Two young college kids unloaded the contents of a toppling grocery cart onto the checkout belt. As they piled up canned soups, hot dogs, white hot dog buns, frozen chimichangas, frozen pizzas, and enough Chef Boyardee Ravioli to feed a grade school cafeteria, all I could think is, "These guys are going to die."
In addition, they were wasting an obscene amount of money. I can teach you how to make a huge pot of beef and veggie stew for less than $10 that will keep you warm happy for half the winter. Without all the sodium, preservatives and other ingredients that are packed into the Campbells they were buying.
There is no reason to eat that way. The bottom line is, cooking simple, healthy meals with fresh food is not hard to do. My friends talk about how they can't cook all the time and I'm here to tell all of you, you can.
My first tips are:
1. Get a vacuum sealer. It will become your best friend. Vacuum sealers allow you to buy food in bulk on sale and freeze it. You can also use it to seal and freeze leftovers or single portions of my above mentioned stew. (It's my Granny's recipe and as I continue to blog, I will eventually share its ridiculous goodness with you.)
2. Always buy on sale. Get your store circulars. Clip coupons. Join http://www.shortcuts.com/. Find out what's on sale when. For example, today, lamb chops were on sale for $7.99 per lb. I am a lamb chop lover. So I bought a bunch and will seal them in serving sizes. (They're usually $19.99 per lb. I saved $15.84!) So when I feel like lamb chops for dinner, I'll just pull out a Suzie sized pack.
Strawberries were on sale for $1.50 per lb today. (Down from $4.99.) They're plump, delicious and a great source of vitamin C. So, I grabbed those too and snacked up on them right before I started to blog.
3. Buy organic when you can. I know it's hard right now, but when you can, buy organic meats, cereals and fruits. We don't know what kind of pesticides and chemicals are on our foods and I could rant for pages about the antibiotics and hormones in our meats, but I won't. Instead, I'll just say, "try."
4. Shop along the exterior of your supermarket. Produce, dairy, meats, fish, all the things you should eat a lot of, are along the perimeter of the supermarket. Think about what's on the inside - meals in boxes, chips, processed stuff. Sure, there are some good-for-you items in there, like granola, but think before you pick up the Ring Dings.
5. Get the basics. Olive oil, salt and pepper go a long way. Toss in some (preferably fresh) herbs and you're just about ready to tackle anything. Make sure you always have them in the kitchen.
6. Get a non-stick pan with a metal handle. I'm going to be writing a lot about pan roasting here. That means you sear something on the stove top, then finish it off in the oven. You need a metal handle for that. And a thick oven mitt.
7. Get good knives. I mean this seriously. All you need is one good knife. You can really get hurt with dull or cheap knives.
8. Keep it simple. You don't need to spend hours preparing meals. Most of my meals are made, start to finish, in 30 minutes or less.
And tomorrow, I'm going to tell you how to make one. Thanks for stopping by!