Cooking hacks to save you time and cash
These are sure to make you more excited about getting into the kitchen
If there is any skill that is going to come in handy come 2018, when VAT is introduced, it is cooking. When we buy pre-made food, we are paying premium prices. In fact, the more the food had been processed, the more we pay. Cooking your own food is one way to manage budgets, and people everywhere have been using their kitchen prowess to cut down on expenses. Making food from scratch may be more time consuming but it certainly makes it a lot easier to save some fils. We all know it is way cheaper to buy flour and make pizza dough from scratch than it is to order delivery, but cooking can be overwhelming - especially if you make every single meal at home every single day.
Here are some hacks to get you in the cooking mood and to save on your household expenses.
. Get a dishwasher
If there is any large appliance I find irreplaceable, outside of the obvious fridge and stove, it is the dishwasher. Though these are standard in American and European kitchens, in the UAE, it is rare to find them in homes and apartments (perhaps because it is easier to afford help in the UAE). However, I have found that it is worth the investment if you have space for it in your kitchen. I first got one when I was pregnant because I anticipated that doing regular chores would become more tedious as the pregnancy wore on. I have been sold on them ever since. The more you cook, the more dishes you will have to wash. Cooking all meals at home will often make you feel like you are spending all day in the kitchen unless you have a machine that does this job effortlessly!
. Use a rice cooker
Rice cookers are inexpensive devices that are sure to save you a lot of time and effort in the kitchen. Plus, it creates a staple with ridiculous ease.
. Invest in a slow cooker
This will definitely be another important kitchen purchase. If you are a busy person who wants to enjoy food that is both tasty and inexpensive, then a slow cooker is a great tool to add to the cooking arsenal. Get one that has a timer that can shut off so you can set it and forget it. You can throw your meat and potatoes in it before you leave for work and come home to a prepared lunch or dinner. What's better than that?
. Simplify your diet
The simpler you eat, the less you cook. Many vegetables, fruit and nuts are great when eaten raw which means you don't need to stand over a stove or wash a pot. Which saves you both time and energy, as well as cash that could have gone into buying extra ingredients that may later go to waste.
. Shop at markets
Fruit, vegetable and fish markets cannot be beaten in terms of the price. If you want to cook on a daily basis, take your regular weekly budget to one of these markets and see for yourself how much more you get for your dirham than at posh supermarkets.
. Batch prep
By batch prepping, you make all your cuts and seasonings together and bag them for later. That means you will have your own pre-seasoned meats and pre-washed salads for a fraction of the cost of buying them in the supermarket. If your family likes pizza on weekends, batch prep your pizza dough for the entire month. You can freeze them in balls or half bake them and then freeze them for a quick pizza whenever you need it. Simply add your toppings and pop it into the oven to cook.
. Make use of leftovers
Whether you are cooking for one or for a large family, prepare more servings than you actually need in one sitting. That means you always have leftovers. Do not let leftovers go to waste either. Freeze them and date them for later use and that means you will always have something quick to eat throughout the week.
I have found that standing freezers are easier to keep organised as opposed to the chest freezers, which are horrible for finding small packages of food. Get Ziploc bags or free stackable food storage containers and labels each package with the content and the cooking date. For example: "Beef Stew - August 9, 2017."
. Get nice big pots
In order to cook larger portions, you will need bigger pots. That way, you will always be able to entertain and can develop the skill to cook larger portions.