Have you heard of bannock? This is primarily known as the traditional camping bread. All you need to make it is flour, baking powder, some milk, and vegetable oil. A good starting point is six cups flour, six tablespoons baking powder, three and a half cups milk, and a quarter cup of vegetable oil. Essentially, you just need to mix these together into a dough. But then what? How do you cook bannock?
There are actually three major ways you can cook this basic camping bread. Here are the details on each:
For this method, start by preheating your oven to approximately 400 degrees. Spray a loaf pan or casserole dish and place the bannock dough in it. Once your oven is preheated, you can slide the dough and pan into the oven. Let it bake until golden—this should take about 30 minutes, but can shift based on the oven you are using.
Want to make use of your barbeque? This is yet another way to cook bannock well. Similar to your oven, you want to have your grill at about 400 degrees. However, you won’t put the dough directly on the grill. Instead, oil a cast iron skillet well, place the dough in that, and then place it on the grill. The cooking process will take about 202 to 25 minutes. If you want to have a crust all around your bannock, be sure to turn it over and cook for a couple more minutes at the end.
Of course if you are camping, there really is only one way to cook bannock: over a campfire! You can do this in a few ways: in a pan over the flame or speared onto a stick or metal rod with a handle (such as something you might use to roast marshmallows). Heat the stick without the dough first (remove bark if you are using a stick) but do not allow it to burn. Slice off a piece of the dough and wrap it around your stick before holding it over the fire as you would when roasting marshmallows. Cook until golden brown on the outside—this should take roughly ten minutes, but will vary based on your campfire.
Sometimes when we get home at the end of the day, we just do not want to cook dinner. Maybe we’re lazy. Maybe we just don’t have a lot of time on our hands. Either way, it is important to have dinner recipes you can pull out at a moment’s notice and whip up a meal without a ton of effort or time taken. Here are three top examples:
Okay, so the most popular is grilled cheese. All you need for this is a few slices of cheese, bread, and butter. Butter the outside of the bread, fil the middle with cheese, and grilled it on a frying pan (or sandwich maker). If you want more to your sandwich, you can add ingredients like spinach, ham, bacon, even apples! This adds interest to your sandwich, along with additional nutrients (depending on what you chose to add).
One of the most popular salad choices, especially when it comes to eating salad as a meal, is chicken Caesar salad. This salad normally consists of chicken (grilled, sliced), romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, croutons, and parmesan cheese. You can go for any other type of salad, like a Cobb salad. We just do not recommend relying on the lettuce and dressing alone—add some protein into your salad for dinner!
When it comes down to it, you can easily get away with cooking noodles and dumping canned sauce on them. If you need a little more substance or nutrients, and most of us do, try buying a package of frozen vegetables and some precooked meatballs. These will need a little more prep (e.g. in the frying pan, oven, or microwave) but it will add more to your simple spaghetti meal without you needing to exert a lot more effort.
Having the ability to cook your own food is an important life skill. You can save a lot of money by being able to do it, and you can then cook for other people (e.g. a significant other, your parents, et cetera). You can look up how to cook, but chances are there will be varied instructions depending on where you look. We recommend avoiding the ones that ease you in and only focus on concepts like boiling water or how to fry something. You can briefly read up on how to do these things, but learning to cook requires more than that. Let’s review three of the most important tips on learning to cook now:
Don’t Leave Kitchen
Regardless of what you are cooking, while learning you should never leave the kitchen for a second. Granted, even when you are very good at cooking, you should still remain in the kitchen as much as possible, but you do have a little more leeway for certain tasks. Staying in the kitchen helps to ensure you catch mistakes quicker, don’t end up with burnt food as often, et cetera.
Master Basic Recipes
Sometimes people make the mistake of trying to tackle complicated recipes when they are just learning to cook. Complicated comes later! We recommend picking out two or three basic recipes (e.g. a basic spaghetti sauce, fried rice, et cetera) and mastering those first. Then you will have a couple recipes under your belt to pull out when necessary! The basic part not only makes it easier as a beginning, but also helps build your confidence for the future.
Cook Food You Love
When it comes down to learning to cook, you should cook food you love to eat! You might not be able to handle complicated recipes right away, but you can still use the same ingredients and find other similar, but simpler, recipes to help. For instance, if you happen to enjoy rice and eggs, why not find a simple friend rice recipe? Enjoy pasta? Simple spaghetti recipes would be great!
Onions are in many different recipes from sauces to stir-fries. Anything you can think of, onions might play a role in! However, chopping onions is not the most pleasant task around, since almost 100% of the time someone chopping onions will end up with a flood of tears in their eyes. Want to avoid the tears? Here are three tips to help you get through chopping onions without too much discomfort:
Sharpen The Knife
The sharper your knife, the easier it will be to cut into onions, which gives the fumes less time to float up to your eyes and make you cry while chopping. Sharpen your knives on a regular basis to make them perform at their best. We also recommend chopping faster rather than slower, but you still need to be careful, which is why the emphasis should be on the sharpness of the knife you are using instead.
Circulate The Air
The fumes from the onions are why your eyes water when chopping onions. Help reduce the amount of fumes reaching your eyes by turning on an exhaust fan (e.g. on your oven) or setting up another fan in the kitchen near to where you will be chopping. This way you can circulate the air and help reduce the fumes. This way, you should cry less during the chopping process.
Refrigerate The Onions
Another great way of lessening the impact of the fumes and the tears in your eyes when chopping onions is to refrigerate them beforehand. This should chill the onions and slow the release of the fumes when you cut into them. The extreme of this is to freeze the onions, but this makes them much harder to chop, so stick with refrigeration instead. Put them in your fridge for at least half an hour before chopping, but ideally for up to two hours.
Whether you are hosting a holiday dinner like Thanksgiving or Christmas, or you just happen to be having a large dinner party, there will be times when you will have to cook for lots of people. Cooking for a crowd, unfortunately, can get quite stressful—even overwhelming. Thankfully, we have some sharp tips to help you take control of the situation and pull off cooking for a crowd with minimal stress. Ready? Let’s go!
Go With What You Know
Now is not the time to try a new recipe. Use recipes you have tried many times before and have no mastered. If you know exactly what you are doing, you will be much calmer while you are doing it! Even if the recipes you know are not meant for a larger crowd, it is much easier to make a double batch of something you know how to cook, such as spaghetti sauce, than it is to try a new recipe. This is especially the case when you would have to double a recipe you are not familiar with!
Make Ahead Of Time
Chances are you have to make more than one dish when cooking for a crowd. Do not leave all of this cooking for the day of the event! Where possible, make dishes in advance so you can spread out the pressure. You can also strategically choose dishes to help. For instance, you can prep and entire lasagna the night before, but then put it in the oven before your guests arrive.
In addition to making things less stressful on the day, it also opens up your chances of mingling with the guests instead of being chained to the stove.
Slow Cooker Magic
When it comes to cooking for a crowd, there is nothing easier than using your slow cooker. You can easily feed a decent sized group with one 6 or 7 quart slow cooker! In addition to making a large quantity of food in one go, slow cooker meals are also easy to make, since you often just have to dump ingredients into the pot and let the slow cooker work its magic. You can set it at the beginning of the day, thus freeing up time throughout the day so you can get one with other things (including other meal prep activities).
Did you know cooking makes a great group activity? You can cook alone, a lot of people do, but involving other people can boost the fun of the task itself, and promote bonding between those who are cooking. This might be through the discussion they have while cooking, bonding over failed attempts at cooking, et cetera. So what can you cook with your loved ones? What meals lend themselves really well to this? Let’s look at three of them now:
Pizza is amazing to cook as a group. You can do homemade crust if you would like, but premade crusts make this even better. It works well if you cook multiple pizzas, where each person can sit at the table and customize their toppings. Common ones to start with include mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and green pepper. We recommend you ask people what their favourite toppings are so there can be a plethora of choices during the cook.
Tacos or Fajitas
Similar to pizza, tacos and fajitas work well for a group cooking setting since all you really need to do is heat up the shells and/or tortillas. Then it becomes a matter of each individual filling their tacos and fajitas with the toppings and fillings they desire. This normally includes one protein like chicken or ground beef, though it can be just about anything.
When in doubt, have a barbeque! Someone can grill the burgers, hot dogs, et cetera, others can make salads and sides, et cetera. Some of this can be made beforehand at everyone’s own house, but if you want to truly embrace the idea of cooking with loved ones, we recommend doing everything on the day. You have to do this with anything you are actually putting on the grill, so why not include the other parts on the actual day as well?
Grocery shopping will always be in our regular routine. You likely started accompanying one of your parents when you were small, since you couldn’t be home alone. But once you leave home? Going to the store and picking out what you want to eat is all your responsibility. Sometimes people find themselves overwhelmed by all the choices, while others just simply have no idea what they should get. Need some help grocery shopping for any reason? Here are key tips to consider:
Use The Flyer
The vast majority of grocery stores will have a weekly flyer showcasing which of their products are on sale. Examining these flyers is the perfect way to not only save money when you shop, but also to generate ideas on what you can make throughout the entire week. If you really want to make this an effective grocery shopping strategy, try looking at more than one flyer when constructing your list and plan of what to eat for the week.
Stick To The List
Speaking of grocery lists, you should always bring your list with your when going to the grocery store and you should always stick to buying what is written on your list. This will help manage your overall funds, while also helping minimize the amount of junk food you buy. If it is not on the list, you are not allowed to buy it! Just be kind to yourself and avoid putting a lot of junk on the list in the first place.
Never Go Hungry
The golden rule of grocery shopping? Never go hungry. When you step inside a grocery store with an empty stomach, you will be far more likely to overindulge in junk food like chips, chocolate, pop, and literally anything that looks appealing. If you need to go to the store but you do feel some hunger pangs, eat a small snack (at least) before you head out. You will thank yourself later.
Need to think of new things to cook for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert? Tired of the same old recipe night after night? Finding good new recipes can certainly be a challenge, especially if you really are not sure where you can look. With that in mind, here are three popular sources for new recipes, as well as what you can expect or should keep in mind when searching each of them:
Family and Friends
Your loved ones are the perfect source for quality recipes. Is there a dish your Mom or Dad made all the time growing up, but you don’t actually have yourself? Ask them for it! Does your friend make a mean macaroni and cheese? Why not ask if you can have that as well! This is a great way to pick up recipes you know are good. Recipes from any other source have a risk of not turning out quite well, even if the risk is small.
There is a plethora of traditional cookbooks out there. The recipes they contain are just about endless. There are cookbooks exclusively for desserts, for vegetarians, for clean eating, et cetera. All you need to do is decide what type of thing you want to cook and there should be a cookbook not far behind! The risk with this, however, and especially if you are going through dietary changes, is the quality of the recipes and whether or not you will actually like them. To help minimize the risk, look at the reviews of the cookbooks you are considering before you actually buy them. This should help give you a picture of the general consensus about the quality of the recipes in the book.
Of course, you can easily search online for new recipes to try. However, one of the catches to doing this is you need to have a rough idea of what you want to cook. For instance, do you want to try vegetarian meals? Do you have a lot of a particular ingredient you want to get rid of? Use these as keywords to help in your search. Google is great, but Pinterest is excellent for easily finding recipes.
Do you own a slow cooker? If not, you should invest in one! They are amazing when it comes to cooking your meals for you. They are great additions whether you are only cooking for yourself or for a large family. Here are three significant benefits of using a slow cooker:
Save On Time
Do you lead a busy life? A slow cooker can help with that. Many of the recipes you would make in this appliance just require you to do some simple food prep (e.g. chopping vegetables) before dumping all the ingredients into the slow cooker and just letting it cook for you throughout the course of the day. You can then run errands outside the home, go to work, do chores like laundry, or even relax with a nap! No need to be standing at the stove and slaving away.
Cooking For A Crowd
Need to feed a lot of people? Aside from ordering food, your best course of action to easily feed a crowd is to plug in your slow cooker and let it do its magic. You can buy a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker, which is enough to make food for quite a large group in a single pot. You can easily feed an average family with food to spare with one pot!
Year Round Cooking Benefits
Slow cookers provide benefits to cooking throughout the entire year, aside from what we have already discussed. In the summer, cooking meals in your slow cooker helps minimize the number of times you have to heat up your kitchen. In the winter, what could be nicer than coming home to a nice, hot, cozy bowl of something like soup or chili? Not very much when the cold is threatening to make your fingers fall off!
Whether you want to cook frugally or you have to do it out of necessity, frugal cooking can actually be difficult if you don’t think about it. Just walking to the grocery store and deciding to cook frugally is not going to end up the way you want it to. With that in mind, here are three tips for frugal cooking you will actually enjoy.
All About The Plan
The very first thing you need to start doing if you want to actually do some frugal cooking is to start a meal plan and accompanying grocery list. You will get nowhere without it! Plan what you want to eat for the week for each meal. Consider what ingredients you need for each dish. Which ones do you have in your kitchen? Which ones do you still need to buy? Write the latter ones down. This is your grocery list and it will guide you through the shopping process. Also be sure to note how much of an ingredient you will need. There is no reason to buy seven tomatoes if you only need two or three.
Speaking of making a list for the ingredients you need and making a meal plan, one of the best things for you to do to help with this is get your local grocery store’s flyer every week. These flyers advertise what products are on sale for the week, and can save you a lot of money if you take the sales into account when planning your meals for the week.
The other thing to consider here is the power of leftovers for frugal cooking. This means two things: one, how you should safe the leftovers of the finished meal for another night, and two, that if you don’t use all of an ingredient you buy (e.g. you have leftover uncooked rice or pasta) you should incorporate it into another meal.