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What do you do when you just don't want to cook, like, ever?


ILiveInFlipFlops
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I've been going through a phase for awhile now where I just DO NOT want to cook. I don't want to plan meals or look up new recipes, I don't want to clean up a messy kitchen, I don't want to grocery shop...I don't want any of it. I've always really enjoyed cooking and never really felt like it was this huge daily chore, so that makes it even more difficult. 

 

We're spending way too much money on takeout and convenience food, but I cannot seem to get out of this rut I'm in. DH can't really cook more because of his work schedule, and the one of the kids can cook but will leave the kitchen a mess and use lots of pots and pans and cook/burn things onto them, which drives me nuts and is almost more work for me anyway. (The other has some issues we're working through, so right now schoolwork is pretty much all I can ask of her *sigh*) I tried ordering groceries via Amazon Prime, but I can't deal with all the waste that comes with that, and now I have all these huge totes sitting around that I can't seem to get them to pick up, so that didn't seem easier. 

 

So what would you do? Have you ever managed to get yourself out of this kind of thing? I need a cook or a housekeeper or something! 

 

Thanks.

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Here's how I think of it - there are these different components to cooking. One is the shopping - I can cut corners on that by doing big costco runs or by doing Amazon groceries or by having a produce box come. Another is the mental work of meal planning - I can cut corners on that by doing Hello Fresh or Blue Apron again, or by planning lots of really simple meals ahead of time and sticking to a schedule for them long term. I knew a family that did the same five meals every week for three month stretches. Every Monday for 12 Mondays, same dish. No thinking involved for three months. Finally is the actual in kitchen cooking time - I can cut corners on that by making really simple food - pasta and frozen meatballs, meat+frozen bread/rice/grain mix from a box+green beans (that's our default vegetable), rice and beans, grilled cheese, breakfast for dinner, etc. Stuff that I know like the back of my hand and can make half asleep.

 

But in the end, I have to choose where to cut corners and what's really the biggest part of the labor for me.

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If there's a magic solution, I'd love to hear it. I have a toddler and an infant, our AC is broken, and I don't want to cook anything.

 

The best I've been able to do is use the instant pot / crock pot as much as I can. And rely on cold cereal and peanut butter sandwiches.

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Isn't it summer?

 

Bread, cheese and salad.

YES!!!! 

 

Our family has been on a salad only diet for a long time because the restaurant is using so many leaves of romaine for burgers and sandwiches that we are swimming in salad mix made from the inner parts, lol.

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I hate cooking. I really just do not care for it.

 

Everybody in the family prefers meat at dinner. Including me. And we're very low carb, so bread or pasta at every dinner is a no-go.

 

It ends up being a meat and a steamer vegetable, which is boring for everyone involved after so long. 

 

But I really hate cooking, lol. I've even looked at investing in one of those meal-box deliveries, but they still require I cook :P

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I just do it anyway. I definitely know the feeling. Yes, you can have bread and salad and cold stuff but someone still has to think about that or go out and purchase it. Sometimes I just get tired of having to think about food at all. 

 

In those stages I just think of cooking as any other household or life task that I don't enjoy but that has to get done. Like laundry or cleaning the toilets or dusting or vacuuming. (Sometimes I do enjoy cooking so it's not always that kind of task). I don't try and make it creative or interesting. I just do it. I fall back on the easy meals I know people will eat and that are quick. I grocery shop for the same old things that we always eat. I don't try and get the best prices. 

 

I think sometimes we elevate cooking and food to such high levels in this country that we end up feeling guilty when we just aren't excited about it. 

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I've been going through a phase for awhile now where I just DO NOT want to cook. I don't want to plan meals or look up new recipes, I don't want to clean up a messy kitchen, I don't want to grocery shop...I don't want any of it. I've always really enjoyed cooking and never really felt like it was this huge daily chore, so that makes it even more difficult.

 

We're spending way too much money on takeout and convenience food, but I cannot seem to get out of this rut I'm in. DH can't really cook more because of his work schedule, and the one of the kids can cook but will leave the kitchen a mess and use lots of pots and pans and cook/burn things onto them, which drives me nuts and is almost more work for me anyway. (The other has some issues we're working through, so right now schoolwork is pretty much all I can ask of her *sigh*) I tried ordering groceries via Amazon Prime, but I can't deal with all the waste that comes with that, and now I have all these huge totes sitting around that I can't seem to get them to pick up, so that didn't seem easier.

 

So what would you do? Have you ever managed to get yourself out of this kind of thing? I need a cook or a housekeeper or something!

 

Thanks.

I am right there with you. Dh and I made Mediterranean bowls one night this week....a simple meal and the boys weren't here....other than that I haven't cooked in well over a week ! Ugh. I just don't want to. The thought of cleaning up to exhausts me. The boys are gone so much and it makes it hard when it is just for me and Dh.

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I hear ya! This has been me for the past 10 months. I'm just now getting back into my planning/recipe grove. My recipe book needed an overhaul and that was part of the trouble.

 

I love love love Cooking Lite magazine. They have so many recipes and they rate them for time, kid friendly, and they even give one veggie 4 ways (like 4 ways to cook broccoli on one page). I take what I like out and trash the rest of the pages.

 

Around Christmas when my nephews do magazine drives for PS I always sign up for a two year subscription. It costs $14 for 24 issues! That's a steal considering what they cost to buy individually.

 

I wish you good luck getting out of the slump! It's tough, I know. 😊

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If there's a magic solution, I'd love to hear it. I have a toddler and an infant, our AC is broken, and I don't want to cook anything.

 

The best I've been able to do is use the instant pot / crock pot as much as I can. And rely on cold cereal and peanut butter sandwiches.

It's 95 here, south facing, no-blind windows (in the US), with no AC. Sandwiches for everyone!

 

This past weekend, I grilled steaks and baked potatoes, despite the heat, and a friend was in awe of my willingness to introduce more heat into my house from the oven. I regretted it almost immediately, but thankfully our well water here is ice cold.

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I just do it anyway. I definitely know the feeling. Yes, you can have bread and salad and cold stuff but someone still has to think about that or go out and purchase it. Sometimes I just get tired of having to think about food at all. 

 

 

Yes, this. I sat down with my laptop and I'm supposed to be thinking about a meal plan of some kind for the next 4-5 days so that at least the pre-thinking part is done, and instead I'm here because I just can't deal with thinking about food!

 

And right now I feel like I have this very adversarial relationship with food. I have a bunch of health issues that are all exacerbated by different kinds of foods, but they all conflict with one another! Because I've always enjoyed cooking and having a lot of variety in our meals, the kids feel like it's a restaurant and are disappointed with simple food. Neither of them likes salad. We all love bread, but it gives me and one DD terrible heartburn, DH wants low carb, and the other DD really needs fewer carbs. I feel like our food needs vs. desires have taken over my life. 

 

I really need food in pill form or protein cubes or something. 

 

ETA: And a lot of the simple food ideas are what we eat for breakfast and lunch, so by dinnertime, I feel like we need something different, like an actual meal...

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops
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I'm right there with you.  

 

Recently I've been using one of those recipe delivery services.  We get stuff for three days per week.  It helps in that I don't have to plan or shop and if people don't like it, well, it's not my fault.  I'm still cooking, probably more than I was timewise, but it feels better somehow.  Maybe because I don't feel guilty about not cooking.

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I don't know about you all, but salads are often one of the most labor intensive food items I make.

 

I love to cook and food prep. But good salads don't reduce my work load.

 

Bill

 

Oh, I find salads easy because we use the pre-prepped organic baby greens boxes from BJ's and then add stuff to them. However, we went through a long phase where DH and I ate salads constantly, and even though we do a wide variety of toppings, we came out of it kind of sick of salads. We still eat them, but not nearly as often as we used to, and the kids won't eat more than a little, so there's still the job of figuring out something for them. And frankly, raw greens and I don't get along so well since I had my gallbladder out :(, so I'm limited in how much I can eat anyway.

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No advice, just commiseration. I hate cooking. Long ingredient lists stress me out. Picky eaters refuse whatever I cook anyway. I do feel bad for DH because he is a foodie but, well, he hasn't stepped up to cook in years so I don't feel too bad. Plus, he eats lunch out most days.

I'm ready for food supplement pills to be invented. Or replicators.

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I don't know about you all, but salads are often one of the most labor intensive food items I make.

 

I love to cook and food prep. But good salads don't reduce my work load.

 

Bill

 

 

I have learned to be content with mediocre salads.

 

 

Anyone over the age of 7 can cut vegetables, mix salad dressing and boil eggs. Possibly not well enough to serve to visitors, but well enough to save Mum the trouble.

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What part bugs you the most right now? For me it's the planning and the shopping, so I'm trying Terra's Kitchen. If it's the shopping, try Walmart grocery pick-up if it's available where you live. I've been buying prepackaged fruits and less is wasted. Ask everyone in the house what they want added to the grocery list, so then the house will be stocked with what people are in the mood for. Buy deli meat and cheese for easy varied sandwiches. Frozen hamburger patties can be quick cooked in a skillet in convenient quantities by anyone who can be trusted for that.

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I have learned to be content with mediocre salads.

 

 

Anyone over the age of 7 can cut vegetables, mix salad dressing and boil eggs. Possibly not well enough to serve to visitors, but well enough to save Mum the trouble.

Like, like, like. I love that you're a

moderator despite the fact that I can't like your posts.

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One thing a few of us (me, Texasmom33) keep trying to tell you all about (to deafening silence) is the joy of Sous Vide.

 

Just because it many sound (unpronounceably) French it is the easiest way in the world to get perfectly cooked proteins w/o any time pressure (as food can sit in a temperature controlled water bath almost indefinitely and not get more "done").

 

You do not need to watch the food. It nearly all passive time. And the results are restaurant quality.

 

Someday Sous Vide will be "a thing" on this forum. I'll do a seach, bump an old thread, and say "why didn't you all listen back in 2016?"

 

Bill

 

 

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One thing a few of us (me, Texasmom33) keep trying to tell you all about (to deafening silence) is the joy of Sous Vide.

 

Just because it many sound (unpronounceably) French it is the easiest way in the world to get perfectly cooked proteins w/o any time pressure (as food can sit in a temperature controlled water bath almost indefinitely and not get more "done").

 

You do not need to watch the food. It nearly all passive time. And the results are restaurant quality.

 

Someday Sous Vide will be "a thing" on this forum. I'll do a seach, bump an old thread, and say "why didn't you all listen back in 2016?"

 

Bill

It sounds too difficult. Call it Bubba's Qwik 'n Easy Boiled Chicken. Then it will appeal to an American audience.

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I have learned to be content with mediocre salads.

 

 

Anyone over the age of 7 can cut vegetables, mix salad dressing and boil eggs. Possibly not well enough to serve to visitors, but well enough to save Mum the trouble.

 

The first cooking skill my son acquired was making fantastic salad dressings. I have a nice English mortar we use for dressings. The boy learned to smash garlic with a little salt, a mustard or other emulsifying ingredients and olive oil and some vinegar or lemon, and then to improve from there.

 

He makes superb dressings.

 

Make a girl a fine husband one day.

 

Bill

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One thing a few of us (me, Texasmom33) keep trying to tell you all about (to deafening silence) is the joy of Sous Vide.

 

Just because it many sound (unpronounceably) French it is the easiest way in the world to get perfectly cooked proteins w/o any time pressure (as food can sit in a temperature controlled water bath almost indefinitely and not get more "done").

 

You do not need to watch the food. It nearly all passive time. And the results are restaurant quality.

 

Someday Sous Vide will be "a thing" on this forum. I'll do a seach, bump an old thread, and say "why didn't you all listen back in 2016?"

 

Bill

I must have missed your earlier posts about this. Please enlighten me! What do you cook using this method, mostly meat? I'm all ears.

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Here's how I think of it - there are these different components to cooking. One is the shopping - I can cut corners on that by doing big costco runs or by doing Amazon groceries or by having a produce box come. Another is the mental work of meal planning - I can cut corners on that by doing Hello Fresh or Blue Apron again, or by planning lots of really simple meals ahead of time and sticking to a schedule for them long term. I knew a family that did the same five meals every week for three month stretches. Every Monday for 12 Mondays, same dish. No thinking involved for three months. Finally is the actual in kitchen cooking time - I can cut corners on that by making really simple food - pasta and frozen meatballs, meat+frozen bread/rice/grain mix from a box+green beans (that's our default vegetable), rice and beans, grilled cheese, breakfast for dinner, etc. Stuff that I know like the back of my hand and can make half asleep.

 

But in the end, I have to choose where to cut corners and what's really the biggest part of the labor for me.

The meal rotation above is what I have to fall back on whenever I get in this rut: decide on a few meals and cycle through them. And boy, am I in a similar place right now - my challenge is I just want to fix what I want to eat, and not feel like I need to make anyone else happy.

 

I love what Rosie said, my items would be:

salad

Hummus

Pita

Melon

 

And iced tea, all summer long. Heck maybe right on up to Thanksgiving.

Edited by Seasider
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I think sometimes we elevate cooking and food to such high levels in this country that we end up feeling guilty when we just aren't excited about it.

Isn't that the truth? I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, but the obligation to do it at least 6 days a week can take the fun out of it. I can't be a "foodie" 300+ days a year.

 

And to my above short list, I would have to add goat cheese and roasted asparagus & Brussels sprouts. But that's it.

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The first cooking skill my son acquired was making fantastic salad dressings. I have a nice English mortar we use for dressings. The boy learned to smash garlic with a little salt, a mustard or other emulsifying ingredients and olive oil and some vinegar or lemon, and then to improve from there.

 

He makes superb dressings.

 

Make a girl a fine husband one day.

 

Bill

 

My daughter started with salad dressings too. :)

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I am right there with you. Dh and I made Mediterranean bowls one night this week....a simple meal and the boys weren't here....other than that I haven't cooked in well over a week ! Ugh. I just don't want to. The thought of cleaning up to exhausts me. The boys are gone so much and it makes it hard when it is just for me and Dh.

What did you put in the Mediterranean bowls? That sounds good.

 

The kids being in and out - that makes it harder. They often don't tell me til the last minute if they'll be here for supper, and either I've been caught off guard and don't have a big meal planned for when all plus friends show up, or I make too much and end up with too many leftovers.

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I don't know about you all, but salads are often one of the most labor intensive food items I make.

 

I love to cook and food prep. But good salads don't reduce my work load.

 

Bill

True. That's one reason I like a chopped marinated salad I can put in a Mason jar in the fridge. After all the chopping and prep work I am pleased to have a good side dish or easy lunch for 2-3 days.

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I involve my children in planning meals, generating the grocery list, meal prep, and clean up. Once a week my 12yo makes dinner. He picks his recipe, and lists what he needs. I sit and put my feet up so I can answer questions if he has any. He has pretty good recipe reading skills and I don't sweat the odd waste here and there that a novice sometimes creates. We're building up his repertoire of recipes he can make on his own without any help. So far we're up to two meals he can make without recipe and by memory. Spaghetti and waffles.

 

If a kid can read, they can heat up frozen vegetables or prepare some boxed things so I take advantage of that. My three kids (7, 9, 12) have cleaned up the kitchen and done dishes after meals for at least the last couple of years. They do a fairly decent job and for the most part, the bits they do miss I can live with. Dh started it and helped enforce it. There's simply no excuse for them not to clean up. It's a necessary skill for successful adulting.

 

During soccer season, we eat the same five week day meals in the same rotation. I create one grocery list and just reuse it week to week. I cook four of the five and ds cooked the fifth. I like my InstantPot and sous vide's vegan possibilities do not impress me so that's one trend that will pass me by.

 

And if worse comes to worse, there's the kitchen dears, help yourselves. Leftovers, ramen, pb&j, oatmeal, popcorn and smoothies. Take your pick kids! We eat really well 85-95% of the time, I'm not going to sweat the small percent that we eat less well.

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I must have missed your earlier posts about this. Please enlighten me! What do you cook using this method, mostly meat? I'm all ears.

 

Mostly proteins, although I have done some vegetables to good effect.

 

Steak, Fish, Chicken all great. The key is you pick an ideal internal temperature, placed the protein in ziplock and walk away. Most Sous Vide items are nicer if they get a last-minute grilling.

 

I like steaks rare. Sous Vide gives the same degree of doneness edge to edge. If you like medium or well you can do that as well (despite being a food crime).

 

I tend not to like chicken breasts, especially boneless and skinless breasts. However, Sous Vide boneless and skinless breasts are delicious!

 

I've started doing more than I need for one meal, and using the rest as lunch meats or using in later meals in the week.

 

Fish comes out perfect as it is to the degree selected.

 

I do not have a gadget yet. I do a hacked version using a huge enameled cast iron pot and an instant-read thermometer. It is a little more demanding of attention. The gadgets make it fool-proof.

 

So easy.

 

Bill

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True. That's one reason I like a chopped marinated salad I can put in a Mason jar in the fridge. After all the chopping and prep work I am pleased to have a good side dish or easy lunch for 2-3 days.

 

I've never seen a salad—no matter how huge—survive a meal at my house.

 

It's because there is one oinker who can't stop himself :D

 

Bill

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This sous vide thing means an awful lot of plastic, doesn't it? You sous viders live in places where soft plastic can be recycled?

The sous vide plastic is like a thicker zipper-locked freezer bag so not recyclable (at least where I've lived - US large-city northeast, southeast, south, and Rockie Mountain North). But the ability to recycle is highly local.

Edited by ErinE
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I don't understand how Sous Vide saves any time or trouble over just putting the fish on a pan and putting it in the oven for 15 minutes, then serving with either rice from a rice cooker and a steamed vegetable or noodles (plain, with olive oil) and a steamed vegetable or whatever.

 

eta: I don't have picky eaters, so no one cares how done something is.  Overdone is fine.  I also don't season, except maybe a bit of lemon if I have some. Salmon doesn't need anything, imo.

  I do use a jar of curry sauce sometimes.  Literally open jar, pour over fish.

 

OP, what I do when I am tired of cooking is buy a lot of prepared protein, or easily prepared protein (lox, hummus, canned bean dip, peanut butter, etc.) and fruit and whole grain crackers, and say to hell with it for 2-3 days.  They'll survive on picnic food for a few days with no harm.

Edited by eternalsummer
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I cook familiar dishes. Ones I like and that are somewhat flexible as far as add-ins so they're not exactly the same each time, and that I don't really need to think about any more. Soups, a quiche-ish dish made with corn tortillas for a crust, baked pasta, frittata, crockpot meals, roasted chicken legs on a bed of veggies, etc. Then I put on a podcast and listen to something interesting while I'm cooking.

 

I try to serve a couple easy sides: rice (rice cooker), roasted veggies (just cut, toss in olive oil, roast in the oven), fresh fruit, green salad (just the greens and dressing), sliced fresh veggies, a loaf of bakery bread. Stuff I can just throw on the table, nothing that fancy.

 

Since your dh can't help cook, is he able to do the grocery shopping? I hate grocery shopping. We plan the week's worth of meals, make a list, and my dh shops for the groceries for the week. It actually would work fine if I had to do the shopping too. Since everything I need is on hand, I can walk into the kitchen and start cooking.

 

Plus...Sandwich Night, Fend for Yourselves Night, backyard cookouts (roast your own hot dogs--which seems like great fun but really means I don't have to cook, just slice a watermelon and throw some chips and salad on the table), Leftovers Night, and Sunday cooking class where we're teaching the boys to cook so they can take over a night or two eventually.

 

FWIW, streamlining things helps, but none of those things make me want to cook. I reeeaaallly don't want to most nights. It's because I feel overwhelmed and overloaded by other things, and I feel weighted by the necessity of meal prep. Most nights I just buckle down and do it anyway, even if it's just tomato soup and cheese toast.

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I do remember than when we were quite poor I cooked a lot, just because ingredients are cheaper than prepared foods, and the more ingredient and less prepared, the cheaper they are.  so we had a lot of beans and rice and biscuits made from scratch and eggs and etc.  I would have gone bonkers from boredom if I'd not had the radio on in the kitchen.

 

 

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Googling told me it required vacuum packing, but I see you've said ziplock bags work just fine.

Ziplocks work fine. The trick is to leave a tiny crack open and than carefully lower the bag into the water so it all gets submerged except for that last little bit of opening, which gets closed right at the very end. That forces out the air.

 

Bill

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I don't understand how Sous Vide saves any time or trouble over just putting the fish on a pan and putting it in the oven for 15 minutes, then serving with either rice from a rice cooker and a steamed vegetable or noodles (plain, with olive oil) and a steamed vegetable or whatever.

 

eta: I don't have picky eaters, so no one cares how done something is. Overdone is fine. I also don't season, except maybe a bit of lemon if I have some. Salmon doesn't need anything, imo.

I do use a jar of curry sauce sometimes. Literally open jar, pour over fish.

 

OP, what I do when I am tired of cooking is buy a lot of prepared protein, or easily prepared protein (lox, hummus, canned bean dip, peanut butter, etc.) and fruit and whole grain crackers, and say to hell with it for 2-3 days. They'll survive on picnic food for a few days with no harm.

Fish cook quickly, so in some sence I will yield. But the big differences are in active time vs passive time, in addition to quality.

 

If one doesn't care that fish is overcooked, then I wouldn't suggest doing Sous Vide. But if eating salmon cooked perfectly to taste (as if by a master chef) is pleasing to one, it's well worth it.

 

Plus if one put it on thinking dinner would be on at 6 and then everyone is late by an hour, that salmon will still be ready to go and perfectly cooked at 7.

 

When one can combine perfection with no need for monitoring, and time flexibility in serving, one has some winning options from my perspective.

 

It is a very easy method that takes zero cooking skills and produces great results.

 

Bill

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I hate cooking.  I hate planning, grocery shopping, everything.  Our grocery store is across town, which can take 10 minutes or 2 hours depending on the day.  Our compromise here was to order a few meals each week from Blue Apron.  We get three of the 2-person meals for the days of the week I have to cook for the three of us. The meals are usually big enough for that and leftovers, but on occasion I'll add an extra piece of the protein (like the pork chop meal I did).  They are delivered with all the ingredients needed, the amount in the box is only what is needed for the week, so I don't end up with, like, a giant bunch of bok choy because I needed 2 cups chopped.

 

It's not the most economical but when we priced it out to continue we found that it's less than half our grocery budget for the week and even after shopping the rest of the time we still stay on budget.

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