30 Days of Home Cookin’

You may not have had the pleasure yet, but trust me: Cooking for friends is actually pretty great.

I did it yesterday while I had some friends over to roll some dice and, man, was it different than ordering pizza. I also put down some charcuteries out on the table and we devoured that stuff. Really happy about the result. A++ would buy again.

For a long time I resisted the basic skill of cooking while people around me learned about it. I figured if I could afford it, what was the harm? As it turns out, there can be a lot. If you cook for yourself, you know what goes into your meals. By definition, you eat healthier. You learn how to welcome people at home. You put yourself closer to the source and know what you’re supporting. These are all good things.

So I’ve decided to throw myself headlong into this by eating at home for 30 days, and I recommend you do the same. Here are my ground rules– feel free to make up your own.

1. Drinks = Ok; Tupperware = No

I’m not a big drinker, so this shouldn’t be a big deal. I am allowing myself to have coffee or tea, but not to consume any calories, so no food can be eaten outside my house. If I’m not at home, no big deal, I just won’t eat.

2. I will keep previous engagements.

I travel a lot for work, and if I look at my calendar over here, it has a few engagements I’ve agreed to already. I don’t intend to break them, but I’m also not making any new ones. So this will be 30 days of eating at home while I’m at home in Montreal, obviously.

3. I will invite people over at every opportunity

I happen to be in the process of trying to make my house more welcoming, so this will be a good way to apply pressure to that goal, too. I just invited three acquaintances from Twitter over for breakfast. I intend to do it again. This will help me spend more time with people I want to get to know better, rather than having superfluous lunch dates with them.

4. I am taking requests

I eat a paleo diet, so as long as what you offer me can be eaten that way, I’ll make it for myself and/or for others. Have a favourite recipe? Send it my way, as long as it’s grain- and sugar-free, and I’ll try it and let you know how it went.

5. It’s very easy to do this, and you should too.

You will probably lose weight, learn a lot about food, and make your significant other, children, and/or friends very happy. Blog it, tweet it (#eatingin), and tell your friends– the social pressure will help you make it. See you in 30 days.



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10 responses to “30 Days of Home Cookin’”

  1. Drew Hawkins Avatar

    I’m a huge fan of the slow cooker. Allows me to cook without taking up a large chunk of my night. Here’s two recipes:


    1 Can of Cream of Mushroom soup
    1 can of water
    1 pkg of dry onion soup mix
    1 med size roast

    Combine all the ingredients and set cooker on low for 6-8 hours. I sometimes throw in extra fresh vegetables for good measure (carrots, green beans etc).

    BBQ Chicken (my fiancee’s favorite)

    2-4 boneless chicken breasts
    1 container of BBQ Sauce
    1/2 bottle of Italian dressing
    Worcestershire Sauce

    Combine all the ingredients. Dab in as much Worcestershire sauce as you want. Not too much as it’ll kill the flavor, use judgement. Put on low for 6-8 hours.

    The ingredient amounts aren’t too specific but that’s the beauty of the slow cooker…it’s hard to mess up. A very forgiving way to cook (and awesome)

    1. Julien Avatar

      Drew, awesome stuff. I leave these overnight kinda thing?

  2. Donald Avatar

    Hey Julien,

    ‘food is the new sex’

    We cook to make people love us more.


  3. Lois Ardito Avatar

    I guess if you can swear off profiteroles for a month, I can as well! I think this recipe is great for a fall night and company. I don’t know about the breadcrumbs and cheese as far as the Paleo diet but I think you can leave them off. Hope you give this a try and hope to see you soon.


    Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard & White Beans

    Acorn squash’s natural shape makes it just right for stuffing. This filling has Mediterranean flair: olives, tomato paste, white beans and Parmesan cheese. Serve with: Mixed green salad with radicchio and red onion and crisp white wine, such as Pinot Grigio.

    4 servings | Active Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes

    * 2 medium acorn squash, halved (see Tip) and seeded
    * 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    * 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
    * 1/2 cup chopped onion
    * 2 cloves garlic, minced
    * 2 tablespoons water
    * 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    * 8 cups chopped chard leaves (about 1 large bunch chard)
    * 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
    * 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
    * 1/3 cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Note)
    * 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


    1. Cut a small slice off the bottom of each squash half so it rests flat. Brush the insides with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place in a 9-by-13-inch (or similar-size) microwave-safe dish. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on High until the squash is fork-tender, about 12 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in water, tomato paste and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir in chard, cover and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in white beans and olives; cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
    3. Position rack in center of oven; preheat broiler.
    4. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl. Fill each squash half with about 1 cup of the chard mixture. Place in a baking pan or on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Broil in the center of the oven until the breadcrumbs are browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

    342 Calories; 13 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 8 g Mono; 6 mg Cholesterol; 49 g Carbohydrates; 11 g Protein; 12 g Fiber; 665 mg Sodium; 151 mg Potassium

  4. Michael Hinton Avatar

    If chacouterie is home cookin count me in.

  5. Drew Hawkins Avatar

    @julien You can leave overnight. I typically get it all assembled when I get up in the morning, leave it going during the day and it’s ready when I get home at night. To each his own though.

  6. John McLachlan Avatar

    Good on ya, Julien.

    One of the things my partner and I like so much about cooking at home is that we can spend money on groceries of very high quality and it’s still cheaper than eating out at medium-priced restaurants.

    I once went five weeks with no meals out. Wow. Lost some weight, that for sure.

  7. ella Avatar

    k, here’s one that I’ve been making for the past couple of years that is always a *huge* hit with everyone.

    New Potato Salad Aux Fines Herbes.

    -Quantity of new potatoes (the baby ones, any kind) cut into chunks
    -Extra virgin olive oil or other quality oil
    -Lemons (or limes) for juice
    -Whole bunch of mixed herbs. Whatever you like. Chives, thyme, sage, rosemary, mint, oregano…whatever catches your fancy. Chop ’em up fine. If you’re using 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes you want about 1/2 a cup of herbs once they’re all chopped.
    -Some chilli flakes.
    -Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

    First, cook the potatoes by covering them in (salted, if you like) water and boiling gently until tender. Drain the potatoes when done and set aside in a bowl.

    Next, heat some oil in a pan. Use about 2 tablespoons for 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes, but chaqu’un a son goût and all that.

    Add chilli flakes to the oil and cook gently for a minute or two to get the flavour into the oil.

    Once the oil is nicely chilli-fied, tip it out onto the potatoes. Add the herbs and a generous squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Season with a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper as desired.

    As soon as the potatoes have cooled off a bit, stir it all up so all the potatoes are nicely coated with dressing.

    Can be eaten warm or cold.

    Another one that features loads of seasonal vegetables is this awesome Sufferin’ succotash recipe: I was cooking for coeliacs so I didn’t bother with the croutons, and I served the bacon on the side for the vegans. Tasty with or without.

  8. ella Avatar

    oh, just occurred to me that you might get a kick out of this

  9. C.C. Chapman Avatar

    Good for you man. Cooking is one of the most rewarding skills that everyone should learn to do.

    And you are right about cooking for other people. I love doing it and always get a rush out of it. I hope this lasts long beyond the 30 days.

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