Cooking How-To: The Art of Saute

High-flavor, low-fat tips for cooking veggies, seafood, and poultry in a snap.

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Why You Should Learn to Saute

Sauteing is the perfect technique for weeknight cooking: healthy, because you're not using too much fat, and quick. You can get loads of flavor out of sauteing fresh veggies, seafood, and poultry, as long as you know a few simple tricks. You can whip up a great meal in just three simple steps.

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Kate Sears

Step 1: Heat It Up

Heat fat in a skillet over medium-high until a drop of water sizzles when added to the pan. Olive oil and butter begin to smoke at a lower temperature than canola oil. Consider this when choosing your fat, avoiding olive oil and butter when a recipe requires a longer cooking time.

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Step 2: Slice & Arrange

Cut ingredients to a uniform size, pat them dry, then add them to the pan in a single layer. Overlapping ingredients trap moisture, which will cause them to steam rather than saute.

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Step 3: Get Cookin'

Cook until done, stirring only as directed. Depending on what you're cooking, "done" might mean browned, tender, or cooked all the way through. Be patient -- constantly moving the food in the pan hinders the browning that is the sign of a perfect (and perfectly delicious) saute.

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Sesame Snow Peas

Make these quick-and-easy snow peas a weeknight staple. They cook up in five minutes and are a terrific side for fish or Asian-flavored foods.

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Kate Sears

Simply Scallops

These scallops are scrumptious and straightforward, with just a hint of lemon. Let them sizzle when they hit the pan, and they'll develop a delectable crust.

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Kate Sears

Super Shrimp Saute

This easy recipe results in a perfect one-pot meal.

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Kate Sears

Turkey Tacos

This family favorite comes together in no time.

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Kate Sears

Toasted Quinoa with Cranberries

Kids will love the sweet dried cranberries in this nutty quinoa salad.

Originally published in the February 2012 issue of Parents magazine.

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