A home filled with laughter, music and a great home cooked meal is such a nourishing place to be. Those who cook at home create a happy routine, a part of the day everybody looks forward to. Whether it be family or friends or both, those who cook create the glue that keeps spirits high, laughter compulsory and music the alternative to TV or screens.
We can find many reasons to avoid preparing a home cooked meal: time, convenience, unrealistic schedules, family demands or you simply can’t be bothered. That is fair enough, and cooking every day is unrealistic; however, we should all take a breath and switch from why not home cooking, to find the reasons why.
‘I can’t cook’ is a common default position and for many it may come down to aiming too high in the beginning or you’ve tried cooking before and the meal didn’t turn out as well as you thought. You tried, found a recipe, bought the food and it just failed. You ended up throwing out the food, ordering something in and the whole process cost you twice as much, plus the time you lost and then having to clean up a kitchen that looks like a national embarrassment. It is enough to put you off ever turning on an oven again.
The trick is to start small and easy. Mussels are a great protein to begin your journey. They’re cheap and easy to prepare. Just steam in a small amount of water, toss them in and put a lid on for a couple of minutes and ‘pop’, you have a home cooked meal.
It is important to remember that cooking is not an exact science and perceived failure is simply training and experimenting. Look online for easy recipes; we have plenty to share with you. Buy yourself a basic cookbook and choose easy, healthy meals that only take a short time and a small number of ingredients. With most recipes, it’s okay to skip an ingredient or substitute one thing for another. Set yourself a small goal, for example, this week I am going to cook two home cooked meals, next week three and so on. The more you cook, the better you get.
Yep, we’ve all experienced this little chestnut. Again, start small. Introduce a home cooked meal twice a week and allow time for the family to get used to the idea. Keep persevering; the benefits are profound.
Involve the kids in the process, it should be fun, and messy is okay.
They love to mimic what you do and cooking a meal together is quality time you might be missing out on. Teach them the importance of healthy ingredients and relate it to their lives. “This vegetable helps build your muscles for the football team,” “This protein keeps your bones strong for dancing.” When it is relatable, it has purpose.
Time is a 21st century curse. With all the technology designed to make our lives easier, we have never had less spare time to do things like cooking. There are a few things you can do:
1. Pick your favourite playlist and put some music on in the kitchen.
2. Let the kids know you’re cooking and ask who wants to help.
3. Know you only need to cook two to three nights a week to begin with.
4. Start with fresh, healthy ingredients. Flavour your meal with spices rather than sugar or salt.
5, Steam or saute your vegetables. Steam mussels and grill fish or chicken.
6. When making rice or pasta, double the amount and store for later in the week.
7. Keep things simple during the week. Get elaborate on a weekend.
8. Grill or bake instead of frying. Replace salt with garlic or onion powder, only use ½ of the recommended sugar in the recipe.
9. Make it your mission to learn about the food you eat and choose foods with high nutritional profiles.
10. Have fun and give yourself some leeway. Sometimes you will burn things, sometimes you will undercook things, so what?! Just keep persevering and you won’t look back.
Mussels are the most versatile source of meat protein. They are also one of nature’s most sustainable superfoods, loaded with protein, vitamins and minerals. Extremely easy to cook, they take very little time and are a brilliant meat to experiment with when you are getting into cooking from home.