Hello and welcome to cooking with Katie. I’m just kidding, but I thought I would continue this conversation about cooking. I think this is important because I know there are so many people out there who are either afraid of cooking or just see it as a chore that they don’t have time for. If you read my last post I talked about how much I love cooking- I love cooking shows, I love cookbooks, and I just love to cook, so to be totally honest it’s hard for me to understand when people don’t enjoy the act of feeding themselves and their loved ones. Now please don’t misunderstand- I ABSOLUTELY understand not enjoying cooking for your toddlers/young children. It’s a nightmare. Really. The fact that I have been preparing three meals a day for at least one toddler for the past 3 years and can still say that I generally love to cook is a real testament to how much I love it. So ya, I understand that the daily act of feeding people can certainly be a chore. But I have a deep love for food in general and I believe that food is the cornerstone of health so I push through and keep cooking until I can’t take it anymore and then we eat out or order takeout from one of our trusted places.
So I wanted to share some of the cooking/meal prep hacks that I use to make it through the week with at least some of my sanity.
Make a meal plan for the week and then grocery shop for your meal plan- I’m not always great at this but things go much better when I try to write out a meal plan on Sunday and shop on Monday while Everett is in preschool. I don’t always keep things on the same days and sometimes I make small changes to the plan, but writing it down and having the groceries in the fridge makes me stick to the plan.
- Keep things simple! This summer I made a variation of the same slaw salad at least once a week, usually to serve with grilled meat and veggies. Now that it’s colder, I roast vegetables ALL the time because all I have to do is cut them up, toss them with some avocado oil on a sheet pan and season them (usually just with salt, pepper, and garlic powder). I very rarely saute things on the stove because I have to actually pay attention to those things. Anything that I can throw into a stockpot, instant pot, or into my oven is good!
- Cook two dinners at once- while you’re already cooking go ahead and make two dinners at the same time. I did this today and made a pot of sausage and kale soup and a pot of chili. Both of these meals involve chopping veggies and then throwing everything into a pot, so it’s no big deal to make both at the same time! Another easy way to do this is to roast two chickens at the same time or cook two pork tenderloins. You can eat one on the day that you cook them with roasted veggies and you can use the other to make a salad or soup later in the week! These kind of things also make is super easy to have leftovers on hand for lunch.
- Take advantage of some shortcuts- I buy frozen cauliflower rice, pre washed salad greens and pre shredded slaw mix (I really love the organic cabbage slaw mix from Trader Joe’s). You can also buy pre chopped butternut squash or other veggies to quickly roast. Having these things on hand makes it very easy to make sure that we always have at least one veggie option for a meal.
- Soup is your friend- once you figure out one basic soup recipe (I will post my recipe for Sausage and Kale Soup this week) it’s so easy to make simple variations to have a variety of easy meals in your repertoire. Soup is also great for lunches and leftovers which is why I usually make at least one soup a week in the fall, winter and into spring.
This is what I made last week:
- Monday- Mexican chicken soup
- Tuesday- Salmon with roasted delicata squash and brussels sprouts
- Wednesday- Meatballs with spaghetti squash and roasted broccoli
- Thursday- Chicken and cauli rice “burrito” bowls (this was the same chicken that was in the soup!)
- Friday- Steak with roasted delicata squash and arugula salad
- Saturday- Leftovers for the kids and takeout for an at home date night
- Sunday- Random clean out the fridge meal
- I also made a batch of pancakes and banana muffins this week to have on hand for breakfast and snacks. I love to make a big batch of pancakes and just pop them in the toaster in the morning! Everett has preschool in the mornings on M/W/F so I need to have a quick breakfast on hand that I know he will eat.
And this is the plan for this week:
- Monday- Sausage and kale soup
- Tuesday- Salmon with cauli fried rice
- Wednesday- Chili with guacamole
- Thursday- Roast chicken with arugula salad, roasted butternut squash/potatoes (Everett is all about potatoes right now and isn’t a butternut squash fan)
- Friday- We will probably eat out because my stepdad will be here and we have a late afternoon meeting with our architect
- Saturday- Steaks with cauli mash and roasted broccoli
- Sunday- Leftovers
- I’m making another big batch of pancakes and I think I’m going to bake a batch of Danielle Walker’s Real Deal Chocolate Cookies for movie night this week!
So that’s how I do it, please share your tips and tricks with me! Watch out for our special giveaway announcement on Instagram tomorrow. Also, if you guys could send me regular reminders to take pictures of my food that would be very helpful! I’m good at cooking and eating the food but I’m not good at getting pictures of the food.