If you know a little bit about how to cook food you enjoy, then easy organic cooking is just a step or two away! The difference between regular cooking and organic cooking is just in the ingredients, so if you can manage to locate some fresh organic fare, you'll have the tools you need to create any number of healthy, sustainable meals.
How to Pull Off Easy Organic Cooking
Before you fire up your wok or turn on your oven, take some time to think about how you can make cooking more convenient to the way you live your life.
- If you find that you usually feel rushed around dinnertime, think about preparing dishes ahead of time and freezing or refrigerating them to heat up later. A period of down time during the day can become a great opportunity to prepare and store dinner.
- Give batch cooking a try. Use organic produce to make a large stir fry or casserole, then portion the dish into individual servings. Reserve a few for an upcoming dinner, and freeze the rest. If you're pressed for time in the future, you can pull out as many servings as you need, heat them, and eat.
- Make a meal plan or menu for your family. Write down your favorite meals and the dishes you'd like to eat more often. If you're part of a CSA (community-supported agriculture group), consider the vegetables you get most often. Before you go to the grocery store, make a list of only what you need to make the meals you've planned. Since organic products can sometimes cost more than conventionally grown products, this tip will help save money and economize the foods you do buy.
- Look through several recipe books to get ideas for meals that might make easy organic cooking even more manageable. To keep preparation and cooking times minimal, choose recipes that are familiar to you and that do not require complicated techniques or lots of steps.
- Try dishes that don't involve a lot of cooking. For example, a breakfast idea is organic yogurt mixed with pre-made organic granola and fresh, local berries. Lunch could be a tossed salad with organic vegetables, and dinner might be organic pasta with jarred marinara sauce, fresh-baked bread, and organic steamed vegetables.
Tips and Techniques
- Prep vegetables and fruits ahead of time for cooking and snacking. If you're packing lunches in the morning, for example, take a few minutes to slice up vegetables for that night's dinner.
- Break your cooking down into steps that make the process easier. Sautee organic meat and vegetables while rice is cooking, or use organic basil from the farmers' market to make a batch of pesto while pasta is boiling.
- Carry quick, easy, and portable snacks. Organic granola bars, pieces of fresh fruit, homemade trail mix, and individual packs of yogurt are all good, healthy choices.
- Gather the ingredients before you begin cooking so that the process goes as quickly as possible.
- Wash dishes while you cook. If part of your recipe directs you to wait until something simmers, take that time to rinse bowls and utensils.
- The source of your ingredients is important, so seek out organics that appear fresh or that are locally grown.