Full Proof Food: Tips for Busy Cooks

Cooking programs are all the rage – everyone loves a good bit of food porn. I often wonder if this is because we plan on trying out all these fabulous recipes or is it because we simply wish we had the time to. Is it aspirational TV perhaps? Or am I the only Mum in the whole world who quite simply doesn’t have the time to create cooking masterpieces for my family every night? If you’re like me, I’m here to tell you that there is no need to feel like a failure. You can create beautiful food fast by using my number one full proof strategy. It really is very, very simple.

Fill your pantry with high quality, gourmet marinades, dressings and sauces and only ever use the best fresh produce you can afford.

Find yourself products that are low on preservatives, additives and colours – you don’t want to sacrifice health for speed and ease. Look for caramelised balsamic vinegars or flavoured vinegars and oils. Don’t forget marinades and ready-made sauces. Mix it up and be brave. Try new things. Check out what’s available at your local farmers markets or old fashioned delis where you’ll likely be able to try before you buy. And always make sure that your produce is fresh and if you can, organic.

Clever use of good quality products like these have a myriad of advantages including:

  1. They take the hassle out of food preparation. No need to create a marinade, sauce or dressing from scratch.

  2. They’re cheaper in the long run because you don’t have to purchase a whole lot of separate ingredients that you may or may not use up or use again.

  3. It’s a whole lot faster because the food preparation takes a lot less time. This is handy on week nights when we’re all pushed for time and great when you have guests over because you can relax and enjoy yourself.

  4. It creates a consistency of flavour and quality and in my case, it’s likely to taste a whole lot better than anything I could make from scratch!

  5. It can make the ordinary, extraordinary, adding a ‘wow’ factor that impresses your family and guests and there’s no need to tell them you didn’t create it all yourself – stay schtum!

  6. They last longer than freshly home-made versions which often have a very short shelf-life.

  7. Having several different flavour combinations on hand provides a wide variety of choice so you and your family are never bored.

  8. Fresh produce, cooked simply with added marinades and salad dressings in a variety of flavour combinations can create a spectacular meal.

In my family, I am known as a good cook but I nearly always use short cuts like these. I’m not into sacrificing hours in the kitchen when I could be enjoying a good glass of wine with my dinner guests. And there are some truly beautiful products on the market. Start building up your pantry stock now and you’ll never regret it.

(This article was written for Simply Stirred and published on their website simplystirred.com.au)

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