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prolificus's avatar

What's the secret to becoming a conservatively economical, healthy eating, domestic diva/divo in the kitchen?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) March 30th, 2010

I envy domestic divas and divos who are able to plan (whether on paper or in their mind) weekly / monthly meal and shopping lists / schedules.

You know the type: the ones who make big meals during the weekend and creatively repurpose leftovers throughout the week, the ones who make master grocery shopping lists so they need only to shop once or twice a month, the ones who simultaneously practice both conservative economics and healthy eating. How do they do it?!

What’s the secret to becoming a conservatively economical, healthy eating, domestic diva/divo in the kitchen?

Also, what meal-planning method would you suggest for two people who have varying schedules?

Links to online resources are greatly appreciated!

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16 Answers

ucme's avatar

Would be handy if you could “morph” into Nigella Lawson.

dpworkin's avatar

You might want to take advantage of the resources of the Slow Food movement.

YoBob's avatar

The bottom line is practice.

Stick to basic ingredents that are easy to reuse. For example, rice has a gabillion and one uses. It is a good bet if you have left over rice you can use the left overs. Same thing with things like chicken or potatoes.

Fresh veggies are also a great thing to always have on hand. They are cheap, healthy, and have an almost infinite variety of uses.

As for recipes, the more you cook the better you will get at improvising with the ingredients (leftovers) at hand.

Coloma's avatar

Soup, soup and MORE soup!

I’m a soup maker at heart, everything imaginable.

I make the most sought after soups in my neighborhood. haha

Healthy, nourishing, economical…soup, salad, bread & cheese. Bliss to the 10th power!

prolificus's avatar

@dpworkin – thanks for the heads-up about Slow Food!

Links to Slow Food organizations:

Slow Food International
Slow Food USA

boxing's avatar

The secret? TIME.

Coloma's avatar

Invest in a BIG soup pot.

One of my favs. is an herbed stock with turkey breast, baby potatos, cabbage, zucchini, red & yellow peppers and onions. Mmmmm good!

Soup is like money…eat some, save some, give some away! :-)

YoBob's avatar

@boxing I agree if you mean time in the sense that it takes time to develop your kitchen skills. However, when it comes to the time necessary to prepare a meal I contend that in most cases a good cook can prepare a great home cooked and healthy meal in less time than it takes to receive your order from a traditional eatery. Keep in mind that even if you live on fast food you still have to drive there and wait awhile at the pickup window.

Just_Justine's avatar

Well one of the secrets is “not” my fridge. It turns all my vegetables to rocks.

I think it is lot’s of Tupperware a good freezer and imagination. Plus always cook double.

partyparty's avatar

I do plan meals in advance, but need to shop each week for fresh food.
I bought a slow cooker. Can’t imagine life without it. Just throw everything in the pot and leave it all day. Delicious. Serve it the next night with different vegetables, rice or pasta and you have a completely different meal.

nebule's avatar

@dpworkin I was only reading about that last night in Tallis’ Hunger thank you for reminding me to look it up!!

Well it’s me and my three year old and as I am on a diet we tend to eat different things sometimes… However I tend to make one soup a week and make two to three meals that I can freeze the remains of so (two portions generally) so I build up a stock of frozen home-made ready meals as such. We eat fish a lot too as that’s quick and easy and very healthy. O love the sweeter soups like butter-nut squash and parmesan cheese…

I shop once a week and make a complete list before hand of what we’re eating for each evening meal and generally what we’ll be having for breakfast and lunches…which is always more or less the same things (toast/ cereal). I do struggle sometimes to get enough cariety with being on a strict budget but it really is all in the planning…building up a good stock of food which might take a few weeks.

boxing's avatar

@YoBob. Yep, that is what I meant – you need time to practice, to fail, to learn. It is a bad cycle for many people (like me?) who don’t want to spend time or don’t have the time to really plan things out, so time may be wasted, then even less time is on hand… it is more a priority thing too, many would say that is not worth it…

liminal's avatar

I don’t know if I would fall into the diva category but I only need to pick-up fresh produce once a week and gather other needs once a month. For me, this involves knowing about whole foods, how to store them, and how to cook them. Regardless of the sort of diet one follows, I think a well stocked kitchen is essential to having stream lined eating patterns:

YARNLADY's avatar

For me time is the answer. I mean the time it takes to plan and execute the plan. This includes planning out the meals, planning out the shopping list and then buying the groceries. All these things are time consuming. From there, the cooking is fairly easy. The hard part for me is the cleaning up afterwards.

It took me several years to develop the understanding of how to get around in my kitchen and provide the things my family likes. I now use recipes to develop ideas, but I pay no attention to the measurements, and often substitute things we would like better, or already have on hand, especially in the vegetable ingredients.

I find all the help I need by visiting various websites.

YoBob's avatar

@YARNLADY Once you broaden your repertoire you really don’t need to plan all that much as long as your pantry is stocked with the basics. For example, pretty much any left over protein combined with left over rice can become darned near anything with only the very basics from the cupboard.

Have a couple of veggies in the crisper – Make a stir fry and serve over the rice.
Have some cheese and perhaps some other veggies and a few crackers – make a casserole
Have a couple of tortillas, cheese, and perhaps some beans – Make burritos.

The possibilities are endless and there is really no need to agonize over planning every detail.

YARNLADY's avatar

@YoBob With years of experience, what you say is true, but for someone just starting out, it is essential.

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