Cooking blues. Cooking slump. “I don’t want to cook” syndrome. Whatever you call it, we all want to hang up our apron at times. It can last for a couple of days or weeks or even longer. It’s that feeling of not knowing what to make, not wanting to go into the kitchen to fix it, not even wanting to try making a grocery list.
But when you’re the one responsible to cook for your family day in and day out, you can’t give in to the cooking blues. Here are several ways to bust out of the slump. These are not steps to take, but a list of ideas to try. Some of them are conflicting ideas, but the goal is to do something – anything – to break out of the rut.
There’s just one rule: Don’t give in and eat out.
Eating out won’t spur you to start cooking and it will wreak havoc on your budget.
Give yourself a break. Have a yo-yo dinner (you’re on your own). Or pancakes. Or cereal. Or ramen noodles. There have been a few times that I did this several nights in a row. Two or three dinners of cereal or instant soup won’t really hurt anyone, but it will spur you to start cooking again.
Put aside the feelings of not wanting to, and just get into the kitchen and start. Usually, once I get started it’s not so bad and soon we have dinner on the table. Think of it this way – in an hour or so the whole dinner thing will be over. Family will be fed, dishes done. Grab an idea from 25 Meals in 20 Minutes or Less to keep it super quick.
Ask your family for their favorites
Sometimes it’s nice to not have to think of what to make. And if I know the dinner is going to make my family happy, I’m more willing to cook it.
Don’t ask your family. Make what you want
It’s okay to fix something that you really like, even if the other members of your family aren’t crazy about it. You’re the cook and one of the people who will be eating dinner, so you deserve to have your favorites every once in a while. Besides, it’s good to introduce the kids to new foods occasionally.
Have a theme meal
Italian, Mexican, all red foods, all green, heart shaped… Anything fun, silly or different.
Plan a freezer cooking weekend
Having a well-stocked freezer can rescue you when the cooking blues strikes again. I’m planning a freezer cooking series (due to popular demand in our Facebook community). Until then, you can check out the “frozen food” category for lots of tips, freezable recipes and even a menu or two designed to stock your freezer.
Those are a few of the ideas that work to drag me out of the cooking blues. What works for you?