Or: What the hell is for dinner?!
Picture this: It’s 7.00pm and you skipped lunch. You have a starving family at home that is about to boil over into mutiny at any tick of the clock and eat the cat, and the traffic is moving more slowly than Aunty Doris on her walking frame. It’s your turn to sort the dinner out and between you and your front door is a supermarket, a KFC, and a pizza restaurant. Which one do you choose?Stop grabbing takeaway and start doing more #cooking at home - here's how... Click To Tweet
In case you haven’t been following our blog, the Blrt team’s ambition for January was to accumulate a little virtue and kudos by tackling a few items on the loooooong list of New Year Resolutions that we all have. Now don’t be coy. You know the list I’m talking about. They’re the promises we make ourselves like “I will visit Aunty Doris in the nursing home at least once a month” that never really endure much past midday on January 1st.
One of our resolutions that we’re determined to follow through on is to find more time for cooking at home, and it seems to be a popular one. The unpopular part of the concept is that (in this dimension at least) food is cooked by people — us! — and people are cooking at home less than ever before.
There are about a million reasons that people don’t cook – “I’m too busy” being the most often used, so we decided to work out the top eight ways to find more time to cook, and share them with everyone — including those who think that fried chicken is its own food group.
8 ways to do more cooking at home
1. Move the television into the kitchen
Ok — this may sound a little strange but bear with us.
You see, a Nielsen survey claims that we spend 35 hours each week watching the television. Ironically, ever increasing portions of that time are spent watching other people cook. Pushing that irony completely aside, our first suggestion toward being able to find more time for cooking at home is to move a TV into the kitchen.
This bold manoeuvre serves two purposes. First, it prevents FOMO connected with Game of Thrones and second, the proliferation of cooking shows may actually deliver some inspiration if you can watch them while you’re wearing an apron, as opposed to while you’re MIA somewhere among the cushions on the lounge.Moving the TV into the #kitchen is a great way to trick yourself into more #cooking Click To Tweet
2. Think ahead
Unfortunately, 7.00pm is actually not the ideal time to contemplate what to have for dinner. This probably sounds a little boring and schoolmarm-ish, but some up-front planning that results in a well-executed grocery shopping trip will stop the dithering and the panic that takes over your conscious being when hunger sets in, and help you find more time for cooking at home.
Likewise, doing some washing, chopping and portioning of ingredients as you put the groceries away will make cooking on the night seems less arduous. Who knows, you might even find yourself looking forward to Tuesday’s curry night — even more so if you’ve invited a friend over for dinner.
3. Be inspired
Hand in hand with thinking ahead is being inspired. If you’re serving up chops and three veg for the eleventieth time in a row, you’re unlikely to want to find more time for cooking at home. But if there’s a particular cuisine you’re fond of, or an attractive television chef you’d like to… er… emulate, then track down a recipe book or website and check out a few signature dishes.
Don’t worry if they seem intimidating — remember the keyword here is inspiration. Note down the main two or three ingredients of the dish and then Google ‘simple chicken tomato mushroom dish’, for example. And voila! You’re guaranteed to find at least a handful of recipes that fit the bill and – more importantly – that you’re excited about cooking.
Maybe start with our own guide to Korma Curry:
4. Keep it simple
The more complicated cooking at home gets, the more likely you are to fail in your mission to find more time to cook. By step 17 of a 28 step process, it’s highly likely that your glasses will have fogged up, your bunion will be aching, and a Dora the Explorer Band-Aid will be the only thing connecting the tip of your left index finger to the rest of your hand.
If you’re a beginner at this cooking business, it’s best to limit your ingredient list to three or four main elements — in fact there are entire cookbooks and websites devoted to this philosophy. Not only will it speed up the cooking process by minimising the prep work, it will also result in less waste.
5. Share the load
Every great chef has an apprentice, and you should be no different!
If your house is populated with enthusiastic eaters, then surely they won’t mind helping you out — there are even basic tasks for the littlest members of the family, such as placing the cutlery on the dining table in the right order. Generally speaking, kids love cooking at home and the thing to remember is that if they’re brought up believing that its important to find time to do so, then you’re helping to set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating, rather than dependence on unhealthy takeaway.
Assign everyone in the household a regular task associated with getting dinner on the table and enjoy the dynamic of having a shared goal to be responsible for. And if it’s just you at home, then team up with a friend who lives nearby and assign each other a different day of the week to do dinner, or take turns once per week on the same day. A dinner shared is cooking time halved.#Cooking calls for teamwork - get the family involved to lighten your load. Click To Tweet
6. Plan to fail
Of course there are days when even the best laid plans fall apart like an over-dunked bikkie. You stay at work too late, the car breaks down, aliens invade from Mars — the sorts of things that occur to make cooking feel like the absolute last thing you’re prepared to do.
You can insure against this by behaving like a good little Scout and Be(ing) Prepared. This means adding some recipes into your planning that you can double the quantities of, to freeze for a rainy day. Freezing works well for things like casseroles, curries, risottos and soups and the great news is that aside from the fact that you have to buy and chop up a bit extra, it really doesn’t require extra effort.
Just a few weeks of doing this once per week can fill your freezer with delicious meals that you love to eat, and have you feeling as virtuous as Martha Stewart (pre her sketchy tax-dodging and five months in prison phase). The simple act of pulling one of those babies out of your freezer will definitely have you feeling glad that you decided to find more time for cooking at home.
7. Get equipped
Although eating delicious food that you’ve cooked yourself can feel just magical, the process of cooking involves a little more than a fairy wand and great intentions. Having the right stuff close at hand definitely makes the process of cooking much faster and simpler. Never fear, though — it doesn’t need to break the bank.
This is when Kmart comes to the rescue. Their kitchen starter set will only set you back $69 and contains all the basics — so when you consider how much money you’ll be saving on takeaway food, it really pays for itself.
Likewise, having a pantry stocked with the basics helps a lot too. It means that if you don’t happen to make it to the supermarket, you have a few simple meals up your sleeve that you can whip up at a moment’s notice.
8. Take some shortcuts
In our final gem of advice, we’ll be gracious and acknowledge that some of us here at Blrt could ruin cereal. That is, we’re just not natural born chefs. That is totally OK and certainly nobody here is getting all judgey about it.
In fact, we have a plan.
This is when Hoax Cuisine comes into play. Simply put, Hoax Cuisine is taking advantage of some pre-prepared elements to make it look like you should be wearing six chef’s hats while your photo is snapped for the cover of the Michelin Guide. These are things like frozen pastry, curry and pasta sauces in jars, fresh pasta, and roast chicken from the deli section of the supermarket, and can save you a hill of time and effort at not much extra expense.
Your best tips for cooking at home
So there you have it. An eight point-plan that gets you into the kitchen to prove to yourself once and for all that cooking at home is something that we can all find time for, with just a tiny bit of effort. We’d love to hear about your dinner time experiences – both great and not so much – so send a Blrt to [email protected]
We faithfully promise not to snigger too loudly, or to claim the photos of your culinary masterpieces as our own 😉
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