Five tips that make cooking less of a chore.
I am rather lazy when it comes to cooking. I do really enjoy it, but all the prep work is tiring and after work or uni it’s easier to pop something in the microwave or have a sandwich. And don’t get me started on how much I forget to do the food shop. I tried all these meal prep ideas, and I just am not organised enough; I prefer some variety in my food. So, in my quest to eat slightly healthily, save money, and use my kitchen, here are some tips that have been lifesaving.
1: Frozen onions and garlic
Now, this may seem really lazy, but oh my god does it help. Almost every dinner I make relies on these two ingredients, so having them pre-chopped and in a bag in my freezer saves about half the time when cooking, and makes it much easier to throw something together with what I have in my cupboard.
2: Gadgets are your friend
I actually really hated kitchen gadgets for a while, aside from my dinosaur waffle maker. It seemed just as easy to use a pot or a frying pan, and less pricey. Well, my mind has changed. When I don’t have frozen ingredients, or just fancy some fresher ingredients, my food processor is my best friend, and it was less than £20. I have a slow cooker which makes curries 10x better and easier, and it was £8 in ASDA. My most luxurious find is a £40 air fryer from ASDA, but let me tell you it has paid for itself in making oven chips as good as takeaway. All of these (except the slow cooker) save time and make cooking less of a hurdle to jump over.
3: A shopping list
I always stay stocked on my essentials, but when I do my shopping I think of about three dinners I can make, and buy the ingredients in a oner. All the better if they use the same ingredients. Burgers are one of the easiest, but also get things in for sandwiches, omelettes, pasta dishes etc. Having the ingredients right there and the meals thought of ahead makes shopping easier, cheaper, and encourages you to cook.
4: Easy to freeze meals
Making pasta sauce? Make three times the amount and freeze the rest. Can be used in pasta later, or as a base for other dishes. Making chilli? Triple it, freeze, boom; rice bowls and tacos for days. Curry? Soup? Lasagne? Freeze. It.
5: Seasoning mixes
A big jar of Italian herbs has saved many a dish for me. Of course, I could just mix rosemary, basil, oregano etc myself, but a good serving of this adds je nais se quoi in seconds. Similarly, fajita seasoning which I also use for chilli, or chicken seasoning for my proteins. Takes a lot of the thinking out of it and tastes great.