Let's get real, not everybody puts the time or energy into eating healthy as well as tasty home made food. But, I suppose if you are reading this blog then you are at least interested in just that?! I don't always have an hour to make a dinner but I do however, usually, have a plan. In the kitchen a plan is essential because it is time saving. My planning always starts at the grocery store.
I usually look around to see what meats and fishes are in stock and for what price. After the meat or fish is picked out then I go for the side dishes. I usually shop for at least 6-7 days ahead so it is important to look at the dates to make sure everything will hold up. I also try to plan the dishes which take the longest to prepare for weekends. I would say most weekday meals take anywhere from 35-55 minutes which I think is pretty good. How do I have time for this with I full-time job... I come home and get straight to work on dinner. I try not to over complicate things in the kitchen when I don't have the time. As I am a chef and cooking is what I do for a living what is fast and easy for me might not be as easy for you and so I think whomever is reading this blog should use recipes as suggestions and not get caught up in the details. For example don't do things which you find hard, if you think it's difficult to fine dice an onion don't... slice or chop it up however you want. Is it time consuming to peel potatos, yeah when you've just worked a 10 hour shift and are hungry it is so leave the skin on.
|Weekday: Brown beans with pork|
|Weekday: Pad Thai|
|Weekday: Pickeled herring with eggs and potatos|
|Weekday: Potato pancakes (raggmunk)|
I think that what it all comes down to is priorities. Dinner should be the high point of the day. For me eating frozen fish sticks with a premade mashed potatos is not a high point. This kind of food has nothing to offer me, it doesn't taste or look good nor is it nutrional. It may be fast but at what cost? I think that everyone has time to cook a decent meal everyday. The question is do you want to and do you care. It is not hard to eat home made and healthy food and it doesn't need to be complicated. For example toss a whole chicken in the oven with some vegetables and then do whatever you want (kids, computer, etc). Or a simple pasta with fresh veggies or a bolognese sauce. I do my more complicated, time consuming food on the weekend. As I wrote before I think planning is also very important. For example if I make a pizza on Saturday I make extra tomato sauce which I can then use during the week for a pasta. Or if you make a roast like I did yesterday there is always plenty of meat left over which I can use for a hash during the week (pytti panna). I try to make and plan food which lends to other meals. That way half the work is already done. Sometimes if I am in the mood I will prepare a dinner the night before when either the kids are bathing or asleep for the night. This way when I come home or when my wife comes home all we have to do is heat it up. Another good way to save both money and time is to once a week empty out your fridge and make a soup. Just take all the vegetables and put them in a pot and boil them with water or chicken stock, add heavy creme and mix it if you want a creamy soup or else have chowder. Also if you have bread which is getting hard put it into the soup or make crutons.
|Tomato and bread soup|
On the weekend is when I put more time into our meals. Then I have energy to put more effort into the food. The weekend is also a nice time to spend money on some better wines to par with the meals I prepare.
|Weekend: Venison striploin|
|Weekend: Osso Bucco|
|Weekend: Flank Steak with bernaise sauce|
To sum it up, cooking fresh food doesn't need to be hard or time consuming. Make food you are comfortable with and make more challenging meals when you have the time. I think cooking is like most things: the more you do it, the easier it gets and the more you plan the better the outcome!