Number 30: you guys, I’m domestic

I checked something off of my 101 in 1001 list last week that may be laughable to some, but it’s seriously an accomplishment for me. No, I didn’t run that 5K (it’ll happen someday…). What did I do?

#30. Make dinner at least three nights a week, two weeks in a row

image source; can someone please go back to the 1950s and hunt down that delightful aqua kitchen for me? I’ll take the cake on the cake stand, too.

Nick has always been the chef in our relationship. He enjoys cooking, can throw a meal together in no time without a recipe and with whatever we happen to have on-hand, and has usually planned dinners without me ever asking since we have lived together. Aside from baking, you probably know by now that I’ve always been a bit less comfortable in the kitchen, so we just got in the habit of him being the meal-planner and cook. If he doesn’t have something planned out, it’s always been assumed that we’re “on our own” for dinner, meaning we each fend for ourselves with sandwiches, leftovers or frozen meals.

Since launching Claremont Collection, I have been feeling a bit less frazzled with work and like I need to kick it up a notch in terms of my domesticity. Nick has never pressured me to start taking over the cooking, but he’s busy, too, and I want to feel like I’m contributing when it comes to meal planning and preparation. So, two weeks ago, I did a little online recipe research and planning, picked up what I needed at the grocery store, and planned out our meals for the next few nights. When Nick came home from work the first night to dinner already planned, in the oven, and almost ready to eat, he was shocked.

It was kind of nice to have it all under control.

Now, I am not saying that every meal has been an amazing culinary breakthrough. I am certainly not the next Julia Child. Grilled cheese & canned tomato soup was definitely on the menu one evening — easy peasy — but this goal on my list wasn’t about whipping up some complicated, challenging recipe three nights a week. It was simply about planning something and following through, rather than staring at the inside of the fridge at 6:00pm and wondering what I should eat, or expecting that Nick would figure something out. And, dare I say it — I’m actually enjoying it. Last week, I was looking forward to planning what we were going to have for dinner that week. I’m trying to mix new recipes in with some easy standby meals, and nothing has taken so long that it’s been a major inconvenience in the midst of my day. I am sure I still look like a goober when I’m trying to chop something and I use about 7 more mixing bowls than I need to, but hey, progress is progress.

Since it’s just the two of us, 3-4 home-cooked dinners each week is actually just about the right amount for us. We’ll usually eat out or at my mom’s once a week, and most likely have enough leftovers to take care of the other nights. I’ll still welcome Nick to take the reins in the kitchen if he’s in the mood to cook sometimes (or if I’m too busy), but I think this new habit may stick, and I’m glad that it’s made me actually enjoy cooking a bit more.

How many nights a week do you cook dinner at home? What’s your method of meal planning?

comments

  1. Way to be domestic!

    I cook 4-5 nights a week. We usually go out once, and have leftovers once as well.

    Eric never cooks, because if he did, it would be either macaroni and cheese or chef boyardee. He really likes simple comfort food and really doesn’t like to cook!

    The problem for us is that I’m really adventurous in cooking and he doesn’t like about 1/3 of the stuff I make. So we’re trying to strike a balance of healthy, yummy, and somewhat interesting food we both enjoy.

    ps. as far as meal planning: i pretty much go through the grocery store sale paper, buy what’s on sale and then come home and look up recipes with those ingredients!

  2. Does putting a frozen pizza in the oven count as cooking? Probably not. Well then, I rarely cook. And when I do, it’s heating up something from the “ready to cook” case in the grocery store, like a rotisserie chicken and some frozen veggies. Or eggs. We eat eggs a lot. I would love to have a personal chef. Rob and I both hate cooking, and that doesn’t work out too well for us.

  3. My husband and I really split the cooking 50/50. I do the meal planning, but whom ever has the energy will just cook what was planned for that evening. I try a new recipe every couple of weeks and then it’ll either get added to our rotation or thrown out. I love trying new things and have discovered that it’s not that bad! I love Martha Stewart and Pioneer Woman for recipes.

  4. Go you! I do almost all of the cooking in our household…Justin is my grillmaster though! I usually cook 4-5 times a week; we usually go out to eat or are over at one of our parents’ house for one meal, and we have leftovers at least once a week depending on what I create. I totally hear you though – you have to somewhat plan out what you’re going to do to be successful! I typically go to the grocery store 1x a week for produce and I buy whatever is fresh…then I either find a new recipe to try out, or I whip up an old standby. This week, we’re eating a lot of broccoli and cauliflower…haha!

  5. We split it, sort of. I cook 3-4 times a week, he cooks twice and the last night we either cook together or do something easy that doesn’t require much thought.

    As far as meal planning goes, we decide what to cook by our schedule. he has band practice on Thursdays so meals have to be quick. Also, he plans his meals and I plan mine.

  6. That kitchen is the jam!

    I cook every night and usually even a couple lunches. I love it! Leftovers aren’t my thing, we don’t go out much at all(saving for a home cuts down on lots of stuff) in my dream world I’m super organized and planned. Real life, decide on dinner a few hours before go time:) pioneer woman has lots of delicious recipes, love my southern living cookbooks too!

  7. I do most of the cooking in our home. I rely heavily on the crockpot. LOVE IT! I really haven’t found a recipe that we didn’t like in the crockpot. We eat leftovers as well…mostly for lunch though.

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