Covid-19 forced millions of people into their homes for undetermined periods of time. In some locations, lockdowns and quarantines are still very much prevalent on an on-and-off basis. If you’ve moved to remote working, are quarantined at home, or under strict lockdown, then you’ve certainly been doing a lot of cooking at home — more than usual for sure. Rotating through your usual list of meals can get tiring very fast if it hasn’t already. Follow these tips to spice up your home cooking to make the process more enjoyable and hassle-free. Not only this but taking cooking matters into your own hands will give you more control over what you consume, which is better for your health in the long run. You don’t need to be a person with underlying health concerns, allergies, or food intolerences to be more attentive to everything that is going into your system.
1. Experiment With Cuisines
Tap into cuisines from new cultures that you haven’t tried out yet to enhance your flavor palette. You’ll be surprised how many new recipes you’ll find that include all of the flavor combinations that you love. You can dedicate yourself to trying one new cuisine each month or every two weeks. Not only will you unlock new recipes, but also new approaches to cooking. Get yourself a tagine for slow-cooked Moroccan dishes, a dedicated paella pan for seafood night, and a wok for a blast of flavors from Asian stir fry.
2. Start From Scratch
Take the extra time at home to add a little extra effort into your meals by making certain things from scratch that you would normally buy pre-made. This isn’t possible to do every single day, but on certain weeknights when you have more enthusiasm for cooking, it’s great to add labor of love to your meals. Try making your own pasta for a change. You only need a few staple ingredients for it and it doesn’t require being a professional chef to pull off. Baking your own bread is another new recipe to try out to produce your own warm and crispy bread. At the end of the day, you don’t need a deep-fried dish from a fast food chain to have a satisfying meal — do it yourself!
3. Look for Healthy Alternatives
Use the opportunity of cooking at home to introduce more balanced and nutritious meals into your day. This is often easier said than done. A great place to start is by looking for substitutes to common ingredients and entire recipes. Enjoy pizza? Look at plant-based pizza recipes. There are numerous ingredients you can substitute for making the crust. If you want to start gradually and not make any extreme changes or have picky eaters in the household, you can start by just “hiding” more greens and vegetables in your cooking. For example, when making a basic marinara sauce for your pasta, boil and then finely blend greens or root vegetables into the sauce as well. This won’t make your dish taste earthy if that’s what you’re worried about. If anything, the food industry is more proactive than ever to curate recipes that are healthy and tasty at the same time.
4. Cut Down on Prep Time
We all know the vicious cycle of prepping for an hour, cooking for thirty minutes, and then devouring the meal in less than five. All of this just to spend more time washing the dishes at the end. Rinse and repeat — all day, every day. Especially for those who are at home with their families, you’re starting to feel like an on-demand chef. A great way to cut back on stress is to make your processes more efficient with the help of new kitchenware dedicated to saving you time on certain tasks. Have a lot of slicing to do? Get a mandoline. Want to make a cherry pie but have to pit the cherries by hand? Invest in a cherry and olive pitter. Now there’s a tool for every small and specific task around. Carve off some time and energy from your prep work and dedicate yourself to more important things in your day. If you can’t find all of these tools locally, just check zestspot.com, a specialized online kitchen store in Canada.
5. DIY Snacks
It can be easy to constantly snack when you have access to a stocked pantry and refrigerator 24/7. Making your own snacks at home offers you control over your sugar and salt intake — which can be out of normal if you’re munching all day on artificial, store-bought snacks. This is great for people who are attempting to pursue a healthier lifestyle or have underlying health issues. Snacking seems harmless at first, but making the switch from sugary snacks to fresh fruit will do wonders for your health, especially blood pressure. The best part is that you’ll be able to create snacks that aren’t even available in the market! Let your creativity roam with the help of thousands of recipes you can find online.
6. Double-up on Leftovers
If you and your household members don’t have a problem with eating the same meal for a few days in a row, then leftovers are a great hack for saving time and energy. Instead of preparing a meal according to the exact serving size of your household, make a few portions extra and stretch out that meal for another day. This is easier to do with certain recipes that already require you to make them in bulk such as lasagnas and pies.
We hope that these tips will make your time cooking at home more of a breeze and pleasure instead of a hassle. Happy cooking!