You’ve Got New Year’s Resolutions. We Can Help.

Jess Voelker Preparing Staff Meal

Feeling a little doughy and broke? You’re not alone. After a long, indulgent holiday, a lot of us are inspired to tighten up a bit in the New Year—exercise more, drink and spend less, step away from those leftover Christmas cookies. But don’t close down the kitchen just yet. Preparing your own food is one of the best ways to ensure you stick to a healthy eating plan, the sort of plan that you can maintain all year until next holiday season, when—don’t worry—you can resume the nog chugging and snickerdoodle snarfing once more. Whatever your food goals are, we want to inspire you to keep cooking (and learning!) in 2015. Check out our suggestions for delicious ideas on how to do just that.

Resolution 1: Follow the Paleo Diet

Devotees of this massively popular eating plan eschew dairy products, grains, legumes, processed oils, and refined sugar. The premise is that these foods weren’t readily available during the Paleolithic era, when the human body evolved nutritional needs in line with the foods they could access. By following a diet closer to what our prehistoric ancestors ate, Paleo people eat in a manner befitting the way their bodies developed, or so the logic goes. Whether or not you swallow all that is your business, but sticking to this protein-and-vegetable focused regime is one way to cut down on those empty calories that come from (glorious) carbs and (delectable) sweets. How to do it: Investing in a sous vide water bath or circulator can prove crucial in sticking to a protein-centric diet, as it allows you to cook delicious meats with little fuss. To test the method without having to invest in any equipment, consult our Sous Vide 101 class, which includes recipes for amazing salmon, pork chops, and steak, along with instructions on how to create a water bath with a pot on the stove and a digital thermometer.

Coffee Butter Steak with Spinach

Resolution 2: Eat more vegetables

We all know we need them. With vital nutrients that help keep away chronic diseases, vegetables are a crucial part of any healthy diet. Focusing on eating more plant foods—rather than trying to stay away from stuff you love (we’re looking at you, Paleo)—can be a great recipe for success. The key to sticking with it is to make those vegetables taste delicious, and that’s where we come in. How to do it: Easy to make and surprisingly satisfying, our Microwaved Radicchio Salad is anchored by warm, slightly wilted chicory leaves; an awesome source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. We dress them with rich buttermilk, verdant chive oil, funky blue cheese, and toasted hazelnuts. Speaking of the microwave, you can also use it to quickly cook up some mixed vegetables, then top those healthy fellas with some Bagna Càuda Foam.

Microwaved Radicchio  Salad

And at the risk of sounding repetitive, we should also point out the benefits of preparing veggies sous vide. You can achieve optimal chickpea texture (firmer for salads, softer for hummus) and maintain the vibrant crunch of kale. Carrots keep their color and signature sweetness, and tart red cabbage can be converted into a super-smooth purée that makes a great accompaniment to our pastrami.

Sous Vide Kale

Resolution 3: Eat breakfast everyday

Good one. Skipping breakfast is an easy way to wind up ravenous by the time that 11 AM meeting rolls around. Also, a morning meal sets a civilized tone for the day. How to do it: Learning to make awesome soft-poached eggs should inspire you to keep up the breakfast habit. Use our egg calculator to determine, then create, your perfect egg. And if you’re resolved to up your coffee game in 2015, be sure to consult our extensive Espresso class.

Egg White Hollandaise

Resolution 4: Spend less on food (but still eat well)

Look, we know how it is. Just like you, we’re constantly enticed by new restaurants, craft cocktail bars, and specialty shops stocked with the best ingredients. Trouble is, that stuff gets expensive. Is there a way to maintain your delicious-food lifestyle while spending a little less? Indeed. The trick is to find little ways to cut back so you can splurge on truly epic meals, tools, and culinary classes. How to do it: Pretty little microgreens are a super-impressive garnish for dinner-party dishes, and growing your own means you can afford to work them into weekday-morning smoothies or a salad to bring to work for lunch. Allow us to show you how—for free.

Microgreens

When you’re short on time, it’s tempting to order takeout for dinner—which adds up fast, and frankly often sucks. This is why we love having a pressure cooker handy. Flavor-packed braises and stews come out great in a fraction of the time they would take with other methods, and taste far better than most things that arrive at your door in a clamshell. Plus, you can use the cheapest cuts to create these comfort foods, as nothing transforms the tough stuff into succulent, velvety deliciousness as fast as a pressure cooker.

Chocolate and Mustard Stew

Ready to get cooking? Join ChefSteps today for one-of-a-kind recipes, tested techniques, and access to our lively forum.

13 thoughts on “You’ve Got New Year’s Resolutions. We Can Help.

  1. Jaethan Reichel

    It’s unfortunate that you’d include a questionable fad diet in with other legitimate food goals, though you did a fair job of hedging.

    Hard to swim against (misguided) trends.

    • Questionable food fad??? – simply a healthy eating style!

    • ‘Hard to swim against (misguided) trends.’
      Same with veganism. At least people are getting more and more in touch with their food – hence less take-away or convenience products. Furthermore I am quite happy about the fact that people are starting to question the good old food pyramid and other antiquated ‘facts’. Quite late considering the fact that obesity is getting out of hands. Best advice still is cook yourself with as fresh and local ingrediences as possible and do sports equals to a healthy and fit physique. Now if that isn’t a New Years Resolution I don’t know what is.

    • You have no idea what you are talking about. ChefSteps realizes that Paleo diet is based on science and clearly they respect it or they would not have mentioned it. Assuming that ALL new diets are ridiculous despite having no real data to substantiate is something no real man of science would ever respectfully do. Nearly all elements of the Paleo diet are recommended by scientists, such as avoiding processed foods, eating vegetables.. Where does your problem lie with Paleo? I suspect you know nothing about it and are possible taking the term Paleo too literally. It’s just a silly name for a name that supports eating foods that are body has learned to process for millions of years as opposed to foods that were introduced in the last few thousand years or earlier. Please check out the research on this site and educate yourself and then we’ll talk.
      http://www.gnolls.org/index/

    • I viewed it more as humor than an unfortunate gaffe.

    • I am not aware of any evidence that the paleo diet is misguided.

      Care to share?

  2. Yes, some of us paleo people are Chefsteps followers/customers (well, I cut out grains and sugar, but not dairy). Neat to see a shout out. There is actually a happy marriage between paleo philosophy and modern techniques and, yes, modern ingredients. I can, for instance, use xanthan as a thickener and ditch flour and rouxs. Or I can construct faux pasta/noodles (like the chicken/tg noodle recipe). Lots of great ideas on this site and the MC set. Cheers to you guys.

    • I agree with you 100%.. Modern science and the Paleo diet go hand in hand in my opinion. I also did not cut out dairy fat due to the recent studies showing it’s highly beneficial nature as well as it’s very tasty.
      When people criticize the Paleo diet it’s only because they don’t understand it and they interpret it too literally. It should be called the science diet because it’s based purely on the latest science regarding nutrition.

  3. Instead of “Spending less on food”, how about Spending less on junk food / fast food. Well, to put a fatty bacon dish in your list, must be the Chefsteps way of dieting :-). In there portfolio of recipes are dishes, which are loaded with butter.

  4. Really the Paleo?

    I’ve been a hardcore follower for a while now but the excessive meat consumption you guys have is over my head.

    With your knowledge and experience/expertise I challenge you to make modern vegeterian even vegan food with that awesome gastronomical twist. How about that?

    • They make a decent amount of vegetarian food and you can even sort the recipe gallery to only show vegetarian recipes, and there are pages and pages of options….

      Also Paleo is a pretty solid diet if you want to lose weight.

  5. Jessica Voelker

    Hey everyone, Thanks for your comments! To be clear, this was not intended as a position on Paleo—or any other diet—one way or the other, but rather a recognition that it’s a popular diet and that sous vide makes a lot of sense for people who are following a food plan that’s heavy on proteins and vegetables, since it’s an awesome, predictable way to get yield great results with those foods. Just want to be clear. Carry on!

  6. Everyone calm down! Thank you Chefsteps for your recommendations. I’m looking forward to another great year with all of you!

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