I posted about a month ago that I was going to stop cooking most of the time because it added too much stress, what with child-care and time pressures. But after about a month of eating mostly take-out, Marc has voiced concern over the lack of vegetables in his diet. I haven’t worried about it that much since I’ve been eating quite a few salads and Alex almost never eats veggies but eats a good amount of fruit every day. But Marc feels salads don’t have enough nutritional value and he doesn’t like fruit unless it’s in a fruit-and-yogurt parfait. Which basically means we either start spending a lot of money on take-out so we can get food from upscale places that serve steamed veggies, or I start cooking more.
Can you guess which option is more appealing to me?
It helps that I like cooking, but I find it stressful and exhausting to cook under my current constraints. A big problem is that I have only 45 minutes to an hour from the moment we walk in the door after work until we sit down to eat (this is ideal, anyway – pushing dinner back means bathtime and bedtime get pushed back, which means cranky kids and less time for me to get centered before my ownbedtime). Another problem is that I can plan meals that don’t require more than 40 minutes prep and cooking time but I need to plan those out ahead of time, and planning requires time, which I have very little of, which is the reason we started eating more take-out in the first place. Finally, even on weekends, I don’t have more than an hour at a time to do some serious cooking so I can’t really cook ahead for the week, or do a marathon cooking session to stash casseroles in the freezer, etc.
I’m adopting a few strategies to adjust to our new situation:
- I will cook a few times a week, but still not every day. We’ll continue to get take-out a couple of times a week.
- will keep easy prep veggies on hand – pre-cut sweet potato sticks, edamame, and baby carrots are almost effortless.
- Not everything has to be from scratch. Although I would rather make refried beans from scratch, I can save time by opening a can. And so on and so forth.
- I’ll use my slow cooker more than once a week. I think I can adapt the recipe MetaMommy recommended and will try it after I get some lamb and mint.
Do you have any other ideas?