Sonny’s New Year’s Wish for You: The Simple Things
That’s what everyone seems to feel lately, myself included. If there were a wish that I could grant for people, it would be the ability to observe some simplicity in life.
We all have hobbies or other ways of decompressing after a long day or week, and mine is to get into the kitchen and cook a meal. My problem is that the menus I plan tend to be overly ambitious, and by the time I get home from work, decide what to eat with my wife, and do the shopping for the ingredients, well, what was originally a dinner for two becomes a midnight snack, cause that’s when things finally get done.
I decided to take some steps to try to get the best of both worlds, where I could still get the satisfaction of cooking and having good food, but also doing it in a way with a minimal amount of time and hassle:
- Keep the ingredients to a minimum. If I see a recipe with a long list of needed items, I put it away. In fact, if I see any cookbook in a store where all the recipes require too many ingredients and prep work, I won’t even get it.
- Do your prep work beforehand, and keep it to a minimum. Any restaurant chef will tell you that getting the “mise en place” organized helps to get the food orders out the door in a timely fashion. Myself, I hate chopping, and so I’ll either ask for some help while I do other prep, or do it way in advance to get it over with. Also, look into tools that will help make your job easier (i.e. garlic press!).
- Speaking of tools… If you don’t have one, get a slow cooker. A one pot wonder, this is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. Throw everything in there, and a couple hours later, you’ve got gold. Prep it in the morning before you go to work, and by the time you get home, you’re read to eat.
- Have an herb garden if you can do it. Just a small pot will do. We put ours by the window, and it’s handy when your recipe calls for some herbs, and you don’t want to go to the store to buy a whole package that you may not even finish.
- If you can, plan ahead. Consider recipes that you can make in big batches on the weekend so that you can freeze some for later in the week—or bring to lunch. If your friends live close by, organize a meal swap, and trade some of your extra portions for others to get some variety.
And finally, here are some non-bloggy resources that might help you keep things culinarily simple:
Happy New Year, and happy eating!