So far you have obtained all the necessary ingredients for a fully stocked pantry and compact refrigerator. You have ensured that you have the kitchen equipment that you will need to cook from scratch. And you have started making some basic recipes to help build your confidence. You might have even started experimenting with newer and more complicated recipes.
It is quite clear by this point that you are spending much more time in the kitchen. Hopefully, you are enjoying your time in the kitchen because of all the delicious food you are making. Time is a precious commodity, though. Most people are busy with all the other responsibilities of life and it can be quite difficult to throw in yet another. There are two main ways that you can streamline your production of food made from scratch.
Recommended Reading: Get started with baking by reading our Ultimate Guide to the Best Baking Equipment for Beginners!
Create Your Own Baking Mixes
Anyone who is making the transition to a from scratch kitchen has seen and probably used any number of pre-packaged baking mixes. There is a wide variety of brownie mixes, muffin mixes, biscuit mixes, pancake/waffle mixes, and spice mixes. You basically dump the mix into the wet ingredients, stir, and bake. You are buying convenience and time saved. The only problem with baking mixes is that you already have all the ingredients you need in your well stocked pantry without all the preservatives and additives.
Start by thinking about all the mixes that you use on a regular basis and find from scratch recipes on line. For example, you can find a great basic baking mix on the Chickens In The Road blog or by doing a simple Google search.
Here is the recipe for Quick Mix from the Chickens
Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl. Store in a tightly stored container.
- 5 cups all-purpose flour (may substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour, if desired)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tarter
- 1 teaspoon salt (Check out our recommended salt and pepper grinder sets!)
You can make a bunch of this mix ahead of time and use it for biscuits, pancakes, and muffins. Just by having this mix ready at all times you can mix up any number of delicious breakfast recipes quickly and without hassle just like you could by opening a box. It is from scratch but with the convenience of pre-packaged.
Do some exploring on-line or in some of your old cookbooks and replace all your store bought mixes with homemade mixes. Having all these on hand will help save so much time in your from scratch kitchen.
Invest Some Time Each Month For Freezer Cooking
What is Freezer Cooking? Freezer cooking can also be called once a month cooking, batch cooking, or bulk cooking. Freezer cooking is when you spend a whole day, evening, or afternoon in the kitchen putting together many dinners and then freezing them for later use. That way you have them on hand for later on the month. It is a very useful strategy to save time in the kitchen in the long run and it allows you to save money by buying ingredients in bulk.
There are many ways you can undertake freezer cooking. Some people spend a Saturday cooking for the entire month. Some people cook for two weeks at a time and some cook double batches, one to eat and one to freeze for later. It is very customizable for whatever works for you. You can also integrate making your baking mixes into your freezer cooking days.
If you are new to Freezer cooking, go to the Life as Mom blog. The author has done an excellent series on freezer cooking to help people get started. She also does specials each month documenting her adventures in freezer cooking. You can also books such as Frozen Assets and Once A Month Cooking.
Freezer cooking can be daunting at first. But, if you start small and learn along the way you will quickly see the benefit. Just imagine having meals upon meals all ready to go in your chest freezer. All you have to do is choose a meal, thaw it, and cook it. It is like buying a freezer meal from the store but it is homemade and from scratch. Just invest a day or two a month to the prepping and cooking.
Not only are you benefiting from the overall convenience and delicious food of freezer cooking you will also benefit from saving money in the long run. No longer will you run into the problem of “Oh my goodness! What are we having for dinner?!” that ultimately leads to going out for dinner or ordering take out. Your meals are planned and ready to go.
Cooking from scratch is a worthy practice to investigate for many reasons. It saves money and it produces delicious and nutritious food. It is scary at first to learn how to bake from scratch. But, you don’t need to dive in head first. Start small and take baby steps along the way. Make sure you have all the right ingredients and kitchen equipment. Start replacing store bought foods with from scratch alternatives. And finally, stream line your cooking with baking mixes and freezer cooking and you will be well on your way to making all your food from scratch. Everyone has their own way of doing things in the kitchen. Find your way and enjoy yourself.
While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!