we have a budget, and we're working on being more diligent about sticking to it! As we reviewed our budget we decided that we would shift some money from eating out budget to the cooking in budget, but we decided that we'd make the meals be excellent meals! It may have backfired, because we eat really, really, good meals and now we are restaurant snobs.
Get a good cookbook that inspires you to cook and try making one nice meal a week or every other at least. We started with the cookbook Date Night In and we make the meals together. At first we didn't mesh well together in the kitchen, but that's part of the fun, finding your groove. Now we're a great team!
But side note! It looks romantic for the guy to come up behind their love while they are chopping vegetables, hand them a glass of wine and kiss the back of their neck. Reality check! In real life this is a bad idea! I am holding a very sharp knife and I don't want to A. cut my fingers off and B. stab him. sooo, another one of those movies aren't realistic moments! Sorry...moving on.
Cooking from scratch (not with mixes and boxes) takes time and is one of those things that can get better with practice and more enjoyable. Cooking from scratch allows you to make healthier meals, control sodium, additives, fat, and cook for any dietary restrictions your family may have.
It helps to make a menu and shop ahead of time.
Keep things that you use a lot of on hand as stock items.
If you are tight for time, try searching for "30 minute meals" there are lots of healthy options out there.
Keep an "Eat me first" bin in the refrigerator for foods that will spoil soon. By always starting the this bin you can cut down on food waste. Take a Bin and write "Eat me First" on it and place in an easy to reach place in the refrigerator.
Have good gadgets!
5 Fav Kitchen Gadgets
1. A good knife. I have several knives I enjoy. I have a Wüsthof knife and a Shun both of which are considered to be excellent knives and range in price from pricey to ouch. And yes, they are great knives, but I also have Rada knives, several and I use them all the time!! They range in price from$9.60 to $30.00 and last forever. I buy mine at a tiny, old school produce market on the side of the road in Virginia. Whatever knife you choose make sure to keep it honed and nice and sharp. A good knife makes meal prep easier, safer, and more enjoyable.
2. A Serious Food Processor. Cooking from scratch and especially if you are cooking a more plant based diet often requires the use of a good food processor. They come in handing for making things like Hummus, bean burgers, dressings etc. and also work well for grating large amounts.
3. A Good Blender and an option for small batches. Making home made dressing can be done in the food processor, but a small batch blender works best for this! There can often be too much space in larger machines which keeps your recipe from blending well or from getting smooth. If you are Vegan and make nut sauces a small blender is a must.
BTW: If you don't make your own salad dressing please start. They are so much tastier and healthier. Once you get used to making them it will be a breeze and can be done at the start of the meal prep.
4. Good Pans. Put it on your Christmas list! Once you use a good solid pan you will never want to go back. It is harder to burn food, easier to clean, easier to brown dishes, easier to deglaze the pan, the food is cooked more evenly...They are just wonderful! I found a store brand similar to Allclad and will guard them with my life. Mine were Sur La Table which one out of business, but I imagine other places have similar quality if you are trying to save money. Allclad is wonderful, but very pricey.
A note on nonstick: Be careful when purchasing nonstick cookware, the coating is often made from substances that are harmful to you and the environment. Older pans have PFAS in the coating which is a "forever chemical" and we are now learning that forever chemicals may cause damage to the liver and suspect we will find other issues as well. Make sure that your cookware is PFAS, PFOS, free. The science is still developing on this and it is best to be cautious.
5. Food Scraper. I know, it seems silly, but I bought one for a cooking class and I don't know how I lived without it! This gadget scoops up your food to make it easy to transport to the pan. DO NOT USE THE BLADE SIDE OF YOUR KNIVE to do this. That is how you dull your knife. This is made to scrape dough/pastry from your board, but also helps scrape up food you've cut, cut soft items in half, transport biscuits to the pan, and mine has measurements on it as well. You can use it to cut brownies, score dough, level flour...Just anything!
What's your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
Basic Salad Dressing Recipe
Bit of a fan girl!!! But even if I wasn’t this is your base, your starting point! From here you can go crazy when it comes to vinaigrette once you master your base.
3 Tbsp Red Wine Vineagar
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
Kosher salt (did you know it matters? kosher salt is flatter and melts differently, among other things)
3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Shake well and use. See the link above for yummy things you can add to it.
Ready. Set. Wellness!
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