Cook It Up Healthy! Make your tastebuds tingle!

Posted: Mar 25, 2013

“Do we have to eat that again?”
“There's nothing good to eat in this house.”
“I'm tired of that same old lunch!”
Sound familiar? Make your tastebuds tingle! Add some zing to your meals without added fat and/or salt – try some of the following flavour enhancers to create new and exciting tastes.

Meat & Alternatives Suggested Flavour Enhancers
FISH Basil, curry powder, dill, garlic, lemon or lime juice, paprika, parsley, tarragon,
POULTRY Basil, ginger, paprika, parsley, sage, thyme, lemon or orange juice
BEEF Garlic, green or black peppercorns, pepper, sage, thyme, rosemary
PORK Apple juice, applesauce, garlic, marjoram, sage, onion, paprika, pineapple
TOFU Garlic, curry, fruit juices, ginger, pepper
Vegetables Suggested Flavour Enhancers
SQUASH Ginger, basil, onion, garlic, lemongrass, maple syrup, cinnamon
BROCCOLI Lemon juice, pepper, sesame seeds
GREEN BEANS Lemon juice or zest, nutmeg, marjoram, onion, chives, garlic, balsamic vinegar
RED CABBAGE Apple, cider vinegar, caraway seeds, honey
CAULIFLOWER Nutmeg, onion, garlic
PEAS Mint, chervil, chives, lemon juice, onion, mushroom, parsley
TOMATOES Basil, onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary
SWEET POTATOES Cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, pears, cayenne pepper
Toss in: Top:
  • Bran or ground flax seed to casseroles, meatloaf, stews, loaves, muffins, breads, cereals or cookies
  •  Chopped nuts or dried fruits to salads, quick breads, cereals and cookies
  •  Beans or lentils (whole or pureed) to tomato based sauces
  •  Red lentils to rice pilaf or soup
  •  Tofu, chopped nuts or seeds to stir-fries
  •  Evaporated skim milk or regular fluid milk to soups, casseroles or sauces
  •  Yogurt to dips, salad dressings or mashed potatoes
  •  Pizza with black beans and roasted vegetables
  •  Your favourite whole grain cereal with fruit and yogurt
  •  Beef, turkey or chicken burgers with sliced tomatoes, shredded carrot and lettuce
  • Leafy green salad with leftover salmon or chicken, grated cheese, chopped cooked egg or cooked lentils

Chicken in Butter Sauce

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 35-45 minutes
Makes 8 Servings
Main Ingredients:

  • 45 mL (3 tbsp) tandoori paste (see tip, at right)
  • 25 mL (2 tbsp) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 25 mL (2 tbsp) plain yogurt
  • 750 g (1 1⁄2 lbs) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2.5 cm (1-inch) chunks

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 50 mL (1⁄4 cup) tomato paste
  • 125 mL (1⁄2 cup) water
  • 2.5 cm (1 1/2 inch) cube gingerroot, very finely grated
  • 1 fresh green chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 20 mL (4 tsp) lemon juice
  • 15 mL (1 tbsp) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 5 mL (1 tsp) of each, ground cumin and garam masala (store-bought or see recipe)
  • 4 mL (3⁄4 tsp)  salt
  • 1 mL (1⁄4 tsp) of each granulated sugar and chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (250 mL) half-and-half (10%) cream


  1. In a large bowl, combine tandoori paste, lemon juice and yogurt. Add chicken and stir well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  3. Arrange chicken in a single layer in an 11- by 7- inch (2 L) baking pan and pour in marinade. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine tomato paste and water. Stir in ginger, chilli pepper, lemon juice, cilantro, cumin, garam masala, salt, sugar and chili powder.
  5. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in sauce and bring to a simmer. Add cooked chicken and any juice from the baking pan; simmer for about 10 minutes to combine flavours. Add cream and cook for 3 minutes to heat through (do not boil).

Serve over steamed basmati rice, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro. Accompany with steamed green beans or asparagus.
Tip: Tandoori paste is available in the ethnic food aisle of most supermarkets, usually on the shelf with Indian sauces.

Garam Masala

This traditional spice blend is from Northern India.If you can’t find it, create your own with this simple recipe:



• 5 cm (1 2-inch) cinnamon stick, broken
• 1⁄4 whole nutmeg
• 15 mL (1 tbsp) cardamom seeds
• 5 mL (1 tsp) of each cumin seeds, whole cloves and black peppercorns


Place all spices in a clean coffee grinder and grind for about 40 seconds or until spices are fully ground.
Store at room temperature in an airtight jar for up to 3 months.