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?