We all kind of get used to being—and eating—out and about in the summer. But while habitually soaking up rays (and cocktails) on your favorite restaurant's patio does wonders for the soul, it doesn't do much for your goals.
Transitioning to fall is an adjustment in more than one way, but you can use the change in season to inspire you to get back into the kitchen more. The results? You'll eat healthier and for less money than you have all summer long. From someone who's super antsy to fire up her stove, to any of you who need a bit of a fire lit under them to do the same, here are a few tips for easing your way back into the kitchen this fall.
Gather Your Inspiration
Get a pot of coffee brewing, hit play on your iPod or favorite could-watch-it-over-and-over-again TV series, and settle in for bit to go through your favorite cookbooks and recipe sites. Not sure where to start? Ask your Facebook friends to share links to their favorite recipes in the comments, then make your picks. Don't put pressure on yourself to actually meal plan at this point, just have a look-see at all the pictures to get the culinary juices flowing. My guess is you'll come away with a handful of recipes you're eager to try, regardless.
Buy Yourself a New Toy
Been wanting a spiralizer, a high-powered blender, or maybe a couple new plates that add flair to your dinner table? In the same way that getting new workout clothes motivates me to go to the gym, having something new to play with in the kitchen really makes me want to get cooking.
Put Some Soup On
By the time September rolls around, I'm absolutely salivating at the idea of adding soups back into my weekly dinner menu. There are tons of recipes that are not only crazy easy, but equally delicious. Plus, they fill you up and the leftovers make a great lunch to take to work the next day.
Take Advantage of 30-Minute Meals
There are entire books and sections of recipe websites dedicated to creating 30-minute meals—track them down and mine them for easy meal ideas. Here's an article that gives you a work week's worth of 30-minute meals, complete with prep tips and a master shopping list.
Dust Off the Slow Cooker
This old-school appliance has been getting some new love over the past several years, because you know what?—the classics never go out of style! Especially when those classics turn out some of the most delicious meals with literally just the press of a button.
Prep and Freeze for Easy Meals Later
Once you're in the groove, dedicate a Sunday every month or two to stocking your freezer with meals for when things get busy—like, um... nearly the entire period from Halloween through New Years. Soups are great for this, but roasted chicken is another favorite of mine for a prep and freeze. I don't know about you guys, but my mouth is already watering at the possibilities.
Happy cooking and happy fall to you!