Organic cooking is all about making food that is free of pesticides, hormones and other synthetic chemicals.? It takes a shift in thinking about how you shop, how you cook and how you plan for meals, but it’s worth it in terms of your health!? Making the switch to organic cooking can be overwhelming, so let Modera help you get started preparing your first (or next) meal.

Organic Cooking Prep: Shop Organic

The first step towards mastering organic cooking is knowing how to shop. It is as easy as avoiding overly processed foods and purchasing organic vegetables and fruits from a farmer’s market or Co-Op. But more recently, larger chain grocery stores are offering a larger selection of food you can use in organic cooking.

Be smart about which food to buy organic. Start with the big three: milk, chicken and eggs, because you may consume a large volume of these three items. Focus your effort on buying organic for fruits and vegetables with edible skins. Those types of produce tend to have the highest pesticide application rate, and it’s tough to remove all the residue.

Organic Cooking: Whole Wheat Pizza

You’re?not going to cook a 5-course organic meal the first time, unless you’re a total superstar.? Start simple with an organic wheat pizza crust such as Rustic Crust’s Organic Great Grains or if you like to make your own crust, try Simply Organic’s fair trade certified organic pizza crust mix. Add an organic pizza sauce or pesto sauce, and some red bell peppers, mushrooms, and chopped tomatoes. And don’t think organic cooking means having to go without the best part of the pizza…top it off with some Horizon Organic shredded mozzarella!? Here’s a tip for organic pizza — because you are using so many fresh veggies, you may need to reduce the amount of pizza sauce to account for the increased juiciness?of the toppings as they cook.

Organic Cooking: Roasted Peppers

Roasted bell peppers are extremely versatile in meal planning.? Use them warm in casseroles, as a side with chicken and rice dishes, or serve chilled as appetizers or in salads.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 package Simply Organic Ranch Dip Mix
3? sweet red bell peppers (or others of your choice)

Preheat broiler on high.? In a medium mixing bowl, blend olive oil?with Ranch Dip Mix. Cut peppers in half. Thinly spread mixture on each half of peppers.? Place on broiler pan and broil until peppers are tender and topping turns a light brown color. (Recipe courtesy of Simplyorganic.com).

Organic Cooking: Spinach Artichoke Dip

This next recipe is a quick way to learn organic cooking. Make sure you read labels carefully, and if you’re having trouble finding organic cheese and yogurt at the regular grocery store, try a local organic food store.

1 package Simply Organic Zesty Spinach Dip
1 cup Stonyfield Organic Greek plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped artichoke hearts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir all ingredients together and spoon mixture into greased 9-inch pie dish. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. (Recipe courtesy of Simplyorganic.com).

What’s your favorite organic cooking recipe?

Tomorrow, we’ll explore Cuban cuisine in preparation for Thursday’s post on Miami Beach Fashion Week!

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