Cooking meals at home not only saves money, but it can also be much healthier than grabbing fast food. There’s nothing wrong with using convenience meals and getting take-out, but if you’re looking for ways to make it easier to cook more frequently at home, the following tips may be useful.
Take stock of what you have
It’s important to always know what foods you have on hand before you plan your meals. Some people keep a very detailed inventory sheet, but this can be time-consuming and not necessary unless you have a lot of food on hand. Choose a day each week to think about what you have and what you can make so you can plan out meals for the entire week. There are meal planning apps and planners that are designed just to help you keep track of what you want to cook each week. But a simple cheap notebook can serve the same purpose.
Keep it simple
Not everyone enjoys cooking, but knowing some very simple kitchen skills can help keep yourself and your family well-fed. Some of the easiest meals like pasta, breakfast for dinner and freezer-friendly meals require very little time in the kitchen. If you can take a few hours once a week to wash and chop veggies, thaw/marinate meat and pre-assemble some dishes, the daily work is much easier to manage. Keep a list of your family’s favorite meals and add in new dishes when you have extra time.
Cooking up a large batch of meat allows you to use it in several different ways, which also saves much time and effort. Baked or grilled chicken can be later used in quesadillas, salads, or pasta. Cooked ground beef can be used for lasagna, chili or soup, and tacos. Slow cooker meals can also be a good option for stews and roasts. You can assemble the meal in the morning and allow the slow cooker to do all the work.
Cooking every day can feel like a chore, especially when you don’t take time to plan your meals ahead. There’s nothing wrong with having simple meals like pasta, tacos, and sandwiches. Whatever you make at home is likely healthier and cheaper than what you can get at your local takeout place. Spend a couple of hours each week to plan and prep your meals so you can cut down on the time spent in the kitchen each day.