Apr 9, 2020

Tips to Make Feeding Your Family Easier

We're into our fourth week of quarantining at home, which means I've been cooking a lot, not just for us but for my in-laws as well.

Of course, we've been lucky. I always have a lot of food on hand, and I was able to get one delivery order and one pickup order at Ralphs (our Kroger affiliate) in the last couple of weeks. I also had a ButcherBox of meat delivered (unfortunately, they're not taking new customers right now), and I've been able to have fresh fish delivered from the vendors at the farmers markets I used to go to.

Tips to Make Feeding Your Family Easier
But as much as I love cooking, and as many ingredients as I have available to me, it's not exactly easy cooking multiple meals every day. From talking with my friends, I know I'm not the only one feeling this way. We all make things a little easier on ourselves by ordering out and supporting our local restaurants and restaurant workers at least sometimes. I've even gotten a chain letter-type email for new recipes.

So here are some ideas to make feeding your family easier:

Use a recipe generator - If you search for "recipe generator ingredients," you'll get results for sites and apps where you can input the ingredients you have on hand and get recipe suggestions using those ingredients.

Swap meals with friends and family - You can each make a double batch (or more) of a dish, then do a contact-less trade. When my brother-in-law and I traded groceries the other day, he left a bag on his porch, and I grabbed it and left behind a bag of items for him. You can do the same with meals in foil pans. (Yes, it's safe to share food with others as long as you're not sick.)

Plan for nextovers - It's not quite the same as "cook once, eat twice," but cooking extra with a plan for using the leftovers in a new meal can save time and effort (not to mention your sanity). Plus you don't feel like you're eating the same thing over and over. Here are some nextover ideas I shared last year.

Experiment - I hate laboring over meals that my family then doesn't enjoy, but there's no better way to learn if something is worth making and eating than actually making and eating it. If you have the ingredients for a recipe that you've been on the fence about making, maybe now's the time.

Make comfort foods - The opposite of a truth is often true, which is why I think this is a great time to also make comfort foods, especially the time-consuming kind (in my case, something like lasagna).

Order take out or delivery - I mentioned this above, but it's worth mentioning again. If you can afford it, this is a great way to give yourself a break, mix things up, and support local businesses and workers who are likely struggling right now. (Not necessarily local or applicable for meals, but here's a Google Sheet listing food-oriented small businesses throughout the country who offer shipping. I ordered some cheese from California's Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co.)

Finally, here are some recipes I've made recently that you and your family might enjoy (links are to Pinterest, so you can save them to your boards, which is how I manage recipes these days):

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