October Challenge: Learn to Cook

Wow is time flying. I can’t believe that it is already October. Last month, I attempted to clean up my eating. That did not go so well. The only thing that I really did on my list was kill off the dairy. My stomach feels so much better for that.

The other day while standing in line at the grocery store, I noticed that almost everything that I bought was packaged. I’m not exactly eating hamburger helper or anything. I’m eating organic frozen foods like veggie burgers, organic tater tots, frozen pizza, precut and packaged fresh broccoli, etc. Honestly, I have no issues with that BUT that should be a once a week thing or something kept on hand for a quick lunch. (I come home for lunch, so sometimes that quick veggie burger is perfect to get me in and out of here.)

My biggest issue when it comes to eating better is that I can’t cook. I seriously hate doing it. I can think of a million things that I  would rather be doing than cooking. Fortunately, since I bought How to Cook Everything Vegetarian I’m slowly learning some techniques but I still struggle. Until I become more comfortable in the kitchen, I’m always going to reach for packaged foods. I need to  make a commitment to learn to cook. I don’t want to be a chef or a foodie. I do want to be able to produce simple, easy food from scratch most days of the week.

I think the best way to go about this is to break it down into tiny obtainable steps for each week. If more time is needed I’ll revamp.

Week 1 – Action Plan

  • Get a real chef’s knife – My knife can’t even chop a sweet potato. I tried to sharpen it and it didn’t even seem to help. I think it was sharp at one time. I know it’s a decent knife. What I did not know is that you’re not supposed to put them in the dishwasher.
  • Get a better chopping board – Mine is glass because I read that was better. It turns out that it dulls your knife. See number one.
  • Make a shopping list based off a loose meal plan – I’m not a planner, so this might be difficult. In the long run it’ll save me money and time, though.
  • Prep as much food as possible right after shopping – I waste a lot of food because I never get around to prepping it. If it’s chopped and ready to be tossed into a stir fry then I’ll use it.
  • Only go to the grocery store once – This has to do with me just getting organized.
  • Make 2/7 dinners entirely fresh – No frozen, processed, or canned foods.  Cannot just be a giant salad. Can be yummy leftovers, though. Taking baby steps here. I don’t know how to make sauces or anything.

I think that those are decent enough things to get me started. There will probably still be some frozen food still in my freezer, but I’d like to slowly cut back on that. I’ll still used a few canned things here and there. This is all about baby steps.

Do you cook from scratch? Do you have any tips for me?

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2 Responses to October Challenge: Learn to Cook

  1. LeahC says:

    We got tired of buying all packaged food too a couple months ago. I tend to have high blood pressure and we eat a lot of pasta. Pasta sauce has a *ton* of salt in it, so after literally reading the back of every can of spaghetti sauce in the grocery store I said forget it let’s figure out how to make our own. SUPER EASY. I mean you have to let it cook for like 6 hours but we made one giant pot of it and froze a lot of it in ziplock bags. (This is the recipe we used but there are a ton out there) So if we are low on food we can just defrost one of those, throw it on spaghetti and we are good to go. We put peppers, onion and ground beef in ours but of course omit the beef and it would be just as delicious.

    Since then we’ve made our own hummus (again….super easy) and pita chips.

    I love doing this because there is less wasted and it has only what I want in it.

    Check out allrecipes.com for cooking ideas. they have good reviews by users and then sometimes the users will tell you what they did to change up the recipe a little and there are some good ideas in there.

    • These are the types of things I’m interested in doing. I don’t see myself ever getting to the point where I’m making fancy dinners every night. I want something fast, easy and ready to go. I don’t like putting a lot of thought into dinner, but if it’s there and ready to go I will eat it.

      Plus, I’ll save so much money.

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