I have a confession to make…I hate to cook. I know, I know – I’m a horrible wife and mom! Oh well – that’s my truth, and this #QuarantineLife isn’t helping one bit. I belong to a large portion of the population who prefers to order take out, but with these “stay home” and “shelter-in-place” orders, eating take out is a rare treat. So, for me, easy cooking is the way to go.
I typically don’t feel like cooking, but I have to be sure my family is eating well. So, I often find myself in the kitchen trying to think of meals that won’t take me forever to make. As a result of spending more time at home, I’ve identified some great recipes that my family loves, but don’t take a lot of time to prepare. If you’re finding yourself in the same boat, here are 5 tips to help you feed your family – even when you don’t feel like cooking (or you’re just tired of cooking right now):
Meal Planning is Your Friend
Finding ways to save yourself time in the kitchen, and enjoying easy cooking, starts with how you plan your meals. Avoid shopping for random items. This is one of the biggest mistakes we make when grocery shopping. We’re buying food items without thinking about how to put them together for daily cooking.
Instead, shop for meals. For example, a two-week shopping trip for my family typically includes 8-10 dinner meals (my dinners last for at least 2 nights). Also, I plan for 4-6 breakfast meals, since we don’t cook breakfast regularly. Other options for breakfast include frozen items (pancakes or waffles), cereal, or instant oatmeal. We don’t cook lunch at all, so that’s covered with leftovers, sandwich fixings, or other quick meal options.
A Little Prepping Goes a Long Way
Meal prepping can save time as well, but I complete this process in a slightly different manner because I have fickle taste buds. Most times meal prepping involves pre-cooking full meals, but I just pre-cook certain ingredients. This way, I’m not stuck to eating a certain meal, if I change my mind about what I’d like to eat. Items I typically pre-cook and freeze include meats and veggies.
Find Recipes with a Short, Simple List of Ingredients
Avoid recipes that have lots of ingredients or ingredients that are difficult to find. Whenever possible I look for recipes with 3-6 ingredients at the most. I also choose recipes with ingredients that I know I’ll use again. There’s nothing worse than having leftover items (from a previous recipe) that go to waste. Grab 5 Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes Here that help you feed your family – without spending all day in the kitchen!
Go the Semi-Homemade Route
Don’t try to make everything from scratch. Choose meals that include easy mixes, or only require you to add 1-2 extra ingredients. Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies are my favorite for a quick dessert item. The ready-made dough assures I have soft, warm cookies in 10 min or less (including the time it takes me to place the dough on a cookie sheet).
Choose Recipes That Last for Several Days
Make sure that you’re making enough food. This is especially necessary right now because everyone is home. You may need to think differently about the number of portions you need, which means you need to choose meal options that are less expensive to prepare WHILE rendering a significant amount of food. The point is to keep yourself from having to cook every day, so look for recipes that will give at least two days worth of food.
Oh, wait…I have Two Bonus Tips!
Give Yourself a Fun Day
Identify at least one day of the week that you can forego eating home-cooked food and enjoy takeout from one of your favorite restaurants. In my home, Sunday is the “fun day”. We typically select a restaurant and either order takeout or eat at the restaurant. Due to the quarantine, we stick to takeout right now and use this opportunity to support one of our favorite restaurants. This is a great way to break up possible monotony associated with eating homecooked foods throughout the week.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up If You Fall Off The Wagon
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t consistent in the beginning. Remember – you don’t really like cooking, so no matter what plan you put in place, cooking on a consistent basis may take time. Just be patient with yourself and make a commitment to finding a plan that works for you.
I hope these tips are helpful and you begin using them to make cooking a bit easier. What are some methods you’re using already? Leave a comment and share below!