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! โ˜บ 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.

Get a handy printable with my “Top 10 Tips for Fighting Kitchen Combat Fatigue” when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter! (little button in the sidebar –>)

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!

6 responses to “K.C.F.”

  1. Stephanie Avatar

    Thanks for posting ideas for quick dinners.I am sorry it took me so long to get to read it.Time just ticks by.I so enjoy your Blog.Keep Blogging!!

  2. Natalie_S Avatar

    Trader Joe's chicken tenders, sweet potato fries (or baked sweet potatoes, and steamed green beans with pesto. Takes no time and tastes good. Frozen green beans with anything helps cut down on veggie prep time. Also, I tend to cook a lot at one time, so if I make a pot of soup and casserole pasta dish that's got us set for most of the week. We loves the leftovers ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Rachel Avatar

    Love the ideas…sometimes I don't feel like cooking either. It seems to be a common malady. But I have found that trying new things helps a lot too because it gets me excited to be in the kitchen when sometimes I don't feel like being there! ๐Ÿ™‚ Even though I love to cook and experiment, there's always those days when I'm tired and nothing sounds good so it's hard to get up the gumption to make food…thanks for the tips, Trina! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Traci Avatar

    Great tips.

    I'm also a big fan of the chef salad, especially on work days. Cold meals like salads are particularly appreciated in our house, even on cold days as long as they are followed by a hot cup of coffee.

    We also are huge sandwich eaters, so when in doubt I know that everyone will be satisfied with a great grilled or wrap style sandwich and just a size of veggies.

    And of course, it's great to be blessed with a husband who will randomly surprise me with dinners out here and there. It does well to rejuvenate my own desire to cook.

  5. Kateri Avatar

    A friend of mine recently asked me what I do on the days I don't feel like cooking. The answer is, I don't cook. I guess you can get away with that when you work full time and don't have any children. At least once a week though I try to make several servings of at least two things that my husband really likes (chili, scalloped potatoes, sloppy joes, and spanish rice are often asked for), so that he has something to eat on the days I don't cook. I keep homemade frozen soup and bread in the freezer for quick meals as well as home made frozen pizza crust. (I am making a big batch of pizza crust for the freezer right now). We eat also eat a lot of salads on the days when I don't feel like cooking (the kind that are a meal by themselves–with ham, cheese, olives, and loads of veggies). Thankfully I have a husband who doesn't expect fancy meals, so that helps! When I met him he pretty much lived on spaghetti, ramen, and canned soups. Ugh! So even if my cooking doesn't have much variety sometimes, it is still a big improvement over what he was used when he was single. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am looking forward to trying your mom's Cesar salad dressing recipe sometime.

  6. Mrs. Guthrie Avatar

    Your tips actually ALWAYS help! ๐Ÿ™‚ Definitely love the recipe index and have to admit, I was thrilled to see it on the sidebar so I don't have to search through your previous posts! lol. Keep up the good work, Trina! Your attitude is a good inspiration and encouragement. Thanks for always sharing, no matter what.

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