Have you looked at your grocery bill lately? A blue box of mac and cheese is $1.50+. A box of flavored pasta is $2. Let’s not get started on the rising cost of bread, haha see what I did there? Have you looked at the label of those same things? It’s filled will all sorts of ingredients that don’t really exist in the natural world. But you’re pressed for time and dinner is a hassle, right? A lot of people are intimidated by from scratch cooking. That’s okay, so was I! But in the last five years I have made the decision to not only cook at home more, but to stop buying boxes and cans of junk that is not good for my family, but actually takes just as long (if not longer) to cook. So if you’re interested in learning how to cook from scratch, I got you.
Common Misconceptions About Cooking From Scratch
There are a million reasons why people don’t want to cook from scratch. While some of them are valid, I don’t think people realize how much easier from scratch cooking it actually is.
The most common thing I hear from people who are interested in learning how to cook from scratch is time. They just don’t have it.
They come home from work and the very last thing they want to do is stand in front of a stove for hours cooking. Or they’ve been out in the fields all day working and the thought of getting out the yeast, flour and salt is just too much.
Some people are afraid of learning how to cook from scratch because they just don’t know how. And fear may be a strong word, but some people are just too afraid of failing to take the leap.
Do you know how many times Jared has eaten some dish that I have concocted that was freaking TERRIBLE!? Can you guess how many times we STILL go scrounge in the basement for dinner when we just can’t stomach whatever I made? The amount of times we eat shark-coochie boards for dinner is kind of amazing. Yes, I know that’s not how you say it but that’s how Jaxson says it and it stuck.
If you grew up anything like me, everything came in a box or can. From sides to muffins to entire dinners. That I’m aware of, the only time my mom ever cooked from scratch was when she baked. PS I’m still waiting on my banana bread, Mom!
I didn’t learn how to cook from scratch at my mom, grandmother or great grandmother’s knee. I really didn’t learn how to cook from anyone. Sure, I helped my mom cook occasionally, but I didn’t really KNOW how to cook until really the last ten years.
This is probably the biggest reason why people never learn how to cook from scratch. When it’s easy to reach for a jar of tomato sauce, why on earth would you EVER want to spend six plus hours making tomato sauce?! If I want a sandwich, why would I take the time to make a loaf of bread? A tube of biscuits costs $3+ and takes minimal effort and little clean up.
I totally understand! I’m busy, too! I have three jobs and one of them I work 24 hour shifts. Sometimes the last thing I want to do is make a loaf of bread or a batch of biscuits. Don’t get it twisted, I have boxes and cans of over processed food in my pantry and cupboards. But I can’t tell you the last time I made a blue box of mac and cheese. Because cooking from scratch is actually really easy.
What Is Cooking From Scratch
Sometimes, cooking from scratch is as simple as melting butter, adding some flour, milk or cream, and then cheese. Bam! You have a cheese sauce! Other times, it’s realizing that you have no buns for burgers and you whip up a batch of rolls.
Or, if you’re like me, it’s making a HUGE batch of biscuits and putting them in the freezer.
But learning how to cook from scratch has to first start with what your definition is. If you’re definition of from scratch cooking is whipping up dinner every night like Ma Ingalls? I’m definitely not your girl.
If you are looking for ways to reduce the number of boxes, jars and bags in your trash? This I can help with.
Taking Your Time Back
You don’t have to spend hours in front of the stove. In fact, you can make an entire batch of yeast rolls in about 20 minutes. Making burgers only takes an extra 5 minutes on top of their cook time. Pork Carnitas takes no more time than browning ground beef.
It takes planning to cook from scratch. The first step is a meal plan. When you know what you’re supposed to be cooking, it makes everything easier. By having a plan, you will not only save money because you are only buying what you need, but you will also save yourself a ton of headache.
Before anyone jumps on me, because a surprising amount of people are TOTALLY against the term meal prep, really look at how you are spending your time. For the sake of not upsetting the masses, we’ll call it cooking in batches.
There is absolutely no reason to make one meal at a time. Seriously! If you are having ground meat three times this week, you could absolutely make all three batches at the same time! The only differences is usually seasoning.
Let me give you an example of a good meal plan.
If you are making breakfast for dinner one night, you could legitimately cook three dozen biscuits and freeze the left overs. Then you could make four pounds of bacon and have breakfast for the rest of the week. If you don’t mind the taste of “left over eggs” you could scramble up 18 and be done.
But if you look at Day 2 dinner, you get three meals out of that one roast!
Dirty Rice? Same thing. Not to mention turning spaghetti and meatballs into meatball subs? Delicious.
Manage Your Expectations
At the end of the day, you need to manage your expectations of what you are trying to accomplish. Yes, cooking from scratch 100% of the time is amazing. But sometimes that just not going to happen. I’m here to tell you that while we cook at home 95% of the time, only about 70% is from scratch.
I have blue boxes of mac and cheese in my pantry. Easy noodle kits? Yup, got those, too. I buy tacos from the store. That’s OKAY! Sometimes a pizza from the store sounds better than ANYTHING I could make at home.
But when you make an entire meal from scratch? That feeling of pride is addicting.
Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. In fact, you could easily cook 100% of your meals from scratch every day.
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