I often get praise from many people for cooking a homemade meal nearly every night. Or, I hear comments that I am spoiling my family (usually in good nature). But really, why do I cook from scratch? Is it that much harder than buying premade meals/ingredients? Does it take a long time to make our meals? Keep reading to find out answers to these questions I get asked all the time, and more!
Where do I start?? I get this one a lot! A lot of people can be really intimidated by this. I will let you in on a little secret, it’s so easy! You’ll need some basic ingredients to keep in your pantry. Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, fresh onions, fresh garlic and vanilla extract are some basic flavor boosting things to always have on hand. I always have flour, sugar, yeast, butter/olive oil, and corn meal as well. Start with a super simple(not too many steps or ingredients) recipe for something you already love to eat. Maybe choose something easy like making your own spaghetti sauce instead of buying the jarred sauce. Take a look at my post for the Necessary Kitchen Tools For The From Scratch Cook for more information for beginners!
Why did I start/Why do I choose cooking from scratch? I could sit and talk about this topic for hours… but I will try to keep it short today! Cooking is like free therapy for me now, but I didn’t always know my way around the kitchen. I initially started cooking my family’s meals/snacks from scratch simply because it was always cheaper. If you have read any of my recipes, you might have heard me talk about how things were tight when my family first switched from two incomes to one. I wanted to save money anywhere I could so that we didn’t have to adjust our lifestyle as much. But really, it goes further than that. I soon realized that not only did my food taste much better, but it was also made from healthier ingredients and my body actually felt better. An easy example would be pizza. When my family wanted pizza we usually always ordered from a chain pizza restaurant. And after having a couple slices I would be sitting on the couch feeling bloated and lazy. To save money, on pizza night I now make pizza dough from scratch and I top it with quality ingredients. Not only does it taste amazing, but I no longer feel gross and bloated after eating it! There is nothing wrong with ordering food from a restaurant… But if what I am saying resonates with you, maybe it’s time to try to make all your fast food favorites at home!
There is also a huge satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment that comes with making most of the foods you eat. When I spend 30 minutes to an hour cooking my family a meal they will love, I know exactly what is in that meal! I also take pride in the fact that I put my time and energy into something that will nourish our bodies and make my family happy.
Does cooking from scratch really take that much more time? Yes and no. Confusing, I know… let me explain. Yes, it does take more time to make certain foods from scratch. An easy example is lasagna. When I make my lasagna, I make the sauce homemade as well as the pasta. The sauce can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on how long I’d like it simmer in the flavors. My pasta takes only minutes to work up, but rolling it out can take 15-25 minutes, depending on how much you make and how thin you roll it. Then putting it all together and baking it can take a totally of an hour or so. So yes, lasagna can easily turn into a long labor of love. If you were to buy a frozen pre-made lasagna it would take much less effort and time. But… say we use the example of corn bread. Instead of buying the familiar box of corn bread mix, making it from scratch tastes amazing and is fully customizable. Best part? It takes about the same amount of time, maybe 1 or 2 more minutes. In my years of experience cooking from scratch, most things only take a little bit more time than premade ingredients/meals. But, it tastes so much better… those extra few minutes are totally worth it.
Do you really save money by cooking from scratch? Yes!! Especially in today’s market, taking the extra time and effort into making things at home saves a lot of money. If you were to order takeout from your favorite restaurant, there is a good chance you can make the same meal at home and save money. Premade meals and restaurant meals cost more for a good reason… they have to pay their employees, plus rent/utilities/cost of ingredients and still make a profit. If you get the ingredients yourself and make it at home, you cut out all those extra expenses plus you don’t have to leave anyone a tip. In my opinion, cooking from scratch is one of the biggest money saving swaps you can do.
Is it that much healthier to cook from scratch? Most of the time, it is much healthier. I’m not just talking about calories here, although it is usually less on the calories as well. When I talk about homecooked meals being so much healthier, what I mean is the sodium levels, fat levels, sugar, preservatives, and quality of the ingredients. When you make a homemade meal, you control the amount AND quality of the ingredients. Take a burger for example. You get to choose what quality of meat you want to purchase at the butcher shop or grocery store, then you can choose to make a homemade bun/buy a quality bun. You get to pick out the quality of the vegetables you put on it, as well as the quality of spices and herbs you put in it. Even if you go cheap in these areas, chances are, your burger will STILL be healthier for you than most chain restaurants or frozen grocery store burgers. Not only do most chain restaurants use highly processed ingredients, but quality is usually sacrificed for profit. I used to work at a fast food restaurant and I can tell you first hand on how much excessive additives, sugars, sodium & fat are in the entrees.
My additional two cents on the matter: I truly believe every person should learn how to cook. Even if you aren’t cooking all or most of your meals from scratch, there is still so many skills you can learn from cooking. I believe we should not just learn for ourselves, but we should teach the children around us how to cook. I think there is beauty in keeping family recipes alive and passing skills down to each generation. There is also so much self satisfaction in cooking yourself or your family a completely homemade meal… even if it is as simple as corn bread. All of that being said, my family does enjoy restaurant or fast food once in awhile! We are human indeed ; ) . Cooking from scratch is an art that we should all master, for one day we may not be able to buy a frozen lasagna or order a burger.
Beginner friendly recipes from my blog:
- Simple & Delicious Roast Chicken
- Skillet Corn Bread
- Frugal Homemade Pasta Recipe
- Cinnamon & Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
- Soft White Bread (Easy & Cheap)
- Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits (large batch)
- Thick & Fluffy Pancakes
- Moist Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins
- One Bowl Zucchini Bread
- French Onion Pork Chops
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments about these common questions I get asked about cooking my meals from scratch! If you have any other questions about home-cooking, please leave them below and I will be happy to answer.
2 thoughts on “Why I Choose to Cook From Scratch”
Beautiful article. I switched to cooking from scratch because of my daughter. I hated giving her food with unnecessary ingredients that I could barely pronounce. Also, it’s cheaper like you said. Like wayyyy cheaper. It taste better. We feel better. I love it
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you for commenting! I love hearing that. It has changed our life as well!!!