Week 3: Cook More at Home
I almost passed on this week’s Healthy Every Week Challenge from the Food Network since I already cook almost all of my meals at home (unless of course I’m traveling). I love to experiment in the kitchen and try out new recipes, and cooking at home means I’m sure my meals are fresh, flavourful, satisfying and reasonably healthy. Instead of skipping Week 3 entirely, I decided to personalize it a bit by challenging myself to cook more of my pantry basics at home.
First up, I made a big pot of homemade chicken stock. I wasn’t entirely convinced of the value of a good homemade stock until I tried a little test. I made risotto twice this week, once with a store-bought chicken broth (Knorr Homestyle Stock) and then again with my homemade stock. What a huge difference! The risotto made with the store-bought chicken broth tasted way too salty, even though I didn’t add any salt to it at all.
Next, I cooked up a batch of Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts to snack on instead of store-bought granola bars. Trust me. The difference between these two is like the difference between flying first class and flying coach.
Last but not least, I made a jar of oven-roasted cherry tomatoes. These little beauties just burst with sweetness! They add great flavour to pasta dishes, pizza, salads or anywhere you would normally use sun-dried tomatoes.
Slow~Roasted Cherry BombsMakes about one cup
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- fresh herbs of your choice (thyme, rosemary, oregano)
- olive oil
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the tomatoes, slice them in half, then pile them on the baking sheet. Chop garlic and scatter over the tomatoes. Tuck in a few sprigs of fresh herbs. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss everything together to coat, then spread the tomatoes out so they aren’t touching either.
Bake in a slow oven at 250°F until the tomatoes pucker up and the garlic caramelizes, about 3 hours.
Once the tomatoes have cooled, discard the herbs and pack the tomatoes and garlic into a clean jar. Cover and keep in the refrigerator.
I’m glad I didn’t skip this week’s challenge. Making some of my pantry basics was worth the effort and I plan on doing more of it. Next up…homemade tomato sauce and pesto!