I've talked about the bad time my friends give me about how I cook, most of the time in just, but sometimes I think it's out of self-defense. Honestly, it's hard to work, come home exhausted and still cook a great meal for your family. I get it and I also get that I might make it look easy, but there are plenty of times we do open a box or just have breakfast for dinner.
What is so intimidating about cooking from scratch? Why is the first thought that eating homemade is more work? Is it easier to open a box and some cans and call it diner? Is there just a fatal attraction to pretty boxes? Or is it too hard to figure out what to make and no one wants to put any effort into it?
There is life beyond the pretty boxes and shinny cans! Get out of the freezer section and thaw your brain while we debunk the myth that homemade and from scratch is to much work.
I learned to cook by gilding many a boxed meal with handmade touches, thanks to the encouragement of some great friends and cooking in their kitchen. My signature dish 20 years ago was a package mix of noodles and alfredo sauce with some sauteed chicken seasoned with garlic salt and Italian seasoning. We all have to start somewhere, but we don't have to stay at the bottom of the box forever.
To move out of the box, I had to start by first deconstructing what was in the box. We'll take the noodles and sauce package. It's just that noodles and powdered stuff that turns into a sauce. If we upgrade that to the next level, it's a box of pasta and a jar of alfredo, still using the same sauteed chicken. I still make this dish this way today. I've yet to level up on making my own sauce or my own pasta, yet it's still more homemade than where I started. This dish is also still really easy to throw together on a busy night and you can add some frozen peas or broccoli to it for a one-pot meal.
Step one to more homemade meals is to think outside the box, but keep it simple! Look at what you are already making and find a recipe that will make something similar. Think about the ingredients that would into your favorite boxed meals if they were made from scratch. I'm not talking about making fresh pasta and grinding your own sausage. While both are interesting endeavors, they are not practical for our regular every day lives.
Step two is to stop making excuses - It's to hard, It takes more time, It's more expensive. I don't know how to cook. The excuse list is long and winding, we could go on for days here, but we won't. The point of this post is to introduce a new blog segment I'll be doing - Homemade vs The Box where I'll walk through debunking some of the excuses for using the box and share an easy recipe for a more homemade version.
None of your favorite cooks started out where they are today. We all had to learn one way or another. Starting with boxes is great, but at some point, it is good to move to the next level. You don't need to start you homemade cooking by trying to make some fancy thing out of a French cookbook.
Now, that was easy right? Seriously, I want to know what the attraction is to the world of precessed boxed food and don't tell me it cheap - cause that's not true! If your family has a favorite meal that you get from a boxed meal - lay it on me! I'll help you develop a recipe to make that dish more homemade that will get you more bang for your buck!