If you’re just getting started with real food in your kitchen, then you might be uncertain where to start. I get it! But there are many easy techniques that you can try to start making foods from scratch, without spending all your time in the kitchen…and without studying the “how to” for days!
If you add even a few of these to your repertoire on a regular basis, your meals will get so much more nourishing! And they truly are easy. I do most of these on a regular basis now. It’s just how I cook. Some of them even save you time.
Let’s see how many of these you can — or have — try!
1. Making Stock
Making chicken or beef stock is one of the very easiest things you can do. Seriously. It only takes 4 – 24 hours (depending on the size of your bones and how concentrated you want the stock to be) and it’s super nourishing! Recipes and tutorials are found below.
2. Soaking Quick Bread
Not sure what this is? I promise it’s easy. “Soaking” means mixing your flour with the liquid ingredients in your recipe and allowing it to sit overnight. (It might be dough, or it might be batter, depending on the recipe — but it won’t be swimming in liquid.) Why? Soaking grains reduces their phytic acid levels (phytic acid blocks mineral absorption in the gut) and makes them more digestible. (Read more on that here.)
Start with quick breads or batters, because they’re super easy to soak. All you do is mix the grains and sugar with milk and butter at night, then in the morning stir in the salt, baking soda or powder, and any remaining ingredients (salt and baking soda inhibit the soaking process). It can actually save you time in the morning because most of the mixing work is done already — just stir in the last few items and bake!
3. Soaking Beans
Those call beans the “musical fruit” haven’t learned about proper soaking yet! When we soak beans with a bit of apple cider vinegar or a pinch of baking soda overnight, we reduce the stuff in the beans that can cause gas. How cool is that? It also makes the beans more digestible and cuts down on cooking time. It’s great to soak and cook beans in large quantities so that you can use them in soups, for sauces or spreads, salads, etc. easily!
4. Soaking Nuts
While most have heard of soaking beans, soaking nuts? Nuts, too, contain phytic acid and can be hard for some to digest. Soaking them reduces this and makes them more digestible. All you need is to soak them overnight in salt water, and then dry them completely before eating (you can use a dehydrator or your oven for this). Some people really prefer nuts after soaking!
5. Making Nut Butter
Think nut butter is hard? Nope! All you need is a quality blender or food processor. Nut butter takes a few minutes of patience, but it’s super simple to make. With soaked nuts, it’s even more nourishing than store-bought — and you can control any oils, sweeteners, or salt you add.
6. Drying Fruit Slices
I don’t know about you, but my kids are always begging for snacks. Making dried fruit slices is so easy and they make a great snack. You can slice up apples, thinly, and sprinkle with cinnamon, then dry in your oven at 170 for 2 – 3 hours (flip them over about halfway through the process). Other fruits can be dried in a similar way. Or, blend your fruits into a puree and try making fruit leather!
7. Freezing Meals or Components
Don’t want to cook for every meal? Me either. Try freezing some items so you don’t have to! Soaked, cooked beans freeze well. Chicken and beef stock freezes well. Tomato sauce freezes well. Breads freeze well. Choose some of your favorites and make a double or triple batch and freeze them. Then you’ve got a super easy meal to pull out!
8. Cooking a Whole Chicken
Intimidated by a whole chicken? Don’t be. They are so simple to prepare. Try roasting one, or put one in a big pot full of water to start some soup. Cut or shred any leftover meat and use it for soups, casseroles, and more. A whole chicken can make 2 – 3 meals, depending on your family size, chicken size, and how you use them.
9. Making Homemade Gravy
I used to think gravy only came in those little packets. But not so! Homemade gravy is super simple to make. You only need the drippings from meat plus some water, or some homemade stock (and a pinch of salt), plus a thickener. It’s as fast as the packet but so much better.
10. Blend Your Own Herbal Tea
Do you love tea as much as I do? Tea is so nourishing, and you can make so many awesome flavors with no junk. (Did you know some store-bought teas contain natural flavors, soy lecithin, and other junk?) Making your own is very simple and you can customize it for your tastes. Herbs are incredibly good for you, too.
- Peaches’n’honey tea
- Rooibos Allergy Tea
- Pregnancy Tea
- Anti-Anxiety Tea
- Hormone-Balancing Tea
- Fall Blend Herbal Tea
Which of these have you tried? What is next on your list?
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