Monday, December 10, 2012

Minimizing the Cooking

I have to admit, I'm tired of cooking.  My goal here is to make a larger variety of food, spend less time in the kitchen, and eat healthy. I'm not expecting to spend much less money overall, as any savings will probably be spent on eating more fresh fruit and better breads.

~Cook's Day Off
~Bi-Weekly Cooking
~Better Recipe Access
~Wider variety of foods

Starting about a month ago, I declared Sunday to be Cook's Day Off.  I also started planning menus on a two-week schedule, and buying nearly all of the groceries in one run. Week one is 90% of two week's groceries, week two is milk/bread/emergencies run - generally I get all the shopping done in 15 minutes. Having done this for about six weeks, I can say I'm spending the same or less money, and definitely less time at the store. By shifting the shopping to Friday evenings, I can do food prep on Saturday and have my Sundays free. And granted, it's minimal prep- make slow-cooker baggies, repackage the meat into sizes I can use and freeze it. That's it.

For 'better access to recipes,' I have a recipe program I use - Living Cookbook. Before purchase, I looked around and it got by far the best reviews. I am quite happy with it; any time I can't think of what to make I can look in my custom cookbook at recipe titles and select based on what looks good, and what I have. (It also will create menus & grocery lists for me, but I'm not currently using those options.) I plan recipes for dinner only for five or six days per week. Usually five days, and at least one day is slow-cooker based. The other two days allow for us to eat up leftovers or enjoy personal favorites - I'm the only one that eats sushi or my calamari, my roommate is the only one that eats canned greens, for example.

Wider Variety
This may not sound like 'simplifying' what we eat, but I still feel it's worth mentioning. Some of it is simple changes - having two cheeses and two mustards for cold cut sandwiches. Buying different breads - rye and pumpernickel, picked up for $1 for a half loaf. Some of it is trying new recipes - we had chicken adobo last week, and we're having beef & broccoli tonight. Yesterday I had simple but yummy leftover rice, reheated with soy sauce and bonito flakes. Small things, but they help take the boredom out of eating the same basic things all the time. And yes, I can get bored of eating. This counteracts it nicely =)

So far, so good.