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Cooking Up a New Year

a pasta jar

10, 9, 8 … Happy New Year and let the New Year’s Resolutions begin!

A New Year inspires us to make new goals and try new things. Who’s excited to try new recipes, learn new kitchen skills, or just simply cook more this year? Whether it’s in our Kitchen or yours, cooking your own meals is a great way to have fun with family or friends and to improve your health. Learning to cook encourages trying new foods and inspires new flavors. Not to mention, you’ll  impress your dinner guests with delicious recipes and amazing knife skills 😉

Cooking is more than just fun and delicious. It’s educational! Along with new cooking skills, understanding the basics of how to purchase, store, and prepare ingredients truly enhances the final dish. We’re kicking off this New Year by highlighting one of our favorite ingredients – tomatoes!

Tomatoes are packed with nutrients like vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium, folate, and the special antioxidant, lycopene. Lycopene is what gives tomatoes their bright red color and is known to improve heart health and decrease risk for cancer. Where’s the salsa?!

Purchase tomatoes that are firm, but not too hard. If they are not ripe at the store, simply store them in a brown paper bag with a banana or apple when you get home. Otherwise, just store them at room temperature for best flavor and texture. Tomatoes come in all shapes and sizes including Cherry, Grape, Roma or Plum, Beefsteak, Heirloom and more. Unlike most produce, cooking tomatoes actually increases their nutrient content. It also helps to pair them with a healthy fat like olive oil. Prepare tomatoes using a non-reactive surface like stainless steel to avoid creating a bitter taste. Slice tomatoes using a properly sharpened knife working from top to bottom to retain the juices.

From sauces, chilis, salsas, and salads, tomatoes are used in a variety of flavorful dishes. This simple and traditional tomato sauce is great for pizza, pasta or lasagna (all crowd favorites in our Kitchens!). Use canned tomatoes to save time or practice your knife skills dicing fresh tomatoes. The grated carrots add natural sweetness and extra nutrition. We love adding extra herbs, so flavor it to your heart’s desire! You can choose to leave the sauce chunky or puree it with a hand blender depending on its final use.

If you’re having trouble with how to start your new year cooking adventure, start with a comforting family favorite recipe or try one of our favorite menus! Taste Buds Kitchen is excited about its new Gluten-free Handmade Pasta, Incredible Handmade Pizza, and Pizza Perfection classes all featuring this month’s spotlight ingredient. Check out a kitchen near you for all class offerings and let’s get cooking!

Happy New Year!

xoxo, Taste Buds Kitchen

Cooking Up a New Year