K.C.F. stands for Kitchen Combat Fatigue. Do you ever get that? It can be a wearing task to prepare meals day after day – a accomplishment that takes hours and the fruit of which is usuallly obliterated within 10 minutes. A mere two hours later you have to start all over again. It’s enough to daunt the toughest soldier.
I’ve been delighted by all the positive response to my recipe index – thanks for your comments! I received one comment from my friend, Stephanie that inspired such a wordy response from me that I decided to turn it into a post.
“Do you ever have days where you don’t feel like cooking??If you do,What do you do on those days?”
Um, Stephanie, I have a lot of those days lately. What do I do? I cook anyway. LOL
Sounds like a bum deal – like, shouldn’t there be a way out of this muddle? But no – this is what I signed up for. I wanted to be a homemaker. I can’t just opt out on the hard days. This is my calling and the fulfillment of this job is worth the sweat and pain and frustration that fill some days.
Several things that help on the days I have no energy, inspiration, or even appetite for my own cooking –
Freezer meals – when I make a casserole, I try to make two and freeze one for a ‘rainy day’ (a day I just don’t feel like cooking or am too busy). If I make a big batch of soup and we don’t feel like eating it all, I’ll freeze a quart for a quick meal later. When I make tortillas I always make several dozen and freeze what we won’t eat within a few days – they make a great foundation to so many yummy meals. I’ll talk more about freezer meals in a future post!
A master list of our favorite dishes – sometimes I forget what we like. A list of all the dishes I can make with what’s usually in the cupboard can be just the inspiration needed. I’ve had this list in progress for a couple years – it’s spread over several sheets of scratch paper in various drawers…someday I’ll print it all up and put it on the inside of one of my cupboard drawers.
A well stocked pantry (fridge and freezer, too). If I don’t feel like cooking, but I know that dinner is just a few steps away in the form of frozen ground beef or de-boned chicken, I can usually get up the umph to pull something out of the freezer. My easiest meal? Taco salad with simple fixings – all you need are lettuce, corn chips, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and seasoned meat. Make your own taco season to save money, too. If you don’t usually have those basic ingredients on hand, and every meal requires a special trip to the store, you need to work on stocking your pantry and fridge with things you know you use regularly and that won’t go bad by the time you eat them.
Try a new recipe. I love the challenge of a new recipe – this can sometimes give me motivation in the kitchen when I can’t find it anywhere else. I’ll browse a cook book or a blog and something will catch my eye. If I don’t have all the ingredients, I call Jeremy to pick something up or I substitute. Suddenly I’m full of ambition and having fun again.
Simplify. Each meal should include a protein, carb, and some good fat. If you get that all in a bowl of hearty soup, give yourself a break, as I did last night, and don’t worry about sides or second courses! Lower your expectations of what every meal should contain.Have a simple dinner at least once a week. Doesn’t have to be bland, just simple. I don’t always make a salad, or fresh rolls for every dinner. If it’s filling and well balanced, one dish meals are ok! My husband has blessed me in this area, because his expectations are usually more relaxed than my own ideas of what a meal should include.
Plan ahead. I find dinner prep most overwhelming when I haven’t done anything in advance. Try making menu plans – even if it’s just for a couple of days. Decide what you’re making for dinner at breakfast time, so you can spread the prep over the day, and aren’t stuck thawing meat at 5pm or having to go out. The biggest step for me is always planning the menu, deciding what to have. I find the best time to do this is when I’m hungry – then I’m full of ideas! ☺ I even plan breakfasts and lunches so that I don’t have to have be thinking about food every hour of the day.
Cook with leftovers in mind. You will get burnt out in the kitchen if you have to make every meal from scratch! When you make dinner, make enough to eat the leftovers for lunch. Breakfast casseroles are not just for holidays. They can make a fast, filling breakfast for busy days – make up a whole pan and heat up one serving at a time in the toaster oven. When you have leftovers handy, it’s like the convenience of fast food in your own home.
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I hope these tips help! Please, if you have any ideas that help you through cooking slumps (we all have them!), please share! And if you have a favorite, quick meal that is your go-to recipe when you’re out of energy and want to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible…Share!