I ended my self-imposed “Cooking From Scratch Experiment” this weekend…and what an experience! It was so much fun thinking “outside the box” in terms of food for my family. I am a firm believer in eating real food – not processed and full of chemicals, additives and preservatives. I also think it’s very important to teach my children the value in a real, home-cooked meal – nutritionally and emotionally. Food is meant to nourish both our bodies and our spirits – something I want my children to know first hand. If that wasn’t enough, it’s much more frugal to cook from scratch. I saved a lot of money! I have learned so much already, yet I know it’s just the beginning. I have decided to continue cooking the majority of our food from scratch – replacing one store-bought item at a time.
I was recently asked what I wished I knew when I started the experiment, so…I put together a list of what I should have done in the beginning to make life a little easier.
Have A Plan
I definitely should have worked up a complete menu and shopping list first – then I would have known exactly what I was going to be preparing and had my time planned out accordingly.
It would have definitely been easier to start with one item at a time, for example pre-packaged rice mixes, instead of doing it all at once. Once I mastered one dish – I could then move on to the next one, like maybe homemade bread, then condiments….you get the idea. I totally overwhelmed myself doing so much at one time.
Think Easy At First
Just because a meal is made from scratch doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. I could have relied more on fresh salads with grilled meat and an easy homemade vinaigrette. I also could have utilized my slow cooker more often for things like soups or stews.
The best advice I received during this experiment was to double up on whatever I made – serve one and freeze one. I should have done this much more!
This is more for ongoing cooking from scratch and ties in with point number four. The biggest issue most people have is the lack of time to devote to preparing meals. To make it easier:
- Keep some items tucked away in the freezer – it really helps.
- Having a pantry stocked with necessary items to prevent extra trips to the store.
- Keep a list of easy to make meals for when you are really short on time – because sometimes life gets crazy!
There are many more tips and tricks, as I find them I will pass them on to you! As I mentioned, I will continue to eliminate as much processed foods as I can from our diet. I realize this is going to be an ongoing project, and there will be many twists and turns along the way. I’ll be sharing the ups and downs as I go so be sure to stay-tuned!
How much do you cook from scratch? What additional tips do you have for people just starting out? What has stopped you from cooking from scratch – either now or in the past? I love hearing your comments – I learn so much from them!