Thanks to an idea from SparkPeople, I wanted to write briefly on ways to reduce calories in the cooking process. I’ve been a member of SparkPeople for many years. I track my food on their food tracker. They have many tools for dieters to help them reach their goals. In addition, it’s all free.
With that said, here is the first of 10 ways to put skinny in your cooking.
1. Sauté: it’s a savory way to make foods, especially vegetables low-calorie.
Sauté is a French word meaning “jumped, bounced” in reference to tossing while cooking. It is a method of cooking food that uses a small amount of oil or fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. Ingredients are usually cut into pieces or thinly sliced to facilitate fast cooking.
It is closely akin to frying but when you think of frying, you think of foods sitting in fats and letting them cook until done. But sautéing is a form of dry-heat cooking that uses a very hot pan and a small amount of fat to cook the food very quickly. Like other dry-heat cooking methods, sautéing browns the food’s surface as it cooks and develops complex flavors and aromas.
Keeping the fat out I think is the key to making this form of cooking helpful for dieters. Charlene and I have cooked using the water method or oil less method. Just put a little water in and toss your veggies in the pan. You can also use a little broth, vegetable, beef, or chicken. This will give you added flavors.
Also you can use very small amounts of oil like Pam Spray or the generic Great Value sprays. A quick squirt will suffice for you needs.
What’s the difference with sautéing and stir-fry? Stir-fry is also high heat, but more fat. Because the food is cooking in oil, you can move it around without altering the browning process. So, typically there’s more agitation to insure the food cooks evenly. Also, the ideal pan is different — for stir frying that is a wok. A wok allows the cook to move food through a depth of oil, without leaving it there for a few minutes. While contact conduction plays a role, the physics of stir-frying is much more dependent on liquid immersion conduction.
Charlene or I (she does most of the cooking,) don’t toss it into the air and flip it in the pan. We’ll leave that to the experts. Therefore, you need to keep it moving on the hot pan surface or the flavor we be burnt taste. To be successful, you need to move the ingredients either with a pair of tongs, spoon, or like they do on TV by tossing it in the air.
The biggest mistake home cooks make when sautéing is not getting the pan hot enough. Put the oil or liquid into a hot pan and get to work. You don’t want to end up with dry meat or veggies.