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Old 07-12-2011, 12:51 AM   #1
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What should I start with?

Hello Everyone,

I'm getting ready to start cooking daily but I'm not should how I should start. Right now whenever I feel like cooking I would come online and look up a recipe or if I see something I like on TV I look up the recipe and make it. What I am wondering is should I make a menu for the week? Or should I go by what I have in my pantry and fridge?

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Old 07-12-2011, 01:05 AM   #2
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I would suggest making a menu from what you have in your fridge/pantry. If you have three things--eggplant, tomatoes, ground beef, for example, do a search and see what kinds of recipes you can make using those things. I always cook based on what I have on hand. When I grocery shop, I buy specials and then figure out what to do with them. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:58 AM   #3
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That's a good idea.

You could also just make what you feel like eating. I go through cycles of cravings and make meals that suit me at the time. That ensures I will enjoy what I'm eating.

You could make a menu for the week if that's how often you shop. Otherwise you'll be running to the store every night or so.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:08 AM   #4
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I shop whenever I get the chance. I buy stuff like dry, frozen or canned goods that I have no intention of using anytime in the near future. This way, I decide what I am going to eat by looking in my pantry, or freezer. I may have to pick up a fresh thing or two, to compliment or finish the dish, but the majority is usually here to begin with.

So, I advise you to get shopping and try and keep a good variety of non perishable items on hand. It will help you decide. Leave some cookbooks laying around on your coffee table, for example. You can browse them while relaxing and possibley get your creative juices flowing.

I also like to cook classics. Every nationality and region has them. I may not stick to the recipe, but I make up my version with what I have around. I have been known to work my way across Europe via my kitchen.
We used to have a fish night, where we ate some kind of fish dish once a week. It was never the same and was fun to decide and plan for. Then Friday nights are still pizza nights around here. I always try and cook some different kind of pizza, weather it be deep dish, authentic thin crust, calzone, frozen, bisquick crust, whatever. As long as it isn't the same thing every week and I get to try different recipes and techniques.
We eat lots of steak, here. It is one of our favorites. So, to change it up a bit, I try to make different side dishes everytime. I make a point of trying something I have never made before.
Lots of different ways to cook and enjoy your favorite foods.

So many recipes, so little time...
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:57 AM   #5
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I plan my meals a day a head, I tried to do it on a weekly basis but would change it everyday because of leftovers or cravings.
I think just to experiment a little to what works is best for you.
I am way to impulsive to buy for a week ahead but don´t mind to go the the store every other day.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:02 AM   #6
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I do one large grocery shop a month and buy fresh goods as I need them. I find that buying meats in bulk and freezing them works best for me and I usually just buy equal quantities of red meat, chicken, fish and pork so that I can alternate meals. Plan ahead even if it's just weekly to make life easier and improvise with what you have at home if you don't have what recipes call for.
Sure you'll get the hang of it soon, I felt lost in kitchen when I just got married but before you know it you'll be buying foods without even needing a list!
Good luck and have fun!
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:18 AM   #7
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I don't do a weekly menu. It's just me, so I pretty much eat on impulse, but I do keep a well stocked freezer with different meats and seafood. And like you are planning, if I see something online or on TV that catches my eye, I go out and get what I need to make it. It makes a nice changeup to the usual meals I make.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:18 AM   #8
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When the hubby and I had more time we would make menus based off of a combination of what we had on hand, what was listed as on sale in the flyers and what we were in the mood for. We'd create our grocery lists based on that and non-perishables that were on sale that we knew we commonly used. Then we'd just make quick runs to the store to get any fresh ingredients we needed. Saved us a lot of money and helped keep our meals balanced and healthy. I'm looking forward to when we have time to do that again. Just make sure to see your menu as a guide and not set in stone. That way if something happens that throws it off you can move plans around as needed.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:24 AM   #9
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Definitely. The sales fliers are our friend.
I can't remember the last time I bought a box of pasta, lol.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
I don't do a weekly menu. It's just me, so I pretty much eat on impulse, but I do keep a well stocked freezer with different meats and seafood. And like you are planning, if I see something online or on TV that catches my eye, I go out and get what I need to make it. It makes a nice changeup to the usual meals I make.
I wouldn't say I make a menu either, just plan what meats etc. and I make sure my pantry is welled stocked. I think if you've been doing it long enough it becomes second nature :) For beginners it's good idea to plan a rough menu just to get you started
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:51 AM   #11
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Menu's are also helpful for trying to adjust to new eating habits. When my husband was diagnosed with diabetes we used a pretty strict menu at first with a lot of research to adjust to his new diet restrictions. As we got used to them we were able to ease up and be more spontaneous with what we ate. We'll probably go back to that format for a while after I'm done with school to help get us back into healthier eating habits.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:03 AM   #12
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I used to go to the store, buy a bunch of stuff that looked good, and then make meals from that. We shopped biweekly/monthly. We wouldn't eat at home as much as we thought and ended up throwing away a lot of food that didn't get eaten. Now, I have to get dinner on the table as quickly, cheaply, and as healthy as possible, so we do a weekly menu and buy the ingredients needed for those foods. I try to base my meals off what we have in the pantry, what I'm craving, and try to have them share ingredients if possible to save money.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:08 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Snip 13 View Post
I wouldn't say I make a menu either, just plan what meats etc. and I make sure my pantry is welled stocked. I think if you've been doing it long enough it becomes second nature :) For beginners it's good idea to plan a rough menu just to get you started
That's a good point. It probably became second nature to me without realizing it.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:12 AM   #14
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I'm a weekly planner. It's just the two of us, but planning weekly enables me to spend my food dollars wisely & eat very very well. I can roast or poach a whole chicken & get 2-3 meals out of it. Same goes for a roast duck - which, while the original purchase price may seem high - after 3 meals from that same duck, the per meal price ends up coming to around $4-$5 (where are you going to get a duck dinner for $4-$5??). When lobster is on sale, I buy more than enough & save the extra meat to go into Lobster Rolls, Lobster Bisque, seafood stirfries, seafood pasta sauce. Planning ahead re: leftovers for pricey ingredients - or even inexpensive ones - enables you to eat extremely well - especially if you're just cooking for one or two.

Really - planning your menus ahead of time will be your best friend both dining wise & money wise.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:21 AM   #15
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That's a good point. It probably became second nature to me without realizing it.
That's just the thing..lol! It's the same with when people ask you for a recipe and you can't give them exact quantities, just a dash of this a sprinkle of that..lol! Like brushing teeth, we no longer have to think about it :)
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:46 AM   #16
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That's just the thing..lol! It's the same with when people ask you for a recipe and you can't give them exact quantities, just a dash of this a sprinkle of that..lol! Like brushing teeth, we no longer have to think about it :)
Dash of this, sprinkle of that, three shakes plus one tap, about that much (as I demonstrate the length of poring time), two glugs worth... That's actually how I started and I'm having to learn to measure things for other people's benefit. Same with menu planning. It was brand new to me and suggested by the hubby's nutritionist. I do have to say though, I'd be lost without a grocery list. Half the time I can't remember what we need by the time I make it to the computer from the kitchen and have to travel back and forth over and over again. There's no way I could make it to the store without forgetting everything.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:06 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
I'm a weekly planner. It's just the two of us, but planning weekly enables me to spend my food dollars wisely & eat very very well. I can roast or poach a whole chicken & get 2-3 meals out of it. Same goes for a roast duck - which, while the original purchase price may seem high - after 3 meals from that same duck, the per meal price ends up coming to around $4-$5 (where are you going to get a duck dinner for $4-$5??). When lobster is on sale, I buy more than enough & save the extra meat to go into Lobster Rolls, Lobster Bisque, seafood stirfries, seafood pasta sauce. Planning ahead re: leftovers for pricey ingredients - or even inexpensive ones - enables you to eat extremely well - especially if you're just cooking for one or two.

Really - planning your menus ahead of time will be your best friend both dining wise & money wise.
I'm sorry, I guess I don't understand...What exactly is extra lobster? I've never heard of that.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:40 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by purple.alien.giraffe View Post
Dash of this, sprinkle of that, three shakes plus one tap, about that much (as I demonstrate the length of poring time), two glugs worth... That's actually how I started and I'm having to learn to measure things for other people's benefit. Same with menu planning. It was brand new to me and suggested by the hubby's nutritionist. I do have to say though, I'd be lost without a grocery list. Half the time I can't remember what we need by the time I make it to the computer from the kitchen and have to travel back and forth over and over again. There's no way I could make it to the store without forgetting everything.
I write recipes down now since people keep asking me for them!
I make my list each month but once I'm in the grocery store I seem to follow the same route and load most of what I need in without even knowing how I did it. I usually just add a few special things that change from time to time. Guess I'm a creature of habbit or programmed to function without thinking :)
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