Sometimes we complicate food, we complicate what we should have for dinner, we complicate how "fancy" it needs to be, we complicate making multiple meals for multiple mouths - we've been told complicated is "better", the art of plating up or pleasing others has us forgetting the basics, and how they are the essence of how we should operate in the kitchen. I have people who are embarrassed to prepare food for me, they think I just eat amazingly complex food all the time, but, a little secret - I LIVE for the easy, simple meals!
Minimalism in the kitchen is simple, straightforward and stress free. Getting back to basics is KEY to your success towards a healthier, happier kitchen!
Get Back to Basic Meals
Go back to simple meals, the meals you grew up with, the ones you know like the back of your hand, the meal that you can whip up in quick time without even realising your whipping up a meal in quick time! The reason for this approach is to take the approach of learning something NEW, like riding a bike or learning French - you don't just start riding without stacking it straight away, and generally you can't get past bonjour or au revoir when starting to learn French!
Simple meals are fantastic, and give you a base to start from, allowing you to add in new ingredients and practice with substituting ingredients you don't have on hand. It also allows you to practice new skills on old recipes. Take some time to learn to break down the packaged sauce you normally use, you will be surprised how simple it can be to save yourself money and add fresh, more nutritious flavour from scratch.
Another note on this. After hearing far too many reports on this, please only prepare ONE meal every meal time, when I hear about someone preparing three different meals for their family to suit the picky eater, the staid hubby and the healthy mum, I cringe. Go back to basics and prepare one meal only, if they complain, then offer them the opportunity to look after meal time from there on! I've got your back :)
My top 5 flavour add-ins are SO simple it will astound you - celtic sea salt, tamari, cumin, fresh herbs and pepper! When preparing a meal this week, see how much flavour you can tease out of your ingredients with some of the healthy flavour enhancers above - you will be surprised! My all-time favourite salad dressing? Lemon juice, tahini and olive oil! So, so simple.
Note: I said flavour enhancer? Yes, the flavours you taste MOSTLY come from the ingredients, the spices and herbs just extract that flavour from the food. Once you master those five flavour add-ins, try new ones, but keep it simple, we don't have to go making up crazy spice blends for every meal! Another great go to flavour add in, is your own frozen veggie broth - MSG-free and delicious.
Break it Down
So - you have a goal? A goal for a happier, healthier food experience? Then I ask this of you, break it down, set your goal and work backwards. Work out what you need to change to reach that goal, and put one foot in front of the other, one pedal down one pedal up, one "merci" and one "beaucoup"! These incremental changes help remove the overwhelm.
It could be swapping out a packaged food for a from scratch option each week - learn to master a pasta sauce, a salad dressing or veggie stock. As you gain confidence and enjoyment in the process, move towards the next step, moving at your pace ensures you embed the new habits without the overwhelm of going from good to gourmet in a week. Need help on getting clear? Just ask!
This is important, without support and guidance, it can be easy to fall back into old habits. Connect with friends who want to support you on this journey, connect in with the Kitchen Crew Facebook Group, my group for support, questions and inspiration!