Three Top Tips to get you started in the kitchen.

Here it is again!

Kitchen1Last week I spoke with a friend about this blog. She told me she was really enjoying it and it made me feel really good. So I thanked her for her comment. But then she said she wishes I would just go round to her house and cook for her. Unfortunately, I told her that is not the point of this blog.

In today’s fast world however, it seems easier to grab from a supermarket shelf or fridge than it does to cook from scratch. There are evenings when even I would like the cooking fairy to appear and make the dinner for me. I completely understand why you would take a pizza from the freezer and not make the whole thing yourself. Especially, if you have a hungry family to feed and you’ve had a hard day at work.

Although it would be lovely to have someone else cater for me, it would not give me the satisfaction of knowing that all the meals I put on our table are made by me. After the conversation I had with my friend, I thought about what I do to make my life easier in the kitchen. So here are my three top tips for getting started in the kitchen.

Get Organised

kitchen4

My tidy kitchen.

Ok,  I might be stating the obvious to people here but being organised in the kitchen makes my life so much easier. The best thing for me was to have a clean out of any kitchen equipment I was not using, clean the kitchen cupboards and then organise them so I can find what I need quickly.

It took a good few hours of work to do it but it was well worth it at the end of the day.  I normally do this at least once a year because I always seem to find items I don’t use or need anymore.

kitchen2

My pantry

When I started my sugar free diet I decided to clean out the cupboards and get rid of anything that may tempt me back to the sugar road again. I’m really lucky to have a lovely pantry at home that has a lot of shelves. It has been organised so I can find ingredients quickly. I realise that not everyone has the same luxuries but if you can organise the kitchen it will make life so much easier.

 

 

Get the Right Equipment

To me, there is nothing worse than not having the right tools for the job. The first item on this list is knives. There is nothing worse than not having a sharp knife to cut the veggies at the end of a long day.

When I first moved in with my now husband he had knives that were very blunt. I remember coming home from work and trying to slice a tomato for a salad. It was so hard to do I gave up slicing it and chopped it into quarters. I had just had a hard day in the office and the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time cutting a tomato with a blunt knife.

Kitchen5

My sharp good quality knives

Nowadays we have a great set of quality knives and it’s probably the best piece of kitchen equipment we own. Without good equipment in the kitchen it makes life so much harder and no fun for anyone. So I would invest in great quality equipment. The items you know will make your life that little bit easier will be the best investment you ever made.

I know it stops me from getting frustrated and angry when things don’t work or stop working half way through making a great meal. I promise buying the right tools for the job will stop you reaching for the takeaway menu.

Be Prepared

Kitchen3

My kitchen, I love it!

My final tip is to be prepared, be prepared, be prepared. The first thing I do every Sunday evening is to make a menu for the week ahead. I try to shop as locally as possible nowadays. So I write the menu for the week and then make a shopping list from that menu. It makes the week easier and I don’t feel like I have spent the whole time scratching my head wondering what we are going to eat.

When making meals I always make extra so my husband and I can have packed lunch or we have a quick meal for during the week. If you freeze the leftovers then you have a takeaway meal for another night. It saves us from reaching for the takeaway menu.

Also, if I know I have a busy week ahead I plan dinners that will be easy to put together. We occasionally need 10 minute meals so I normally do a rice pasta and sauce. I will either make a pasta sauce or a pesto on the Sunday evening and then freeze it. All I have to do is pull the sauce from the freezer on the morning it’s needed and boil the pasta when we get home. This is so simple and easy to do.

The combination of these ideas helps my family to have healthy meals every night of the week. It also stops me from stressing about what we should have for dinner and is now saving us a fortune in food. We no longer waste much food and we are not reaching for the phone calling the local takeaway.

Remember these are only guidelines that are here to help make life easier in the kitchen. Of course we have times when we can have disasters. I can forget to take the leftovers out of the freezer or remove the meat for a meal but I just try to breath and not panic. As we have a menu for the week ahead I can just swap things around.

For me cooking at home is about making life easier and not difficult. It’s about learning to relax and enjoy what you are doing. Once I started cooking for my family the more enjoyable I found it. It is no longer a chore but a real pleasure. As long as I remember the three tips above, the less stress I have in my life, the better it is for my body, mind and wellbeing.