Note: This is a guest post by Alice of Martha’s Evil Twin: Alice Stewart’s Living.
There are several reasons to be nervous about the kitchen. Here are a few I hear a lot:
- I don’t have the time.
- I buy groceries and can’t think of anything to cook.
- I like to look at recipes but they all look complicated or have expensive ingredients.
- I don’t know how to do a lot of things I read about in recipes.
- I refuse to cook anything with more than 4 ingredients.
- I refuse to cook anything that takes longer than 15 minutes.
But here is a list of six great reasons to cook at home:
- It’s SO much cheaper.
- You know what’s in the food.
- It’s a lot healthier (restaurants put loads of salt and fat in their food).
- You get to see, and eat, the results of your labours.
- You can pack up leftovers and bring them to work with you for lunch.
- It can be a quiet, “you,” time to be creative and think your own thoughts.
Cooking can be a lot of fun. The first step is to make the space an enjoyable one. Put on some tunes.Â Pop open a beverage. Start tapping your toes. Invite someone to hang out with you and catch up with them (they don’t have to help if you don’t want).
Find a recipe you think is doable.Â If you and your kitchen are not even on speaking terms, start with a casserole.Â They’re perfect recession-proof dishes and are easy to make.Â If your parents are still alive, ask them for a recipe. They’ll be tickled you called.
If you don’t have some of the ingredients (or equipment), make a list and buy only those items on your list.Â Bring them home and set all your ingredients out on the counter.
Sit down and relax with your recipe.Â Make sure you’re comfortable: no high heels, in other words.Â Once you’re familiar with the recipe, start to it.Â Do not fret about exact measurements or an ideal ingredient. Â Most of the time food is very forgiving.Â And if you really like an ingredient or spice, add it!
While your dish is cooking, make a stab at washing the dishes.Â
Remember, this is just a stab.Â It doesn’t have to be done perfectly if you don’t feel like it.Â Do your nails or read a magazine while you wait. Â This is your time.Â Chat with someone nice on the telephone or send an email.
When your dish is done admire your handiwork.Â Smell the amazing food you just made.Â Be proud of yourself: the time you took for yourself, the money you saved, the money you will continue to save by bringing food to work with you, the dishes you won’t have to cook for the next few days, the healthy food that will go into your belly.
Here are some other helpful tips to get creative with what you may already have in the kitchen:
- You can make a sauce with meat and/or vegetables and put it over rice or next to mashed potatoes. How to make a sauce: 2 tbsp or more butter melted, mix in a small handful of flour, pour in water or milk (about a cup) and add a bouillon cube. Stir until thick.
- Leftover mashed potatoes can line a pie pan like a pie shell.Â Fill with sauce, meat and/or vegetables and bake at 350 degrees for about a half an hour.
- Make an omelette: mix 2-3 eggs with a little bit of water and pour into a pan on low heat. Toss in everything you can think of.Â Season and try to flip the omelet once it looks almost done.Â If it falls apart, don’t worry.Â You can call it a scramble.
Finally, here is my very own quiche recipe for you.
1 store bought pie shell
1 cup heavy cream (or milk)
1 large handful of shredded cheese
1 large handful of diced meat (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Â Place (meat and) cheese in bottom of pie shell.Â In a bowl mix eggs and cream well.Â Pour this into pie.Â Place pie shell on foil covered cookie sheet, or just on foil in the oven (it can get a little messy).Â Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.Â Let cool for a few minutes before cutting.
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