Home-cooked meals offer more than just comfort and cost-effectiveness — they are also great for your health. For example, when you make your own food, you are assured that the ingredients used are fresh, sanitary, and nutritious. You also have more control over the dish: for example, if you want to choose low-carb substitutes, cook a sodium-free dinner, or avoid allergens, then nothing beats homemade.
Last but not least, homemade meals are also traditionally savored slowly in a family setting rather than scarfed down on the run, as is all too common in our increasingly busy world. And multiple studies have shown that eating slower tends to encourage smaller portion sizes and more satisfaction.
So, if you are looking to better your cooking skills in order to improve your diet while also saving both time and money, then this quick list of cooking basics is a fantastic starting point:
Dishes that take too long to cook, along with dishes that only have a 50% success rate unless you are Gordon Ramsey, simply aren’t worth the effort. Especially not when there are literally millions of ultra-easy and uber-delicious 20-minute recipes just a click away on the world wide web.
Adding salt to your food during the cooking process rather than simply throwing salt on top of your finished dish will lead to a much richer and more balanced flavor. (And, ironically, this will require you to use less salt in the long run!)
Strike PH Balance
One of the biggest mistakes that novice chefs make is ignoring acidity. Overly bright (acidic) plates can be overwhelming and tough on the stomach, which overly dark (base) dishes tend to be…well, boring. Diluting sauces with water, milk, or sugar is the best way of reducing acidity while adding lemon, vinegar, and red wine are all great strategies for increasing acidity.
A small amount of finely chopped and highly fresh basil, cilantro, or parsley can really help add a new dimension to almost any dish. (Just as importantly, these toppings help create a more appetizing presentation!)
Invest in Cookware
Seriously, this can make an enormous difference in the quality of the food that you make. For the price of just a couple fast food meals, you can invest in a good pot, pan, wok, etc. that will pay for itself in a matter of weeks as long as you use it regularly. Last but not least, if you are looking to save time while making easy and delicious meals, then a crockpot is an absolute must.
Taste Along the Way
Cooking is an artform — and, like all art, it is just as much about the journey as the destination. In less poetic terms, what we are saying is…that you should be nibbling on your food as you cook it! This will help give you a better idea of what works and what doesn’t, and it will also make the entire cooking process a lot more fun.