NEW! Google Custom Search

Loading

Cooking blahs

Aberwacky's picture

I know we all get them from time to time, and I've got them bad at the moment. 


I don't care about cooking, and am putting food on the table (or tv tray) just to satisfy nutritional requirements and minimize whining.  Chicken nuggets have been featured far too often lately (not that there have been any complaints from the 4 and under crowd, mind you). Even weekend cooking has been minimal.


I'm ashamed of myself, and need some inspiration.  Where do ya'll turn when you need a cooking pick-me-up?


Leigh


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
roz's picture

(post #37393, reply #1 of 61)

When I get a cooking blah period, it usually is because I feel blah or my taste buds need a break. Nothing tastes good and for some reason can't satisfy whatever it is I'm craving, even if I know what I'm craving. I can't go to cookbooks...I need to 'see' fresh food.

I fix simple. Clear broths and miso soup. Fresh greens or simple salads with fresh herbs. Poached egg. Really simple. One slice of a really runny ripe cheese.

I know you have to cook for a family, but maybe you need to treat yourself to an Aberwacky day.

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
leonap's picture

(post #37393, reply #2 of 61)

First, stop feeling guilty and give yourself a break. I'm sure it happens to most of us. I think cooking for small children would definitely add to it. My theory is that I must need a break and it will pass. When it does pass, it seems I enjoy cooking all the more.

Here are couple things that help me: keep a list of a few current quick-fix favorites to fall back on during the cooking blahs. The other thing probably the most helpful to keeping my enthusiasm alive is trying new recipes a lot. Sometimes kooky stuff cause you never know when you might "discover" a new favorite.

Gretchen's picture

(post #37393, reply #3 of 61)

Usually it is that I am just plain tired of cooking EVERY day. And we have not been going out to eat as we used to when this hit.


Maybe grilling--still easy but tasty?  Fix a big pot of black beans to have it a couple of different ways--with smoked sausage. With rice and some chicken?


You know it will pass. Spring is here.  Hope it improves for you soon.


Gretchen
Gretchen
tagnostic's picture

(post #37393, reply #4 of 61)

I take a little break from it, and then when I'm ready I like to do something really fun, Like making meatloaf in my shaped cake pans, moons, stars, teddy bears, with sides to match, ie Panda bears (chicken&rice loaf) with tiny corn & bamboo shoots.

tag

Believe Someone Seeking the Truth, Doubt Those That Have Found It
Believe Someone Seeking the Truth, Doubt Those That Have Found It
Aberwacky's picture

(post #37393, reply #13 of 61)

The teddybear shaped meatloaf is a good idea--and my kids would like it, too.


Leigh


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
TracyK's picture

(post #37393, reply #5 of 61)

Well, sometimes we all just need a break!


That said, I find the "more than the sum of their parts" recipes to be helpful for bumping me out a rut... something about the simplicity of combinging just a few easy things and then enjoying a REALLY good meal out of it is very appealing.


The spaghetti sauce I threw together with some ground turkey thigh, fresh grape tomatoes, garlic, onions, and chicken broth is a good example. As is Gretchen's five-ingredient chicken (which I bet the kids would like, as it;s sweet).


 



"One of the great strengths of the United States is … we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

                                                            --President Barack Obama

Aberwacky's picture

(post #37393, reply #14 of 61)

I haven't tried Gretchen's chicken--I need to, though.  Last night I actually (ha) cooked dinner.  Well, at least I didn't heat precooked things up in the microwave--I poached pork loin slices in barbeque sauce mixed with apple juice (used to do this all the time for the twins when they were little), cooked rice in the rice cooker and steamed a frozen bag of mixed veggies. 


Sad to say that's the most cooking I've done for a while--weeknight cooking is especially tough for me these days--have to feed the kids right when we get home (between 6:30-7) so they can eat and play some before bedtime.  That's where those chicken nuggets are really tempting.  And corndogs.  And did you know if you put the frozen fries in the oven when you're preheating it they cook a lot faster?  Not as fast as corn dogs in the microwave, but. . .


I need to get back in the habit of having easy leftovers in the fridge for them that I can reheat and feed them quickly, and cook a more time-consuming meal for Dave and me that the kids can have leftovers from the next night.  It's okay if we eat at 8:30, but the kids are already in bed by then!


Leigh


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
TracyK's picture

(post #37393, reply #17 of 61)

My thrown-together sauce cooks for three hours, but it's actually even better after reheating. You could throw it in the oven when you get home and plan to eat it the next day. And I bet the kids would love it too!



"One of the great strengths of the United States is … we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

                                                            --President Barack Obama

GShock's picture

(post #37393, reply #54 of 61)

From Aberwacky: "I poached pork loin slices in barbeque sauce mixed with apple juice (used to do this all the time for the twins when they were little), cooked rice in the rice cooker and steamed a frozen bag of mixed veggies. "

How do you do this?... Poach meat? I WILL go look, but thought I would ask anyway.

A couple of nights ago, I had a frozen pork loin that I wrapped in foil and baked in the oven with a potato for an hour. The pork (I suppose because it was wrapped in foil and I didn't think about any sauce) was kind of bland (and it of course didn't BROWN). My main thing was not waiting for it to thaw before starting to cook it.

Not used to cooking with sauces. Barbeque sauce is ok, but I don't normally care for other "sweet" tasting sauces.

Anyway, this is something I might be willing to experiment with.

GenE

Aberwacky's picture

(post #37393, reply #55 of 61)

Sometimes I saute the skillet to brown the slices first, but usually when I make this it's because I'm looking for something easy, so usually don't.


This is nothing fancy, but it's comfort food for us.  Technically not poaching, but it is a similar method, so that's what I called it.


I mix about a cup of bottled barbecue sauce (whatever your favorite is) 50/50 with either a cup of beer or apple juice/apple cider, and then add salt (to taste) and about a tablespoon of chopped garlic. Put that in the pan (I use a large skillet), add the sliced pork loin or chicken breasts--the sauce usually either almost covers the meat or just covers the meat--spoon the sauce over it, add a lid and then cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the meat is done--you want it to simmer, not to boil.  If there's not enough sauce to cover the meat in the pan,  I do turn the meat once to make sure both sides are fully covered in the sauce.


I cut the loin into slices about 3/4" thick for this.  You can do chops, chicken thighs, or chicken breasts, this way, too.  You could also cook this in an ovenproof pan and then finish it in the oven to carmelize the top, but I rarely do that. 


We usually serve it with mashed potatoes or rice and green beans.  Can't mess with tradition, you know.


Leigh


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Marts's picture

(post #37393, reply #60 of 61)

We make something very similar to this with boneless chicken breasts - put chicken breasts in baking dish, pour mixture of BBQ sauce and apple juice (sometimes we skip the juice) over it - about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the meat - bake covered in 350 oven about a half hour or more. My husband makes this when it's his turn to cook (not very often) but even the littlest kid eats it, which is a miracle. We always serve it with egg noodles.

Aberwacky's picture

(post #37393, reply #61 of 61)

I'll have to try it with the egg noodles!


Leigh


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Madeleine's picture

(post #37393, reply #50 of 61)

I am not at this site daily and I was wondering about Gretchen's chicken and where to find the recipe. I tried the search box but I never get anywhere with that search box.

Madeleine

Madeleine
cyalexa's picture

(post #37393, reply #51 of 61)

see the thread starting with 44312.1 

Madeleine's picture

(post #37393, reply #52 of 61)

Thank you! It sounds easy and delicious.

Madeleine

Madeleine
DeannaS's picture

(post #37393, reply #6 of 61)

When I'm in a total rut, I like to have a "living room picnic." Buy some good bread, some delicious cheese, carrot sticks, and whatever fruit is in season. Maybe whip up some hummus for protein. Make a pitcher of fresh lemonade, or (my son's favorite) lime-aid fizzies (lime juice, some sort of sweet juice, and seltzer), and gather around the coffee table in the living room. Eat on paper plates if you don't want to do dishes.

It's a break from cooking that doesn't involve going out to eat - the kids absolutely LOVE it - and it's simple enough food that by the next day I'm typically craving something hot and spicy.

Speaking of, ethnic is also on my go-to list when I'm uninspired. Last night we did a super simple meal - tofu and frozen peas in a curry sauce of coconut milk, fish sauce, and commercial green curry paste. Served over rice. So simple - it came together in the time it took the rice to cook. Love, love, love almost all in one pot meals like that.

I might be a weirdo, though - because I hardly ever do multi-course meals or even "side dishes" like most of the spectacular cooks on here. So, "mixing it up" for me is making chicken and mashed potatoes and green beans. My kids love that one, too - and they get it maybe every other month or so. :)

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

Maedl's picture

(post #37393, reply #7 of 61)

I think cooking for kids must be hard, especially if they are finicky eaters. And the season is a bit difficult too--it's post-winter but pre-spring foods. Maybe a trip to the farmers' market will help--lots of bright colors and gorgeous vegetables might tempt you into something!

Margie
Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com

Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
tagnostic's picture

(post #37393, reply #8 of 61)

Another fun thing is to serve something fun at a different time, when the goomerz (a flock of tweenage boys) are around, their favorite is
Tags Breakfast Nacho's

Deep Fried Flour Tortillas (triangle cut)
topped with
Medium Hard cooked scrampled eggs
Cooked diced bacon and/or sausage
diced onions (optional)
Cover with cheddar/jack
pop it into the oven until the cheese is bubbly

serve with the usual condiments
with 6+ boys I just use a sheet pan, pass out paper plates & a spatula
and start another one (they can consume totally out of proportion to their mass)

tag

Believe Someone Seeking the Truth, Doubt Those That Have Found It
Believe Someone Seeking the Truth, Doubt Those That Have Found It
DeannaS's picture

(post #37393, reply #9 of 61)

My husband keeps warning me that what it's going to be like when our son becomes a teenager. He can eat a whole batch of pancakes by himself NOW and he's six. And skinny. I hear horror stories about entire boxes of cereal eaten out of mixing bowls. Ah, boys.

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

tagnostic's picture

(post #37393, reply #10 of 61)

yeppers, it starts about 11 and peaks about 17, anything even remotely sweet is inhaled, Pizza, theres a reason they market multiple extra large pizzas with sides, the sides are whats left for the parents, if you want any dinner on pizza night, order a couple of salads. Eggs?
Get a couple of Ducks for the backyard at least 4 per teenage boy. Drinks, fruity and sweet go by the gallon, and dont mind them drinking out of the container the alternative is a clean glass with every refill.

gotta love the goomerz

tag

(read the comic strip Jeremy, it will prepare you)

Believe Someone Seeking the Truth, Doubt Those That Have Found It
Believe Someone Seeking the Truth, Doubt Those That Have Found It
Gretchen's picture

(post #37393, reply #11 of 61)

We had two very large boys--football player types. They ate really well, but not excessively really. We have never been "juice" people, so that was never an issue.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Jillsifer's picture

(post #37393, reply #12 of 61)

My husband keeps warning me that what it's going to be like when our son becomes a teenager. He can eat a whole batch of pancakes by himself NOW and he's six. And skinny. I hear horror stories about entire boxes of cereal eaten out of mixing bowls. Ah, boys.


Fasten your seat belt. My 14-year-old is no longer a boy--he is an eating machine. During a recent four-day bout with a pretty severe stomach virus, he made a sort of reverse bucket list, enumerating all the things he was going to eat as soon as he got well.


He can eat a Costco-sized rack of ribs in one meal, along with salad, mashed potatoes, corn, three or four biscuits (I make 'em kind of biggish) and an enormous glass of milk. And 30 minutes after that meal, he asks, with no sense of irony, what's "for snack."


This morning, while chomping on breakfast, he wondered what was for dinner.


Sooooo . . . yeah. Your husband is absolutely right. Their appetites are incredible, but also fun. It was my experience that the few traces of childhood pickiness disappeared almost overnight.


 


 


 


Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying.

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

Florida2's picture

(post #37393, reply #25 of 61)

I love your story about your 14 yr old son's appetite.


I raised girls, so it was very different. But we did carpool for tennis with a 15 yr old boy. My daughter said that when his mom drove,  he ate an entire pizza during the car ride home and then stopped at McDonalds and ate three cheeseburgers! he was a tall skinny kid who was burning major calories (the tennis was USTA competitive tennis) and growing fast :)

thecooktoo's picture

(post #37393, reply #26 of 61)

My boys are all grown now (youngest is 39), but when all three of them were at home and in high school sports we could not keep food in the house.  The boys were close together (3 in 4 1/2 yrs).  They were all pretty good sized in high school and are now 6' 1", 165 (same exact size as when he got out of high school, now 42); middle one is 6'3", 230 and youngest is 6'8", 285 (down from 325).


We finally got to the point where we bought a 1/2 beef on the hoof and had it slaughtered and butchered twice a year (yea, I know, somebody else bought the other half) and we would buy a whole hog once a year.  We had a cafeteria milk dispenser in the kitchen that we arranged to get from a local wholesale dairy and they refilled it twice a week, 5-10 gallons at a time.


They were absolute eating machines.


Jim


 

tagnostic's picture

(post #37393, reply #27 of 61)

At one point I had 3)teenage boys living in my garage, they were all the same age, 2 big ones and a little fella, It was beans, beef & rice, or spaghetti, I would just keep a 10 gal pot going at all times, when one got low fire up the next course, and of course regular meals.

big fun

tag

Believe Someone Seeking the Truth, Doubt Those That Have Found It
Believe Someone Seeking the Truth, Doubt Those That Have Found It
DeannaS's picture

(post #37393, reply #28 of 61)

You guys are seriously scaring me. Good thing my kid likes to cook. He can cook his own food. :)

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

Li's picture

(post #37393, reply #30 of 61)

Li faints.

Only connect.

Only connect.

MadMom's picture

(post #37393, reply #31 of 61)

Li, believe me, if the boys like milk, you need one of the wholesale milk dispensers.  It's amazing how quickly they can learn how to use it!



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

Biscuit's picture

(post #37393, reply #48 of 61)

(G)  I hate to tell you this, but I buy 5 gallons of milk every 7 or 8 days.  And I only drink about 1 glass a day.  DH and Max drink the rest.  When your boys get older....

Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
- Mark Twain

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

Marcia's picture

(post #37393, reply #32 of 61)

I guess we were fortunate that my teenage son who ran cross-country was lactose intolerant. LOL. We did go though the food, though, and he was bone thin.