How to Cook at Home More

Saw this on Instagram a few months ago and couldn’t resist screenshotting it, tbh. (From @Drinksforgayz and @circleofidiots on Instagram)

Hello everyone! Today, I’m talking about how to cook more at home. I love take out just as much as anyone else. After a while, getting food on the way home gets expensive! The convenience usually overrides my fear of wasting money, but sometimes Matt and I get a little out of control and go months without cooking. That’s not good!!

I want to talk about different ways to make cooking easier after a hard day at work, or if you’re feeling those Winter Blues already and just can’t cook. Let me know if any of these tips help get you into your kitchen!

Find a Simple Recipe and Perfect It

(https://www.diabetesfoodhub.org/articles/perfect-meals-by-the-plate.html)

For most of my adult life, my go-to dinner has been spaghetti. It’s not rocket science; brown some ground meat, boil some noodles, throw some canned tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a pot, and simmer until the sauce is your desired thickness. Add those noodles to the sauce and there you have it. There’s ways to jazz it up to make it your unique sauce, but honestly you don’t have to in order for the spaghetti to be good.

I used to make spaghetti so much that everyone in the house would be sick of it, including me. When you have a go-to meal that’s simple and easy, it’s hard not to make it everyday! Find a recipe that doesn’t ask for much prep work or cooking time and learn it by heart. It makes busy days SO much easier! Knowing exactly what to do in the kitchen is very empowering, and once you know a recipe by heart, it’s easy to improvise and experiment with different flavors. My spaghetti never tastes the exact same twice because I like to experiment with spice in the kitchen. You can do that when you know a recipe from front to back!

All Hail the Crock Pot

(https://www.walmart.com/ip/Crock-Pot-4-Quart-Black-Slow-Cooker/14922959)

For our bridal shower, Matt and I got a Crock Pot. It found a place on the top shelf of our cabinets and sat there for several months. Eventually, I found a recipe that I thought would be good. I don’t remember what it was, but it was so nasty that that Crock Pot went back to its house for a few years.

Recently, Matt has been very into finding Crock Pot recipes to try. He thinks of what flavor he wants and then finds a recipe to go along with that craving. We had Honey Garlic Chicken the other day, and today we had Tikka Marsala. I can’t even describe how delicious both meals were!!

If you’re intimidated at the idea of a Crock Pot, don’t be. Even though it took me about three years to get into using it, I think it will be a staple in the Golubich household for the rest of time. Crock Pots are literally designed to be a low-maintenance cooking appliance, and if you’re anything like me after work (sleepy and lazy), then a Crock Pot might be for you.

Now, if you’re like Matt, and you’re nervous to leave a Crock Pot on while you’re out of the house, you can always make Crock Pot meals on the weekend. I personally don’t mind leaving a Crock Pot home alone, as long as there’s nothing flammable around it. They are pretty safe appliances, but it’s always good to have your wits about you!! Follow the package instructions and you’ll be ready to use your Crock Pot in no time.

Shortcuts?? Yes Please.

Lol wow (https://elmsolutions.com.au/12-easy-shortcuts-for-lawyers-doing-discovery/)

I love to cook, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes, I don’t feel like making a whole pasta sauce, or cooking chicken, or cutting up a million veggies. I used to feel bad about using pre-made things (like jarred sauces, pre-chopped veggies, rotisserie chickens, etc.), but now that I’m a busy adult, I actually look for these shortcuts in the grocery store. Saving time on the prep and jumping right into cooking saves time, energy, and sanity in the kitchen.

I look for the freshest ingredients regardless if I’m going to chop them up myself, or if someone has chopped them up for me. Luckily, the grocery stores in my area are always stocked with the freshest food. As for jarred sauces, you don’t have to buy the expensive stuff! Name brand or not, you can always jazz up a pre-made sauce with your own seasonings. Shredding up a whole rotisserie chicken is not only cathartic, but provides plenty of chicken for most any meal you can think of over a week.

Little shortcuts like these make life easier for everyone in the kitchen. After a long day, the easier a task is, the more likely it’ll get done…so find shortcuts in the kitchen if they’ll get you to cook more! There’s no shame in a cooking shortcut.

Leftovers, Of Course

(https://www.myrecipes.com/quick-and-easy/how-to-store-leftover-food)

I can’t tell you how much I hated leftovers growing up. Having the same meal twice? Blasphemy! Now, I’d like to publicly apologize to both my parents…leftovers are a gift from God and I don’t know why I argued so much about them.

I’m still picky about which leftovers I eat, I won’t lie. But I will eat them! Leftovers save so much time on weekdays. You’d be a fool to argue with such an easy time saver. I probably don’t have to tell you how to have leftovers in the first place…but I will say if you end up eating all the food that was supposed to be dinner tomorrow as well…it’s totally fine. I do it all the time!! Just cook something else tomorrow and save that extra food instead.

Leftovers are the easiest way to save time in the kitchen. It’s almost like improv meal prep, in a way. It’s fun to try to make a new meal out of old food, and if you have an already perfect meal, why let it go to waste?

All in all, cooking should be a fun time for everyone involved. It’s a way to nourish your body, it’s easy once you get going, and it honestly helps the transition from work brain to home brain go a lot smoother. If you’re bad about eating out, try finding simple recipes to make at home and soon you’ll be throwing something together every night!

Thanks for reading, as always! Feel free to sign up for email alerts down below, and follow me on Twitter for blog updates as well as Daily Mary Shenanigans. If you liked what I wrote today, feel free to tip on ko-fi! All the tips I gather from ko-fi go towards my future novel! Also, if you need more encouragement to cook at home, check out my Pinterest! My Recipes to Try board is a little unorganized but you’re bound to find something you want to try in your own kitchen.

Thanks again for reading! Come back next week for something new!

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Mary B. Golubich

Mary B. Golubich

I write stories, as well as music, movie, product reviews and monthly wrap-up journals. Basically, if you can think it, I can write about it.