If the concept of ingredients annoys you because of all the mealtime prep, if the need to keep the fridge stocked up fills you with dread, or your attempts to make a salad result in smoke-filled kitchens and a feeling of disaster, then it’s no surprise that mealtimes have become a hassle.
While it’s all too easy to lose your cool in the kitchen, there are some really simple ways of making your mealtime prep far less stressful. You don’t need to become a culinary wizard or learn any zen calming techniques either. If your kitchen is more perspiration than inspiration, follow these tips and your mealtime prep could be vastly different from the disaster that it currently is.
1. Basic Cooking Skills
The first thing that you need to determine is if you hate cooking or if you just don’t like being bad at cooking. It might be the mealtime prep that makes you think you hate cooking. Most people want to cook but try to be a perfectionist, so they get frustrated and stressed, and even the simplest of recipes becomes a burnt mess that is barely edible. The trick is simply to learn some very basic cooking skills. Then, once these basics are mastered, you can try your hand at more difficult recipes.
2. Basic Mealtime Prep
Another reason why people hate cooking is because of the time everything takes. Preparing the raw ingredients, cooking them in the right order, waiting around for them to be ready to eat, all take so long that you’re not usually bothered about eating when it’s finally on the plate.
Decide at the beginning of the week what you want to eat, buy the ingredients (or have them delivered), and take time for mealtime prep. Cut up the vegetables, weigh ingredients like pasta, and then when it comes to cooking after work, all you have to do is pour the pasta into the boiling water and add the pre-chopped vegetables. Easy!
3. Basic Recipes
If you have problems making simple eggs on toast, don’t attempt a full Thanksgiving dinner for a party of twenty. Always stick closely to what you’re comfortable with, and you’ll gradually get better and better at making your favorites. There are some fantastic learning resources available in the modern age, so you can learn about how to choose the right recipes easily. You could even master easy home cooking by having fresh ingredients delivered to you in prepared boxes from HelloFresh, and a guide that tells you exactly how to prepare your meal step by step. For those people who really want the ultimate stress-free kitchen, this is the ideal solution, and one that is growing in popularity quickly.
4. Basic Kitchen Tools
The one tip that every top chef gives when asked how to improve cookery skills is to spend a little extra money on your kitchen tools, like utensils, cutting boards, and knives. If you’ve ever spent ten minutes trying to chop an onion or wanted to cry in frustration as your raw chicken ends up like a torn apart mess instead of nicely sized chunks, then you need better knives. This one tool will speed up your prep immensely, and can also even make the taste of your food better. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on Wüsthof knives, but the better the kitchen knife, the fewer hassles you’ll have in the kitchen.
It’s also hard to cook if you don’t have the right kitchen utensils. Having basic kitchen utensils like a stirring spoon, a slotted spoon, a ladle for soups and stews, a couple of turners for burgers and the like, and a flexible spatula are just a few kitchen necessities that you’ll need in order to prepare most meals.
Cooking is a life skill, and the better you get at it, the better you’ll feel. There is a certain satisfaction in creating a meal and then enjoying it. Get the basics right, get your mealtime prep in order, and you might even end up enjoying spending time in the kitchen.