Cooking often has that bad rep of being too time-consuming, so much so that you’d rather order pizza or drive-through than spend more time in the kitchen. It’s not an uncommon feeling — cooking can be very unappealing when the weather is hot or if you’re just sick of making the same meals over and over.
But cooking does not have to be a chore. It can and should be fun! And that’s exactly what this post is about; how you can make your cooking experiences much more enjoyable.
If you’re not a fan of cooking,
Here are a few tips to help make the process a little easier:
Take Advantage of Leftovers
If you have leftover rice or pasta, use it in a stir-fry or soup the next day. If you have fruits in your fridge about to go bad, throw them in a smoothie. Leftover chicken can be used in a stir-fry, quesadilla, or omelet. Leftover vegetables can be added to soups or stews or just eaten on their own with some cheese and breadcrumbs for a quick lunch.
Buy Frozen Veggies
Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh ones and require less prep time. You can also buy them pre-chopped, which is great if you don’t have any kitchen knives or food processor blades that are light.
Cook in Bulk
Instead of preparing dinner daily, cook once or twice a week and then freeze the leftovers for when dinner rolls around again. When ready to eat, reheat the dish and serve it with rice or pasta.
Use Pre-Made Sauces and Condiments
These can be bought at the grocery store or made at home with items like tomato paste, vinegar, mustard, and pepper flakes (all staples in a pantry).
Have the Right Tools
Make sure you have everything you need before starting on a recipe. That way, if you run out of something, you don’t have to stop cooking and buy more — or worse, spend time trying to figure out how to do without it.
Pick a Good Recipe
A well-written recipe will tell you exactly what ingredients to use, how much of each ingredient, and how long it should take for each process step. And even if your version differs from the original, having a solid guide helps ensure that your dish turns out well every time.
Embrace Takeout and Meals Out
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of making dinner, don’t worry about it. Order takeout or go out for dinner instead. Most restaurants will deliver food to your home, so you don’t have to leave your couch!
Plan if Possible
Try not to stress out if you aren’t able to plan — sometimes life gets in the way — but whenever possible, try planning what you’ll be eating each night before heading out for work or school each morning (or afternoon). You can do this by writing down ideas on index cards or just jotting them down in your phone calendar app; whatever works best for you!
Keep Things Simple
If you’re new to cooking (or just feeling uninspired), try making something easy and familiar. This way, you’re less likely to get frustrated or give up if something goes wrong.
Choose one or two recipes you know will work well for your family and cook them repeatedly. You’ll save time by having fewer ingredients on hand and knowing exactly how long things take — so there won’t be any surprises!
If you’re looking for new recipes, choose simple but healthy ones. The goal is to enjoy cooking more and save time in the kitchen!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
If you have kids or other family members who can lend a hand, take advantage of their help. If you’re cooking alone, consider getting an extra pair of hands with these clever kitchen gadgets that make cooking easier by helping you hold items while chopping, stirring, and more.
Even if you don’t do it very often, cooking doesn’t have to be stressful. If you’re struggling to find motivation, or want some inspiration for new ideas, try cooking with the whole family. Cooking together is something that everyone can enjoy. No matter how old your kids are, they’ll learn valuable life skills from experience—even if they’re playing with their tablets while they stir the noodles!
All of these tips will help make meal prep less of a chore and more of a fun experience. Cooking at home can be invigorating, especially following a delicious, healthy recipe. Enjoy yourself; creativity and fun will get your cooking underway—and keep it going!
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