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To think that while cooking from scratch is better for you, it can be a massive PITA

(178 Posts)
TwentyOneGuns Sun 17-Apr-16 17:34:45

I've just spent the afternoon making lunches and batch cooking for the week ahead. I'm sure the results will be lovely but it's all so bloody fiddly, messy and time-consuming.

While I was wrestling with a butternut squash (to make soup which incidentally will be nice but neither buttery or nutty so it's badly named as well as a bastard to cut up and de-seed) I couldn't help thinking how much quicker it would be to open a bloody tin. I know homemade is better but honestly I lost the will to live with that thing.

Anyone got any tips or gadget suggestions for making it all a bit quicker?

QuiteLikely5 Sun 17-Apr-16 17:41:11

Pressure cooker? I read the thread the other day and it seemed very good!

fourcorneredcircle Sun 17-Apr-16 17:42:15

I keep a man for that...

Not really, clearly. I find it less soul destroying easier to just make double dinners a couple of times a week to bung in the freezer than spend an entire day batch cooking. And I love cooking. Could that work for you?

magimedi Sun 17-Apr-16 17:46:34

I've been cooking from scratch for years & I think that helps as a lot of it is almost automatic for me now. The more you do the quicker & easier you will find it.

If you are doing a big batch cook stop before you start & think about what you are going to do.

So if you are making soup & a cottage pie, for example, start by washing all the veg you will be using, then peeling all the veg & then chopping them all & putting them on to fry in the two pans you will be using.

Then fill up your sink with hot soapy water so you can chuck any utensils you use straight in so they will have a chance to soak & won't be so manky to wash up.

Good knives & enough chopping boards are essential for me.

I have an old ice cream tub that I use as a kitchen top bin so I can chuck waste in it as I go.

Kitchen paper is wonderful for covering things & mopping up spills.

I have a hand held stick blender for soup so I can just blend the soup in the pan & not have a whole food processor/liquidiser to wash up.

I really do try to apply time & motion efficiency when I cook - so if I have to go to the garage to get an onion (it's where I keep my veg) I will try to think what else I might need whilst there.

I hope none of the above sounds too simple & good on you for cooking like that - it certainly tastes better.

PS Am not a fan of butternut squash for all the reasons you gave and I do think it's quite bland & you need lots of herbs/spices to boost it.

BrandNewAndImproved Sun 17-Apr-16 17:46:36

Agree and it's the mess after that has to be washed up that annoys me as well. I don't have room for a dishwasher at home. sad

bigkidsdidit Sun 17-Apr-16 17:46:44

I refuse to peel and cut up a butternut squash. It's too much bloody hard work. I buy ready chopped stuff.

magimedi Sun 17-Apr-16 17:47:51

PS - DS (aged mid 30's) does most of the cooking for his family & he has just bought a pressure cooker & swears by it. I haven't had one for years & am semi tempted..........

Itinerary Sun 17-Apr-16 17:50:26

YANBU. I find it really boring. I appreciate that some people love cooking, but I'm just not one of them.

HildaOgdensMuriel Sun 17-Apr-16 17:50:46

I always chop b.squash in half , discard seeds and then bake in oven. All to avoid the peeling and chopping in the raw! Much easier when baked soft.

coffeeisnectar Sun 17-Apr-16 17:52:35

I agree that it becomes automatic. I can prep most meals in about 5-15 minutes and I don't even need to think about what I'm doing.

I also clean up as I go along so there's less to do later.

Groovee Sun 17-Apr-16 17:52:57

I use my slow cooker. I do stew, chilli, bolognese, mince, chicken curry, fajita's, stovies, pulled pork.

I usually double quantities then freeze the extras

TheCrumpettyTree Sun 17-Apr-16 17:58:13

Get a soup maker.

HildaOgdensMuriel Sun 17-Apr-16 17:59:03

I have a lot of quick meals and boil up in a pan (but can be ignored) type meals. Plus i use a lot of frozen veg which is as good for you as fresh.

I prepare the chopped veg in bulk with a food processor ( typically celery, onion and carrot) and freeze it to make cooking easier during the week. My bil buys his onion chopped and frozen theses days. Anything to make it easier is good IMO.

megletthesecond Sun 17-Apr-16 18:00:41

Yanbu. It's possible but takes ages and creates so much mess. I've started making triple quantities to save time.

Slow cookers don't work for veggie food which is a shame.

expatinscotland Sun 17-Apr-16 18:07:35

I buy butternut squash frozen in cubes at Tesco.

eeyore2 Sun 17-Apr-16 18:07:59

I do buy pre-cut veg quite often. Chopped onions, sliced butternut squash (it is so slippery when you are trying to peel it), pre chopped bags of onion-carrot-celery which gets you basically half way to a soup stew or bolognaise.
I often use a food processor (actually I have a amazing gadget called a thermomix) to do the chopping work. Thermomixes are actually amazing for people who want to cook from scratch with less time as you weigh, chop, blend, steam etc all in one gadget and it's much much much easier to clean than a typical food processor. But it's expensive so not ideal for everyone.

HildaOgdensMuriel Sun 17-Apr-16 18:08:26

I make double/ triple mash now and try to get the kids to peel the mass of potatoes and wield the masher.

So children can be useful gadgets , when I can pin them down..

AppleSetsSail Sun 17-Apr-16 18:15:51

No. But I do think that the more you cook, the more efficient you become - you get to 'know' your kitchen better.

Clean as you go. Always use your timer so you can get really stuck into cleaning as things cook - you can get a lot done in 2 minutes.

BennyTheBall Sun 17-Apr-16 18:16:03

I like everything cooked from scratch but like someone upthread, I keep a man for that.

Orac Sun 17-Apr-16 18:23:11

I don't spend a day doing it, what I do though is always make at least double and freeze in boxes labelled, with meal and quantity e.g "bolognese for 4".

A cheat for soup is to use tinned value new potatoes to thicken. They cost about 15p. Just use a stick blender for soup and chuck in whatever you've got.
Butternut squash? Pah, not worth the effort. Sweet potatoes are far nicer.

AnotherCiderPlease Sun 17-Apr-16 18:23:43

Roughly chop butternut up and steam it. When cooked and cooled its really easy to peel the skin off. I think butternut soup always tastes better with a good vegetable or chicken stock, and with some fried onion.

HowBadIsThisPlease Sun 17-Apr-16 18:24:17

Butternut squash is a con. as you point out it has nothing to do with butter or nuts. It is a bland boring bastard of a fiddly vegetable and everything you make with it tastes boring and sweet. I do not understand the fad for it and I do not understand why people purse their lips and narrow their eyes in that gollum-like expression of lascivious rapture when "butternut squash soup" is written on the specials boards and go "oooooooooooh butternut squash soup!" like it's something amazing. (I honestly think it's because the words "butter" and "nut" imply something so much nicer and people are just falling for the NLP of it and have forgotten what it tastes like)

Yes batch cooking is a faff and there are ways to mitigate the faff but one of the greatest frustrations in my search for genuinely labour saving ideas is that the request for them always brings up a plethora of suggestions of doing exactly the same work but at a different time. "you can put the slow cooker on in the morning!" "you can cook it all on sunday and put it in the freezer!" etc. Right, so I've still got to bloody well do it all then?

IAmALeafOnTheWindWatchHowISoar Sun 17-Apr-16 18:27:21

I swear by the Oxo Good Grips Y Peeler It's a fabulous bit of kit and will even make short work of a butternut squashes skin.

fitzbilly Sun 17-Apr-16 18:29:27

If you plan well, and chose things that are easy to prepare (I'd never waste time making butternut soup) then cooking from scratch is not hard. And it tastes far far nicer. I menu plan for a week, and plan things where I can do some of the prep for tomorrow's mail while cooking today's.

doleritedinosaur Sun 17-Apr-16 18:29:37

I had the same thought with my butternut squash last night but I do usually buy it ready chopped which works out better.

When I'm watching TV I chop up all the veg I've bought in the week to go in the freezer, ready chopped & makes it easier to cook with.

When I'm batch cooking, I try & think ahead so I'm not wasting time cooking same veg etc so last night was butternut squash risotto, roasted veg gratin & veggie sausage casserole.
I try to wash up as I go along & utilise time which does help.

OH definitely likes having all the onion/peppers/garlic/leeks etc cut up.

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