Tired of deciding what to cook?

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“I’m just buying loads of food and hoping it might arrange itself into a meal like monkeys writing Shakespeare.”

That’s my creative caption for the featured photo. Are you tired of deciding what to cook for your family week after week? Are you stuck in a rut, cooking the same things every week? Are you tired of buying expensive ingredients to try something new, only to have your kids reject it?

I know I am. In my house, I’m responsible for cooking 3 days a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. My husband does the other days, and he is a much more creative and resourceful cook. Moreover, he doesn’t get quite so cross about the soul-destroying experience of slaving over a hot stove to produce something the kids won’t even eat.

So from a combination of being busy with work and a general sense of ennui, I rely on the same old failsafes every week. And even I’m getting tired of it.

I do “Freezer Food Monday”, which is fish fingers or previously frozen Richmond sausages, accompanied by potato waffles and frozen peas (I do cook the peas; I don’t serve them frozen. I’m not that bad). Come on, don’t judge me … it’s Monday and I can’t be bothered. If we’re all very lucky, we had a roast chicken on Sunday and instead of freezer food I mix the leftover chicken with a jar of Korma curry sauce.

We then have “Mince Wednesday”. My kids are mad for mince, so I might as well be the one to cook it for them. I usually do a mild chilli con carne (the Hairy Bikers one is best) or a spag bol. But I get so bored and think there must be some more ways to serve the mince.

The week is rounded off by Pizza Friday. Usually it’s one of those ones they make for you in Morrisons. Sometimes we get one delivered or even occasionally go out for one. When the day is very special, I buy the pizza bases and other ingredients and we build our own. I’m quite happy with Pizza Friday, actually. I’m sure I read somewhere that a pizza each week keeps you on fleek. Although I am over the age of 30 so I don’t actually know what that means.

In any case, I really would like – for my own sanity if not for the sake of expanding my children’s tastebud horizons – to try some other stuff. But the problem for me is that the stakes (and the price of the steaks) are too high. I don’t want to make things that require a lot of effort and expensive ingredients, only to have my kids reject it.

This very website actually has some great family-friendly recipes to try out if you’re in a rut (written by a mate of mine, not me, in case you didn’t realise I had a reclusive guest poster). But another cool idea is to try out new recipe subscription service, Mum’s Meal Planner. This is a small business venture by a normal mum named Becky, who felt just the same about the difficulty of getting meal inspiration.

The way her service works is you pay £2.50 per month, and she sends you a weekly email with a whole week worth of meals (and 2 substitutes on the list if you really don’t like some of the main options). This is accompanied by a full shopping list that will cover everything for the week and use all of the ingredients without excess waste.

I’ve been getting her emails for a while now and I’m really impressed by the variety of easy recipes that keep things a bit fresh, along with the convenient shopping list. As I don’t cook every day of the week, I don’t use all of the recipes, but I enjoy getting some options each week to choose from. It’s fantastic that they’re all easy to follow even for those among us (like me) who have the bare minimum of culinary skills.

For this “Mince Wednesday”, I tried doing her cottage pie and beans recipe. There is minimal chopping and throwing the can of beans in adds loads of flavour and bulk with a minimum of effort. It tasted just as good as the much more labour-intensive cottage pie we usually make. It had a bit less depth of flavour (because our usual one has wine and worcestershire sauce in it), but that’s all well and good when you’re feeding children (the culinary cretins). My husband and I both really enjoyed it.

Sadly, my kids basically still didn’t eat it. But I didn’t mind so much because the expense and effort was low. Normally, when I worked so hard on a meal and my kids don’t eat it, I’m all like:

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But I didn’t feel that way today because the meal was low effort. I just shrugged and cracked open a beer. I’m looking forward to trying more of Becky’s meals. I’m sure my kids will find one or two they might deign to eat.

Becky subscribed me to her service for free for a short time so I could evaluate the service, but this is my honest opinion. I just like helping out small businesses. 

Mission Mindfulness

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9 thoughts on “Tired of deciding what to cook?

  1. To help with recipe ideas I get recipe books out from my local library, that way we get to try out new things all the time. New cookery books can cost a lot and libraries usually have loads to choose from. The subscription service is a nice idea though, £2.50 a month is reasonable and also cheaper than buying new recipe books.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha. You made me laugh so many times. Pizza on fleek…I’m going to text my 11 year old and ask her what that means. Let’s pray she answers me back. I’d really just like someone who wants to come to my house EVERYDAY and cook me magical healthy meals we will all eat. Is that so wrong to ask for? Great read, and best wishes to your friend and her meal service business. #thesatsesh

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  3. Can’t tell you how many times I have stood in the kitchen, with no idea what to make. Usually not in the mood to experiment and try new things with 2 kids at my feet the entire time. The service is a lovely idea, but like you said, my kids might not eat it either. Stealing the Pizza friday idea! #thesatsesh

    Liked by 1 person

  4. #thesatsesh so glad you came to play with our new linky, I love your gentle but honest approach writing, do you write like I do (like you speak), I’m a fan – an honesty of telling them to starve lol.
    I do a monthly shop and create from what I have, I never meal plan except in the morning when I get anything out that I might need from the freezer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this post as I can soooo relate to lots of it – I too find it “soul-destroying” when I’ve slaved over a meal and the kids just turn their noses up at it! My hubby too is much better at all things in the kitchen as well as not taking it all so personally. I love the idea of Becky’s service – something I must look into sometime. Good to have you blogging again lovely xx #thesatsesh xx

    Liked by 1 person

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