This time of year, this time of year.....actually most times of year, most of us find ourselves overwhelmed trying to feed the people in our lives. It was once more hectic for me when I had a child to think of, but I was younger then and had more energy to pull from. These days I have to rely on my brain more than my ability to do ten things at once. I just can't multi-task the way I once could.
But since I have been home after surgery, one thing that I have reflected on is the cooking. During this entire fall while I felt unwell and was fighting my body just to keep going, cooking became an uphill climb everyday. I couldn't keep up and every dinner time just knocked me out. I don't live in the kind of marriage where we share the cooking duties. I suppose we could if I would be satisfied with a dinner of fried bologna sandwiches, but I need vegetables and try to balance out the food groups a little farther than meat, grease and cheese.
One thing that I have found that helps me is to cook extra on the weekend or when I have extra time. I crock pot a roast or lentils on the weekend and I have something quick to pull out during the week. I really like deli chicken or cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts in Italian dressing and making extra. When I am using the oven, for a pizza or baking meatloaf, I try to think of what else I can cook at the same time.
Years ago I would make out a monthly menu and write in the foods I planned to serve. That really gave me a map for grocery shopping that saved both time and money. Now that I cook for only two, the monthly menu seems like overkill.
Having some good spices to use can also make cooking more tasty and easier. I have some reduced balsamic vinegar that adds a lot of flavor to cooked meats. I try to assess what I have in the freezer and plan how I will use that. I always have some fall back food, for me usually tuna sandwiches that I can count on having the ingredients for in a pinch. I try not to get pinched too much.
I suppose the main life hack for cooking I have is to think and be intentional about meals. Some time spent planning can pay off by helping to develop a routine.