Episode 77 When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking and Let’s Talk About the Dishes
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With most of us sheltering in place, we have all been spending lots more time at home. That means cooking more and eating more meals together as a family.
This can be taxing and there are so many dishes. Marie Fiebach gives you some tips for when you are tired of cooking and how to cut down on the dishes every day.
It isn’t like having the kids home for summer because they have activities and we are leaving the house running errands and going places. Everything is so much more compressed. Three meals a day, seven days a week with all our people is not normal for most families and it can get overwhelming.
What can you do to ease the burden?
-Think about breakfast and lunch. Make large batches of preferred foods at the beginning of the week. I like to make pancakes or turkey sausage.
-Make some compromises. My son eats a Jimmy Dean Blueberry Muffin on a Stick for breakfast. I’m sure I cannot pronounce half of the ingredients, but it keeps the peace and is worth the compromise.
-If you have the means it may be easier to increase your food budget during this time. Buying a few convenience foods can ease the cooking burden.
-If you are comfortable and have the budget to do takeout, put it on the meal plan at the end of the week so you have something to look forward to.
-Do a meal swap with a friend, family member or neighbor. Make a double batch and swap so you can each have one night without cooking.
-Make a “treat meal.” Cook a dinner that you know everyone will love. It is much easier to cook when you know everyone likes dinner. We made homemade pizza and each person chose their own toppings.
-Snack plates can be dinner. Put salami or ham and cheese with fruit and crackers on a platter or board and call it dinner. Bonus if you make it a picnic and eat outside.
-Sandwiches make a great dinner. I like these at the beginning of the grocery week because lunch meat doesn’t last long in the refrigerator. It is a great meal to have on grocery day because it is quick and easy.
-Cook a large amount of a protein at the beginning of the week and repurpose it throughout the week. Grilled chicken breasts can be used in paninis, quesadillas and salads all week long. Make a large pot of beans for soups and salads all week long.
-Buy some pre-made convenience foods like frozen pot stickers or frozen lasagna to pull out when you don’t want to cook.
Let’s Talk About Dishes
I have noticed that most people are getting overwhelmed with all the dishes. This goes for families and singles. We are home all the time and there are more dishes than ever.
-Last year when I was making changes in our home to give me more time to work, I made the decision that I would not do dishes until my kids got home from school. The breakfast and lunch dishes piled up and I did them when my kids were in the kitchen getting an after-school snack. I have kept this going even though my kids are home. I find that I quickly get sucked into cleaning and will loose an hour or more if I start working on the dishes. I wait until it is time to start dinner, clean up the kitchen and run the dishwasher while I get dinner ready.
-After dinner I make a list of 4 jobs I need done and each child chooses one chore for the evening. It gives them variety and me a little break.
-Handwash pots and pans
-Take out trash
-Take out Compost and recycling
-Wipe counters and sweep
-Years ago, I bought 6 colored coasters. Each person in the family has their own coaster on the table. They get a glass of water at the beginning of the day and keep it on their coaster all day. This means I only have 6 glasses to wash at the end of the day.
-I re-use cutting boards throughout the day for cutting fruit and vegetables.
-I re-uses skillets for making quesadillas for breakfast or lunch without washing each time.
-Line baking sheets with parchment paper. You don’t have to wash the baking sheets and can just toss the parchment paper.
-Have one meal a week that is served on paper plates.
-If you have a container with ingredients for dinner (think chopped carrots for soup) Use the container for the leftovers without washing.