One of the biggest challenges commercial facilities, at places such as healthcare institutions, often face when feeding hundreds or even thousands of people per day, is maintaining food quality and appearance. Foodservice departments only have so much budget to prepare prearranged recipes, and the almost robotic organization of it all just somehow ends up being felt in the food. To help spark some inspiration back into your kitchen so that your patients can feel the passion in every plate, our team at Vision Software has put together a list of 10 different, powerful ways you can easily enhance the flavor of your meals without making any drastic changes or blowing your budget.
Hunger for a Higher Heat
Grilling, broiling, pan-searing, and other high-heat cooking techniques that focus on caramelizing the outside of the meat while retaining the juicy flavor on the inside are going to be your best option when trying to impress picky patients. Doing so intensifies the flavors of whatever cuts you’re working with, and your patients will love it.
Victory Over Boring Veggies
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are notorious for serving soft foods, and for a lot of senior patients this is ideal. However, not every food item needs to be boiled to the point of lifelessness. By roasting or grilling vegetables at a high heat (450ºF), brushed with a just a touch of oil and some fragrant herbs, you can bring life back into any side dish. Plus, roasted vegetables can be mixed and matched, and made in huge batches extraordinarily easily without wasting pans, stovetop space, and water.
Keep Things Popping With More Peppers
From sweet peppers, to spicy ones, there isn’t a dish out there that can’t be elevated with few peppers. They bring vibrant colors and bold flavors to any meal, plus their extremely healthy for you. For instance, peppers contain capsaicin, which is an anti-irritant that can help the digestive tract, heal a stomach ache, reduce gas, and more. They can also fight off colds, flus, and fungal infections, they relieve joint pain, and contain tons of vitamins.
Add a Little More Acidity
Acidic fruits, such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits are great at helping balance flavors. Whether you use just the juice, or a little zest, you’re bound to add a whole new dimension of flavor for your patients to go crazy about.
Throw In Some Savory Sauces
In some cases, especially when you have a lot of leftovers, all you need is a good sauce to really celebrate the versatility of any dish. For instance, if you have a surplus of grilled chicken, you can top it with a sweet mango salsa one night, a spicy and tangy concoction of pineapples and peppers the next, and pair it with a homemade honey BBQ dip the next – the possibilities are endless, which means variety for your patients.
For some ingredients that have a lot of powerful flavors, a little can go a long way, and that’s good for facilities that need to make their ingredients last. Chipotle peppers, pomegranate seeds, and cilantro are just a few examples of ingredients you can keep that will serve your foodservice department well.
Sweat Your Spices
Certain ingredients, like onions, garlic, ginger, and peppers, are better when they have a chance to sweat and release all their juices. Simply sauté them lightly in a hot pan with some oil for a short amount of time and you’re good to go.
Face Your Fats
While you should still always avoid trans and saturated fats, some fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, are incredibly good for you, and even necessary for a healthy body. So don’t forget to really utilize your avocados, coconut, seeds, nuts, salmon, eggs, olive oil, and other lean meats.
Freeze In The Freshness
Fresh herbs are the best to cook with, but they also can dry out or go bad so fast that a lot of places won’t use them due to the waste. However, making your own frozen flavor cubes by chopping up your fresh herbs into blends and putting them in ice cube trays with olive oil, and then into the freezer, is a great way to keep them fresh and ready for use anytime.
Switch Up Your Salts
Salt is a basic ingredient that most dishes can’t live without. However, with excessive sodium being a big concern for most healthcare establishments, it’s one that’s best when used in moderation. Although, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a mean salt that packs a powerful punch all on its own – all you have to do is season it. Add dry herbs, chili peppers, citrus zest, or whatever else you want to dramatically enhance the flavor of any dish without going overboard.