Home Cooking: Good for Your Waistline and Wallet

home cookingI have been thinking a lot about what happened to home cooking. Making meals from scratch seems like a long lost skill. Replaced by pre-cooked meals or meals that require no cooking.

As I was considering writing this I checked my e-mail and an article shared on LinkedIn caught my eye,

It was rather serendipitous, and felt like it added a bit more context to what I am sharing today.

The article is “Americans spend more than half their food money on meals that require no cooking”, on treehugger.com you can read the whole article by clicking here.

They researched how much money Americans are spending on precooked food versus home cooking. Since that was Americans I did a quick search about Canadian spending, with our household friend “the Google” and found this article by the National Post , among many others. Turns out Canadians are not that much different in what they spend on convenience over home cooking.. Not that surprising if you ask me.

It is North America after all., we’re not that different from each other. we want convenience. Marketing companies LOVE that!

The kicker is the complaint that eating differently, with more home cooking, aka “Real Food”, is more expensive.

Take a look at this excerpt from the treehugger.com article:

The latest numbers reveal an annual average food budget of just over $7,000 (approx. $150/week). More than half of this is spent on food products and services that require no cooking.

And from the National Post article I mentioned:

…research suggests home cooks “generally have healthier diets that are higher in fibre and vitamins and minerals” and are less likely to be obese, so “even if someone cooks one extra meal at home a week I think we would be making positive steps in the right direction.”

Yes, these are just two articles of many that were found, on the “internets” of all places,

Frankly, if you look you’ll find articles that support any belief. The trick is knowing what’s a B.S. tactic to get you to buy shit, and what’s true on a fundamental level..

There is ALOT of valuable information, that supports the fact that eating home cooking far outweighs eating out, or prepackaged foods.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should never eat out again. Or, that you can’t enjoy something you didn’t have to make yourself. Hell no, we need to just go enjoy these things sometimes.

BUT, home cooking, even with a busy lifestyle is so key to improving your lifestyle, your weight loss goals, or any other health goals you may have, and is easier on the wallet.

If you balk at this saying, “but I don’t have time.”, or “I don’t know how to cook”. I get it, I really do, I used to not make anything that couldn’t be dumped from a can into a bowl and microwaved. These days you’ll find me home cooking more and more.

I would encourage you to consider what it’s costing you financially, physically and mentally to rely on someone else to handle these basic needs.

AND if your life is really so busy that throwing something in the slow cooker is too much, consider what you need to change, and what commitments you could say no to.

Take back some of the power to rely on yourself.

Okay, I am getting off my soap box now.

I have a tip to share, and I hope it is helpful.

Enter…Home Cooking: One Chicken, 7 Meals!

This is for two people (if you are four people, you won’t necessarily get the lunches the next day, but you have two nights of home cooked meals!), plus home made chicken stock!

It doesn’t get anymore cost effective than that.

If I can have you easily incorporate having two home cooked meals a week into your life then I have met my goal for this post 🙂

Roast Chicken, PLUS Sheppard’s Pie and Chicken Stock Recipe


Whole Chicken

8-10 Small – Medium Potatoes



Vegetable of choice (frozen or fresh)- Corn, Peas, Broccoli, or a mix

Seasoning: basil, oregano, thyme, celery seed, pepper, summer savory.

Slow Cooker or Medium Stock Pot

8×9″ Oven Safe Dish

Disclaimer: Stick with me here, because as I was writing this out I realized it sounds like ALOT!! And the first time it may be. But when you see what you’re getting out of this, and that the next day you get to just stick supper in the oven with no hassle, I am sure you will be sold. I like to do this on a Sunday and then Monday is easy peasy.

Step 1:  Oven roasted (or Slow Cooker) whole chicken

If using oven method – Preheat to 350F

Place chicken in oven safe roasting pan with a lid – I use a pyrex roasting dish. and bake roughly 3 – 4hrs, if cooking from frozen. If thawed it will be roughly 2hrs, time will depend on your oven.

Or place in a slow cooker, aka crock pot – I just have a basic one with Low, Med, and Warm settings, I use low and let it cook most of the day. What you do will depend on what you have for a slow cooker, refer to the instruction booklet if you’re unsure.

Sprinkle the chicken with seasonings – basil, oregano, thyme, celery seed, pepper, summer savory.

Tip: When the Chicken is cooked reserve the drippings in the bottom of the pan

Step 2: Cook potatoes

I just half or quarter washed potatoes (no need to peel, you’ll get the added fiber this way). Throw them in a pot, cover them with water and boil until they can easily be poked with a fork. Roughly half an hour.

Double the amount that each person will eat for supper that night to ensure that you have leftovers, for us this is usually 8-10 small-medium potatoes.

   Tip:  You can have these prepped in advance, just stick the pot in the fridge with the cut up raw potatoes covered in water (they will brown if they are not in water). Then they are ready to just put on the stove and cook when you get home

Step 3: Supper tonight + Lunch + Sheppard’s Pie for Tomorrow + Lunch the Next Day!!!

 ~ This is where the magic happens 😉 ~

Meal 1 + Lunch

Tonight have chicken and potatoes with an additional side vegetable of choice (ie. Broccoli, carrots etc), if you have time make homemade gravy from the reserved drippings (Recipe is below).

At this point my husband usually packs some for his lunch the next day.

Meal 2  + Lunch

While cleaning up supper dishes, cut or shred the leftover chicken (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups) into the bottom of a roasting pan, either use the one the chicken was baked in or take out a 8×9″ oven safe dish if you used a slow cooker.  

Pour some of the reserved drippings over the chicken (or use leftover gravy), toss some frozen corn, or peas on top of the chicken.

Mash up the left over potatoes,

Add a little butter and milk, I like to add some summer savoury.

Spread potatoes over the vegetable layer.

I sprinkle paprika and turmeric on top to add another layer of flavour and it looks nice 🙂

Put a lid on it and pop it in the fridge for tomorrow (alternatively it freezes well).

Now for the homemade stock…

Put the chicken bones and left over skin – any bits you don’t want to eat – in a slow cooker or medium stock pot, fill about halfway with water (or until it covers the bones), throw in  1-2 teaspoons of each herb/spice – oregano, thyme, celery seed, pepper, summer savoury and 3-4 bay leaves, sea salt.

I like the slow cooker for this as I just set it on low and leave it overnight, sometimes until suppertime the next day,

Strain it and put it in freezer bags or containers. I typically measure about 2 cups per container.

You can also just pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze. Use to add flavour to rice, gravies and more.

The next day preheat the oven to 350F and bake Sheppard’s Pie uncovered for about 45mins to 1hr, again this will depend on your oven.

It’s done when the top is slightly brown, some of the gravy or juices may be bubbling up around the edges.

We have supper and end up with lunch for each of us the next day.

Savvy Gravy

You may have become accustomed to being told that gravy should be avoided, that it is unhealthy. Homemade gravy is packed with nutrition and is a healthy alternative. 


3/4 to 1 cup Reserved Drippings from Chicken

1/4 cup water, mixed with 1 rounded Tbsp Cornstarch (or Arrowroot Powder)

2 tsp Tamari Soy Sauce

Pour reserved drippings into a saucepan and place on medium heat, pour cornstarch mixture into drippings and stir, add Soy Sauce, allow to bubble and thicken stirring frequently, should only take a few minutes. Enjoy!