It’s widely documented that one of the industries that has done best out of the financial crisis is the take away market; with people having less to spend, many have resorted to their local fast food joint, burger bar and pizzeria as an alternative to dining out and as a way of saving a little money (not to mention those all important saturated fats for comfort!).
However, with the worldwide markets looking a little more stable, dining out is once again seeing a rise in popularity. But are takeaways and restaurants really the best options for enjoyable food and/or ambience? We’d say no, and we have plenty of reasons why by the end of this article you’ll agree that healthy dinner recipes and good home cooking are a much better alternative! So we thought this was a point worth hitting home, and we’ve found some handy tips to help you cook more this year.
Creating A Special Atmosphere
It’s a well known fact that half the battle that restaurants and pubs have is creating the right atmosphere and a comfortable environment. When reading online reviews you’ll very often notice that the surroundings within an establishment are commented upon first. Bearing this in mind, it’s a sad fact that homes up and down the country neglect to make their dining area special, even if its only for one night a week. Here are some simple features you can work into your dining room to transform it into an environment worthy of a Michelin Star restaurant…
- Add (carefully placed!) candles.
- Use sharing platters that can be turned at the centre of the table for the ultimate socialising and dining experience.
- Turn off the telly and turn on the stereo.
- Conversing whilst dining has become drastically underused when at home, so ban all mobiles from the table!
- Crack out the special crockery! (Yes, the special crockery probably used only once a year at Christmas!)
Getting Creative, Saving Time & Getting Energised With Your Meals
So many people become entrenched in day to day life that they can feel like they have only enough energy for using the nearest drive through and falling into bed. Yet the junk food that they’re consuming can actually be half the problem! By getting creative with your meal choices you can whip up some amazing food that saves time and helps you stay energised. Here are a few ideas that you can chop and change from (they can all also be shared, so you have to spend less time working to the right portions):
- Breads and olives
- Platter of meats
- Cheese Fondue
- Mixed rocket salad and sun blush tomatoes
- Soup vat and shared bread (choose fresh from the supermarket for the healthiest option)
- Meat balls (accompanied with or without pasta)
- Chicken legs with your choice of premixed cooking sauce/herbs
- Roll out pastry (premade, of course) with tomatoes and mozzarella in the middle
- Tortellini with butter, onion, tomatoes and herbs (tortellini only takes 2 minutes to boil!)
- Platter of vegetables
- Butter and herb new potatoes
- Home made fries (cooked with low calorie spray)
You Know What You’re Eating
Whilst we certainly don’t want to scaremonger about cheap restaurants and takeaway outlets you do need to bear in mind that you don’t see the preparation and cooking areas. A simple check online can help you get an idea of how well an establishment looks after their kitchen, but nothing beats quick and healthy dinner recipes cooked at home with your own equipment, ingredients and of course, creativity!
We could go on and on about why we think that home cooking is tastier, better for you and more enjoyable, but hopefully the ideas and comments above have given you a taste of why you should be cooking at home more.