I found a great article Shine this morning, How to be a Successful Home Cook. Although it includes a ton of useful information, a few important areas weren’t covered, so I thought I’d add my two cents. Here goes…
If you’ve been living on carry out and cooking for yourself is a perplexing, angst evoking concept, you’ll want to start with simple, easy to prepare recipes, keeping the steps and ingredients to a minimum and make sure you read and understand the instructions thoroughly up front. Don’t choose a recipe if with words you don’t know or ingredients you’re not familiar with. By sticking with what you know, you’ll be able to comfortably prepare the recipe and build the confidence you need to get more complicated in the future. A few good web sites with newbie recipes are Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food and Real Simple.
Choose your cooking equipment wisely. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people complain about the money wasted on food processors and Kitchen Aid stand mixers because they thought they’d use them and never did. Before buying cooking equipment, make sure you’ll use it, can lift it or have room on your counter for it. I tell clients that if they envision a food processor in their future, they should find 5 recipes that use one and prepare them as soon as they buy it. This will give them a comfort level with their new machine and get them in the habit of using it. A few good food processor recipes to try include hummus, pesto and pesto-like dishes, soups and salad dressings.
Keeping Everyone Happy
If you’re cooking for yourself, logically you’ll make something you’ll like, but if you’re trying to please your family, it’s best to run your recipe by at least one of the people you’ll be cooking for to make sure they’ll eat it. There’s nothing worse than putting your time, energy and love into preparing something wonderful that nobody will eat. I know up front that my daughter won’t eat red meat and my son won’t eat fish. So on nights that I want to prepare a meal that includes beef or fish, the odd man out eats cereal or side dishes.
There’s nothing more irritating than making a pot of soup that serves 8 to feed a family of 2. The first night it’s good. The second it might even be better, but by the third and fourth, you’re probably sick of it and unless it’s stored properly, it may be deteriorating and should probably be tossed. If you’re not comfortable scaling the recipe down to the number of servings you really need, a smart move is to freeze the extra portions to eat another time. It’s economical too! Here’s a handy guide for foods that do and don’t freeze well.
If you’ve got thoughts, questions or ideas on being a successful home cook send ‘em my way! I might include it in my next post.