|Cucumbers in a crock, ready to become sour pickles.|
Most of the dishes I cook are exceedingly simple- roast chicken, roast beef, beef or chicken or pork stews, probably hundreds of different soup recipes (I'm a fan of any meal that only dirties one pot), fish cakes, fish cooked in wine and butter, tacos... variety can easily be achieved by varying spices and sauces.
I absolutely do not spend all day in the kitchen.
There are occasionally more time consuming tasks I choose to do because I can squeeze them in (and few of them take much active prep) and because they go a long ways towards keeping the budget down, like baking bread, making yogurt, making sauerkraut and pickles (and many other fermented foods). But they aren't necessary.
There is a trade off, though. You can't be on a super tight budget AND spend next to zero time in the kitchen. You have to prioritize- would you rather save money or time? Because good, organic plain yogurt is going to cost more that twice as much at the store than it would to make at home. Good bread can cost up to four times as much as homemade... and the pickles I made last week, with $10 in cucumbers from the farmer's market, a few tablespoons of salt, and dill and garlic from my garden, would have cost me over $75 at the store for an equivalent product (Bubbie's, the only commercially available lactofermented pickles I've ever come across..). The total time I spend in active prep on these items is probably less than an hour over the course of a week, and they save us so much money on foods I feel my family greatly benefits from eating.
And it can be an adjustment at first. You're going to be less efficient, or you're going to try to do too many things at once. Just stick with it and eventually you will learn what benefits your family most, and you will work out a method or routine that makes it reasonable to do these things. But you can't get there if you don't start!
This post has been shared at Beyond the Peel's Keep it Real Thursday, GNOWFGLIN's Simple Lives Thursday, Homestead Revival's Barn Hop, and Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday.