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Help me be a better cook? Does meal planning work?

(11 Posts)
weetafix Sun 09-Sep-18 11:56:22

Hi!
I have been recently made redundant and I am pregnant with DC2
We have decided (me and my husband) that considering not many people will take on a pregnant woman that I am going to stay at home for a while with DC1

This has opened a can of worms with me (probably nesting) doing major sort outs of everything, and writing hundreds of lists.

My problem is I am the worlds worst cook!
My husband is a chef but is away most waking hours in the week so meals are now down to me.

I SUCK! I burn waffles and chicken nuggets fgs! blush
I really want to be better at this! I want my kids to have memories of 'mums cooking' like I do confused

Does meal planning help?
Is there more to it than just thinking of some meals and writing them down?
Did it help you become a better cook?
Is there a certain time of day you start preparing meals to eat at a certain time?
Does it help save money and waste?

So much of our food shop goes in the bin and now I'm at home I've suddenly become more aware of waste and plastic usage. As well as my blatant lack of ability in the kitchen! Please help!?

OP’s posts: |
FogCutter Sun 09-Sep-18 12:02:45

Definitely meal planning helps reduce cost and food waste.

Go for simple recipes that are easy to cook. I'm working my way through Jamie Oliver's 5 ingredients book and most of the recipes have been delicious and so easy - my 11 year old has even made some of them while I put my feet up!

weetafix Sun 09-Sep-18 12:08:33

I went to a charity shop and brought a few cook books and I'm looking online but nothing I prepare is amazing! It's quite hard with a toddler running around mind!

I see some ladies on here have amazing sounding dishes! And make it sound so easy!

What would be a typical (easily done) week in meals?

OP’s posts: |
DomesticAnarchist Sun 09-Sep-18 12:12:14

Meal planning definitely helps, but it took me a year of learning to cook first before I was confident to do so.

I really recommend the Nosh book for busy mums and dads. It's really easy to follow, and easier and more family friendly recipes than Jamie Oliver (though Ministry of Food is a good starting point too).

If I can do it. Anyone can!

weetafix Sun 09-Sep-18 12:15:34

Ooooh thank you @DomesticAnarchist I'm going to have a look on amazon now!

When you meal plan do you also have a sort of set time every day for meals and prep?

OP’s posts: |
DomesticAnarchist Sun 09-Sep-18 15:36:44

I work term time, when it's a case of getting the kids in and in front of the tv while I get cooking straight away, then dinner then bath then bed. But during the holidays we also had a dedicated tv-while-I-cook time.

This summer I put together a 4-week rotating meal plan with meals picked according to how busy our evenings are. Easy stuff on the days I finish later, more complicated stuff on my day off!

We also bought a second hand chest freezer and have been batch cooking so some days it'll just be heating something up!

kateandme Sun 09-Sep-18 17:24:51

also check out things like youtube for cooking videos.jamie oliver has a channel but apart from that search and you can pretty much find a video on how to anything.
channel 40d I don't no whether jamies 5 ingredient meals is still available?
would you consider a cooking course?whilst you have more time could this be something you could do now with one of ur days?
do you have a mum or friend or relative that could come teach you some basic things.
don't be afraid to use some jars for sauces to start off with.they have come up competiting as of late so are more natural and healthy ones.
no one gets it right all the time so don't fret if you make mistakes.also recipes in families take years to perfect and most are different from one person to the next.
I did lots of pasta starting off.tuna sweetcorn bake.cheese and bacon.
spag bol also a deff winner because then you can use the mince base for pies,enchiladas or just on toast. and that was just carrots onions and garlic in pan,mince, jar of dolmio and a few herbs.then you can make it more complex or add thing as you and your confidence grows.
also a good chicken pie.learning to make a white sauce and then adding cheese to it for other recipes.
learn how salt and pepper adds taste.
chicken thighs taste better.and make great one pots.
salmon cooks in mintues in the microwave.also do great recipe with them in foil parcels.
use your leftovers the next day for lunch or in a different meal.
or freeze for later.
learning the timing of a great roast chicken it great.because it can then be done as a really good comforting meal to bung in and you can have with salad.veggies.roast.or pick apart from different meals.
learn the timing of cooking pasta so keep picking it out the pan for when you like it al dente or softer.
choose something you like then search a recipe.
bbc good food site is brilliant.
buy ready rolled pastry.they just unravel for pasties.pies.all sorts.
go for it.
do you enjoy cooking because I think that makes a huuuuge difference t how far youl go here.
if u get stuck google is ur friend!

weetafix Sun 09-Sep-18 18:11:52

Thank you for your help!

I don't have anyone else family wise to help unfortunately, you would have thought with my husband being a chef I'd be better!

I just never had anyone to teach me growing up. I left Home very young so lived in packet pasta and instant and frozen stuff and had our first when I was 21 (I've just turned 24) and worked full time so never had the time to 'enjoy' it.

She's nearly 2 now and I really want to be able to make her healthy but yummy foods.

Doing a food shop in the morning so I'm going to try sit down (when husband comes home from work) and meal plan and do a food shopping list at the same time.
Googling and YouTube are currently giving me inspiration... in really going to try be good at this!

OP’s posts: |
Namethecat Sun 09-Sep-18 18:17:54

Could you buy a really big amount of mince, chop onions, gently fry, add mince and fry off. Then separate into 3 . The first you could add toms,mushrooms, herbs etc = Bolognese. 2nd lot add toms, kidney beans chilli. = Chilli con carne. 3rd. Add mash potato, quick grate of cheese = Cottage Pie. Some you could freeze so that your not eating mince every day, but I would think that's fairly easy menu planning.

furandchandeliers Sun 09-Sep-18 18:30:45

Start with the basics like making a really nice tomato sauce you can use with pasta or as a topping on pizza.

beela Sun 09-Sep-18 18:37:21

I sit down with a couple of recipe books at the weekend and make a meal plan, then do an online shop. It has really cut down on our food waste, and means I don't have to think about it in the week when I'm busy, I just consult my list smile

My top tip is learn how to make a decent omelette.

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