyle. So, over to you Jane:
My name is Jane and I am writing to you because having worked as a life coach for a number of years, it became clear to me that living a healthy, happy, and successful life is far more than just giving up the bad habits and being a good weight. It’s actually all about balance. Feeling happy and healthy within yourself can have such a huge impact on all aspects of your life. From studying, to your career, relationships and overall fitness. Balance is key.
Most people who work more than 35 hours a week report not having enough time to cook meals at home and consuming mostly processed foods. In fact, between fast foods and boxed or canned foods, our diet consists in around 70% processed foods.
However, cooking at home has been shown to have numerous benefits for adults and children. Children who regularly eat home-cooked meals are happier and healthier, whereas teens are less likely to start smoking, drinking or taking drugs. Adults have also been shown to be happier and healthier, especially because they consume less sugar and processed foods, leading to better mental health and higher energy levels. Furthermore, cooking at home also helps create wonderful memories, due to the aromas and flavors used in the kitchen. These tips can help you find the time to cook healthy and balanced home cooked meals.
Plan Your Meals Ahead
By planning meals, you will not only know exactly which ingredients you need to put on your shopping list but also how to balance the week. For example, if you know that Monday is a crazy day, plan an easy quick meal. By planning ahead and carefully reflecting on your week, you will be able to cook meals at home even during your busiest weeks.
Visit the farmer’s market as often as you can to stock up on healthy fruits and vegetables; in fact, half of every meal should be filled with vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide plenty of nutrients which boost the immune system and help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, while giving the body the energy it needs to get through the day. They are essential in order to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Healthy grains combined with vegetables are the ultimate way to get a balanced and nutritious meal; for example, bell peppers contain a huge number of vitamins and antioxidants, and can reduce risk of anemia, chronic diseases and improve eye health. Stuffed bell pepper with quinoa recipe is therefore the perfect combination of delicious and healthy.
Make sure you always have the basics on hand so you can always cook emergency meals without needing to run to the supermarket. Stock up on commonly used items such as spices, cooking oils, flour and pasta.
If you know you’re really not going to be able to make even the quickest meal, make larger batches of various meals so you can reheat them throughout the week, or freeze them and eat them further on.
Make Your Kitchen Welcoming
Spend some time cleaning and reorganizing your kitchen to make it as welcoming as possible. Choose your favorite cooking equipment and develop an organizational system that works for you to create a space that makes you feel good. Having an appealing kitchen will certainly make you want to spend more time in it, and will help motivate you to cook delicious meals.
Investing in a good microwave or electric oven to heat up your previously made meals can be an excellent way to enjoy a warm meal even when you don’t have time to cook. An immersion blender is another essential tool for your kitchen, as it can allow you to make quick sauces for your pasta as well as delicious smoothies. As an added bonus, it’s much easier to clean than a traditional blender.
Home cooked meals help us feel happier and make social connections which reduce symptoms of depression and helps us feel like we belong. Cooking your meals at home can be a huge source of joy and pride, as well as providing numerous health benefits and also benefiting the environment by reducing our carbon footprint, which increases by consuming processed meals. The benefits of home cooked meals are impossible to ignore and can really create a lasting change in your life.