Benefits of Eating Meat

Meat contains a number of important nutrients that are needed by your body for carrying out vital metabolic functions. These are proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals. All these nutrients are responsible for providing you with energy and keeping you healthy.

Nutrients Present in Meat

Proteins:
Meat is a rich source of proteins. Protein is required by the body in very high amounts because it plays varied roles that are essential for your body’s functioning and overall well-being. The most important among them are building and repair of body tissues and formation of antibodies that fight against infections. As a general rule, proteins form 19-20% of meat. Some may be present in the form of amino acids and small peptides. These are readily absorbed by the blood. Meat is considered to be a high quality protein because it contains almost all the essential amino acids known so far. Thus, the health benefits of consuming meat include a strong immune system along with a fast recovery and regeneration capacity of the body.

Minerals:
Meat contains a number of minerals. It is especially rich in iron. Your body needs iron to form hemoglobin that is necessary for the transport of oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body. Another mineral present in meat is zinc. It boosts metabolism and helps in tissue formation. Meat also provides for selenium. Selenium assists in the breakdown of fat and other chemicals in the body. Therefore, meat provides you with some very important minerals, the availability of which is necessary for its proper operation.

Vitamins:
Meat also contains a number of vitamins, the most prominent of which are vitamin A, B and D. Vitamin A promotes good vision, supports bone and teeth development, and maintains optimum health of the skin. Vitamin B supports the central nervous system and enhances mental health. Similarly, vitamin D promotes calcium and phosphorus use, which in turn, maintains healthy bones and teeth. Therefore, the nutrition derived from the vitamins present in meat lends to the other benefits of meat.

However, it has to be understood that meat contains a very high content of fat and cholesterol, which puts a lot of pressure on the body. High levels of fat and cholesterol give rise to a line of disorders that directly affect your heart and circulatory system. Therefore, it is advisable to have only limited portions of meat. Limit your intake of meat to only 2-3 servings a week. This is very necessary to prevent varied health complications.

Deep Frying

Deep-frying is a favorite method of preparing dishes, where one can bite into that crispy texture, that complements the meat or vegetable, that the batter encases. Fried chicken is what people usually look to for a downing session. The famous ‘bucket of chicken’ is what we’re familiar with, when it comes to junk food. Here, we look into how oil is everything when it comes to deep-frying. You want to get the best in fried food, by knowing exactly what kind of oil would work well with it.

Choosing the Right Oil for Deep-Frying

When picking out the best oil for deep-frying, you need to first understand what is a smoke point. A smoke point is when oil is heated up to a temperature where free fatty acids and glycerol break down. It is then further broken down to acrolein, which is when cooks display that bluish flame that engulfs the top of the frying fan. When the smoke point comes into consideration, flavor and the breaking down of nutrients come forth. That is why it is crucial to know which oil has to be used for deep-frying, to make sure you don’t ruin the dish. The best oils when it comes to their smoke points are.
Canola oil (high oleic): Smoke point is 246°C
Peanut oil (Refined): Smoke point is 232°C
Grape seed oil: Smoke point is 216°C
Safflower oil (Refined): Smoke is 266°C
Avocado oil: Smoke is 271°C
Sunflower oil (refined): Smoke point is 232°C
Soybean oil (refined): Smoke point is 232°C
Avocado oil: Smoke point is 271°C
Almond oil: Smoke point is 216°C
Deep-Frying Chicken

When deep-frying foods, you can use anything by following this method of frying below. Even deep-frying fish works well for this. The oils mentioned above have high cholesterol content in them, so you need to watch out for how often you deep-fry foods when using those oils. The best deep-frying oil to use, would be grape seed oil, being a healthier option to the others.

What You’ll Need
½ cup flour
One small bottle/single can of beer
Grape seed oil/oil of your choice with high smoke point
1½ teaspoon of salt
Chili flakes
Wide wok
Fire extinguisher (just in case)
Method of Preparation

When you defrost the chicken/fish, make sure you wipe away any water or juice, that may still be on it. You want it nice and dry, since water makes oil sputter. First prepare your batter, for the deep-frying. Mix in your flour, beer, chili flakes, and salt. Make sure it is a nice consistency when you mix it all up. The secret behind using beer, is to achieve that nice golden crisp batter, since the bubbles create that air for it to go crunchy in texture. Keep it aside, and get to heating up your oil now. When heating oil, keep it at a low fire, until it gets to a point where it is hot enough to submerge your meat. When the oil surface starts to ripple, you know that your oil is hot enough, or you could drop in a square piece of bread to see if it rises, and is deep brown in color. Using filleted fish/chicken, is the best thing to do, since it gets evenly fried without it being undercooked from within. Dip in your chicken/fish into the batter, and then plop it gently into the wok, at a close range, without dropping it in from a height. You don’t want hot oil spill out. Don’t overcrowd the wok with all your pieces; fry 3-4 pieces at a time. Don’t leave that spot to do something else, since it needs your attention from start to finish. When you turn it about in the oil, make sure the outside is golden brown, signaling that it is done. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. When that’s done, you can then place them on kitchen paper rolls, to soak up the excess oil. There you have it; crispy battered chicken/fish, ready to be devoured with barbecue sauce or a lemon garlic dip.

Deep-frying is a nice way to get food tasting yummier than it would if you had fried it (sautéed), or cooked it in a gravy. It’s a nice way of experimenting with not just cooking meats, but with vegetables, fritters, ‘twinkies’ and of course donuts. There are different ways to use oil as a medium to get golden battered foods, that taste so much more sinful when it has been deep-fried to perfection.

Cooking as a Hobby

Cooking, for most people, is a tiresome job that they have to do everyday, whether they like it or not. Even if you are not going to eat yourself, you still have to cook for your family. If you cannot afford the luxury of eating out everyday, then cooking becomes a daily chore. However, there are some people who thoroughly enjoy it. Although cooking rarely features on our list of hobby ideas, these people are so obsessed with cooking that they start treating it as a hobby. So, is cooking really a hobby? Hobby is any activity which comes as a pleasant variation from your usual work and which allows you to unwind. Going by that definition, it indeed is.

Benefits

Most of us are reluctant cooks; we cook because we have to. How many of us really put our heart into it? Very few. However, if you take up cooking as a hobby, you will look at it as a way to unwind yourself. The difference between great chefs and us, reluctant cooks, is only that of attitude. If we look at it as a chore, we can never hope to become a good cook. You anyway have to cook, so why not give it your best shot? Instead of doing it halfheartedly, why not put your heart and soul into it? People who enjoy cooking often say that when they are at it, they forget all their worries. The reacting ingredients and the delicious aroma of cooked food can all transport you to a different world altogether. Since cooking requires immense concentration, your mind is only focused on your recipe and nothing else. The satisfaction that you derive from preparing food to perfection is simply immeasurable. Even if you do not, you can always engage yourself in improvising or perfecting your recipes.

You need not be an accomplished cook to pursue this hobby. In fact, the more inexperienced you are, the better. You will have a lot of things to learn as you go on exploring the culinary world. Cookbooks and magazines can be of great help for beginners. However, if you have never even boiled an egg in your life, then this may not be the best choice for you, as some books assume that you know at least the basics of cooking. Just like every other hobby in the world, this too may develop into an addiction. As you go on garnering praise for your recipes, you will get an adrenaline rush to try out more. Even when you fail, you will keep yourself busy by identifying what went wrong with your recipe. In that sense, cooking is something which gets better with time. Every time you cook, you reach new levels of perfection with your recipe. You can also learn several permutations and combinations in the kitchen, which go into the making of delectable food. The joy of exploring newer cuisines and perfecting them is unmatchable.

Cooking as a Money-Making Hobby

Did you ever think of cooking as a hobby that makes money? Probably not. However, the truth is that you can quickly turn your hobby into a money-making venture. Cooking can be one of the best hobbies for women, especially stay-at-home moms. Before venturing into a full-fledged catering business, you can start it at a much smaller level. Ask a friendly shopkeeper if you can keep some of your food samples for sale at his grocery store. Depending upon the quality of your food item, you can get a good response. You can offer a part of the profit to the shopkeeper. You can also open a kiosk and sell muffins, sandwiches or whatever is your specialty. Besides, you can also start a small catering service from your home. You can supply food to small family functions or corporate parties. Another idea of turning this hobby into a money-making business is by starting your own cookery classes. What more, you can even write your own book or eBook on this topic!

Thus, cooking as a hobby has numerous benefits, from offering peace of mind to earning you a few extra bucks. So, don your chef’s hat and get ready to explore the miracles in your kitchen!

Tips for Cooking Great Meals in a Small Kitchen

It can be incredibly difficult to cook intricate meals in a tiny kitchen. Whether you’re in an apartment, condo, or just a house that isn’t quite as big as you’d like, cooking fantastic meals in a small kitchen is totally possible. You don’t need a big kitchen to make a big meal; all you need is a little creativity and these great tips.

Organization

Organization is key for any small space. The more organized you are, the more space you have leftover to do with what you want. This means you need to be organized before you start cooking as well as while you are cooking. Organizing your pantry, cupboards, fridge, freezer, and any other space where you store food is incredibly important. If you aren’t organized in a small space, you will end up not knowing where anything is and you’ll probably be frustrated before you even start making the meal. It’s a great idea to keep all of your boxed items together in one place, all canned items together, all your produce together, and so on. When you do this, you’ll have no trouble finding all the ingredients you need. This can also save you money, too. How many times have you opened the pantry to see if you have a certain spice before you go to the store to buy it, only to not be able to find it? At that point, you go to the store and buy another canister of the spice, and then you find the old bottle a week later. Organization can save your money and a trip to the store. While you are cooking, pull out all the ingredients you’ll need for the meal, and keep them all on the counter in one place. Spreading out all over a small kitchen isn’t an option, so watch how much room you’re using for your ingredients.

Cleanliness

They say that cleanliness is next to godliness, and when you’re cooking in a small kitchen, that’s absolutely true. You can’t be throwing ingredients around and splattering food on the counters and using up all of your spoons and pots and pans. Separate your recipes into sections and try to use only one bowl and a pot or pan for each recipe. Instead of grabbing a new bowl or pot, try to use the ones that are already dirty. While you’re waiting for something in the oven or on the stove, clean up the utensils you’ve used that you don’t need anymore. Put away ingredients at that time, too. This will free up space for you and create less work in cleaning up after the meal has been enjoyed. This is a great example to follow in every kitchen, big or small.

Cooking Alone

You know that saying that everyone always congregates in your kitchen when you’re hosting a dinner party? The best idea in a small kitchen is to kick everyone out while you’re cooking. If you barely have enough room to turn around while you’re cooking, you’ll need as much space as you can get; so don’t let anyone in your kitchen while you’re preparing the meal. This is unless, of course, they are helping you chop veggies or round up ingredients. There’s never anything wrong with asking for a little help, but if someone just wants to chat while you’re cooking, they’ll probably just get in the way.

Plating

With limited counter space, it’s probably not the best idea to have a buffet style meal. If you don’t have room to chat with people while you’re cooking, you probably don’t have enough room for guests to line up and get their food. If you have the counter space to plate the meal yourself for each guest, that’s probably your best bet. Otherwise, you can always pass serving dishes at the table and store them on the counter for people to get second helpings if they want.