It's no secret that I waste a lot of money on take-out. When you are very busy and don't have time to think about meals, take-out is always there for you. Ordering food on a regular basis adds up really quickly and in an effort to take control of my health and wallet - I've drastically reduced how much take out I order. Sometimes it's inevitable - but I no longer rely on it.
I've learned to love cooking. Knowing exactly what's going into your food is very satisfying. Being able to control flavours, and portion sizes is another added bonus. I didn't always love to cook - but I definitely do now and this is how I got here:
1. Research recipes that are within your skill set
This is a huge one. Pinterest has tons of delicious recipes, but some are either very expensive per serving or very involved. Know what you are capable of and narrow your search down to include recipes that fall within your capabilities. This will keep you from getting frustrated and get you to start enjoying cooking. Once you are more comfortable in the kitchen - then you can expand to more difficult dishes!
I like to search Pinterest, The Food Network, Whole Foods, and Epicurious for recipes!
2. Make a plan
Once you've found some recipes, make a weekly menu. Once you have a menu set, you can spend some time on the weekend preparing the necessary ingredients and shopping for any ingredients you need. In the past, I would scramble around for ingredients and get frustrated if I couldn't find or didn't have something in my pantry. Now that I plan ahead, I never have this problem and get excited to cook my own meal!
3. Make a grocery list and stick to it
Grocery stores are traps. Literally. Every grocery store you've been to has a specific method to get you to buy things you don't need. Sale items out front? Buy 3 get one free? These are just ploys to get you to spend more money! Make a very detailed and specific list of what you need - and if possible - where to find it in store. Not only will you save time at the grocery store, you will save money and the headache of browsing every aisle for what you need.
4. Try new things
I used to have a very limited palate. If it has cheese and/or chicken - I would eat it. Now that I've switched back to a vegetarian diet, I've been forced to try foods that I wouldn't have in the past. Trying food from different cultures is a great way to mix it up - and a lot of the recipes are very easy to follow!
5. Don't cook when you're hungry
This is the biggest reason that I love to cook now. Cooking takes time and patience. If you wait until you are on the brink of starvation to prepare a meal - it's not going to be fun and you'll most likely want to skip cooking and order in. Try cooking on a Sunday and dividing everything up for the week or set a time where far enough away from your regular meal time to start cooking! Make your food work for you!
I hope these small tips can get you to love cooking! It's fun and a lot easier than you may think!
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