Expert Interviews Series: Kristi Rimkus of Mother Rimmy's Cooking Light Done Right

Kristi Rimkus (a.k.a. Mother Rimmy) is a healthy recipe developer and food blogger with a passion for creating family-pleasing meals. We recently asked for her advice on health eating for the whole family. Here's what she had to say:...

Cooking light done right

Kristi Rimkus (a.k.a. Mother Rimmy) is a healthy recipe developer and food blogger with a passion for creating family-pleasing meals. We recently asked for her advice on health eating for the whole family. Here's what she had to say:

Tell us the story behind Mother Rimmy. When and why did you start your blog?

I started blogging seven years ago as a way to maintain the 40 pounds I lost with the Weight Watchers plan several years before. After losing weight I started developing my own healthier recipes and sharing them with friends and family. A blog seemed like a good way to post recipes everyone could access. During that time, I spent two years earning a nutrition certification as a way to ensure I was providing nutritious options on the blog as well.

When did you become so passionate about healthy eating?

After I lost the weight I realized that cooking at home using whole ingredients was the best possible option I had to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I don't always succeed and definitely have my healthy eating challenges, but I have the tools and skills now to get back on track.

What do you think is the key to creating healthy, delicious meals?

Whole foods and eating in season is the key to creating meals people will want to eat. Buying in-season fruits and vegetables not only saves money but provides the best flavors. Healthy oils, whole grains, dairy and lean meats all get a boost from fresh herbs. You can't beat using the freshest ingredients you can find when cooking at home.

Who or what inspires you in the kitchen?

When I was working the Weight Watchers plan I quickly realized that if I didn't serve meals the whole family would enjoy, then I wasn't going to succeed. It was too hard to work outside the home and make separate meals for myself and the family. I wanted us all to eat better, and now that the kids are grown and gone it's just as important that my husband and I eat well. All this is to say, that my family is my greatest inspiration.

How do you approach making meals that your whole family will enjoy?

I like to keep recipes as fresh and simple as possible. When I first started developing recipes I'd have a list of ingredients a mile long. I quickly realized that people don't have time to cook complicated meals and that I didn't have time for that either. Now my recipes are easy to put together and readers are much happier with the results in their own kitchens.

What's one of your family's all-time favorite healthy meals?

My family's favorite meals include chicken of any kind, with baked chicken tenders breaded with herbs and panko breadcrumbs the best-loved meal. Add a lightly tossed salad with fruit and nuts and they're happy.

What are some tricks for adapting beloved recipes to make them healthier?

One of my favorite tricks learned from a popular chef is to faux fry foods by baking them on a cookie rack over a cookie sheet. I line a cookie sheet with foil for easy cleanup, then place a cookie cooling rack sprayed with cooking spray on top. Using panko bread crumbs and dried or fresh herbs, I spray the meat or vegetables lightly with olive oil cooking spray, then press the meat or vegetables into the bread crumbs, then place them on the cookie rack. Using this method the breadcrumbs retain their crunch and the meat is moist and tender.

What are some ways we unintentionally add unnecessary calories to the foods we make?

While healthy fats are nutritious, they are calorie dense. By free-pouring oils into a pan you can easily add hundreds of calories and extra fat to a dish. Also, with the information we know about the health implications of unnecessary sugar, these days we're watching the grams of sugar in the products we buy. Often times condiments and packaged foods contain unnecessary sugars we add to our meals.

What's one kitchen tool you can't live without?

I purchased an Instant Pot a few months ago and it's become my favorite kitchen appliance. It slow cooks, pressure cooks, sautes and steams food. Though we don't eat a lot of rice in our home, it's even a rice cooker. I love the fact that I can brown or saute ingredients, then turn the pot to the slow or pressure cooker settings and dinner is ready to go when I need it. One pot, minimal mess. It doesn't get better than that!

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