Flavor and food must always go together!!!! No one likes food that doesn't have any flavor, no matter how good it is supposed to be for you. So let's talk flavor!! For me as a cook, I like to combine the two definitions of, FLAVOR: as a noun; The distinct taste of a food or drink, and, an indication of the essential character of something, as a verb; alter or enhance the taste of (food or drink) by adding a particular ingredient. All those rolled into how I cook and how everyone should cook, putting it all together, I call it "the flavor profile". So many healthy foods can be prepared using ingredients that add flavor, whether savory or sweet, there are so many options.
Fill you spice drawer or cupboard with all the different spices you love, different salts, ground peppers, garlic, onion, cajun, spanish, italian... Go through the spices at the store, choose all those that sound good to you, if something is unfamiliar, look it up. Don't be afraid to fill you collection of spices, and season your food with different varieties. Use onions and fresh minced garlic for more robust flavor, saute or stir fry veggies and your animal proteins. Season you burgers and meats before putting them on the grill. Marinate you meats and fish in delicious flavorful seasoning combinations, using lemon and lime, coconut aminos, vinegars, chili pastes, tahini... Cook with these items, make dips, dressings, sauces, don't be afraid to experiment, create some of your own flavor profiles.
Your flavor profile can and probably will be unique to you. We all have different tastes, our background or upbringing can have a lot to do with how we eat and flavors we are drawn to. I know when I first started cooking for my Mom, her palate was drawn to more salty fried flavors, being from the south. I grew up here in Southern California and established a cleaner more health conscious way of cooking and eating. So, my flavor profile was different from hers, even though I grew up eating the foods she made and recipes she learned from her mother, growing up in Tennessee. The foods we have access to in California year round are a lot different, too much oil and fried foods does not agree with my stomach. As a result, I created my own flavor profile, I have a tendency to stray toward Mexican food and spicy flavors, I can be creative with these flavors. Thai spices and asian food is another flavor profile I enjoy creating.
What is your flavor profile and what are you drawn to?? Start creating what you like, what your taste buds are craving. Some of us have certain food allergies, for example "GLUTEN", some gluten free breads can taste like cardboard, if you don't want to make your own bread, then find one you like best. From here, it isn't the flavor of the bread, but what you put on it!!! Spread a delicious hummus, then lay some fresh greens on top, sliced avocado and seasoning (salt, pepper, sesame seeds, a little paprika, a pinch of cayenne, a mixed sewing of some kind, a pinch of garlic powder), or toast it, spread a delicious nut butter on top, add banana, honey, cinnamon...this is your flavor!! Give it a try and see what you come up with when cooking, experiment, create. There might be some failures and definitely some successes, this is how you learn, this is how most of us learn in the kitchen.
Easy Turkey Chile
1 lb ground turkey (when you brown the turkey, use salt and pepper to taste and 1 tsp garlic powder)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (you can also use 15 oz can kidney beans mixed with northern white beans, or. two cans of white beans)
1 large can 28 oz crushed tomatoes
2-3 tbsp taco seasoning mix
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a skillet and cook the ground turkey, seasoning it with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Chop onion, bell pepper. Rinse and drain the beans.
Add all ingredients to the crock pot and stir until well blended.
Turn on the crockpot, cook either on high for four hours, or 6-8 hours on low. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
Making your own taco seasoning: Adding FLAVOR
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Combine all seasonings in a small jar and shake or stir until it is well incorporated.
I usually double or triple this recipe so I have some on hand for future use for taco meat, soups...