The thought of planning meals, preparing ingredients and cleaning up is enough to put most people off the idea of cooking their own meals. Although it’s easier to order takeout, you shouldn’t have to miss out on the joy and satisfaction of providing your family with a healthy, home-cooked meal that’s filled with love! Here are seven ways to keep things simple in the kitchen:
1. Stock your pantry with the basics
You don’t need to have a well-stocked, gourmet pantry, but you do need to make sure the basics are covered.
Keep a supply of carbs like rice, pasta and noodles, canned items like beans and fish, and ready-made sauces and soups for a quick meal. Make sure you've got your herbs and spices for seasoning, the right oils for cooking, and the suitable dressings for salads.
Having all these items available makes it much easier for you to whip up a meal, especially on days when you’re pressed for time.
2. Stock up on frozen ingredients
As much as we like to plan out our meals for the week and buy all the necessary ingredients in a single grocery run, that doesn’t usually happen.
The answer to having good, quality ingredients at your fingertips is to utilise your freezer more. Buy frozen fresh vegetables from the supermarket like peas, corn, spinach and broccoli; or seafood like mussels and scallops.
If you have a reliable fresh fish supplier or a butcher, buy a load of fresh seafood and meats and freeze them so they’re ready to use when needed. Having your commonly-used ingredients on hand will make it so much easier to cook at the last minute.
3. Cook an extra batch of food
Most people like to cook, but they just find prepping and cleaning up too tiresome.
Once you’ve motivated yourself to get into the kitchen, why not just cook extra batches for the next day or to store in the freezer? After all, you’ll be doing around the same amount of prepping and cleaning, might as well get more food out of it!
Want to save even more time? Get a hand blender that comes with a lid! Once you’re done blending your dips or sauces, simply put the lid on your mixing beaker and store it in the fridge.
4. Have freezer-friendly containers and bags handy
You’ve cooked an extra batch of food to freeze for later consumption, but how should you store it?
Not all storage bags and containers are freezer-friendly, so it’s important to make sure you purchase the right ones that are easily sealable, durable and resistant to cracking at low temperatures. You could also consider getting containers and bags in various sizes, so you can store different portion sizes.
To keep things organised, consider getting a fridge with multiple compartments so your fresh produce and cooked foods can be kept longer!
5. Master a few one-pot meals
Cleaning up is the last thing you want to do after a long day, so one-pot meals can be a real lifesaver.
Pasta, noodles, or porridge are easy to prepare in a single pot and you can change up the dish depending on the ingredients in your fridge or pantry. Have some ready-to-use cubes of stock, jarred sauces or canned soup on hand to add flavour.
Once you’ve got a few under your belt, you’ll be knocking out those dishes in your sleep!
6. Roast your meals
Many people use their ovens to bake cookies, cupcakes and other sweets, but it’s great for savoury meals too. Roasting your meats and vegetables not only brings out a different flavour and taste to them, it’s also a healthier option!
One other advantage is that you can set the oven timer and do other things around the house as your meal cooks. That said, it’s good practice to check in on your dish from time to time to make sure it’s cooking well.
But if the thought of post-cooking cleaning is still putting you off, consider this: Bosch ovens* now come with a self-cleaning function that heats up grime and food spillage, so all that’s left is a bit of ash that is super-easy to remove.
*Selected Models Only
7. Invest in the right kitchen helper
Have you ever come across recipes which state that preparation work takes 15-20 minutes, but you find yourself taking a lot longer? The simple act of chopping onions to fry with minced meat; slicing carrots evenly for a stir-fry; or cutting and grating vegetables for a salad can end up taking an inordinate amount of time.
A food processor is one appliance that doesn’t take up much kitchen space considering all the preparation work it can help you with. Many food processors come with accessories that can chop, grind, slice, blend and grate quickly and easily. What once took you precious minutes can easily be done in seconds. If you’re in the mood to bake, consider getting the kitchen machine. This multipurpose tool has different accessories to help you beat, stir, whisk and knead with minimal work.
There you have it! Give these tips a try and you may soon find yourself cooking up a storm regularly for your family.