How to cook for yourself and enjoy it

How to cook for yourself and enjoy it

I love cooking. I really do. I’m not an expert by any means but every year I get a little better at it. Cooking is how I unwind after work. Smashing garlic is a way to vent, slicing is a way to focus and be mindful. But enough about me!

If you’re someone who really doesn’t like cooking or feels intimidated by it, just remember cooking at home is a great way to get more nutrients and fewer empty calories at a low cost. Plus, you have more control over where the food comes from. There’s also the psychological benefits of creating and finishing something.

So, here’s a few ways to make it easier and even enjoyable…

Wash your dishes before you go to bed, every time, no matter what.

You don’t want to face a sink full of dirty dishes before even starting to cook.

Keep food on hand.

Having a CSA farm box delivered helps, and because fresh produce, meat and eggs from small producers taste much better you can make a tasty meal with just a few simple ingredients. When you get your farm box, take some time to clean and prep your produce so it’s ready to use and you know what you have.

Always have a few basic things available in your pantry – olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic – with those you can pretty much make anything. Add a cookie sheet, a pot and one frying pan and you’re in business.

Search online recipes.

If you don’t know what to do with Swiss Chard, just google swiss chard recipes and pick the simplest one with the highest reviews.

Make things you like.

Enough said.

Keep it simple.

Keep your ingredient list and the number of dishes you use as simple as possible. Any meal is basically this sum: protein + vegetable + starch. Many meals can all be cooked in one pan or pot. For example: Salmon + sliced potatoes + broccolini all on one cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Be flexible.

Give yourself permission to deviate from the recipe if you don’t have a specific ingredient on hand. It will not break the meal if you substitute rice for noodles!

I also like to make sure I mix colors together – that my meal has a rainbow of color. Red bell peppers + yellow squash + green spinach. This can be tossed with a little olive oil & salt and roasted on a cookie sheet or chopped together in a salad or sauteed as a side. Simply sear a piece of chicken in a hot pan or put over a bowl of pasta, quinoa or rice.

Just remember, cooking is not brain surgery and it’s a great way to eat healthier, save money, minimize waste and help the local food system.