I used to be the kinda girl who could wear the same outfit over and over (heck, I still am) and the girl who could eat the same thing over and over). But not anymore. I’ve lost my food mojo. I’m feeling so uninspired, and super picky. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Seven days a week. Two people. It all seems too overwhelming!
While we’ve been really good this month, last month we ate out more often than I’d like. I know this sounds spoiled, but so often I’m hungry but it’s the end of the week, the pantry’s thin on options and I just don’t want to eat anything that is in the house. Or quite simply, I manage to forget to make/bring lunch on my “Friday” (aka, Sunday).
It may be time to return to a semblance of meal planning. Much as I strive to streamline and simplify, quite often I make things difficult for myself and end up doing things the hardest way possible. (Not on purpose. That’s just how it works out.) I spend far too much time cooking. Lunches, especially. Lunches for me. Lunches for him. Several different kinds of lunches over the week.
I’m not good with super anal shopping lists – I like to get creative on the day of cooking, I like to make things up as I go along. Also, you never know what will be on special, let alone what will actually be fresh (our location is awesome for everything except grocery shopping – that’s just so-so). My basic technique basically involves making a shortlist of staples that need replenishing (flour, oils, rice etc), and buying meat and produce according to price and choice on the day – now the trick is sticking to it.
What’s your recipe for grocery success?
Bulk, bulk, bulk. Cooking for one gets really incredibly tedious. Do I really want to wash two pots and pans every night to cook a meal for one? Not really!
Last night I cooked a HUGE pot of pasta (in the sauce – mince, beans, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli…a bit different!). It was good for seven portions – I ate it last night, have it for leftovers for lunch today and tomorrow, and put four more portions in the freezer for next week.
So I get a warm meal during the day, and will have a lighter (marginally healthier) dinner – maybe a cheese toastie with a yoghurt and some fruit.
Freeze stuff. When you get tired of a meal but have heaps of leftovers, freeze it. When you come home one day and have absolutely nothing to eat around or if you have a craving for that meal again, an easy, simple meal is at hand. I like to do this for mexican fajitas or casseroles. pasta is great frozen, too, and sooo easy to dress up into something more.
Also, I mostly just buy those pre-heated roast chickens from the supermarket. I never get tired of this meal: I pop a potato in the microwave and while that is cooking, I prepare a salad to start with whatever veggies I have on hand. Pull pieces of chicken off the bone, and heat up for a few seconds. boom, meal in about 10 minutes. That chicken is also great on rice instead of with a potato, and it makes it last longer, too.
I have a crock pot and loooooove chili, esp. in winter. slow cookers are fantastic for on the go, easy cooking.
I eat out about once a week. It works for me, but I’d love more easy, healthy recipes to try.
That’s the thing – we very rarely have leftovers, and I *do* get sick of eating the same thing over and over – I used to be able to do it and I just can’t anymore! Hence the need to plan more.
Try to get in the habit of shopping on a day that won’t result in the cupboards being a bit bare by the time you get to the “end” of your week. If you’re wiped out from the week AND don’t have many choices, you’re much more likely to throw up your hands and go out to eat.
Keep it simple 75% of the time. Dude and I have some kind of lean grilled meat (chicken, fish, pork chops, pork tenderloin, flank steak, lamb chops) and some kind of steamed or grilled vegetable (broccoli, green beans, asparagus, cauliflower, zucchini) a little over half the time. This is quick, easy, nutritious and delicious and frees up my creative energies for 2 or 3 more ambitious meals each week.
Buy things that mix and match well. I rarely buy something that is meant to serve one specific purpose.
Soup and Frittata are two excellent ways to a: use up produce that is about to turn, and b: create several days worth of breakfast and lunch.
I still have yet to figure it out!
I suck at making meals, so I usually live on bagels and granola bars. Not great for my body or health but we have protein shakes that are super good for you, with everything in them in the morning.
I watch the Food Network a lot and get creative with my pairings and reusing ingredients in different ways. Items like greek yogurt and bacon can be used in a lot of different ways. I am constantly inspired and like to try new things. Do you guys have Food Network over there?
We do! It’s the only pay TV channel I watch (apart from the movie channels), though with my hours lately the only thing on when I’m home is that reality show about celebrity chefs, haha.
Have you tried those cooking clubs where a bunch of families get together and trade meals?