I dedicate today’s post to the newbies in cooking, to working women who have to attend s invited ,wanted or sometimes unexpected /uninvited guests on weekdays and to one and all who want to spend time wisely in kitchen.
I am not a pro in this field and my tips might come as common techniques to many of you but still I feel it would be helpful to people who were alien to kitchen. To set the expectations clearly, I am not going to share any recipes here. You tube and facebook pages take care of it.I am here just to share the “techniques” to make your job easy.
To begin with, what will make your week go smoothly is the time and effort you invest well on WEEKENDS. Yes, you got to take weekends seriously. Gone are the days when weekends were to sleep as much as we want to , make maggi for breakfast, order pizza for lunch and go out for dinner. You can still do that but then, better prioritize the tasks. 🙂
What should you do on weekends?
- Buy veggies and fruits for the next 6 days.
- Don’t just stuff your fridge with everything you bought. For example, curry leaves, chilly, coriander should be cleaned and kept in boxes. If you have bought difficult to eat fruits like pomegranate, better peel and make it ready to eat. Again, leafy vegetables should be cleaned and sorted. So, all you have to do on Monday is tadka 😉
- You can even peel garlic enough to go for the week. I like it freshly peeled so I don’t do it on weekends.
- Depending on what you use in curries, make arrangements. Make groundnut powder or grate coconut and keep it in fridge.
Trust me, if you do all the above things mentioned, you will feel much much relaxed on weekdays. Mornings will not be as bad and frustrating as they sound 🙂
What you should not miss in groceries/weekday shopping?
- Always keep cheese cubes in fridge. They make every dish yummy and a great ingredient for breakfast recipes.(Of course, if you are a cheese lover)
- Paneer is another such saviour. Paneer curries for guests are common item in Indian menu. So never miss to keep it stocked. Again, high in proteins and healthy.
- “Sunday ho ya Monday , roz khao ande“. Eggs can be your breakfast, lunch or dinner. If guests arrive on short notice, nothing but egg curry can make them go yummmm 😉
- Bread if you are a morning toast person
- Idli/Dosa Batter. It is easily available in market though recommended to make at home. Perfect option for breakfast and sometimes other meals
- Corn. Why? keep reading!
- Capsicum (red, green yellow) , Cauliflower, carrots. This trio will help you in Indian to Chinese dishes
- Mushroom, broccoli and baby corn are optional. One ,they are costly and two, not everyone likes them.
- Mint! For a variety in taste. Mint chutney with Idli or mint chutney sandwich for a change. What say?
- My day starts with a banana so I would recommend it to you people as well to keep your morning temper in control. (In addition, say bye bye to constipation)
Now let me tell you how can you make most of above items
Breakfast – Cheese corn sandwich, Onion cheese sandwich, Cheese capsicum corn sandwich, mushroom cheese sandwich, cheese omelet, scrambled egg with cheese so on and so forth. No, I am not reading the office canteen menu but things which can easily be done at home.
Dinner/lunch – White sauce pasta. If you don’t have enough veggies to add, even capsicum , onion, oregano and chili flakes will do wonders.Well, you got to modify the recipe ladies! But here you can add mushroom and broccoli.
Cheese paratha – Paste of chili, coriander, garlic, little coriander and mint mixed with grated cheese serves as stuffing for paratha.
Hell lot of recipes are out on internet for curries. So, won’t spend much time here.
Well, my favorite breakfast is boiled corn mixed with little oregano, chili flakes, grated cheese baked in oven for a minute or two. Try and let me know how you like it.
You can also make corn and potato cutlets. Then you can also use the same cutlet as a patty in Frankie. Add cheese if you please. It’s quite a heavy item for dinner.
Capsicum, carrots and cauliflower can be used for Pulao. Again, an item in menu when guests come over. You can also add beans to the list. Except cauliflower, the same can be used to make fried rice and Hakka noodles.
How can I forget pav bhaji. Boil what all you got and enjoy the home and not street pav bhaji.
These days I am making a point to buy drumstick and pumpkin also. When in Rome be a Roman, so sambar is something which is made once a week at my place 😛
So , let’s get to the point. Let me tell you about the time-saving techniques I have been boasting about. Some of them I have already shared above. Please read between the lines 😉
Here are few more:
Disclaimer: I definitely don’t encourage stale food. You are a good judge for what to use and when. I feel something cooked at night can be used in the morning or afternoon preparations can be used in the evening. Again, to each his own.
- If you are making dosa, aloo subji, chutney for dinner, make more aloo subji. Mash the same subji and use it to make Aloo Vada (batata wada) in the morning or buy paav and make Vada paav. The same subji can also be used for aloo paratha or aloo sandwich.
- Aloo is the key ingredient in many dishes. Boil aloo in advance so that you are free to use it in paratha, veggies, sabudana vada, aloo vada or cutlets next time. Here are some paratha options- Aloo methi paratha,mix veg paratha, aloo-mint paratha etc
- Make some extra chapatis at night and make chapati chiwda/ Fodnichi poli/Kuskara next morning. (Sorry, this was too obvious. Flow me aa gaya 😉 )
- Coconut chutney made to eat with idli or vada can be used for curries during next 2-3 days. Now that’s allowed!
- The same idli/dosa batter can be used for making appe and ragi dosa. Also, egg dosa is something I tried recently and loved it.
- If you are bored with sandwiches, bread upama is an easy and quick recipe
- Frankie also tastes good with morning chapatis used for dinner rather than having them dry and/or cold.
That’s it for today.
One thing which I have realized is cooking is more to do with planning than actually cooking. To make methi paratha on weekdays, if you are going to “start” to clean methi on a weekday then God help you. By the time you are done with plucking the leaves, you would have ordered something. If we already know what we are going to do for breakfast and lunch, we will process a bit faster in the morning. Similarly, on the way home if we give a thought about dinner menu, we will enter the kitchen less irritated.
The generation we belong to wants to do everything. We want to eat healthy, stay fit, pursue hobbies , work and then also cook- willingly or unwillingly. So dear ladies, let’s prioritize, plan and invest our time and efforts intelligently. Let every minute in kitchen count.
I am sure you have many more tips to share than whatever I have jotted down here. Do write in comments or ping me to share things which will make our jobs in kitchen easy and fun 🙂
Happy planning and cooking 🙂