It’s 6:30pm and you just came home from a long tiring day. The last thing you want to think about is preparing dinner, right? It’s even worse if you’re a recent graduate who has just moved out of your parents’ home. Cooking for yourself are likely to be new to you. Unfortunately, you can’t live off junk food as it’s unhealthy and can become quite expensive.
Making the transition to eat more home-cooked meals can be a challenge. Besides, preparing food without any experience takes time. It won’t be easy but you should at least start by learning the basics. And once you know the basics, you should create a cooking system and soon you’ll realise that preparing your own meals is actually a time saver. And not just that, it’ll be fresher and tastier.
So, whether you only know how to bake an egg or are able to chop onions like Reuben Riffel, it never hurts to have a few cooking skills in your back pocket. The more time you spend in the kitchen, the more tips and tricks you’ll learn to make cooking fun. Here are a few things you should do that will make cooking easier in an instant.
Prepare a menu
If you’re staying on your own, it’ll be easy to create a weekly or monthly menu. But if you have a roommate, it might be best to discuss this with them first. You should write down exactly what you want to eat for that specific week and ensure that you have the ingredients to prepare it. It’ll also relieve you from stressing about what you’ll have for dinner tonight. Many are great at throwing everything together while others make tastier meals by following a recipe. If you’ve never prepared meals before, it might be best to stick to a recipe. And within due time you’ll get better with cooking and can then work without a recipe and menu.
Kitchens, in general, can often become cluttered and messy very quickly due to all the ingredients and tools being used. If you want to get the most out of your kitchen tools, you should be versatile and creative when cooking. For instance, vegetable peelers aren’t only wonderful for vegetables only, it can also be used to grate thin slices of cheese and chocolate. There’s no need to invest in a lot of equipment, you only need what’s necessary. If you don’t own any kitchen equipment yet, it might be best to take a look at discounted homeware. And get the necessary ones first.
Schedule grocery shopping trips
Running to the grocery store after work to get ingredients for a meal can be very inconvenient. This is especially when you’re trying to avoid rush hour traffic. Besides, shopping right after work means that you’re hungry. And hungry shoppers are more likely to spend money on impulse foods and snacks. So, it might be best to avoid that and save money by doing your grocery shopping once a week. And do it when you’re not working, giving you more time and freedom to shop.
Stock your pantry and freezer
Having a well-stocked pantry will allow you to prepare a quick meal with only a few perishable ingredients. You should consider having the basics, such as onions and potatoes, on hand. Besides, those items don’t need to go in the fridge. So, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary ingredients stocked up. That way you won’t have to run to the shops every time you need something. It might take some time to get used to this system but having a few of these items in stock means you can always prepare a home-cooked meal.
Work on your knife skills
If you want to prepare a good healthy meal, it should include vegetables. It doesn’t matter which veggies you prefer, they’re inevitably needed in every dish to add flavour to the meal. It’s easy to buy vegetables that have already been cut and prepared. But it’ll be more expensive, of course. And if you’re uncomfortable or can’t work with a knife at all, it’ll take forever to prepare a meal. So, do yourself a favour and check out knife tutorials on TV or YouTube. You can even ask your parents to teach you this. It’s important that you practice cutting up veggies. It’ll become easier and faster the more you do it.
Embrace leftover food
Many people don’t like or eat leftover food. But if you’re a busy person who doesn’t get much time for cooking, leftover food should be your best friend. You can cook once and prepare enough to eat three or four times. You can even pack some for lunch too. However, not everything is delicious leftovers. It’ll depend on the type of food. From soup to cooked chicken and curry is delicious leftover food.
So, consider these six tips and make cooking easier. It’s normal to get overly excited but always remember to plan ahead. That way you’ll shop smarter and even save a few rands here and there.