Budget, Organize

10 Tips to Get You Cooking

 cooking

1. Make a Plan and Stick to it!

I haven’t always cooked our meals. I used to fall into the routine of buying random “groceries” and then claiming not to have anything to put a meal together with. Now I use a 14 day meal planner to plan two weeks (or more) worth of meals. Go print out my meal planner to get you started with planning your own meals!

Grocery Printable

We don’t eat out much, usually once a week, maybe less. I normally cook 5 nights out of the week. One night we may eat out at a restaurant. Another night we will eat leftovers. The point is that I have a PLAN for our meals. On Wednesday nights I try to have a crock-pot meal cooking to avoid the temptation of going out to eat after church. If we have a Saturday night date night, then we will eat lunch at home after church on Sunday. It’s all about having a plan and practicing self-control.

It takes a little time to get into the routine, but once the routine is in place then eating out will be viewed as a reward!

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2. Start a Pinterest account

Pinterest is a girl’s best friend. If you don’t have an account then head over to Pinterest and create one now! I love finding new recipes as well as recreating old recipes on my Pinterest boards.

I’ll give you some advice about pinning recipes. Make sure that you click the link to see if the link leads to the correct site. I dislike spam on Pinterest, but unfortunately it happens. Also, don’t pin recipes that have 50 steps when you first start cooking. It will only discourage and overwhelm you.

 

3. Follow my Food Boards

I never pin recipes that are overly complicated or involve rare ingredients. Here are my food boards on Pinterest to give you some “pinsperation”.

4. Buy and Utilize Cookbooks

cooking with cookbooks

There is just something special about turning the pages down on a good recipe in your favorite cook book. I still use cookbooks because I like having the list of ingredients, instructions, and pictures without my iPhone present. Cooking is an enjoyable time for me so it is nice to put the device away and remember a simpler time.

Here are some of my favorite cookbooks:

Plus I use a lot of family recipe cookbooks. It’s nice to have a variety to search through while menu planning.

 

5. Stock Up on the Basics

There are some items that are essential to any meal. Stocking up on the basics will ensure that you have everything you need for a tasty meal.

Refrigerator:

  • bacon. . .need I say more?

  • unsalted stick butter

  • block cheese (I like sharp.)

  • flour tortillas

  • cream cheese block

  • sour cream

Pantry

  • baking ingredients (all-purpose flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, powdered sugar)

  • canned tomatoes (diced, crushed, Rotel, tomato paste)

  • chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (so good!)

  • cornmeal

  • dried beans (pintos!)

  • dried pastas

  • evaporated milk

  • honey

  • jalapenos

  • jarred marinara

  • jarred salsa

  • condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce, ranch, Sriracha, etc.)

  • panko breadcrumbs

  • peanut butter

  • garlic, potatoes, onions

  • rice

  • seasonings (garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce)

  • chicken and beef stock

  • all types of vinegar

Freezer:

  • beef

  • chicken breasts, wings

  • frozen vegetables

  • frozen dinner rolls

  • pecans and walnuts

  • sausage

  • pizza (hehe)

I got this helpful info from Ree Drummond’s cookbook “Dinnertime”. Subscribe to LDL to receive a FREE printable that includes all of the cooking essentials you need to stock up on.

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6. Follow the Recipe Exactly. . .Until You Get the Hang of It

I never veered from the recipe or the directions until I had been cooking for years. I wasn’t even comfortable making simple substitutions within recipes, but I had NEVER cooked before. Definitely ground zero with cooking.

Don’t ever feel embarrassed that you don’t know how to throw ingredients together and make a five course meal.

This is a shame-free zone. The way I see it, if you are cooking a meal for your husband, family, or just for yourself then you should pat yourself on the back.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

Cooking seems to be getting less popular due to busy schedules. Don’t let cooking die! Some of my favorite memories with my husband are the ones where I cooked a new meal, and he absolutely loved it and raved about it for days. 🙂

Figure out how many meals will be cooked in a week. I would start small at first. Otherwise, you may burn out. I love the evenings that I don’t have anything planned so I can take my time prepping, cooking, and cleaning up. That may sound crazy, but I love it. If you love cooking (or just like it) then make time for it! 🙂

 

8. Make Cooking Fun

 Do you have a playlist on Spotify or Amazon Music that puts you in a great mood? Blast your music and get to cooking! Does your spouse or kids like helping in the kitchen? Give them some small jobs that will make everyone enjoy cooking dinner.

We have a small television in our kitchen so sometimes I catch up on my favorite shows while I cook. Whatever it is that puts you in a good mood, include that with cooking. Everyone has their own style so embrace it!

9. Start Simple

It’s probably not the best idea to grab the closest Julia Child cookbook and start cooking. Those recipes are completely doable. . .just not yet. Simple recipes are the way to go. Think one pan recipes or slow cooker meals. Not only are those recipes simple, but they are quick too. Win win!

 

10. No Pressure

Cooking is not only fun, but it is easy on the budget. Don’t stress out if you only start out cooking two meals a week. Don’t freak out if your husband wants to take you out to eat, but you had planned on cooking. Just move that meal to another night. Cooking can be fun and rewarding so enjoy all of the new things that you are learning!

This way of life is not about being a stickler but about enjoying making healthy meals and saving money along the way.

What do you think about cooking? Are you super encouraged or super intimidated? Let me know how you feel in the comments.

 

 

14 thoughts on “10 Tips to Get You Cooking

  1. I definitely need to be reading posts like this one more often! I’m terrible – I really enjoy it but I’m absolutely crap at it. Cookbooks and meal planning is the best motivator for me! And taking photos of it for my food blog posts:) x

    1. Thanks Tereza! I hope it inspired you a little bit. The main thing I hear from people is that they aren’t “good” at cooking. I bet you are great! Thanks for your feedback. 🙂

  2. People are always so surprised to hear that I do actually cook. I think they assumed I eat ready meal all the time – yuck ready meal taste disgusting. There something so rewarding with cooking. xx

    1. I’m so glad it helped you Sophie! I checked out your blog as well! Look forward to interacting in the future! 🙂

    1. Oh I am so glad that you found it useful! That is the biggestbcompliment that I could receive. 🙂 I definitely understand the busy part. Sometimes it’s just hard to work, cook, clean, blog, and …Live. Ha!

  3. Great tips! I have been meal planning for several years and it really does get easier after you get a hang of it! I have also found it useful to make the week flexible so you can utilize leftovers or if you are tired have some freezer meals ready! You really can save so much money by having a plan! You are totally right! Pinterest has saved my life when it comes to recipes 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Exactly! I need to get better about freezer meals. Thanks for your feedback! Meal planning is the bomb for sure. 😉

  4. I’m so proud of you! You are doing a great job and this is very helpful information!! Keep up the good work!!

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