Tips for Cooking Every Day

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January 7, 2010

Preparing food at home instead of dining out saves money, calories, and nutrition, though it takes time, effort and motivation. Finding innovative ways to put food on the table has been a challenge for home cooks for ages.

Yesterday, we asked on Twitter, “Do you cook almost every meal you eat? What tips or advice do you have for people looking to eat out less?" We received a number of helpful responses, which we've shared below.

Plan Ahead

@365foods: eating out less=using part of Sunday to plan ahead. Pick recipes, shop, pre-wash and chop, etc.

@browneyedbaker: Make a weekly plan - write out the meals you want to make and grocery shop for only those ingredients (plus staples)...

@GfintheCity: Plan ahead. Also, many ppl see cooking as too much work. Simply cooking more builds your skills, makes it easier, faster.

@nithyadas: grocery shop in advance and make it a Sunday ritual to cook a big meal that will leave you w/leftovers

@TheEasyEntree: Spend 30 minutes a week planning. Doesn't have to be fancy; you just have to know what you're having each night at home.

Make a menu

@Polleydan: We make a meal calendar and hang it on our fridge. That helps remind us we need to cook at home.

@PTWARachel: Menu shopping. Plan your menu for the week THEN go grocery shopping. Then you always have exactly what you need to prepare a meal!

@Userealbutter: planning a menu helps a lot.

@ElizabethCarls: plan a menu - you'll know what your choices are for dinner and won't be as tempted to go out as much

Stock Up

@100Miles: For me: keeping kitchen stocked with basics: onions, potatoes, garlic, cheese, eggs, beans, pasta, seasonings, frozen fish & meat

@Leslieconn: Must have stocked pantry. Stock freezer and fill fridge w/fresh veggies!

@klink84: be prepared! it helps to fight temptation when you are ready with a fridge of food or items you made when you had more time!

Cook in bulk

@comestibles: Try to cook things that you can turn into other meals, like roast chicken, then chicken stir fry, then soup.

@foodgalnyc: Make in quantity -- or chop up things on the weekend for salads, etc. -- and u'll have things all week w/out much prep.

@foodgalnyc: Also, casseroles, lasagna, stews, soups are great as make-aheads. Put in individual containers to take to work or freeze.

@N_Lesley: Cook for the freezer! in double or triple batches, or just freeze prepped ingreds. Makes it easy, inexpsve to eat well in a hurry

@Indianfoodrocks: make lists, plan, purchase grocery according 2 plan, cook for more than 1 meal, freeze half, supplement with salads/fresh veggies

Don't be afraid to use prepared foods

@N_Lesley: also jarred simmer sauces (indian, thai etc) +protein + preprepped veg = tasty and still cheaper than takeaway/restaurants

Keep it clean

@nobigwhoop: always clean up asap :) not walking into a mess or sink of dishes makes it less onerous.

Just cook!

@seattlefoodgeek: Transform cooking from a chore to a fun activity. Be creative!

@Shaeclaypool: Try to make dinner exciting. Pick recipes that imitate restaurants but are lower in calories and fat.

@GraciaMIA: Ditch recipes. Trust your instincts and learn to use items already in the fridge/pantry.

Final words of wisdom:

@WasabiPrime: Definitely cook more at home to save $, but results are worth it! You learn so much and it's an empowering experience!

Anything to add?

image by The Italian Voice

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Comments

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by foodista: New blog post: Tips for Cooking Every Day http://www.foodista.com/blog/2010/01/07/tips-for-cooking-every-day/..

How to Keep Cooking. | Little Miss Attila's picture

[...] Foodista Twittered around to get some tips on how to start cooking and stay at it. [...]

Cheapaholic's picture

Planning is good, but I always look first for bargains. Most every grocery has a section with stuff that they're trying to get rid of, and prices of some fresh items vary wildly with market forces. Like lamb shoulder chops - anywhere from $2-8 a pound.

If you can plan around the best deals you can find, so much the better.

MrsLavendula's picture

cooking at home should be my new years resolution but im to chicken to fail..as i know it will be a while until i can do that!

Mike Messina's picture

I have to 2nd the advice on keeping the kitchen clean and dishes washed. Nothing will turn me off cooking more and faster than having to wash dishes before I can start my prep.
Keep the dish soap fresh an hot. Wash the dishes as you finish with them. It's the only way I can do it.
Mike Messina
Aptos.

Jin's picture

These folks pretty much covered it. I am a big fan of planning, stocking up and keeping the kitchen clean...I love to cook at home.....these all make for easy cooking! ;0)

Koozies can coolers's picture

Knowing you have fresh vegetables delivers on your house makes preparing menus more exciting!

Tracy, Velocity Fulfillment

Rita's picture

You all said it! Planning the weekly menu is a must, it saves on time, money and wasted food.

Our weekends are very busy, so every Saturday morning I make a large meal in the crock-pot. Then it's easy to grab a bowl and get a filling, healthy meal at any time!

wasabi prime's picture

Ha - just saw this today! Ah, the wisdom of Twitter. I always wonder where the open polling information goes, and now I have the answer! All really good tips, and you know they're from people who truly practice what they preach, since you're probably catching them right in the middle of heeding their own advice!