Now that you have made the decision to cook at home, here are a few tips to get you ready! It can be overwhelming, but these tips are to help you move forward with your goals!

1.Clean your kitchen.  Okay Okay, no one really wants to hear this! In reality, if you’re planning on cooking your own meals in a place that really hasn’t had a lot of use or given a lot of attention, you could quit before you begin! Take some time to clean and re organize.  Wash your dishes, get your counters wiped off and clear all the clutter.  Can you put some of your counter top appliances that you don’t use in a cupboard to create a bigger work space?  Look through your refrigerator and freezer, make note of what you do have, throw out the really old left overs. Cleaning can be one of the hardest things to do when you are trying to work towards a healthier less expensive lifestyle, but start here before going anywhere else.  Clean your kitchen, you will actually want to use it when you are done!

2. Take an inventory of the skills and recipes you already have.  What do you already know how to make?  It may have been a while since you’ve pulled a pan out of the cupboard and ordering take out can be a hard habit to break, but congratulations, you’ve already started by reading this!  Think about what you already know how to cook.  Make a list of those items.  Tacos?  Grilled Cheese?  Spaghetti? Pizza? Hamburgers?  Eggs?  Sandwiches?  Your mom's Chop Suey Recipe?  You may realize you are already more talented than you remember!

 3.Use your skills to plan a few recipes to make throughout the week.  Write your ideas down!  Break down your day.  Remember this is a starting point to get you off the ground.  You don’t have to eat these items forever.  Once you learn to use the skills you already have, it makes it easier to start stepping out of your comfort zone and try new things!

  • Breakfast. Choose a couple of items you are able to make for breakfast (scrambled eggs, oatmeal, smoothies or yogurt and fruit).  You may already make an awesome breakfast!
  • Lunch. If you dine out every day with your friends for lunch, decide if spending the money is worth it. Sometimes that social interaction and getting out of your work space is an opportunity you can’t pass up!  This is with the exception of feeling extreme financial burden, in which you will have to take extreme steps to get out of it! If you eat in a cafeteria, you should feel no pressure to buy lunch.  Be sure to share your ambitions and tell your friends you’ll meet them at your table.  You may have some friends who decide to join you in your lunch packing efforts!                   
    When deciding what to pack think about what do you know how to make for lunch?  Consider leftovers from the day before or start with an easy sandwich or wrap?  Cook off some chicken and add that to your wrap with some BBQ sauce or buffalo sauce. Don’t forget some veggies!

  • Dinner. This is where you get to have some fun!  Since your journey has begun, I suggest you tap into that inventory of items you already know how to make.  What sounds good?  What haven’t you made in a while?
      Here are a few examples of things you can make with the skills you already have:
  • Grilled Cheese: Make a grilled sandwich add some chicken (or protein of your choice), cheese, veggies (consider sautéing your veggies first) and add a sauce (chipotle mayo, pesto, hot sauce, etc) for some flavor.  Get creative and use what you already have in your refrigerator!
  • Tacos:  Make extra taco meat to have nachos, taco salad, burrito, quesadilla or a rice bowl.  Better yet, when you’re cooking a hamburger, make some taco meat on the side for a later meal! Taco meat reheats and stores easier than a burger.
  • Pasta:  There are about 1001 things that can be done with pasta.  Sautee (a pan with oil, start with med heat) some veggies, add ground beef that wasn’t seasoned from taco night, and add some pasta sauce!  Hello to you’re long lost friend, spaghetti!  Make a side of Italian pasta salad with left over pasta for your hamburger on a different day.
These are just a few ideas to get you started! I hope that this gets your creative side working to realize that you do already know some basic things and it is really easy to mix it up!


4. Plan your calendar.  I know you may feel that you have a list of great ideas for the week, but taking a step back to see what is feasible will help avoid overspending on ingredients and planning for meals you won’t be able to make. I do not recommend going completely cold turkey on eating out if that is what you are used to.  It is for the same reason why people quit cook at home diets, they get exhausted when they aren’t used to cooking. 

  • First decide on your social calendar for the week.  Eating out with your friends can be a regular social event!  Do you want to stop getting lunch with your friends?  Will you plan to go out with them on Friday?  Think about your plans for all your meals.  How many open opportunities do you have to cook your own meals? Make a list of available meal times that you want to prepare at home.

  • Add in the meals you’ve already decided you can make to the open days.

  • Look over the choices you have made for your upcoming meals.  Do they work well together?  Will you be eating sandwiches every day for two meals a day?  Do you have too many meals planned?  This is where I call you out on ambition, what can you realistically do in a week? Do you feel that you can only cook two or three meals and eat some leftovers? Decide what is realistic for you!

5. Post your plan on your refrigerator!  The next time you stand in front of it with the door hanging open, you have a visual reminder what you have purchased ingredients for. No more thinking about what was supposed to be for dinner.

What are some of your favorite dinners you can easily prepare?  Do you feel ready to jump back into the kitchen?

Main Blog Photo: (C) Daniz Altindas
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10/12/2016 10:53pm

I love cooking at home! I love experimenting with recipes and tastes. The best of part of cooking is when you're done with everything and when the food that you prepared tastes good. I think that is very fulfilling. I love cooking for my parents since I am a culinary major student. I love the positive feedback that they give if the food is delicious.

11/02/2016 6:36pm

Well, it's a very good article. Thanks for informing us.

11/07/2016 2:33am

I surprised with the analysis you made to make this particular publish incredible. Wonderful activity!

03/04/2017 8:05am

It is not so hard as my wife describe it to be. Just takes a time but then you would love this process.


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