Basic cooking skills are key for family mealsBasic cooking skills are a must when cooking for others, especially family members. These skills provide a foundation for all family meals. Research shows that families with cooking skills are more likely to make healthier food choices and spend less money every month on food.
By: Luella Morehouse, NDSU Extension, The Jamestown Sun
Basic cooking skills are a must when cooking for others, especially family members. These skills provide a foundation for all family meals. Research shows that families with cooking skills are more likely to make healthier food choices and spend less money every month on food.
Three simple cooking basics will help put tasty, healthful meals on the table easily.
• Plan meals. Taking the time to plan simple meals for the week saves time, money and frustration.
— Try planning meals weekly using a basic template (which you can adapt for your family) with ideas such as these:
* Pasta Monday
* Slow cooker Tuesday
* Leftovers Wednesday
* Casserole Thursday
* Make-your-own pizza Friday
— Create a binder to store your weekly meal plans and recipes. After you’ve created a few meal plans, start over at week one.
• Find family-friendly recipes.
After you find several recipes your family likes, cooking becomes easier. Keep ingredients for these recipes in the pantry for when you may need to make quick adjustments to meal plans, such as a change in schedule or someone voices a preference for a “favorite” recipe.
— Don’t have many recipes on hand? Or are you short on time? Check out our “Now Serving” publications for a series of menu plans and budget-minded meals at www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/meals.html.
* Shop with a grocery list. Some people do not enjoy grocery shopping. To make it less of a chore, always use a list based on the week’s menu plan.
— Check your pantry, refrigerator and freezer before shopping; you might be surprised at what you find.
— Read sale ads to see the “specials of the week.” Perhaps tortillas and chicken are on sale. Consider making chicken enchiladas for dinner this week.
— Consider how you might supplement your meal plan with items from your own or a friend’s garden, or make a trip to a local farmers market.
Get your kids involved!
“Kids a Cookin’” is a great site to find ideas on how to prepare easy recipes. Need a recipe? Don’t know what the term “braise” means? Grab your kids and check out the website www.kidsacookin. ksu.edu.
Don’t forget that eggs are a good source of high-quality protein at around $2 per dozen, or 17 cents each. For a quick, budget-friendly dinner, try an omelet made with eggs, chopped vegetables, and cheese.
Excerpted from http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletters.htm and reprinted with permission from Family Meal Times (FN1532), written by Kendra Otto, Practicum Student, Human Development and Family Sciences; Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist; and Sean Brotherson, Ph.D., Family Science Specialist, North Dakota State University Extension Service.
For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, FNP Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 116 1/2 First Street East, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu. edu.