Whether I’m marathon training or not, I like food quite a lot. I enjoy preparing food, eating food, and sharing a meal with others. That combined with my independent streak has led me over the years to cultivate a reportire of recipes for making some of my favorite foods from scratch – such as these foods that I’m sharing with you today!
I should preface this by stating that I’m not a person who spends hours per week meal prepping or cooking. I cook at home as often as possible, but I’m a fan of the everything-in-the-oven/crockpot type of homemade meals. These recipes made from scratch follow this sort of approach towards cooking: nothing should be very time-consuming, and if it takes a long time to make, it needs to be hands-off.
When cooking from scratch, I don’t rely on too many kitchen tools. All of these recipes are made using a food processor, stand mixer, and crockpot. I love the KitchenAid brand – all of my appliances from them are almost six years old and still work well!
I’m also a multi-tasker in the kitchen. If I am already in there cooking or baking one thing, I’m going to try to make a few things to save time.
This applies to really any nut butter, but I have a long, undying love of peanut butter (and Ryan does as well). Homemade peanut butter is economical, easy to make, and you can control the ingredients and flavors. Plus, there’s something oddly fun about whirring around a bunch of peanuts in the food processor until they’re reduced to a creamy spread.
My go-to recipe for peanut butter is simple – almost embarrassingly simple. I purchase dry roasted peanuts from the bulk organic section at my grocery store. I use my trusty KitchenAid food processor to chop 2.5-3 cups of them and puree them until smooth. Finally, I season them with a pinch of sea salt and about 1/2 tablespoon of local clover honey, puree a bit more, and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
In total, peanut butter takes about 8-10 minutes for very, very creamy nut butter – if not less, depending on the power of your food processor. I usually whip up peanut butter as I’m cooking breakfast.
Whole Wheat Bread
Someday I want to make my own sourdough starter, but for now I make my own bread – sandwich bread, naan (as pictured below), tortillas, whatever we need for meals that week. I shared in this post how I make my homemade bread.
Trust me when I say that if I can bake bread, so can you – and that it’s actually easy. Unlike other forms of baking that require utter precision, bread is both a science and an art. Over time, you learn how the dough should look and feel and learn how to tweak the recipe to produce a beautifully risen loaf.
I make bread as I work, since bread requires just a small amount of hands-on time and a large amount of rising (waiting). From start to finish, a loaf usually takes 3 hours, but only a small amount requires me actively doing something such as kneading with my stand mixer or shaping the loaf (and you can also make two loaves in that same amount of time).
I haven’t made this one in a few weeks (note to self: buy cabbage next week), but sauerkraut is ridiculously cheap and simple to make. You do want to take extra caution for proper food hygiene while preparing it, but since it ferments, you don’t have to worry about botulism as you would with canning other types of vegetables. Sauerkraut is awesome because it provide probiotics, which are necessary for healthy digestive systems.
You should read a full, detailed how-to (my Eat to Run cookbook includes detailed recipe!) before making sauerkraut, but once you figure it out, kraut only takes about 10 minutes of hands-on time to prepare. Then, you simply stash it somewhere warm and dry (like the pantry) for a 5-7 days. (Unlike in the photo above, I now use the grater setting on my food processor for very thin slices of cabbage.)
Again, this is practically effortless. I combine bones (usually from a whole chicken), onions (I freeze the peels and scraps as I go throughout the week), and carrots in the crockpot, fill it with water, and season with a generous amount of sea salt. I let it cook on low in the crockpot for 6-8 hours, then drain it through a colander, and discard the bones and scraps (the pups usually get the carrots because they love carrots). When all is done, I only spent 5-10 minutes making the broth – the crockpot does the rest of the work.
You can vary what type of bones and vegetables you add to broth. I’m a huge fan of bone broth because it (1) may have numerous health benefits from the collagen and gelatin in the bones, (2) tastes so much more flavorful than vegetable stock, and (3) is more sustainable and economical than using all vegetables. It’s like the reduce-reuse-recycle of eating meat.
What do you do with bone broth? You can cook with it (such as this brown rice oven risotto, which I make all the time), drink it, or make a tasty soup such as this potato soup or this butternut squash soup.
(P.S. If you’re not sure about roasting a whole chicken, check out the recipe in Run Fast, Eat Slow . I use that recipe all of the time now and it produces a flavorful and juicy chicken every time.)
Which foods are your favorite to enjoy homemade?
What have you been cooking recently?