Sometimes I get exhausted just reading a recipe. When there are a ton of steps and dishes to use, there are days when I don’t even want to try. If others feel like I do, it’s no wonder the number of people cooking has decreased. We’ve made it so complicated!
With a large family and a growing business, I don’t have time for complicated, so I’ve started simplifying the majority of the recipes I use. I’m saving time and energy.
And as a bonus, I don’t have to wash as many dishes!
Are you with me? I say it’s time to reclaim simple meals!
Use one bowl.
Seriously. Almost every cookie recipe now calls for dirtying two. I don’t understand it. I mean, there could very well be a scientific reason to use two bowls. But, the recipes I make still taste good using only one!
I start with the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Then, I mix in the dry ones.
But, I don’t just dump in the flour all at once. I typically add the other dry ingredients (baking soda, salt, etc.) and then add a cup of flour. After mixing all the other ingredients together, I add the rest of the flour. That seems to help get everything mixed well.
Note: This also works with bread, cakes, and many other recipes.
Also, if you have to beat egg whites, that’s a legitimate reason to use two bowls. You must use a touch of common sense when simplifying recipes!
Don’t use the stand mixer.
I don’t like washing all of the pieces that go with my stand mixer, so I’ve started mixing by hand a lot more. It’s a bit of an arm workout at times, but I have plenty of kids willing to stir if I need backup.
I love the texture I get on cookies that have been stirred by hand. I think it’s all the love I add by actually working with the dough.
As a plus, you don’t have to worry about over-mixing when you’re doing it by hand. It’s also saving on electricity. Well, at least a tiny bit.
Keep butter on the counter.
I’ve started always keeping a stick or two of butter on the counter. That way it’s ready to mix when I am. Because if you’re mixing by hand, you don’t want to use hard butter.
Now I get the butter out in the mornings when I’m planning on baking. By the time I’m ready, it’s softened.
Since I already have butter on the counter, that’s my go to cooking fat. I don’t keep shortening and margarine on hand.
I use sour cream in place of “cream of whatever” soups in some recipes. Since I don’t buy the canned soup, this saves me time from mixing up a batch of homemade.
The elimination of ingredients from a recipe also happens frequently here. I don’t let lack of a couple of minor ingredients stop me. If I can’t substitute something similar, I just scrap it.
Use fewer measuring cups and spoons.
You don’t need to dirty the entire set each time you cook! Look at your recipe. If everything is in 1/2 or 1 cup measurements, just grab out your 1/2 cup. Use it a couple of times for each cup.
My 2/3 measuring cup gets the most use. Three of those is 2 cups, and it’s easy to estimate other measurements.
As you can probably imagine, I don’t carefully measure everything while cooking. I try to imagine how they did it back in the day. I’ve read the Little House books several times, and just can’t imagine Ma Ingalls fretting over precise measurements.
Maybe I’m wrong, but in my mind, simple recipes relate to a simpler time. They didn’t used to worry about having meals just so in order to take a perfect picture to share on Facebook/Pinterest/Whatever. They just cooked without all the fuss.
The more you cook, the better you’ll become. You won’t worry as much about making changes to your recipes, and it’ll become second nature.
At that point, you’ll begin using your intuition. You’ll know which recipes you can simplify, and which ones are complicated for a reason. Substitutions that make sense will come to mind. You won’t be afraid to experiment more.
How do you simplify recipes?
Please share in the comments!
Looking for more ideas to simplify life?
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