Learning To Cook From Scratch – Kitchen Tips

My mama was born and raised in the South, and even though she doesn’t cook with the heavy lard and bacon flavors of the South, she is a wonderful cook.  Unfortunately, despite being in a family where our parents expected us to help out, do chores, and ‘earn our keep’ so to speak, her cooking skills didn’t pass on to me.
tips and resources for learning to cook from scratch

Consequently I grew up with a disdain for kitchen work and cookery. I could boil pasta and that’s about it, so I always considered myself especially blessed that my soul mate loves to cook and be in the kitchen. But, over the last six years of marriage and nearly four years of motherhood, God has changed some of the ‘desires of my heart’. (Psalm 37:4)

I might go into more detail with what those who have known me all my life consider a huge, drastic change from the Shirley they once knew, someday. But for now I’m sharing some tips and tricks that I’ve learned in one of my newest homemaking pursuits, cooking from scratch. I’m loving this homemaking journey of the heart that the Father has me on so much that I smiled just typing that!  Keep in mind, I’ve always been known as the girl who can’t cook, so this might be entertaining for some of you who mastered this skill long ago! (If so, ENJOY!)

Learning to Cook from Scratch | Satisfaction Through Christ | Kitchen Tips, Tricks, and Lessons Learned from a girl who {can't} cook!

I still have a long way to go when it comes to cooking from scratch with wholesome ingredients, but I’m definitely on track! Below are my tips and some lessons learned when it comes to cookery!

10 Tips to Learn to Cook From Scratch

 

Kitchen tip one, cooking from scratch | Satisfaction Through Christ

 

 

Pinch bowls are usually very inexpensive and you can get them in many different sizes and shapes. Have fun choosing a set you like and then use them to pre-measure your ingredients. In the beginning, cooking from scratch can be easier if you have all your ingredients laid out and measured in front of you. You can also choose a random assortment of small glass dishes from yard sales or dollar stores! (This may make a bit more clean up for you, but for me, it’s worth it!)

 

kitchen tip two, cooking from scratch | Satisfaction Through Christ

 

 

This one sounds a bit obvious, but it’s a tough lesson learned. Read the recipe the night before you want to prepare the recipe. You just never know when it’s going to require a night in the fridge. You also want to double check that you have all your ingredients before you start measuring the ingredients at the top of the list. Sounds simple, but my advice is read the entire recipe, all the way through, and then read it again.

 

kitchen tip three, cooking from scratch | Satisfaction Through Christ

 

 

This one applies mostly to baking, but before you start trying several recipes, stock up on wax paper and parchment paper. When you are working with dough, meat cutting, and many other sticky (or gross!) ingredients you can save yourself a ton of clean up by putting wax paper down on your counter top before starting. This also prevents scratches and scuffs from cookie cutters when you are making biscuits!

 

kitchen tip four, cooking from scratch | Satisfaction Through Christ

 

 

One of my favorite bloggers Merissa, from Little House Living, talked recently about making “meal pieces” rather than entire frozen meals. I loved reading this because it’s something I’ve been trying to do a bit as well. It’s pretty simple: if you are making tacos, with ground beef simply use a large skillet to brown up double, triple, or more of the amount you need. Then cool it and freeze it in freezer safe bags to use at a later date. When you are making biscuits, double your dough and set aside half the biscuits to be frozen (on a wax paper lined sheet pan, freeze them individually, and then put them in a bag.)

Here is the article where Merissa talks about meal parts. I ‘double it’ often as I cook, especially if I know my family likes it, and then on crazy days, I know I have most of the dinner time work done for me!

 

kitchen tip five, cooking from scratch | Satisfaction Through Christ

 

 

This step is very similar to meal planning but for those of us who can’t quite get it together enough to successfully meal plan. One simple step I’ve committed to is finding recipes that make the most of my ingredients. For instance, if I buy a large package of chicken I will use what I need for a recipe then boil and shred the rest for a casserole, chicken salad, tacos, or some other tasty concoction. Even if it’s one left over chicken breast, I’d rather stretch it to another meal than add an extra meat portion to a recipe when we don’t need it.

 

Learning To Cook From Scratch: Tips From A Girl Who Can't Cook | Satisfaction Through Christ "First God changed the desires of my heart, then He directed my steps to becoming a godly homemaker."

 

 

kitchen tip six, cooking from scratch | Satisfaction Through Chirst

 

 

Tip six goes along with number five. When you are first starting out, think about the type of ingredients you would like to use and get good with. Then purchase your basic ingredients. Cook from them often for two purposes. One, so that you can get comfortable with an ingredient you are not used to. And secondly, so that you aren’t spending a fortune on ingredients that you and your family end up not enjoying. For me, I’ve been aiming to master homemade biscuits, breads, baked goods, pizza crusts, and other dough type recipes. So I’ve been choosy about my basic ingredient, flour!

 

kitchen tip seven, cooking from scratch | Satisfaction Through Christa

 

 

Thank goodness for Google when it comes to my ‘cooking from scratch learning curve’! Some ingredients that I’ve run across are pretty expensive (at least for my budget!) and yet the recipes call for only a tiny amount. Some of the ingredients I stretch to other recipes and make it worth my while (like tip five!) but more often than not, I Google for a substitute. Recently I had to use a substitute for buttermilk because I forgot to to do tip two before my grocery trip! (One healthy switch you can make is chucking the soy sauce and using one of dozens of substitutes found online!)

 

kitchen tip eight, cooking from scratch | Satisfaction Through Christ

 

 

Watching folks cook from scratch on YouTube has been a huge help to me and a learning resource that is easy and simple, second only to some favorite homemaking blogs! It doesn’t matter if you are trying to learn how to kneed dough or make your own condiments, you can find it on YouTube and watching it really does help you succeed when you try it on your own! (Here is one of my favorite YouTube channels for this.)

 

kitchen tip nine, cooking from scratch | Satisfaction Through Christ

 

 

Big tip! When you are thinking about the next meal you plan to make, try making only one new recipe or one ‘from scratch’ recipe and relying on your other methods for the remainder of the meal. For instance, I might make a new casserole or crockpot meat dish for a meal. Instead of also making sides and breads from scratch, I will rely on packaged or frozen meal pieces for the rest. When you are first learning to cook from scratch, one recipe at a time is best. It will mean more success and less frustration.

 

kitchen tip ten, cooking from scratch | Satisfaction Through Christ

 

 

This one is pretty self explanatory. When you try a new recipe, jot down whether or not your family liked it, and how you felt about preparing it and cooking it. If it took a whole day of stress, it’s probably not worth it, if it cost $60 in ingredients, it’s probably not worth it! Additionally, write down what utensils you used, any methods you used, or any variations you tried. Over time this will build up your ‘smart cook’ skills and save you time and frustration, possibly even clean up. (One of my favorite cooks to watch is Alton Brown, and not just because he is from Georgia, but because he has a lot of brilliant uses for kitchen tools that make cooking so much easier!)

 

So, do you have anything to add to the list? Or any favorite from scratch recipes, we’d love to hear from you!

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Psst! If you are in the mood to try your hand at cooking or baking from scratch, our own Michelle has some delicious recipes like this one for Saturday Morning Cinnamon Rolls! Yum!

Lessons learned in the kitchen, cooking tips from Satisfaction Through Christ blog. | 10 COOKING TIPS you need if you want to learn to cook from scratch!

Here are just a few of the recipes I hope to try next in my mission to cook and bake from scratch!

White Cheddar Cheese Its

Cream of Something Soups

Apple Cheddar Soup

Carrot Souffle

Sweet Potato and Spinach Bake (PS: She’s also got some great kitchen tips on her site!)

 

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Shirley spends her days fulfilling her purpose of biblical homemaking and motherhood. She is wild about her husband, Paul, who shares her passion for encouraging young marriages. Together they are wading into a homesteading life on a few acres in south Georgia.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the shout out Shirley! This is a great list. I use substitutes, too. They are very helpful. I think one of the things I like best about cooking from scratch is that it is usually so much cheaper than buying pre-made stuff. Also, when you have a big family like I do, it’s easier to get the right amount of food for your particular needs. :0)

    • says

      Michelle, I am going to admit that I get a little envious when I read your recipe posts. You make it sound so effortless! Oh, hey, I was wondering if you would mind receiving an email from me? I’d like to get your opinion on something…?

  2. jugglingrealfoodandreallife says

    Hi Shirley! I’m stopping over from Let’s Get Real today. I can totally relate to you. I have never been known as being a great cook, but when I discovered that my body needed real food, I didn’t have any choice but to learn to cook. I have really been enjoying it and I’m actually getting pretty good at it. I agree reading the recipe is so important. I can’t count how many times I’ve used all of an ingredient to find that half was to be used for another part of the recipe. Oh boy! Would have been nice to know ahead of time.

    • says

      Oh, I hear you on that! I have done that several times. Sounds like your motivations are similar to mine. I am so tired of NOT REAL food, and biblically, I think God designed us for better, so I’m determined to establish REAL eating for my little family. 🙂 Even if it’s one mess and kitchen disaster after another.

  3. Tshanina says

    Kudos to you for learning how to cook from scratch! It sounds daunting but it’s really not that hard. Plus, it’s much healthier for our families!

    • says

      Tracy – great point! I’m blessed to live in South Georgia so we have multiple growing seasons, pretty much year round! I’ve definitely had to learn that recipes with exotic produce and herbs aren’t going to fit into my grocery budget!

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