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DD will learn a bit fat nothing from me in the kitchen.Please help me throw away my jars and cook from scratch. Where the hell do I start?

(27 Posts)
hummingbird123 Tue 23-Jun-09 21:42:45

Without getting myself confused (doesnt seem to take much these days) by googling different chefs for hours getting advice on cooking and whos the best etc I am on here for advice from other mums who cook traditional (healthy food) for their families.

It has suddenly hit me tonight, that DD will probably learn a bit fat NOTHING from me in the kitchen and thats really, really shameful on me. No secret 'grandmas' recipes' or secret sauces to pass down to her, just a jar of uncle bens so far...

Meat comes from the freezer and so do the vegetables. Sauces come from a jar. Rice too is from the freezer.


Please help me mumsnetters, I need easy, quick recipes from scratch, no more jars and ready made things. My dd is 4 my son is one. They love veggies, and although we dont eat that badly, every night feels the same as its generally veggies from freezer every night, with a different meat and sauce on, or sometimes roasted, or occasionally stir fried. Or kiddies have fish fingers (no coating for ds) or lots of pasta.

Also - is supermarket meat bad? Should I be visiting the butchers each week? Is there a huge difference? And good alternatives to meat? We never eat beans or pulses either, not sure what i would do with them though

tia x

TrinityRhino Tue 23-Jun-09 21:44:54

spag bol
macaroni cheese
simple curry
salmon pots and veg
home made pizza

and I am just starting to do cooking from scratch from last week

tis cheaper, healthier and you are right
I need to teach my children to cook healthily

DebiNewberry Tue 23-Jun-09 21:46:59

there is a <sh...> netmums cook book that is good on quite simple basic family food, all mums recipe. might be a good place to start if you need a bit of hand holding.

think its called feeding your family or something. I will google.

stubbyfingers Tue 23-Jun-09 21:47:15

I know it's been said before, but Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food is really good for learning basic recipes to start you off.

DebiNewberry Tue 23-Jun-09 21:48:22

This one...

thighsmadeofcheddar Tue 23-Jun-09 21:48:31

Delia is quite good for learning to cook as well. Her recipes come with very detailed step by step instructions.

Heated Tue 23-Jun-09 21:50:10

There is nothing wrong with frozen veg, it's often fresher than the stuff purporting to be fresh.

What do you fancy learning how to cook? Spag bol is a nice easy one to start with or steak and ale pie, for instance? I'd start with one or two new recipes a week and through trial and error build up a range of things you enjoy making and eating.

Doozle Tue 23-Jun-09 21:52:20

Gina Ford's Baby & Toddler cookbook is good. Most of recipes are straightforward and the meals work well across the age ranges.

RaisinBoys Tue 23-Jun-09 21:54:26

All of TrinityRhino's plus shepherds pie (or cottage pie if you use beef instead of lamb), a roast chicken - easy and delicious, fish pie, casseroles are easy as you can pretty much bung any veggies in, a bit of meat if you want, some wine or stock and long slow cooking. Chilli con carne good too - just make a big batch of the meat sauce, divide up and use some for spag bol, add some fresh chiilis to a batch for con carne and rest can be used for a cottage pie. Veggie chilli great - just use a variety of beans - canelini, kidney, aduki. Fish cakes always good. Jacket spuds with fillings of your choice always go down well. Don't be daunted. ALL the above are really easy. Good luck.

LadyOfWaffle Tue 23-Jun-09 22:02:25

Pick one recipe maybe a week to make totally from scratch and build up. I cook from scratch but DH and I like plain food - so it's meat/fish, veg and potatoes/rice/pasta etc. Once a week I try to learn a new recipe for something different. One week you could try fishcakes... well, anything really! Last week I made a proper fish pie from scratch (so easy - BBC website recipe) instead of the usual fish/veg/potato dinner. Little pizzas are good too - just a base (pitta is good if making your own is abit much at first), puree, a few herbs, grate mozerella and add topiings and grill. You can make potato wedges to go with it (not a packet mix coating) and it's pizza and chips I only ever use frozen veg - I'd be throwing alot away otherwise and it's fresher. My 2 go mad for corn on the cob - alot cheaper and nicer frozen

catinthehat2 Tue 23-Jun-09 22:05:36

Remember different varieties of the same thing exist:

Frozen rice is dull & samey & bland

Rice cooked from scratch can be basmati, brown, wild, sticky - whatever you can get your hands on at the supermarket.

BCNS Tue 23-Jun-09 22:09:13

I'll add spanish omlette to the list

potatoes (diced, small)

onion ( diced)

garlic ( mashed.. ie cut it up and then bash it with the side of your knive)

5 or so eggs

olive oil ( or other veg oil if you haven't got olive).

oil in pan.. chuck in potatoes and onion garlic and salt. cook till tender ( i put a lid on for this bit).

whizz up eggs in a bowl .. drain some of the oil off the spuds and onion.. throw in eggs.. cook.. sort of poke the edges round .. then turn over.... or cook the top under the grill if your not sure about turning.

now what you can do.. is throw in peppers when your doing the spud bit. or add peas when you do the egg bit.. or cheese etc.. that makes it a non spanish omlette.. but still tasty and you can throw in stuff you like..

then just bung it with a salad

SomeGuy Tue 23-Jun-09 22:13:31

rice cooker:

Big sacks of rice from Chinese supermarket cost about £1/kg.

Hassled Tue 23-Jun-09 22:14:13

Buy the Delia Smith How To Cook books. They were much mocked at the time ("How to boil an egg" etc) but they do all the basics, in a non-patronising, reliable way.

TrillianAstra Tue 23-Jun-09 22:17:24

Do what Trinity says.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 23-Jun-09 22:17:43

You don't need a rice cooker though. If you want to learn how to cook any type of rice... I've never seen a packet that didn't have some instructions on the side. (me, I just boil basmati for 10 mins in an excess of water and strain it. Not 'correct' but it works just fine! grin)

GBR Tue 23-Jun-09 22:20:37

Also a good family recipe book is Gill Holcombe's 'How to feed your family ....' (very long title). Also weekly planners which help me a lot, otherwise I drift around the supermarket randomly adding things to the trolley, get home and have about 1 dinner's worth of stuff, and lots of other rubbish!

bosch Tue 23-Jun-09 22:31:00

I've got into a bit of a rut feeding the ds's a lot of pasta and jars of sauce. I can't cook without a recipe so I picked up the jar of sauce and worked out how much of each ingredient there was in the jar - tomatoes (use passata if your kids don't like lumps of tomato), herbs, tom puree, oil, s and p, and sugar - put it all in a pan and left it to bubble away really slowly while I weighed out/cut up and boiled pasta and veg. Basically the same meal as out of a jar but it took me 5 mins longer and made me feel good - and tasted ok too.

My cheat for spanish omelette is to micro the veg first for around 3 mins (til potatoes are softish) and then tip in pan with eggs and grated cheese and cook then grill - that way you can use potatoes, onions, peas, red pepper, courgette, sweetcorn - whatever takes your fancy...

Oh, and if you want to learn Delia's white sauce method, it's so easy and not too long to do. Making a roux (cook butter and flour then slowly add milk) can be a bit daunting but if you put 15 oz cold milk, 1 1/2 oz each cubed butter and flour in a pan and whisk over medium hob while it comes to the boil, you'll not have any lumps. Leave on a v low heat to thicken for 6 mins then add any flavourings (cheese and nutmeg eg). As long as you whisk, you won't get any lumps. And it's quite a lot of sauce so you might freeze half for another day... Could stir into pasta and flaked oven baked salmon (takes around 20 mins wrapped in buttered foil or dish at gas 5/6) with peas.

expatinscotland Tue 23-Jun-09 22:32:12

First of all, stop beating yourself up!

Secondly, if funds are limited, you don't need a recipe book at all, just look in the Food and Recipes section on here or search 'meal plan/meal planning' on here.

Thirdly, there's no such thing as 'bad'. Get rid of that notion and start enjoying what you prepare, cook and eat, even if it's the odd takeaway.

Beans and pulses are easy! Just half the amount of meat you are using and sling a tin of them in instead. Beef? Sling in red kidney, barlotto, pinto or mixed taco beans.
Chicken or pork? Add in cannellini, broad, flageolet or butter beans.

Alternative to meat? Try a couple of tins of green lentils.

Start by involving your children in the prep or even something as simple as each child gets to tip in an ingredient or seasoning or do a round or two stirring or fetch ingredients from the cupboard.

expatinscotland Tue 23-Jun-09 22:33:53

Rice. Have you got any measuring cups, like the old imperial ones? One cup rice to two cups water. Get a child to pour in the water, put it on the hob to boil. YOu can add a cube of bullion, too. When it boils, chuck in the rice, stir, cover and turn the heat down to like, two until the water boils off.


expatinscotland Tue 23-Jun-09 22:34:57

Curry? I buy a jar of Pataks and follow the recipe on the back - you have to slice up the veg and get the meat prepared and add in a tin of tom and water, so there's some 'cooking' going on.

CherryChoc Tue 23-Jun-09 22:37:06

If you want a recipe book, lots of good suggestions on here, also Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food is good.

If you don't want a recipe book, a good way of getting started is to take a meal that you would make normally, e.g. spaghetti bolognaise or curry, from a jar, and come on here and ask for a really easy recipe to make it from scratch. Just do this for one meal a week, and then from then on whenever you make that meal do it from scratch rather than relying on the jar, gradually everything will be from scratch (although jars are useful when you are in a rush. You can make up your own sauces though and store them in old jars in the fridge if you want, also freeze extra portions of things like spag bol and defrost for a healthy ready meal)

Then when you feel more confident about cooking, that is the time to start trying new recipes and/or experimenting. Most food packaging has instructions on the side, herbs etc have a guide as to what they go with.

StirlingTheStrong Tue 23-Jun-09 22:38:17

Just visit your local library (I know I have said this before <yawn>) but take a look at their recipe books and pick a couple of easy ones to borrow for a while.

Delia's learn to cook ones are good and Jamies' Ministry of Food. I also found that (annoying as he is) Ainsleys books are good and simple. His Friends and Family cookbook has lots of good recipes like Fajitas etc.

If you find a book that you enjoy cooking a couple of recipes from then go out and buy it - but take a look in charity shops too - I bought Nigellas "How to Eat" which is an epic for £1 in a local charity shop.

Have fun smile

BCNS Tue 23-Jun-09 22:49:15

oh one tip for you.. when you find something that goes really well for you.. write it down in a note book... and when DC's leave home give it to them

I am doing this for my lot.. because no-one knows quite how my nan made certain things which were utterly fab and I wish my mum had done this for me.. instead of me being on the phone jotting notes.

SomeGuy Tue 23-Jun-09 23:45:42

Rice cookers are very good though, they steam rice rather than boiling it, so it comes out restaurant-quality. And all in about 15 minutes.

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