Chopped's Alex Guarnaschelli Shares Her Secret for Making Literally Anything Into a Meal
When she's not busy judging food on Food Network's Chopped or running the kitchen at her New York restaurant Butter, Alex Guarnaschelli, who also cinched the title of "Iron Chef" back in 2012, is in charge of cooking for her 10-year-old daughter at home. And you might be surprised to hear that she actually doesn't meal prep in the traditional sense—instead, Guarnaschelli keeps a few things on hand to turn anything in her fridge or pantry into a meal.
"I'm a really big sauce person," Guarnaschelli tells PopSugar. "And that's just the chef in me but I think it's something other people can do, too. I have a few sauces and vinaigrettes in the fridge at all times."
What kind of sauces and dressings is she speaking of? She name drops three in particular (all of which we happen to have healthy versions of): a basic mustard vinaigrette, an easy-to-make caesar option, as well as a lemon-yogurt dressing. But Guarnaschelli isn't afraid to experiment in whipping up a few big batches of a sauce du jour to sprinkle on pantry staples all week long—whether that be a robust marinara sauce, a rich chimichurri rub, or a citrusy salsa.
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"Then I can just cook a piece of chicken or sear a pork chop and throw a dollop of sauce on there," Guarnaschelli says. "Sometimes I just make pasta. Sometimes I make a salad and just throw the dressing on it… I'll pretty much put it on anything, like a piece of fish, some cauliflower steak, a giant hunk of broccoli, even cabbage slaw."
We're big fans of Chef Guarnaschelli's approach to making anything in your pantry or fridge work, and her approach to using healthy, wholesome sauces liberally means you can enjoy what's essentially the same meal many different ways.
"You know what, I planned chicken, pork chops, and zoodles this week, but I accidentally ate pork carnitas for lunch and I don't want to eat pork again for dinner," Guarnaschelli told PopSugar. "There has to be a little breathing room. If you have those bases, then you get these bursts of flavor you can throw on anything."