Making More Than Waffles

Ahhh, Food, It’s a glorious thing.  It tastes so yummy and fills the tummy at the same time.  If there’s one thing I love it’s food.  It also happens to be one of our largest expenses, but we make efforts to cut that down as much as possible.  There’s some room in the budget for good food, and I guess you could always coupon clip.  That’s not for me, but hey… what ever flicks your bic.

In the Kingdom of Waffles, I am the primary chef.  I actually really enjoy cooking, I find it relaxing to come home and cook.  It’s a great way to unwind after a long day, also helps to have a beer in hand.

Luckily, for me, my wife doesn’t mind cleaning and absolutely despises cooking, have I mentioned we make a great team?  She’ll cook some things here and there, but for the most part it’s me in the kitchen, and she’ll help me out as needed.

There was even a point in time when I was cooking for a large group of people, like 15-20 every Wednesday night.  I did it for 6 months straight and never cooked the same thing twice.

The admission price was a bottle of wine.  It’s actually where I met the Mrs. the first time, or so she claims, I don’t remember it 15 bottles of wine tends to do that to people.

If you want to start cooking more at home, here’s a couple things that you should take into consideration:

Your Tools:

  • A Chef’s Knife – A good strong 8″ chef’s knife is a necessity.  You can use it to chop and dice and clean things.  Once you understand how to use it, you won’t need any other fancy gadgets. There are other knives that are more specialized, but this is your main weapon.  Be sure to keep a honing steel right next to in in the drawer.  Every time you pull it out, give it a rub up and down the steel.  When you’re done using your knife, wash it off right away, by hand, no dishwasher.  Then dry it off and put it right back where it belongs.  Treat it well and it will return the favor for years.  You can spend a fortune on a good knife, but the one I use has been voted the best knife per $ by many a famous chef: Victorinox Fibrox Chef’s Knife.
My weapon of choice.
  • A Cast Iron Skillet – A good cast iron skillet is worth its weight in a kitchen.  It’s so versatile.  You’d be surprised.  It takes a little more work to maintain, but it’s worth it.  You’ll need to season it, clean it and make sure you never, ever use soap on it.  But, once you get the hang of it you can make almost anything in it, and it tastes sooo good.  Make sure to use it to cook bacon, and sausage and cookies and a variety of other things.  I use it almost daily, along with the knife.  Here’s the skillet I use: Lodge 13.25in Skillet.
Make sure to use plenty of Grease, it gives good flavor and keeps from sticking.
  • A Bamboo Cutting Board – This you can get almost anywhere, but we use bamboo because it’s a little more environmentally friendly.  You’ll want to make sure you use wood, since it’s friendly to the blade on your knife. Just make sure to keep it oiled so that it doesn’t dry out.  That also makes it easier to clean. I use something similar to this Bamboo Cutting Board.
Notice the Juice groove around the side, great for slicing meats.

There are a ton of specialized tools out there, but you don’t really need them.  Other than those three main things, you could use some wooden spoons and probably a pot or two. You’d really be surprised with everything you can make with just that stuff.

Your Ingredients:

We go to the grocery store once weekly.  As mentioned above, we don’t cut coupons, and there’s a reason for that.  We eat almost everything fresh.  We get fresh vegetables and proteins, that makes up like 85% of our diet.  And those don’t usually have coupons on them, but we will buy in bulk when they are on sale.  When we do need other stuff, we just pick up the generic store brand.

We buy most stuff in bulk, so once we get home, I portion it out and clean it.  For instance, I’ll take the bacon and separate it into stacks of 4 slices and put it in a bag, so I can just break out one portion at a time.  Same with sausage, and chicken and pork chops and what ever else we find in bulk on special.

Bacon and Sausage portioned out so we can use it when we need.

We are weirdos that optimize everything.  Since we get so many fruits and veggies, the Mrs just stays in that section of the store gathering everything, and I go out on reconnaissance missions to get all the other stuff.  It takes us like half the time. 

Your Food:

Every time we cook, we make enough for dinner, and several lunches.  We don’t take the food with us to the table, we’ll plate it and if we want seconds, we have to get up and get more.  As the week rolls on we have a variety of freshly cooked meals in the fridge to select from.

You’re looking at Prime Rib, Creamed Asparagus, Tacos, Stir Fry. All lunches for the next several days. And beer, plenty of beer.

Another thing I’ll do is make a huge batch of cookies.  My favorite is chocolate & peanut butter chip.  I’ll wrap up the other dough into plastic wrapped sections.  I can usually get 4 portions out of one batch of dough.  In the freezer they go, then when ever we want cookies, we pull one out, slice it up and have home-made cookies.

As for the recipes, I’m always game to try new things, but we tend to like the same things over and over again. I try to have those staples on hand, so when I’m stuck I’ll just fix one of those.  You know, tacos, roasted chicken, Jambalaya and stir fry, stuff that’s pretty easy to throw together last minute.

There you go.  Hopefully that helps you in your quest for good healthy, cheap food.  Also, let me know if you have any further recipes that might be worth trying.

14 Comments

  • freddy smidlap February 13, 2019 at 7:25 am

    we’re on the same type of mojo in our house with the cooking. did you know that if you crud up your cast iron you can get it mostly clean and then use course salt and paper towel to get it absolutely clean again? you should see the water bead up after you rinse out the salt. i’ve been meaning to write a post about adobo, which is like the national dish of the phillipines. it’s basically either chicken parts or cut up pork cooked in soy, vinegar, and garlic. oh, and we don’t mess with rice for that one but just boil a few small potatoes. bon apetite!

    Reply
    • Mr WoW February 13, 2019 at 7:40 am

      Yup, cast iron is great, I use it on the stove, on the grill, on open camp fires. It’s also handy to have steel wool around to scrub it down. Just no soap. That takes some of the tasty coating away.

      Write it up… I know I’d be game to try out some new recipes. We do all sorts of interesting dishes that we find as we travel. One of our favorites is tajine from Morocco.

      Reply
  • Gwen @ Fiery Millennials February 13, 2019 at 7:39 am

    Having been to your house, I can confim Mr. Wow is a fantastic cook! Now all I need is a guy who is as passionate about cooking as you are, because I am not about that cooking life. I’ll wash the dishes 😀

    Reply
    • Mr WoW February 13, 2019 at 7:41 am

      You’re welcome back to wash dishes any time. I hate it and Mrs would love a break.

      Reply
  • Joe February 13, 2019 at 10:40 am

    I usually cook on the stove top and Mrs. RB40 is in charge of baking. The only thing I use the oven for is pizza. 🙂
    I like our chef knife, but I love my Santoku knife. That’s just personal preference. Also, I find cast iron pans too heavy. We use carbon steel pans instead. They cook about the same, but carbon steel is lighter.
    Cooking is fun once you learn how to make good food. I enjoy it.

    Reply
    • Mr WoW February 13, 2019 at 8:25 pm

      I have a Santoku as well, but the chef’s knife is my go to. I love it. Very versatile and super comfortable.

      I’ll use the oven to roast veggies, or meats and stuff. But a lot is on the stove/grill.

      Carbon steel seems interesting. I like that the cast iron can get super hot, and retains it’s temperature. I could try steel pans, that should be something that I look into going forward. That skillet certainly could double as a weapon.

      Reply
  • Dave @ Accidental FIRE February 14, 2019 at 2:29 am

    I hate cooking but love eating. You’re free to come over whenever.

    Reply
    • Mr WoW February 14, 2019 at 7:28 am

      Name it… done.

      Reply
  • Upwardly Frugal February 14, 2019 at 9:12 am

    I do that same thing with bulk bacon. Buy a bunch for a good price and immediately portion it out before it goes in the freezer. It makes for many happy and easy weekend breakfasts in the future!

    Reply
    • Mr WoW February 15, 2019 at 7:09 pm

      That’s awesome!! Just make sure you make plenty of Waffles!!

      Reply
  • Abigail @ipickuppennies February 18, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Can I come to your house? Like your wife, I hate cooking so… I’ll just grab a bottle of wine and head over, okay?

    Reply
    • Mr WoW February 18, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      Any time, just give a heads up and let us know so we know to have enough food.

      Reply
  • Mr. Tako February 18, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    I do most of the cooking at our house too. I don’t mind it, and I get to make the food I like to eat. It’s a win win!

    We do our best to be frugal too, with our average grocery bill being about $500/month.

    Reply
    • Mr WoW February 18, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      Sounds like a plan. Our grocery bill comes out to about $500 a month as well. Just depends what’s on sale. It’s a bit like chopped at our house. Gotta figure out what to make with what we had and what was on sale.

      Reply

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