How to cook like a Chef without breaking the bank

How to cook like a Chef without breaking the bank

Eating out brings certain benefits; someone else prepares the food for you and there are no greasy dishes for you to deal with. But, there are also some drawbacks; eating out is often expensive and not all that healthy. It is always a better option to prepare your meals at home, and there are ways to make your cooking both cost-efficient and healthier. With a little planning and several simple techniques, you will have a chance to cook like a chef, preparing cheap and healthy meals with ease.

Do Some Planning



    You can easily sabotage yourself if you do not plan ahead, but don’t be afraid, planning meals for the whole week does not involve long shopping lists and complex spreadsheets. Try cooking homemade meals a couple of days a week and then plan to repurpose the leftovers into new meals, like reforming a leftover salmon into a salmon cake. If you are purchasing ingredients like herbs, consider how you can add them into other dishes during the week, so that you can eat them all before they go bad.

    If you want to extend the life of your herbs you can wrap them in a paper towel or put them in a jar of water in the fridge. When you are going grocery shopping, divide your list into three categories, where you will list fruits and vegetables on the left side, rice and pastas in the middle and foods from the freezer section on the right. This way you will easily circle your way around the grocery store and won’t zigzag back and forth.


    Opt For Double-Duty Foods

    When you are browsing the shelves in the supermarket, aim to purchase foods that can be reused in several ways. For instance, instead of buying lettuce to add crunchiness and greens to your sandwiches, opt for spinach.

    You may wonder why. Well, spinach is more versatile than lettuce; you can use it to top your sandwiches and cook it into a dinnertime side dish, mix it with stir-fry vegetables or add it to an omelet. And the extra lettuce will, on the other hand, just slowly turn to disgusting brown goop in your freezer.


    Make a Room in Your Heart for Leftovers


      Make a commitment of repurposing the meals you prepare into fresh dishes later in the week. For instance, make a homemade marinara sauce or taco filing on Monday. That same taco filling can be turned into a salad the next night and a nacho topping on the third night. Also, homemade pasta sauce can be used for making a pizza and then the next night be folded into lasagna.


      Stock Up Your Pantry

      Having several ingredients on hand will make it easy to prepare a good meal instead of hitting a fast food joint or overpay already prepared meals. Always have a carton of eggs in your fridge and if you mix them with frozen peas, rice, hot sauce and a couple of spices like cumin and curry powder, you can prepare a tasty fried rice dish in no time. Ingredients that last long time like potatoes, onions, shallots and lemons are good to always have on hand and the best part is that they can be used in many recipes.

      Always keep canned beans in your pantry, because they can go into almost anything and are a great source of protein. The majority of these ingredients can be found on coupons and vouchers, so go online to find them and save a nice amount of money on your grocery shopping. Make sure to get enough frozen vegetables like corn and peas, because you will be able to easily integrate veggies into your meals without having to buy fresh ones all the time.

      Even if, in some cases, it may seem like a pain to cook by yourself, you need to remember that the skills you learn by cooking regularly will rub off on your partner and your kids, and the best way to save some money in the kitchen is to learn how to cook.

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      Tanvir Zafar

      The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.


      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.


      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.


      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.


      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via

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