Any foodie knows that nothing trumps a good home cook meal. There is a sense of pride and satisfaction when you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It’s like having the Michelin-star restaurant experience without the price tag and in your pajamas. For any beginner home cook who is eager to learn how to cook from scratch, we gather our best tips and advice to help you improve your cooking skills and learn to make tasty dishes at home.
If you’re here then we’ll assume you know how to, at least, boil pasta. Maybe you even know how to make Pasta Pesto, but perhaps now instead of using store-bought pesto, you want to upgrade to making and using your pesto.
Cooking from scratch every day is the utopia many would like to reach. In reality, though, it’s intimidating to let go of the ease of buying prepared food instead of making your own. Especially when you know the risks. Not everything you make will be a success.
But guess what, while not every food will be a success the process is fun enough to keep going. And once the result is exactly what you envisioned, you’ll never go back to store-bought food.
What is Cooking from Scratch?
Most of us have no idea what cooking from scratch means. This is because there are a lot of different opinions on this subject. Many people use the phrase cooking from scratch, to mean cooking using ingredients that are directly from the farm, without ever being in the packaging plant first.
But that’s not quite the case. Cooking from scratch means preparing a meal without using ready-made ingredients, or those that have gone through any significant modification such as being heated, assembled, marinated, or a combination of all these procedures.
Cooking using ingredients that have been frozen or cut into smaller pieces can also be a possibility.
What Foods are Cheaper to Make Than Buy?
You can save some money and eat better by making some foods yourself instead of buying them from the store. Making your meals at home also means that you can control the ingredients according to your taste preference and dietary needs.
Here are some foods that are cheaper to make than buy:
- Yogurt: The only ingredients you need to make yogurt at home are half a gallon of milk and a few tablespoons of plain yogurt to make your morning cup of yogurt. Yogurt is truly not the most expensive item in your fridge but you can cut costs by making it at home.
- Hummus: Hummus can be costly to purchase when you consider the cost of the ingredients such as garbanzo beans. Tahini isn’t exactly cheap but if you can get a good deal then this would be a great way to save some coins.
- Breadcrumbs: Instead of throwing away that slightly stale loaf of bread, why not make breadcrumbs from it and save some money you’d have spent to buy breadcrumbs?
- Granola: This breakfast staple is a simple combination of nuts, oats, dried fruits, salt, and cinnamon if you like. The beauty of it is that it is endlessly adaptable to your pocket and what you have in your pantry.
- Pesto: Store-bought pesto can cost nearly $1 an ounce, so save on your sauce by making it at home. It will taste much better as well.
Where to Start
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Even the savviest home cooks would still use store-bought food as a shortcut. However, if you want to make homemade food the standard in your home then the first thing you need to do is master the essential cooking skills.
It is important to know your cooking skills. This is because it helps you make the cooking procedure easier and quicker. Mastering the essential cooking skills also increases the chances of succeeding with your homemade foods.
How to Cook from Scratch Every Day
The reason why many people want to learn how to cook from scratch is that they want wholesome, homemade, meals frequently. Homemade meals lead to tastier dinners and lower food costs. Cooking your meals is the best way to help you save money, avoid a lot of artificial ingredients in many processed foods, and ensure that the food you’re eating is good quality (since you know exactly what ingredients you’re using and how you’re preparing them).
Here are some ways you can cook from scratch at home every day:
- Having the proper set of knives. This will make it easy to prepare different cooking ingredients that need to be cut, sliced, peeled, etc.
- Having a chopper and a food processor to make cutting vegetables easier.
- Using an instant pot which makes the cooking process easier and consumes much less energy.
- Make individual sauces, spice mix, or other foods in the freezer to grab speeds up the process and you get delicious food.
What food can you make?
1. Soups – Soups are one of the easiest foods to make from scratch as they are simple to make and can be tailored to any season. Rather than grabbing a can out of the pantry, or running to the store because you don’t have said can try building your soup! It’s much easier than you might think! It is also a great way to utilize those small pieces of chicken leftovers that you don’t know what to do with!
2. Sauce – Buying sauce from the store is more expensive than making it at home. The possibilities of homemade sauces are endless, whether you want to get creative with a traditional tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes or you want a quick meat sauce to pair with spaghetti, you can have all that covered at home. Always make more sauce than you need and store it in the refrigerator for future use.
3. Salad – When you start to make your salad at home, you will never go back to buying a ready-made salad from the store. It saves you money and above all, it is very delicious as you can balance the ingredients as you like.
4. Pickles – Making your pickles from scratch is as easy as adding vinegar, salt, water, spices, and cucumber together and refrigerating for up to three weeks
5. Chicken stock – Homemade chicken stock is another great food to make from home. It is fairly simple to make, very delicious, and is a rich source of minerals such as iron.
Cooking From Scratch Recipes
There are several different recipes you can make from scratch. They don’t have to be overly complicated to taste great.
Here are some recipes you can cook from scratch at home:
- Guava Empanadas with Bacon – This is a great recipe to cook from scratch, it is a combination of sweet and salty flavors wrapped in a soft corn dough with a crispy crust.
- Cheese Arepas – This is a staple food in both Venezuela and Colombia. Arepas are corn cakes that are made from special precooked corn flour. This is a great recipe to make from scratch at home.
- Char Siu – Char Siu, usually known as Chinese BBQ pork in English, is one of the most popular pork dishes in Chinese/Cantonese cuisines and a great recipe to make at home as well.
- Cheeseburger Tortilla Pizza – If you have never tried making a tortilla pizza from scratch now is the time! This is a healthy solution to satisfy your cravings which can be prepared from scratch at home. It comes together in just 30 minutes!
- Pan Lasagna – This easy pan lasagna recipe is phenomenal! The best part being that you don’t need a special lasagna pan, your well-loved, rimmed sheet pan will be able to get the job done.
What To Bake From Scratch
If you’re a lover of sweets, then you’ll absolutely love baking from scratch!
Here is a list of different baking recipes:
- Oreo Cheesecake Brownie – If you’re stuck and home and craving a fudgy, rich, and chocolatey dessert, this brownie cheesecake recipe is pretty much the solution. It looks fancy but it’s super easy to make.
- Classic Banana Bread -This classic Banana Bread Recipe is easy to make, moist super soft. This is the very best way to use up overripe bananas!
- Tres Leches Cake – This is a Latin-Amerian cake recipe that has three main components: the cake itself, the milk mixture that’s poured over it, and the creamy whipped topping that’s spread on last. It’s ridiculously moist and beautifully sweet.
- Tomato Focaccia – This homemade recipe for making tomato focaccia is simple but makes rich, flavorful, and soft bread with ultra-crispy edges that you’re going to love! The cherry tomatoes add sweetness to the recipe
- Simnel Cake – This is a traditional Easter cake recipe perfect for baking from scratch at home.