Cooking at home is generally less expensive than dining out and can be healthier as well. If cooking is new to you, don’t worry. You can use these 5 cooking at home tips to simplify the process.

Cooking Tip #1 – Use a Grill

The great thing about grilling is that just about anyone can do it. All you need is a decent grill, a spatula, and some food. Grilling hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs, fish, chicken, and vegetables just takes a few minutes on a propane grill or slightly longer with charcoal. For newbie grillers like me, simply remember that the key to grilling is the spices you rub on an item before grilling it.  Also keep in mind that aluminum foil is your friend when it comes to veggies and fish.

Cooking Tip #2 – Use Olive Oil

Many cooking oils are inherently bad for you.  They are high in saturated fats that can lead to a variety of health problems. On the other hand, olive oil is linked to the prevention of heart disease, high cholesterol, and even ulcers.  When I had slightly higher cholesterol than usual in college, my own doctor suggested I drizzle one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil on something like salad every day just to get it into my system.  It only took a month before my cholesterol was in the normal range again.  It also adds a nice clean flavor to your cooked foods.

Cooking Tip #3 – Prepare for the Non-Cooking Days

After a long day at work, you won’t always be in the mood to cook a full meal.  Make sure that you have some food in mind that doesn’t take all day to prepare.  Remember that you can cook meals in bulk to freeze or even buy a few prepared meals for the days that you will just not feel like picking up a pan.

Cooking Tip #4 – Have Some Go-To Recipes

Whether you buy a recipe book or find some recipes on the web, develop a small cache of favorites.  Having a bunch of options in your repertoire will allow you a variety, but having favorites will help on those days where your brain just wants food.  My husband and I throw a protein on the grill on lazy days and let the rice cooker do its thing.  Frozen green beans have saved the day as a quick side dish countless times.

Cooking Tip #5 – Use Seasoning

Salt is a favorite of any cook in the kitchen. It can be used to liven up even the blandest of meals. The other seasonings I’d suggest everybody keep on hand would be pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, basil oregano, thyme, and rosemary.  An easy citrus rub or favorite marinade is a good idea too since they make main dishes way easier to season all at once.  By properly seasoning a meal, you turn a mediocre meal into a delicious dinner.  I can’t count the number of times that salt and pepper have saved the day – especially for basics like mashed potatoes.

What other tips for cooking at home do you have for us?  Any favorites that can help us out?



Crystal Stemberger uses Budgeting in the Fun Stuff to write about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting in the fun stuff along the way.