24/05/2024

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6 Tips to Make Cooking Easier

6 Tips to Make Cooking Easier

Cooking shouldn’t feel like such a drag. If you’re struggling to spend time in the kitchen cooking, check out these 6 tips to help get you inspired and make cooking easier!6 Tips to Make Cooking EasierIt’s hard to cook. 

It’s especially hard to cook when you’re cooking 3x a day, 7 days a week. Who has time or energy for that?!

Now that I’m a Mom, I’m finding it even harder to find the time and energy to cook, especially when you have a picky little one who doesn’t want to eat what you make! I’ve heard from other mothers who share the same sentiment that the invisiblized labor and lack of gratitude makes it more difficult to feel inspired to cook.

If you’re burnt out on cooking, I see you. I’ve been you. I recently shared with a couple of my 1:1 clients that I ordered prepared meals 3x/week for 16 months after my son was born.

We all go through seasons when cooking isn’t as accessible for whatever reason and that’s totally valid. We don’t need to wrap up so much morality around cooking. And if you have no desire to cook or make cooking easier, that’s valid too.

But if you’re here because you want to be cooking more, you just want it to feel easier, I’ve got six tips for you today.

Graphic with quote: "We all go through seasons when cooking isn't as accessible for whatever reason and that's totally valid. We don't need to wrap up so much morality around cooking."

Make Cooking Easier with these Six Tips:

1. Have a loose meal plan.

You don’t need to plan out every single meal for the week but if you know you’re always scrambling and stressed out getting dinner on the table then it might benefit you to do a little planning ahead of time so you can take the daily guesswork out of dinner.

I’m going to talk more about making meal planning easier next month but for now I’d suggest aiming to plan out at least 3 or 4 dinners for the week to start and then relying on leftovers on the off days.

To make this even easier, pick themes for each of these nights so you can take even more guesswork out of it. Maybe Monday is Meatless Monday (vegetarian meal), Tuesday is Taco Tuesday, Thursday is grain bowl or pasta night, and Saturday is homemade pizza night.

Graphic with quote: "Aim to plan out at least 3 or 4 dinners for the week to start and then rely on leftovers on the off days. To make this even easier, pick themes for each of these nights so you can take even more guesswork out of it."

2. Keep your fridge, pantry and freezer well stocked with staples.

This is crucial! If you don’t have an abundance of food in your house readily accessible, it’s not going to be easy to figure out what to eat. Here are some staples I recommend for your pantry, fridge and freezer (that we always have on hand in our house):

Pantry Staples

  • Pasta
  • Canned tuna and/or salmon
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Peanut butter
  • Oats
  • Lentils
  • Canned beans
  • Bread 

Fridge

  • Eggs
  • Yogurt 
  • Fresh fruit
  • Lettuce or salad greens
  • Milk and almond milk
  • Hummus
  • Cheese
  • Chia seeds
  • Sauces, dressings, and condiments

Freezer

  • Frozen fruit (wild blueberries and strawberries)
  • Frozen vegetables (broccoli and corn)
  • Frozen rice (brown and white)
  • Frozen chicken and salmon
  • Leftovers that freeze well like vegan chickpea burgers
  • Waffles (multigrain)
  • Starchy sides from Trader Joe’s like risotto or gnocchi 
  • Hashbrowns

3. Take advantage of appliances and kitchen gadgets.

The oven, slow cooker, Instant Pot, and air fryer are your friends! These are all set-it-and-forget-it appliances that make it easy to cook while you do something else.

We love making vegetables in the air fryer like air fryer cauliflower, air fryer sweet potato fries, air fryer kohlrabi fries, and air fryer zucchini chips.

We love to make soups and stews in the slow cooker and Instant Pot like my Instant Pot Guinness Beef Stew, Slow Cooker Potato Leek Soup, Easy Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili, and Instant Pot Cream of Mushroom Soup.

Other kitchen gadgets / appliances I can’t get enough of because how much they make cooking easier for me include (affiliate links – if you make a purchase, I receive a small commission):

4. Use convenience options when you can.

There is NOTHING wrong with taking shortcuts when cooking.

I repeat: there is nothing wrong with taking shortcuts when cooking.

We don’t need to make everything from scratch. We can let cooking be as convenient as we need it to be.

We love using frozen rice in our household. I don’t have a rice cooker and don’t have the desire to cook rice every week so I love having bags of frozen rice I can pop in the microwave and have ready in 3 minutes.

Ready-made sauces and dressings are helpful for things like stir fries, pasta dishes, grain bowls, etc.

There’s also ready-made pasta on the market now that you just have to microwave – that can also be incredibly convenient if you don’t have the time to wait for the water to boil!

Graphic with quote: "There is nothing wrong with taking shortcuts when cooking. We don't need to make everything from scratch. We can let cooking be as convenient as we need it to be."

5. Embrace leftovers.

This is kind of a polarizing topic but I love leftovers. Because nothing feels better to me than knowing I don’t need to worry about or cook dinner every single night.

We try to make enough food so that we will be able to have leftovers the next night. Batch cooking (making food in large quantities) can also feel helpful because it allows you to cook once but get multiple meals out of it. 

I recommend batch cooking meals you can store in the freezer for later use like veggie burgers, soups and stews, lasagna, enchiladas, pizza, and casseroles.

If cooking feels overwhelming to you, I highly recommend cutting yourself some slack and leaning into leftovers. And if you’re someone who doesn’t really like leftovers or doesn’t jive with having the same meal two nights in a row then repurpose your leftovers!

Repurposing leftovers looks like taking one component of a leftover dish and turning it into something new. Here are some examples:

6. Try to infuse your cooking with some fun and enjoyment.

Is there a simple way you can add a little more enjoyment to your cooking? I’m talking like 5% more enjoyable. Not asking you to fall in love with cooking but how can we make it a little bit more pleasurable or enjoyable, or dare I say, fun?

Here are some suggestions to try on for size and see how it lands with you:

  • Put on your favorite music playlist while you cook (singing out loud is highly encouraged). I’ve been listening to Kitchen Swagger on Spotify lately.
  • Get your kids involved with the prep
  • Pour yourself a glass of wine or make a fun cocktail (if you drink)
  • Ask a friend to come over and cook with you or involve your partner and make it a shared activity
  • Add your favorite dish or recipe to make to the rotation more often
  • Don’t take yourself or your cooking too seriously. Make mistakes!
  • Take a cooking class to learn new skills you can practice later

green graphic with list 1-6 of tips to make cooking easier.

Which of these tips will you try first? Let me know below in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

For more blog posts like this check out:

6 Ways to Find More Enjoyment in Eating

Am I Eating Enough? 8 Signs You’re Undereating

The Beginner’s Guide to Intuitive Eating

Looking to make food more enjoyable? Get my FREE guide when you sign up for my newsletter: Rediscover the Joy in Eating: 5 Simple Steps to Stop Stressing Over Food + Enjoy Every Bite.