Guest Post: Tips for adding herbs to everyday meals

Herb Tips and Herbed Chicken Recipe

Hi, I’m Cindy from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings and love cooking with fresh herbs! When Laura invited me to guest post on Small Wallet Big Appetite I was so excited to share some tips with you!
As a Penn State Master Gardener, I learned so much about how to grow and use herbs. Fresh herbs can be an inexpensive way to dress up an everyday meal into something special! Herbs not only add great flavor, but as a bonus, herbs add a wonderful aroma to your dish, and your kitchen too!

Tips for adding herbs to everyday meals

  • Make an herb dipping oil to serve at dinner with thick slices of crusty French bread. Mix olive oil with minced garlic, thyme and oregano or rosemary.
  • Herb flavored butter, cream cheese or sour cream can add zing to everyday meals. Remember you can use low fat or “lite” versions to keep the calories count down.
  • Try adding a tablespoonful of dill, basil, garlic, rosemary or chives to a softened stick of butter. Herb butters go great with vegetables and especially corn-on-the-cob.
  • Herb flavored cream cheese can be used on bagels or spread on crackers and topped with pimento or black olive slices for a quick, colorful hors d’oeuvre.
  • Cream cheese and chive omelets were once considered something you could only get in upscale restaurants and delicatessens. Try serving these as mini omelets at your next brunch.
  • Add herbs to Greek yogurt along with your favorite spices for creative dips for chips or veggies. These combos can also make great toppers for baked potatoes.
  • Everyone has heard of herbal tea, but try adding a bolder flavor to hot chocolate or lemonade with a sprig of mint.
  • If you make your own pasta, try incorporating fresh herbs into the mix. Remember that adding fresh herbs will change the moisture content, so use sparingly and adjust your amount of flour. Herb pastas allow you to use a lighter sauce without sacrificing flavor. Try a rosemary garlic combination or lemon pepper for starters!
  • Herb breads are also making a comeback. Use dried herbs or seed when making bread. Popular choices are dill, oregano, basil, rosemary or caraway.
  • Getting the most from your herbs

  • Herbs picked in the morning have the highest concentration of essential oils and flavor. Use this advantage when selecting herbs for use that day or for drying.
  • By individually sampling herbs you learn each herb’s unique flavor and strength. This is a great guide for cooking to prevent herbs from overpowering each other.
  • Use an herb garni when preparing soups and stews. Add any fresh herbs within the last few minutes of cooking to retain color and flavor.**how-to
  • Cold infused herbs such as in spreads or dressings need time to let the flavor soak in. Experiment with the time to get the taste you want before changing a recipe.
  • If possible, try a recipe using fresh herbs versus dried herbs. Dried herbs tend to be more potent and need to be adjusted accordingly. This is especially important when trying to recreate a dish when fresh herbs are out of season.
  • Herbed Chicken

    1 each chicken, cut in parts
    1/4 cup olive oil
    2 Tbsp garlic cloves, finely chopped
    2 Tbsp each freshly chopped herbs, suggestions: chives, thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley,basil
    salt and pepper to taste
    Peel back the skin and coat meat with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and some of the herb mixture.
    Replace the skin and coat it lightly with oil. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes and until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast.
    Serve with your favorite side dish with herbs of course!

    Oven Temperature: 350°F

    Cooking Times
    Preparation Time: 10 minutes
    Cooking Time: 45 minutes
    Total Time: about 1 hour

    Nutrition Facts
    Nutrition (per serving): 1142 calories, 897 calories from fat, 100.6g total fat, 213.9mg cholesterol, 203.9mg sodium, 659mg potassium, 6.9g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, <1g sugar, 51.6g protein, 385.7IU vitamin a, 6.6mg vitamin c.

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