You have decided to start cooking from scratch in your personal kitchen and you have taken the first step of properly stocking your pantry and refrigerator with all the essential supplies. You have all the raw materials but how do you use them? Move into the kitchen and complete step 2.
Step 2: Make sure you have all the proper kitchen equipment
Go through all your drawers and cabinets to make sure you have at least the majority of the below listed items. If you don’t have certain items, you can make a list to acquire them over time as your budget allows. Look in thrift stores and/or yard sales. You can usually find perfectly good kitchen equipment for cheap at such places.
Measuring Cups (1 cup, 1/2 cup, 2/3 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/8 cup)
Glass Measuring Cup, for liquids
Measuring Spoons (tablespoon, teaspoon, and all the increments)
Multiple Sizes of mixing bowls
Casserole Dishes (13X9, 9X9)
2 Round Cake Pans
2 Square Cake Pans
Pots (small, medium, and large)
Cutting Board, non-porous
Set of Sharp Knives
Electric or Hand Can Opener
Slow Cooker (essential for efficient, from-scratch cooking)
Disposable items (foil, plastic wrap, parchment paper, plastic baggies)
Storage containers (for leftovers)
Bonus: Electric Mixer (You can do everything by hand, but an electric mixer does make it easier. Save up for a nice one if you don’t already have one.)
You have all the basic ingredients and all the proper pieces of kitchen equipment. You are ready to start cooking from scratch.
Step 3: Start Making Some Basic Recipes to Get You Comfortable With the Cooking From Scratch Process
If you are accustomed to eating out most of the time or cooking out of a box, cooking from scratch can be quite daunting. The key to getting started is to start small and simple. Pick a couple recipes that seem easy enough and make them. For example, try making pancakes one Saturday morning for your family. Here is a basic recipe.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons granulated (a.k.a white) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 1/2 cups of milk; add to flour mixture, stirring only until smooth. Blend in melted butter. If the batter seems too thick to pour, add a little more milk. Cook on a hot, greased griddle, using about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook until bubbly, a little dry around the edges, and lightly browned on the bottom; turn and brown the other side. Recipe for pancakes serves 4.
Once you are comfortable with the basic recipes you picked move on to new ones. Give yourself a new goal. Think about all the things you have used from a box in the past (ex. pancake/waffle mix, cookie mix, brownie mix, dinner kits, etc.) and slowly replace each one with a From Scratch recipe. Challenge yourself. There will be failures and disasters but learn from them and move on. As you are learning you will discover two things, your food is going to start tasting much better and your body will start feeling better too. Not to mention, your grocery bill will start going down too.
Cooking from Scratch is a very rewarding practice on so many levels as we have discussed already. But, it can also be time consuming if you don’t know the tricks for saving time. In Part Three, we will be discussing the process of streamlining your from scratch cooking.