How I find the time to cook all our meals from scratch, everyday
Finding the time to cook and prioritising cooking are tough rhythms to get into. Especially when you’re not a confident cook or you lack those ‘extra’ skills that allow you to freestyle your meals without a recipe. But. If you want to change, you need to start doing things differently. Takeaway and meal kits will only get you so far before you feel the effects of them. So how can you find the time to cook your meals from scratch and still have a life? Today I’m sharing how I do this.
Watch the VIDEO
0:11 Meals we eat out
3:55 Thoughts on takeaway
5:05 Why recipes will waste your time
6:05 Hands off cooking
6:25 If you’re bored of what you cook
8:05 My hour of power and batch cooking / meal prep
8:45 Hands off cooking continued
9:55 What goes with a roast chicken?
11:10 Why simple meals are the best and the only way I choose to cook
12:53 My hour of power and batch cooking / meal prep continued
13:44 Why meal prepping ingredients over full meals is the way to go
16:02 Freestyle pasta bake
17:29 How most people cook with recipes and why they cause so much stress and overwhelm
Let’s get into it: How I find the time to cook all our meals from scratch, everyday
Let’s start with takeaway. The extent of my meals out are:
- Friday night home cooked Indian from Your Spice Kitchen in Berowra.
- A breakky out of the weekend.
- Potentially another weekend meal.
The rest of our meals. I make the time to cook. From scratch.
I’ve recently started buying Ceres rice crackers and beef jerky.
We have heaps of dark chocolate.
I load the fridge with fruit and yoghurt. I keep Meredith dairy Sheeps or Goats yoghurt. Plus coconut yoghurt. We eat a lot.
I’ll prep these on a Sunday in my hour of power. Along with our brekky
Usually I’ll make chia pudding and bircher muesli.
Bircher muesli takes about 5 minutes to prep. I make a huge jar for the fridge to easily scoop out and top with what we want.
Both are simple, delicious and we love them.
Ideally, breakfast is prepped on Sunday so it’s out of the way.
Or it’s eggs on toast. Made fresh in the morning.
For lunch we have leftovers from the night before.
Or we have eggs with kimchi, cheese, olives – all in the freezer. I’ll batch cook the boiled eggs in my hour of power.
The kimchi I make in a huge batch every few months. I also sell this to select friends and my community so it’s a bigger process for me but easy to do.
I buy ham, bacon and sourdough. I also make sourdough when I can. These are there, ready and waiting.
Dinner takes me usually between 10 and 40 minutes to prepare. It depends on the meal.
Hands off cooking, in my opinion, is the Holy Grail of a time hack. And it’s the #1 thing I would love you to takeaway from this. Along with, committing to a meal prep routine and yes you can cook without a recipe.
Back to my roast chicken…
I cook simple meals.
And I only cook one meal. All 3 of us eat the same meal.
I take my toddlers considerations in my mind as i’m cooking. Ensuring it’s not too spicy or weird. They do have different tastebuds and they’re learning. But.
We eat together and only one meal.
And there’s no substitutes or 2nd meals. Unless I’ve really messed it up. That’s happened twice in 2.5 years.
The meals I cook. You can cook. I cook and share, so you can get inspired to do the same. If you look at what i cook and think ‘ i could never make that’. You’re selling yourself short AND you have work to do.
Elaborate meals are my worst nightmare.
I’ll also batch cook. I make double batches to freeze for later. Then it’s a simple reheat and dinner is done.
My Hour of Power – Meal Prep / batch cooking
Then there’s how I meal prep.
I spend an hour of Sunday. I call this my Hour of Power.
You could say I dedicate an hour. I commit and prioritise this hour.
If you’re telling me you’re busy and you can’t find time to cook. This hour is more important than ever for you.
Here’s the thing though.
I cook ingredients and i have a rough plan of what it will become. But i leave it open.
A tray of roast veg.
A kg of meat or 2.
Steamed veg. A dip.
This ensures I don’t get bored meal prepping before i’ve had a chance to cook and eat it.
What makes this possible?
I have built up my ingredient knowledge of meats, veggies, pantry items and flavour bombs.
I have the ability to think of easily 10 meal ideas at the drop of a hat.
I think on my feet. This isn’t hard but we’re not taught this.
And this is what i teach my clients to do.
You’re a lot closer than you think. You’re a way better cook than you give yourself credit for. I teach my clients to do this via their nightly meals – as in – they’re already cooking dinner. They’re paying attention to what we’re doing and supported by me. The extra effort involved to level up your cooking and begin to cook without a recipe is minimal but the effect on their life is huge.
We’re told to follow a recipe and that THAT recipe is the ONLY way to cook that particular dish. It’s not. It’s just that persons way. Underpinning every recipe is ingredients which have a method or process to be cooked.
Learn the method. Ditch the recipe. You’re free.
I taught myself to do this through my catering business because it was a matter of business survival. And the ultimate Kitchen Time Hack.
I teach you how to ditch the recipe because following a recipe isn’t necessary.
There are times to follow a recipe – eg: you’re learning the method or process.
There are times to NOT follow a recipe – eg: you’ve made the dish 3 times, it’s now moved to being a favourite. It’s time to freestyle.
You’re always going to have A METHOD or outline of a dish to follow.
For example: a pasta bake.
There’s a baking tray.
An oven. Probably 180C.
There’s pasta. Probably penne, orzo, macaroni?
There’s a sauce. Doesn’t need to be dairy. It could be broth with coconut cream or nut milk.
There’s flavours in there. Cheese. Herbs. Salt. pepper.
There’s texture. Smooth creamy sauce. Soft but bitey pasta.
Now you’ve got a creamy one.
Can you make it tomato?
Can you do a half/half tomato and cream.
Can you add tuna or salmon or chicken.
To freestyle like this. You need to know your ingredients and you need a series of reference points to support you – i teach my clients this.
But. You walk in the door.
You know you have pasta.
You have broth and veg and tuna.
The oven is on straight away. And you’re freestyling based off of a method you’ve used before.
You don’t need to look at your phone 50 times referencing a recipe.
And you don’t need to search google to find a recipe in the first place.
You use what you have on hand. Which means you aren’t running to the shops to find ingredients specific to the recipe you’ve found on google. And godforbid you forget the eggplant. What do you do then?