How To Cook LessAnd Still Eat Well

I'm not much of a cook, I never really got into it. If I could eat out every meal and somehow avoid the depleted food and harmful oils and chemicals that are so often in restaurant food I would. But I can't. So I don't.

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As much as I don't want to, I do cook most of my own meals. And I don't mean pulling something out of the freezer and putting it into the microwave (however, a couple of years ago that would have been what I meant.) I mean cooking meats, and fish, and side dishes, andyou know, meals!

It took me quite a while but I'm starting to get the hang of it. One of the reasons I've hated cooking so much is because to cook a good, healthy meal can be a lot of work sometimes. Ugh, don't even get me started on the clean up! After a long hard day that's rarely what I want to do, BUT I've found some great ways that you can actually cook less and eat quite well. I've put together some ideas for you to think about. You probably won't incorporate ALL of thembut start with one or two ideas and I guarantee you'll be cooking less in no time!

Plan Ahead

The most important thing when trying to cook less (actually it's important to cooking in general) is planning ahead. If I don't plan ahead..forget about it. I know some people who just come home and look in the fridge and make some fabulous meal out of whatever is in there. Nope, not me, never gonna happen. So it's really important for me that I plan ahead. You can take planning to different degrees depending on what your trying to accomplish. For some of you sitting down for 10 minutes and quickly deciding the next week's meal plans and then making a grocery list from that right before grocery shopping is fine. For others, you may need a calendar and checklists to plan an entire month's worth of meals and make your shopping lists once per month. Play around with it and see what works best for you.

Dinner Co-Op

I have to admit that I've never tried this but it seems like an awesome idea to me and hopefully someday I'll get some neighbors or friends who live close enough to do this with. Get 3 or 4 other people to start a dinner co-op with you. Basically you cook dinner 1-2 times per week for all 3 or 4 families and then each night of the week a different family cooks for everyone else. You deliver the hot food ( the reason you need to be close) to them when you cook and they deliver it to you when they cook. Brilliant! You do have to be reliable with this one though. If you forget it's your turn or don't feel like cooking on your night you'll have 3 or 4 other families with no food and probably not so happy about it.

Take Leftovers To A New Level

I've always loved making enough for leftovers. Cook once, eat twiceno brainer! But there is a way to take this even further. When you are planning to make a good meal, double, triple, or even quadruple the recipe. This way you can freeze the extra's to eat later. Depending on the type of meal it is you can either freeze the recipe before you cook it so all you have to do is take it out and throw it in the oven or on the stovetop for a great meal. Or, cook all of the extra food and freeze it so you just have to thaw and warm it up! If you do this with every meal for a while you'll have plenty of freezer meals ready in no time! Another idea is to only do this once per week and have a freezer meal 1-2 times per week when you don't have the time to cook. Just use your judgement here on what to do this with, not all meals freeze well, and some will be better frozen before cooking while other will need to be cooked then frozen.

One Day Cooking

This one takes some effort but it can be really worth it. Take 1-2 days of straight cooking for an entire month. Plan out all of your meals for the month and everything you'll need. Cook everything and freeze or store it for the month. You can cook 20-30 different meals or you can cook a few large staple things that can be used for different recipes throughout the month. You could also do this once per week and not have to cook SO much at one time but still get the effectiveness.

Chain Cooking

If you tend to get bored of the same thing when eating leftover or bulk cooking this strategy may be for you. Chain cooking is where you make extra of one thing to have it with something completely different the next night. For example, if you eat spaghetti one night you could cook a ton of extra pasta and have shrimpfettuccine the next night and a side of pasta salad with dinner the next night (that's a lot of pasta but I'm just giving an example here.) It's basically leftovers without having to eat the same thing. Cool, right?

Do you use any of these methods when you cook?

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 12/30/2016