Cooking is an essential activity that keeps humans healthy and strong, but it takes many expenses. According to a report, the annual cost of food for an average family in Canada is C$12,667 in 2020, giving an increase of C$487 from 2019. That’s a lot considering the economy isn’t stable, and we are just coming out of a pandemic.
Finding ways to cut down as little as 10% on cost of cooking delicious meals is the desire of every family or person once the necessary cooking equipment is available. Whether you are making some egg toast or large dishes, choosing affordable ingredients will be a good idea. You will be saving extra cash for your next meal and getting nutritional benefits you may not get from canned food.
This article will show you strategies and tips you can employ to cook a standard meal on a budget without denying yourself essential nutrition.
How Much Does Cooking Equipment Cost?
Changing your habits from constant visits to your local restaurant to your kitchen can be challenging to adapt. A simple trick to make this work out is to get some essential cooking accessories. These will make for an easy transition.
Some people feel cooking on a budget will amount to getting food in a restaurant because of the quantity of cooking equipment. Well, you don’t need to own a kitchen like Brad Long before making a hearty meal. Our focus in this article will be on fast, healthy meals to get you through your everyday activities.
Let’s take a look at some essential cooking equipment your kitchen should have. The equipment is accessible in your local store, and they come at affordable prices. They are:
- A peeler
- A good chef knife
- A chopping board
- A saucepan
- Frying pan
- Wooden spoons and spatula
- A strainer
- An oven dish
- Baking accessories
A peeler: A peeler should always be part and parcel of every kitchen. It comes in handy for your fruits and vegetables. They usually cost between C$5 - C$10.
Although all peelers perform the same functions, you should pay attention to their stainless, plastic, and ceramic materials. Also, the firmness of the handle is another feature that matters. That will help you get a good grip while peeling.
A chef knife: Cutting should not be a tedious activity when knives can get the work done for you quickly. You will need a knife for cutting, slicing, and chopping. While you can get any knife for under Can $5 or C$10, a decent knife costs about C$20.
Nonetheless, it is best to opt for a good knife as the basic knives are not durable enough. Also, remember to get a sharpener along, which goes between C$5 - C$20.
A chopping board: A chopping board can make cooking less messier and fast for you. Chopping boards come in different materials - plastic, glass, slate, or wooden and different sizes. You will probably pay between C$9 - C$20, depending on the type you choose.
A saucepan: You need a suitable container to get your vegetables and meat ready and tender enough. One or a couple of saucepans should be enough for you if you are living alone. However, a large family will need more than two to get your food ready as quickly as possible. A typical 20cm diameter saucepan goes for C$20 - C$35. It is advisable to go for a non-stick option.
A frying pan: Like every other item, the price of a frying pan varies by quality and brand. Also, their materials and handle will determine what you will get. Regardless, you will get an essential frying pan for C$15 - C$20. It is best to go for a non-stick option to get the best out of your meal.
A wooden spatula: Here come chefs’ favorites. They make mixing and stirring a walk in the park no matter how many ingredients are in the bowl or pot. If you are worried about scratches in your pots or bowls, wooden spoons are the best. They are often sold as a pack or set and cost between C$5 - C$10.
Lids: You need lids to avoid sauce splattering and spitting all over your stove and walls. Like other cooking utensils, they come in glass, plastic, and stainless. You can get them separately for C$10 - C$20. However, it is safe to say that pans and pots with lids are the best options because they are more affordable.
A pasta strainer: You can use a colander for various things, including scooping vegetables, straining pasta and rice, and washing items. Filters with oversized perforations can sieve away most of your ingredients. Therefore, a filter with small holes is the best. They also come in either plastic or steel and sizes within the range of C$5 - C$15.
An oven dish: An oven dish or casserole dish is an essential part of any oven. Oven dishes are usually made of glass, porcelain, and ceramic. The aluminum dishes are the common ones but are not solid and durable. They cost between C$10 and C$20, depending on the size and material. You can also get some in a pack, and that goes for C$30 - C$50.
Baking materials: For baking addicts, accuracy and precision are essential skills. As such, you will need a measuring cup, mixing bowls, and kitchen scales for your ingredients.
How Much Should You Pay to Learn Cooking Skills?
Do you know the basics of cooking, and you would like to expand your knowledge, or do you not have any cooking skills at all? Good news! There are many options out there if you want to be like that iconic chef you have been eyeing. All it takes is an open mind to learn and patience. The following are the different ways you can learn cooking:
- A culinary school
- Study a gastronomy degree
- Attending cooking workshops
- Attending private cooking tutorials
- Taking short cooking courses
You can get cooking schools within your vicinity. It usually costs a substantial amount of money to learn traditional recipes and international cuisines. Schools such as The Culinary Institute of Canada at Holland College, The Culinary Arts School of Ontario, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic all offer courses on cooking. These courses all come with certificates, and they include:
- General cooking skills
- Different diets
- Menu planning
- Event planning
- Communication skills
- How to operate a kitchen
- Cooking business
- Safety and sanitation
- Health care systems
While some institutions offer specific courses, others provide an overall course program covering every aspect of cooking. The training length ranges from 10 weeks to a year, depending on the programme that you picked.
The Culinary Art School of Ontario, for example, offers two diploma programs to be a professional chef. They teach you all the creative and practical skills you need to stand out as a chef.
Also, you will get hands-on experience in real restaurant kitchens, unique cooking methods, varieties of dishes, and training in management and presentation. Their tuition fee goes between C$9,900 to C$17,500. Ultimately, an average culinary school in Canada costs range from C$6000 - C$20,000.
If these are expensive options, you should take a look at your immediate vicinity. Check for cooking workshops which come once a week and attend. You can connect with like-minded people or meet with experienced tutors who can direct you to other places to learn.
Furthermore, you can check online for affordable cooking classes. These websites offer short courses on various techniques and methods, summer cooking courses, cake decorating, etc. Meanwhile, some of the courses take less than three or two hours. As an amateur chef, this is the perfect place for you to gain fundamental skills in cooking.
Can You Learn How to Cook for Free?
Absolutely! A lot of professional chefs you see these days started learning from free online tutorials and classes. The internet has a lot of valuable resources for those on budget. Just because they are free does not mean they offer little knowledge.
The cooking classes are usually comprehensive and detailed. They provide recipes and explanations of specific cooking techniques. If you are looking for where to start, begin your search on YouTube and Instagram.
In addition, you can check cooking websites and blogs for valuable recipes, suggestions on the proper cooking utensils, etc. A trick to get the latest information is to sign up for their newsletters. That gives you access to cooking information right into your mailbox.
See more ways to learn cooking skills for free.
Delicious Meals You Can Prepare with Cheap Recipes
Who says you have to break the bank before eating a healthy meal. Continue reading to learn more about inexpensive meals you can prepare. Whether you are looking for healthy snacks to munch on or a full meal, your low budget can cover them.
Beef and potato casserole
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Ingredients for 5 servings
- 500 grams beef (minced)
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 450 grams of canned cream of mushroom soup
- ¾ cup milk (can be almond as well)
- 1 kg potato gems
- 1 ¾ cups cheddar cheese grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start by preheating the oven to 170C.
- In a sizeable deep-seated frying pan, add the oil with minced beef and onion.
- Drain any excess fat.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add in cream of mushroom soup and milk.
- Heat the mixture until bubbling before transferring to a casserole dish.
- Arrange potato gems and grate cheese on top
- Bake for 30-45 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
Preparation time: 10 - 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ingredients for 12 pieces of cookies
- 40g of slightly salted butter
- 1 large egg
- 60g of sugar
- 160g of flour
- 6 ripe apricots
- 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 70g of milk chocolate
- Zest the orange with a V-shaped peeler, and grind or chop the milk chocolate.
- Beat the eggs, and add baking powder and half of the flour into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the butter and sugar gently and mix the dough with your hands.
- Then add the chocolate, orange zest and apricots.
- Add the rest of the flour to the ingredients and mix.
- Form about 40g piles of dough with a tablespoon onto a baking tray.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 180°C.
- Serve with tea or any other healthy beverage.
Cooking is a vital skill you need to learn, but you don’t need to empty your pocket to do so. All you need are fundamental cooking equipment, such as a peeler, pans, and spoons. If you want to expand your horizons, you may opt for culinary schools, but you can learn for free on cooking blogs, websites, and social media pages. In essence, cooking on a budget is a great way to save on cost of food and still have the perfect nutrition you need for healthy living.
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