I’ll be completely honest with you. When I first got married 12 years ago, I could cook 3 dishes. I’m not kidding. And those 3 dishes weren’t even that great. Hubby and I lived in a small, old, 1-bedroom duplex that had the world’s smallest kitchen. It was super cozy and we didn’t seem to mind. Also, neither of us were really into cooking back then.
During my summers off from teaching, I worked part-time in an office, so my afternoons were free. One day, while waiting for Hubby to arrive home, I watched a few episodes on the Food Network Channel. Back then, all they did on this channel was cook. It was glorious! Anyway, that’s honestly how I learned to cook! I watched some shows, printed out the recipes I liked and just started.
If you’re interested in cooking but don’t feel like you have the time, here’s 5 things I use to get a great meal on the table.
1. Plan Out Your Meals
I don’t know about you, but I have to plan things out. If I don’t, they simply don’t get done. While some people can rely on their heads to accomplish day-to-day tasks, I’m just not that way. And that’s okay if you’re not!
I’ve tried a multitude of planners over the years and FINALLY found The Organized Life Planner, that I love. I still have to be intentional about using it, and when I do, I feel more organized. I plan my meal along with everything else a busy momma needs to accomplish.
2. Consult Recipes From Various Places
When I started cooking, I would print out recipes or consult different cookbooks. Even though we have so many online resources at our fingers today, I still love holding a cookbook in my hands. Some of my past and current favorite recipe resources include:
- The Pioneer Woman Cookbooks
- Everyday Pasta and Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis
- Food Network
- Once Upon A Chef
I love having a variety of places to consult what others are making. These are easy, quick, and simple resources that don’t require extensive time or skill. Once I find a recipe that’s a huge hit at our table, I file it away to use again (more on that in a bit).
3. List Your Weekly Meal Plan
At the beginning of each week (usually Sunday afternoon) I sit down with my recipe books and meal chart and I pick out some things I want to make. When I began this method, it took me a while to find my groove. Don’t be discouraged if it takes you a bit of time for the first few weeks.
Now that I’ve built up a pile of favorites, my meal planning doesn’t take a long time. I also have those nights where I can look in the fridge and pantry and whip something up. That’s where meal planning comes in handy. There’s less of a chance you’ll make something last minute. Getting in the habit of making meals also lets you have a stockpile of ideas in case you do forget on occasion.
4. Shop Intentionally
This has been a life-saver for my schedule and our finances. As I make the meal plan for the week, I also write down the ingredients I need. If you’re like me, there are times when you stroll down the isles and put what “you think you need” in the basket. Then at the checkout, you have a mini-stroke when you see the total on the register.
Listing your ingredients beforehand and having an idea of where you’re going will save you time and money.
5. Put Together A Meal Binder
As I said earlier, I always keep my favorite recipes filed away. I’ve actually been compiling favorite recipes since our 2nd year of marriage. It’s so fun to look back on those and read different comments I made on the pages. I even jot down comments in our cookbooks so I remember what worked for our family and what didn’t.
It’s a great idea to place dividers in your binder. As it grows, it’ll be easier to find those favorite recipes anytime you want them.
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