How Do I Find Time to Cook During the Week?

Since starting this blog, I’ve been asked how I manage to cook dinner after I come home from work.  As we look towards a new year, I thought I’d share some of things I’ve learned this year to maintain a healthy kitchen and cooking routine.  What are your best practices?

Lessons Learned to Maintain a Health-full Home 2012

  • PLAN  My most successful weeks have been when I pick a few recipes for the week on Saturday, and decide with Scott on Sunday.  This is followed up with a grocery store trip.  At the store, we usually decide which produce items will need to be purchased later in the week, so they don’t go bad.
  • SHOP  Our typical week involves at least 2 grocery store trips, usually to pick up more salad ingredients.  We eat salad with every dinner!
  • EAT  We go out to eat once a week, usually to Chipotle.  Before we started this tradition, we (I) ran out of steam to cook by Friday, which ended up in eating out at restaurants through the weekend.  Ultimately, this resulted in delaying weekend grocery shopping, and the next week we’d be off balance.  Now, Chipotle night is usually Tuesday – breaking up the week and making it more fun to eat leftovers from Monday night on Wednesday and Thursday nights (or I’ll take them for lunch).
  • EAT AGAIN  For me, the key to enjoying leftovers, is to have a choice of what to eat.  This means, I make two full recipes a week.  Staggering leftovers, helps me enjoy them more.  I used to despise leftovers, now I don’t mind at all!  As long as I can eat something different for lunch and dinner, I don’t get tired of the same recipes week-to-week.
  • PREPARE FOR OOPS!  Realistically, there are nights I don’t come home from work until 8pm.  Sometimes, I’ll cook a meal and we’ll eat at 9, but other nights, we’re just too hungry or tired to cook.  After many nights this year of being a bit ornery from the hunger, I started to experiment with some frozen foods we can quickly heat up.  We’ll make a salad to go with it, and we’ve got a dinner in less than 30 minutes.  The pictures below are some of our favorite frozen go-to’s and where you can find them.
  • PRACTICE KINDNESS  The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is to be kind to myself.  Scott can easily tell you how high of a standard I set for myself.  Learning to let go from time to time, and accept some nights we’re eating late, or having a big salad for dinner, or eating at Chipotle twice in one week, has helped me realize the realities of our life don’t have to be obstacles to the lifestyle we want to keep.  I’m passing this one on to all of you.  Be kind with yourself in figuring out what routine and habits will work for you in your home.  It’s different for everyone.  Embrace it and be kind.  We have one life.  Live it well.

Salmon Surf Burgers
(we find them at Bristol Farms*)

Candle Cafe Tofu Spinach Ravioli
(we find at Whole Foods*, enjoy as 1 serving or split into 2)

*Each grocery store location may carry different products. For instance, one of four nearby Whole Foods carry the Salmon Stix. Check with your local store to see if they carry the items.

2 thoughts on “How Do I Find Time to Cook During the Week?

  1. Bonnie says:

    I love your blog, Carolyn! Good advice =)

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