For most of my adult life, cooking at home was just another chore. I wanted to love it, but the passion just wasn’t there. When I started a family and became the primary cook in the kitchen, I wanted to truly fall back in love with it, the way I felt baking cookies with my mother as a child.
This wasn’t just to keep my family fed. My husband and I had some serious goals to get out of debt, and eating out every other night was interrupting that plan.
Have you glanced at your bank statements recently and made a similar discovery we did? Turns out, the average family in America spends over $3,000 eating out each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Even if improving your finances isn’t your driving goal, you may just want a fresh approach to crafting meals in your home. Fresh ingredients from home also mean healthier, less processed meals for you and your family.
Join me as we review several fun ways to reboot your passion for cooking at home.
How to Rejuvenate Your Passion for Cooking at Home
I. BOOST YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Rediscover the basics.
Do you know the proper way to chop an onion? For years, I made a huge, clunky mess that burned my eyes and took three times longer than necessary. When I attended a local cooking class a few years ago, I realized how simple and efficient it could be and have enjoyed dicing and slicing onions ever since.
You don’t have to take a whole cooking course, however. A quick look on YouTube playlists like these 1-minute tips by Jamie Oliver or these 10 cooking tips from Gordon Ramsay will reveal lots of great tips for cooking.
Cook with new ingredients and flavors.
A few years ago, one of my clients asked me to try Blue Apron and create a few review articles about my experience. Blue Apron is one of a few meal delivery services that ships all the ingredients you’ll need straight to you. There are comprehensive recipe cards that go with your box of fresh ingredients and you get to do the cooking.
It wasn’t as inexpensive as watching a quick tutorial on YouTube, but I guarantee it taught me about ingredients I’d never thought to use. After just a few deliveries, I received hands-on practice with things like sauteing collard greens, cooking lamb stew, or preparing a blood orange marinade.
Try recipes designed for busy families.
Ree Drummond, also known as Pioneer Woman, is the queen of home-cooked family meals in my book. She knows how to make a delicious meal for a hungry and busy crew on her ranch.
One way I’ve fallen back in love with cooking in my kitchen is to watch episodes of The Pioneer Woman (available on the Food Network app or Hulu) as I prepare a meal.
A tasty treat my 4-year-old son loves helping me create is this Orange Resolution Smoothie from one of The Pioneer Woman’s episodes. It is so delicious, colorful, full of nutrition, and easy to make.
II. TIME SAVERS
Perhaps your biggest struggle in the kitchen isn’t your desire to cook, but the lack of time. Let’s look at some great ways to eat delicious meals at home while shaving time off the clock to do so.
Cut out grocery shopping.
First there was the grocery pick-up service. Now, they deliver. Can life get better? Instacart is a service you can use for a myriad of your favorite grocery stops and the food comes to you. I just had a baby last winter and I can tell you how wonderful it is to stay home and not bundle my baby in the cold while someone does my grocery shopping for me.
Simplify meal planning.
Meal planning can be a huge money saver. Thankfully, we also have resources that can help us stay on track. For example, a few years ago, I discovered eMeals. This meal planning subscription service lets you choose your favorite meals, then helps you create the grocery list for each recipe.
Mealime is a meal planning app that cuts your time down significantly. It’s designed to offer over 200 meal options for you along with a pre-made shopping list. Many of the meals take 30 minutes or less to cook.
Freezing meals ahead of time that can be tossed in a slow cooker will also cut way down on expenses and dinnertime prep. Here are 38 freezer meals you can browse to help you get started.
Embrace the magic known as “Instapot.”
This is next on my list of kitchen heroes to enlist in my home. I hear so many good things about how easy and quick it is to use. Then, I witnessed it firsthand when a friend created an entire spaghetti dinner for several families in minutes with her Instapot. It was done with a push of a button.
III. MAKE IT FUN
Enlist help from the whole family.
I know we just got done discussing ways to save time in the kitchen and now I’m telling you to set your kids loose in there. However, even if it takes more time to teach them when they’re young about cooking, setting the table, cleaning up after themselves, etc., the investment will pay off.
If we stick with it, our children will grow up with those skills and the expectation that they’ll continue to pull their weight around the house. One day, your child may cook you a meal of his or her very own. You could even make it a regular thing each week that you do together.
Want a cool source of inspiration? We bought this fun cookbook for kids that’s full of color and inventive recipes makes my daughter’s eyes light up every time she opens it.
Start monthly dinners with friends.
You know what else makes cooking a lot more fun? When you can serve it to your friends. A handful of my mom friends started a monthly tradition of serving a home cooked meal and enjoying a few hours of delightful conversation as our spouses took care of our children at home.
We enjoyed meals inspired by the season like cornbread and chili in the fall or grilled skewers in the summer. We also got to sample flavors from various places like Thailand and Korea. Most of all, it created a wonderful atmosphere of fellowship and was always time well spent.
Whatever you decide for your cooking reboot, hopefully the journey leads you to new experiences, new flavors, new memories, and a great shot at boosting your savings.
For more simple and tasty recipes, here are a few more resources we’d love to share with you:
What’s your favorite thing about cooking? Tell us in the comments below!
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