On average, each American household spends about $3000 a year on dining out. Think about what you could do with an extra $3000 in your budget! On top of that, chain restaurants and fast food joints aren’t exactly known for being healthy establishments. So, eating out may not be the most conscious choice for your overall wellbeing.
That leads many people to want to cook more meals at home. You can see which ingredients are going into your dish, and you can control things like salt and fat. You can also add extra ingredients to boost the nutritional value of your meals.
But, cooking can be intimidating if you’ve never really done it before. Or, maybe you feel like you don’t have the time, or you don’t know what to make.
Everyone can cook at home more with just a little bit of extra effort. With that in mind, let’s look at four tips you can use to make more homecooked meals that your whole family can enjoy.
Make it a Priority
Remember that calamari recipe you saw on themediterraneandish.com last week? You bought all of the ingredients, and you planned to make it tonight. But, you had to stay late at work, and now you’re tired and the kids are hungry.
Cooking at home often starts with the best of intentions, but life happens.
If you feel like your schedule doesn’t allow for homecooked meals, however, you’re wrong. Look specifically for meals that can be made in 30 minutes or less. Or, take advantage of kitchen tools like slow cookers or an Instant Pot that can cook for you all day while you’re away, or cook things very quickly!
Build Your Staples
Some people don’t often cook because they feel like their pantry isn’t properly stocked. Every kitchen should have a few essential items always on hand, so no matter what you’re cooking, you can add more flavor.
You’ll always need things like olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and other spices. You should also keep extra ingredients on hand that you like. Many things are freezable, so buy more of something when it’s on sale, and stock up for later.
Plan Your Meals
One of the most important aspects of cooking more at home is planning ahead of time. You can try out new recipes from thekitchencommunity.org and learn some substitute ingredients for your meals as well.
If you’re not a list-maker, you might have to become one in order to make more homecooked meals. Decide what you’re going to make each week and write it down. Then, create a grocery list with the ingredients needed for those particular meals.
Planning and preparedness will make it easier to stay on track and commit yourself to making those meals.
Make Big Batches
Whether you’re feeding a family of four or you’re just cooking for yourself, don’t be afraid to make a lot of food. Cooking once and having leftovers for a few days certainly isn’t a bad thing, and you still get all the benefits of having a freshly-made meal for multiple days.
Some dishes, like soups and stews, often get better after a day or two, so cook a lot and enjoy it multiple times!
Anyone can cook at home. It’s just a matter of pulling the trigger and getting started, even if you feel intimidated. Once you step into the kitchen and actually start cooking, you might just find a new hobby to enjoy.