Tips and tricks to make eating in a little easier
It’s suppertime and your stomach is growling. It’s so tempting to head to a restaurant or order in. This month, RCP contributors share their strategies and ideas for fixing meals at home.
I’m on a restricted diet, and cooking at home makes it easier to stay within the health guidelines. We buy meat in large pieces and freeze them. Staples such as pasta, flour, and sugar are available. We use a wide range of spices to make food more interesting. I make food in large batches and then freeze it in meal-sized portions.
We keep fresh vegetables around. I often steam them to preserve the nutrition. I love adding a simple béchamel sauce to broccoli or cauliflower, then bake it for about a half hour. This pairs well with plain roasted meats and chicken.
We make our own bread using a bread maker. Sam has recently come up with a wholesome bread recipe which adds Red River Cereal.
We rarely eat out, but when we do it’s a treat.
There’s more temptation to eat out with just the two of us at home now, but it gets expensive and it’s not always as healthy as eating in. I love cooking and usually make big batches when I’m fixing pasta sauces, soups, or stews. I then squirrel them away in the freezer for easy reheats on busy nights.
My go-to meals are stir-fries, frittatas, and vegetarian stews. I have a range of favourite recipes I make regularly depending on our mood and the ingredients at hand. Aydan has mastered producing a beautiful loaf of whole grain bread in the bread maker with only ten minutes preparation.
We have children week on/week off. I have a set meal schedule so I don’t have to think about meals everyday.
We always have a box of greens, a bag of coleslaw, cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes on hand. Cheese, hamburger, and fish are other staples. Almost every meal has a plate of fresh veggies on the table. I buy meat on sale and freeze it in portions.
In the winter, when daylight is short and eating out takes preparation, I make a special trip to a green grocer or market once or twice a month and buy as many fruit and greens as I can afford. Then when I cook at home, I have colourful, tasty fresh food to offset the winter blues. It’s the only time of year I splurge on a bunch of flowers, the inexpensive kind, to sit on the kitchen table. It brings some colour and positive notes into what can be a closed and wintery mood.
My mother grew up hungry in the Dirty ‘30s in Saskatchewan. Nothing went to waste in her kitchen. Soup was one of the ways she turned leftovers into meals for her six kids. I discovered various ingredient combinations work to the benefit of the palate, along with my mother’s trick of rinsing out a mayonnaise jar to add creaminess.
Once at a function, I asked the host to save the brine from spicy pickled beans. Those were some of the best chicken soups we had for the next while as I would add two to three tablespoons in the soup to give it some mouth-puckering, tongue-zapping heat.
Rusti L Lehay
When my husband and I come home after work, cooking isn’t always appealing. Below are some tips we follow to make cooking at home fun:
Cook together. Visiting while preparing a meal makes cooking an interactive and bonding activity.
Keep major ingredients ready. Sometimes cutting up the ingredients for a meal takes longer than cooking the meal itself. While cooking, we prepare the ingredients for the next day’s meal.
Variety through simple cooking. During weekdays, we make quick meals. We cook different vegetables each day to add variety.
A change of mindset. Instead of viewing cooking as a chore, we sometimes make it a project by looking up a new recipe either from our own culture or from another culture.
Featured Image: Stock ingredients you typically use. | Pixabay