These days, cooking often feels like battle. Come six o’clock, my stomach is grumbling and my head is tired. A good time for some quiet chopping and sautéing, but the baby has also had a long day and wishes to be held. By me, not her dad. So while I balance the baby on one arm (she is no longer 2,5kg) and try not to eat All the Chocolate and Nuts, I battle ingredients, pans, knives. These are supposed to be my allies, yes, but it doesn’t feel that way. Dinner gets made, but by the time we sit down, the kitchen looks like a bomb’s exploded and my shoulders are pushing up my ears.
There has got to be a better way. For me to find joy in the kitchen again, to have fun as I chop, stir and mix. And without resorting to food that gives me knots in my stomach and conscience.
Now, others have been here before me, and I am happy to step on the shoulders of giants. So I have rounded up some promising methods for ending my predicament. Here’s my plan to reclaim dinner happiness:
– Freeze all the things, for dinner prep that consists of thawing and serving
– Put an egg on it (or salsa, or…), to make left-overs into easy dinners
– Cook at non-dinner times
– Plan my meals for efficient shopping and prepping
This week’s plan:
Bacon and egg ramen : I’m home all afternoon, so the Asian flavors can infuse the store-bought broth while I do other things. Boiling noodles and paksoi should be just about manageable this evening.
Dinner out with friends for me, chicken with peas and potatoes for the baby and husband: I’ll cook some apple sauce during nap time on Sunday, and then the husband’s on his own. He’ll be fine.
Arborio rice salad (from Cooking for Mr Latte) with roasted fennel: I’ll make the salad at nap time and roast the fennel just before dinner, so there’s something warm on our plates.
Broccoli salad (from Cooking for Mr Latte) and Dover sole: I’ll make the salad at lunch time and the husband can fry the fish (plus Sunday’s left-over potatoes) when he gets home.
The ultimate winter couscous : so much chopping, but that’s what lunch breaks are for, and hopefully there’ll be left-overs to freeze for another meal.
Shakshuka (from Jerusalem): Make the sauce Wednesday night when the baby is in bed, heat it and crack some eggs on top on Thursday night. Sounds doable, yes?
Left-overs, with salsa on top: Already looking forward to the salsa.
Wish me luck!