As the rhythm of our lives gets faster, finding time to cook nourishing meals from scratch isn’t always easy. But there’s value in creating homemade meals, as they’re often healthier, more cost-effective, and can bring immense joy through their preparation and consumption.
Let’s explore how you can make your cooking journey both enjoyable and efficient!
7 Ways to Cook From Scratch More Often
Cooking from scratch more often is a great way to save a bit of money, but no one said it was easy. Fortunately, the following tips will help you do so without spending hours in the kitchen.
1. Use Frozen or Canned Fruits and Veggies
Don’t overlook frozen or canned fruits and vegetables as a time-saving way to cook from scratch. Contrary to popular belief, these products are generally picked at peak ripeness and immediately canned or flash frozen, preserving their nutrients better than you’d expect.
They can be conveniently added directly to your dishes without requiring any preparation like washing, peeling, or chopping. This saves considerable time in the cooking process.
2. Double Your Recipes and Freeze Them
Making a large batch of your favorite stew, chili, soup, or casserole doesn’t require significantly more time than making a small one. The end result is more meals for less effort.
Just be sure to store your leftovers properly in freezer-safe containers to prevent freezer burns. This way, you’ll always have homemade meals ready to heat and eat on those busy days.
3. Use a Meal Kit Subscription Box
Consider subscribing to a meal kit grocery service if you have little time but still want to cook from scratch. These services provide pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipe cards direct to your doorstep, cutting down the time spent on grocery shopping and meal planning.
Cooking from scratch is simplified as you get exactly what you need per recipe, no more, no less. This not only cuts down on waste but also takes the guesswork out of cooking.
4. Come up With a Weekly Menu Plan
Start by figuring out what you want to eat each day of the upcoming week. Then, create a shopping list based on those meals and purchase everything in one go, once per week.
Not only does planning help reduce food waste, but it also eliminates the daily ‘what’s for dinner?’ stress, freeing up your time and mental energy. Stay flexible for super busy days.
5. Use a Slow Cooker and Food Processor
Optimize your cooking process with appliances like a slow cooker and food processor. A slow cooker is excellent for dishes that require long cooking times, allowing you to set it and forget it until mealtime. It simplifies the process of making hearty soups and savory stews.
On the other hand, a food processor can dramatically cut down the time spent on chopping, grating, or pureeing ingredients. These tools save significant time when cooking from scratch.
6. Purchase Pre-Cut Ingredients
Many grocery stores offer an array of prepared ingredients. Although they may be expensive, they can massively reduce meal preparation time, making the cooking process much quicker.
When you’re pressed for time or just want to streamline your home cooking routines, it can be a good idea to invest in these ready-to-use ingredients that speed up your cooking endeavors.
7. Utilize Certain Pre-Made Foods
While the goal is cooking from scratch, it doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of certain pre-made foods. Items like ready-rolled pastry, pre-made sauces, or canned beans can cut down on your cooking time while still allowing you to control most of the meal’s ingredients.
Choose high-quality, low-processed options when possible to stay closer to the concept of cooking from scratch. Find a balance between convenience and homemade that works for you.
So, it’s clear that with a little bit of planning and some clever tricks, you can cook more from scratch without spending countless hours in the kitchen. Cooking is an art that nurtures both our bodies and spirits, and it’s worth making time for it. Start with one or two changes to your current routine, and gradually incorporate more as you become comfortable in the kitchen.