Cooking is defined as the process of food preparation through applied heat. But there so much more involved in planning, preparing, and presenting meals for your family. One thing the dictionary left out is the love that goes into the creation of that meal.
If you are someone that is rushed and overburdened by their job and settles for dashing home, throwing a TV dinner in the microwave, and sitting before the television while 'dining', you might want to take some time to learn about the fine art of cooking. It need not be fancy gourmet foods you prepare, or even require a gourmet professional kitchen in which to work your miracles of culinary delight. Feeding your family involves a little planning, researching, love, and a bit of time. Finding the time to prepare and serve healthy wholesome meals need involve no more than an hour or two from start to finish. With planning, you can even cook most of your meals on the weekend and store them in the freezer or fridge. Your family will be happy even if you only cook burgers and French fries, as long as you all sit down together and make it a family affair.
Appliances large and small
Cooking most commonly involves heat and that means an oven and a stove top with either gas or electric burners. A microwave oven is useful as are a slow cooker pot, mixer (stand and hand held), toaster, electric knife, electric skillet, food processor, and a blender.
Pots and pans come in an assortment of sizes, depending on their intended use. Basically you will want a small non-stick skillet (6' to 8'), a larger non-stick skillet of about 10'-12', several sizes of cooking pots from one to three quart size, and a larger pot maybe six to eight quarts for soups and chilies. These can be heavy cast aluminum or steel depending on your budget (look online for recommendations and reviews of products). If you plan on baking you will want to have a cookie sheet or two, some loaf pans, cake pans, and muffin pans (for cupcakes). Spatulas, stirring spoons, tongs, and forks should also be available to handle food as it cooks.
Spice it up
An assortment of spices will come in handy when you are cooking. Depending on what dish you are preparing, having the basics will improve flavors. Salt, Pepper, olive oil, vegetable oil, paprika, thyme, garlic powder, cloves, dry mustard, nutmeg, ginger, and celery seed are often used in recipes. Based on the nationality of your dishes, you may also want some oregano, basil, cumin, cayenne pepper, and crushed red pepper on your spice shelf. Don't be afraid to experiment with ingredients, just go lightly to begin with because you can always add more, but seldom take away.
Items like chicken and beef broth, canned milk, tomato sauce, flour, rice, pasta, soup for cooking, and powdered buttermilk are staples everyone who cooks should have on hand.
An assortment of cook books or even cooking videos can be helpful and offer interesting ideas to plan meals around. Tons of recipes can also be found on the internet at no charge. Let your imagination create something original that your family will enjoy. Finally, make a list before going to the grocery store, and stick to it.