I had someone mention to me awhile ago that they couldn’t believe some of the things we have for dinner. How do you get inspired? What makes you decide to have that for dinner? How on earth can you be so organised?
Truth be told, I am not perfect and we do sometimes order pizza or go out for Thai. Hey! I’ve even had toast for dinner. But I will admit in the last year our takeaway bill has come down and we don’t eat the same thing over and over again. It’s nice! It’s great to not dread eating something, you know when you think to yourself, gross, I am having that for dinner yet again.
Dinner doesn’t have to be repetitive, or hard, unhealthy, or expensive. I promise. Hopefully my blog post gives you a bit of advice/guidance on how to be more dinner ready.
Spot the post it notes in my two favourite books at the moment – Colin Fassnidge “Four Kitchens” and River Cottage “Love Your Leftovers”
Plan ahead – I don’t do it as often as I should, but I like to sit down with cookbook and post it notes and mark off everything I would like to make. And slowly make my way through it all. It gives me the opportunity to try things we would usually try, and it means I am making use of cookbooks I’ve spent good money on.
Follow food bloggers – if you see a post you like, book mark it! Save it to your Facebook saved posts or tag someone you live with in it so they can remind you to make it. I’m guilty of tagging my partner in posts so then he suddenly gets the craving for something, and I’m forced into cooking it.
I’m not going to lie, I still rip recipes out of magazines..I also try and challenge myself to make one new thing a week. Something I’ve never made before. Last week it was dough – this week, who knows.
Get your meat out the night before – This is where my biggest dinner downfall lies. I tend to forget to get something out the night before! Then the next day I don’t necessarily want to defrost it (I prefer to naturally defrost, I’ll use hot water, but the microwave is really rare) Depending on the meat, you can leave it in the fridge, covered for up to three days (maximum) so you can plan days ahead.
Do the same with vegetables – Ok so you can’t get your veges out the night before, but you can prep them and store them in the fridge – saves you time the next day too when you get home, go to make dinner and everything is chopped up and ready to go.
Invite people over – Have dinner dates! Put pressure on yourself to have people over and cook for them. Not only is it social, but you can show off in the kitchen. Take turns – one night a week, have friends over, and alternate it, pop over and see them the next week. Have cook offs – think of it as a classier, more personal version of Come Dine With Me.
When your craving foods – Work out if it’s something that you can teach yourself to make at home, and work out the cost of making it at home vs takeaways. In most cases, as much as it is convenient to buy takeaways, and it seems cheaper at the time, in all reality, it’s not.I.e.; I can pick up a bowl of Nachos from my local for approx. $12-14.
If I make it at home:
- Mince on a bad day, $5 for 300 grams
- Canned Tomatoes – Budget Brand, 0.99c max (Pak n Save)
- Herbs and Spices – you should have a few different condiments in your cupboards, if you don’t, stock up!
- Chilli Beans by Pams – $1.99 (Pak n Save)
- Cheese – most people have a block of this in the fridge, basing a 1kg block at $10, assuming you grate approx. 300 grams of cheese for your dish, you’ve spent about $3
- Nacho Chips – 1x bag $2.50 max
Tip: Try and avoid buying it buy the grated bags of cheese, as it works out more expensive in the long runAmount spent is approximately $13.50 give or take a dollar.Now I hear you saying – that’s the same cost as going out! But factor in petrol, putting in the effort to get out of the car – the fact you’re going to order at least 2 drinks, and also factor in you wont have any leftovers (when we make nachos, both of us take it for lunch the next day as well) and you actually come out on top cooking at home.
Also if you’re doing your groceries right, you should ideally have some of these items anyway, which bring your overall costs down. And lets face it, you know how you like things to taste, and there is nothing worse than going out for a meal and finding that it wasn’t as good as you hoped for, and you have to pay for it.
Yes, I get your math, but fresh food is expensive – I agree, things are expensive. But you can substitute, you can shop around, and sometimes you have to make sacrifices.But the honest truth is you can eat healthy home cooked meals – it’s easier than you think. And anyone who says it’s cheaper it eat out every night, in my own opinion I think will have a much fuller wallet if they try eating at home for a month straight.Just so you know – we spend about $110 at the supermarket on a full grocery shop – if we go out for dinner, we’ve been known to spend up to $90 on food and drinks.Sam from Planet Bake Life tells us how to eat well and save money – here – go pay her a friendly visit.
Do you struggle to be dinner ready? What’s your biggest downfall when it comes to dinner And what are some of your successes?