If you find it difficult to cook at home, you’re not alone.
More than ever, families are packing their hours with work and extracurricular activities for their kids (and themselves) and it’s tough to find time to be at home to make a decent meal.
But I truly believe that health and wellness start in the kitchen.
Now you may not like cooking, or you’ve lost interest in it or you find it’s too much pressure to cook a picture-perfect meal like the ones you see on Instagram, so I wanted to offer a few tips on how to make it easier to cook at home more regularly.
1. Have the Right Tools.
I mentioned this in my post about cutting butternut squash: we need to have the right kind of knife to cut it! If you have dull knives at home, it’s not going to be fun to cook. I can attest this every time I go to an Airbnb where the knives are dull—I don’t want to cook either!
So get a couple of good knives. You don’t have to spend a lot. My favourite knife is from Loblaws for $18. I do recommend having a couple of different kinds of knives, however:
- A Utility Knife
- A Chef’s Knife
- A thinner utility knife or slicer
- A couple paring knives
- Also a knife honer or steel so you can keep them relatively sharp!
Various Cutting Boards.
Personally I like bamboo cutting boards and it’s nice to have a few of them. I have a bigger board that I use to chop a lot of veggies at once, as well as a couple of medium-sized boards for cutting fruit and meat. Some people will tell you not to use wood for meat, but I don’t want to use plastic so I always use the same one for meat and then give it a good scrub.
Measuring Cups and Spoons.
A set of stainless steel measuring cups is a great thing to have in the kitchen and it tends to last the longest (compared to plastic). Also, I personally find it helpful to have a few sets of measuring spoons, but one will suffice. Winners and HomeSense always have them on sale in the cooking section.
Blender and Food Processor.
I use my blender daily so this is an important tool for me, but even still I think it’s a great thing to have in the kitchen. It’s not necessary to get a Vitamix or a Blendtec (although fun if you can afford it). I bought a Cuisinart blender for the cottage and it works really well (I even used it to grind coffee once!).
Again a food processor isn’t affordable to everyone, but even a smaller handheld blending system like this one will work really well in the kitchen.
Decent Pots and Pans.
I steer clear of Teflon these days and opt for cast iron pans and stainless steel pots. It’s nice to have a few different sizes: I have five sizes of pots—although this many isn’t necessary (maybe if I had fewer pots I’d have fewer dishes to do??) and two sizes of cast iron pans (10 inch and 12 inch).
I also regularly use a big cast iron enamel pot for my soups and stews. HomeSense always has affordable cast iron and enamel pots and pans in fun colours.
I also love having two double size aluminum baking pans so I can roast a lot of veggies (and bake a lot of cookies!) at once. Just be sure to use parchment paper as you don’t want to cook directly on aluminum.
2. Make a Meal Plan.
Yes, I’ve said it a million times, but making a meal plan is one of the easiest ways you can get on track for regular cooking at home.
Making a full meal plan might overwhelm some people, so you can start small to begin with. I like the idea of making a big batch of cookies or bars to eat for the week or make a big batch of baked oatmeal to eat all week for breakfast. Starting small and working yourself up to making a full plan will help you get used to cooking regularly at home.
3. Keep it Simple.
I’ve also said this before: keep your meals simple. Pick meals that take fewer than 20 minutes or less to cook so you’re not scrambling during the week to make dinner and keep the elaborate meals for the weekend.
Another idea is to choose a couple of veggies to roast on Sunday that you can use for various meals during the week. Roasted sweet potatoes are great with chicken thighs, but also taste fantastic in a frittata or taco. Cook once, eat twice (or three times).
I hope that gives you a few tips on how to start cooking regularly at home.