By Rachel Gorney from My Wholesome Kitchen.
Anyone can be there own chef!!
Eating home cooked meals should be apart of everyone’s diet, and no that doesn’t mean reheating packaged meals or ordering in. It means cooking a wholesome and nutritious dense meal for the family. Many clients I meet often tell me they have never used their kitchen or they can’t cook. I believe one of the most important skills anyone should be equipped with is, knowing how to make a nutritious home-cook meal.
Below are some simple tips and ideas that may encourage you to cook more often. Cooking should be simple and most importantly enjoyable so hopefully with these tricks you can find your inner chef.
Tips and Tricks:
- The number #1 most important thing before cooking any meal is to be organized and prepared. Know what you want to make, have the ingredients ready and plan your meals, especially if you are a very busy person who wants to spend minimal time in the kitchen.
- Get a hold of the best quality produce you can afford. Using good quality produce usually doesn’t need much work and preparing simple meals will still taste absolutely delicious.
- Don’t overcomplicate a meal; keep everything simple with simple flavors, simple herbs, simple spices and you will have a fantastic dish.
- Be well equipped with the right tools. No I don’t mean you need to have the most expensive and luxurious kitchen equipment, once again get a hold of the best quality utensils that you can afford. Many people I’m sure spend a lot on having knives sets, pot sets and all the rest, half the time you only ever need one or two knives. I would recommend purchasing one or two great quality knives that you would use everyday rather then purchasing these 8 piece sets. Having the right equipment really can make anyone a great cook and a lot of the time they will save you lots of time in the kitchen. Here is a YouTube link of Jamie Oliver, explaining what tools you should all have in the kitchen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGuCTm5clYA
- Use less tin products and canned sauces; rather make things fresh with fresh produce. There are so many tomatoes sauces on the market but if you take a minute to read the ingredients you would be shocked to see what’s really in them. Using fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, herbs and spices you can have a very simple and delicious tomatoes sauce within minutes.
- The food processor can be your best friend. I use my food processor for everything, to make sauces, pestos, shred and chop vegetables and herbs. It will save you so much time in the kitchen especially if you are time poor.
- Make in bulk. If I’m going to spend time cooking a meal, I will often make a large quantity of the one dish and freeze or store the leftovers in the fridge. Soups store fantastic in the freezer, grains like quinoa can sit in the fridge for at least a week, grill an extra piece of protein to have for your salad the following day or make a big batch of bolegense so you have something on hand for the kids.
- Don’t give up, try and try again. You may have attempted a dish that didn’t work or wasn’t a success don’t give up hope, not every dish you ever make is going to work. Enjoy the process and have fun with it. Some bad experiences can lead you to have negative thoughts about your ability and therefore make you spend less time in the kitchen. Always go back in with a positive attitude and start again.
- Practice and experiment. Sometimes the best dishes are ones that have been thrown together or aren’t exactly step by step. I use recipe books for inspiration and will always adapt a recipe to my taste and food philosophy. Don’t feel like you have to follow a recipe and have every ingredient on hand. Have fun with it and enjoy mixing it up. Use what you have available and wants in season rather then scraping that recipe altogether.
- Most importantly have fun and enjoy being in the kitchen. Cooking and preparing meals for yourself and others should be such a joy so don’t dread entering the kitchen. Go in with an open mind and you will be surprised and what you can prepare.
A lot of these tips and tricks I use in my kitchen everyday, I don’t have any professional qualifications as cook but with the skills I have adapted I certainly feel like my very own chef. I started my own cooking company late last year and since then My Wholesome Kitchen has become very well known for their range of snacks. It wouldn’t be a blog post without providing you with some awesome simple snack ideas.
- Homemade Hummus with vegetable sticks (I have been told my hummus is pretty tasty )
- Berry Smoothie – Acai, coconut water, mixed berries, Maca, stevia, cinnamon, vanilla powder, chia seeds and goji berries.
- Homemade raw chocolate mixed with superfoods. Raw chocolate is so simple to make and can be kept in your freezer for weeks. Mix together coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup or raw honey and then stir in your favorite superfoods. Spoon them into cupcake moulds and freeze.
- Homemade trial mix – I much prefer to make my own mix then buy one. You can put anything you like or have on hand. Mix together in the bowl the following; almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pepita seeds, cocoa nibs, goji berries or mulberries. Make a big batch and divide them into snap lock bags.
- Seaweed rolls – layer nori sheets with your favorite vegetables and avocado and then roll them up.
- Vegetable egg muffins – Grease egg muffin tins, layer with any roast veggies you have or fresh vegetables. Whisk eggs in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and then pour into each muffin. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. They store great in the fridge or freezer. I like using roast pumpkin, spinach leaves, mushrooms or capsicum. Anything you have on hand.
- Protein Balls – Mix together your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruit, sweet spices, dry meal (e.g. LSA, Flaxseed, Almond meal) as a binder, and add some sweetness like stevia drops, maple syrup or raw honey. Roll into balls and freeze. The mixture may need some wet ingredients if it’s too dry like warm water or coconut oil.
- Kale chips – my tip with kale chips is to make sure the kale is as dry as possible, any moisture will make them soggy when cooking. Add spices of your choice, salt and pepper and a little coconut oil.
- In summer having your own homemade ice blocks will sure be a winner with the kids. Mix together in a bowl coconut water, freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh summer fruits, lime zest and mint. Pour into paddle pop containers and freeze.
- Fresh fruit mix and yogurt – I much prefer to make up a simple fruit mix and mix it with my own plain yogurt then buy one already made. Most of them are filled with lots of nasty ingredients and additives. A simple fruit mix I like is strawberries, blueberries, mint, lime zest and lime, stevia, vanilla powder and cinnamon.
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I – @mywholesomekitchen