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"Tools" (Mental Tricks) for Motivating to Cook
08-04-2016, 01:43 PM
Post: #1
"Tools" (Mental Tricks) for Motivating to Cook
We all like to cook, yes? I certainly do.

But does anyone else face the dilemma that I often have? You know, you get up early to do some chores, jump in/on the car/bike/motorbike, fight traffic, work all day, fight your way home, do more chores or work out, only to stare at the kitchen and contemplate the available options to replenish the inner fire.

There is that inner dialogue about whether to bow to my desire to get something in me quickly or take the time to make a traditional meal. Should I choose the time savings route and simply heat something up or make a boring sandwich? Or should I carve out more time and make a bona fide meal? I know I would be better off if I grabbed a bunch of ingredients and cooked up something good and truly homemade but it can be tough to motivate to do that. Of course, I have an additional reason to make a three-course meal: my wife. Even though she never puts any pressure on me, because I am more of the cook in the family I feel a responsibility to make something "real" so that I know she gets a solid meal.

This is especially poignant during the week. It is often easier to motivate to cook on the weekends but even then, we try to ctach up on chores and errands on the weekend so even then it can be all too easy to take the simple route.

Do you all have this split personality during the week? How do you handle it? What tricks or tools do you use to make a solid meal that checks off all of the boxes (nutrition, taste, cost-effectiveness)?

"I don't cook; I prepare things." My late brother Bill
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08-09-2016, 07:52 AM
Post: #2
RE: "Tools" (Mental Tricks) for Motivating to Cook
I cook large amounts of meat and starches( pasta or rice or noodles) on the weekend so that all I have to do is reheat it and zap a bag of frozen vegetables. Voila. Dinner is served in under 10 minutes.
For example, spaghetti sauce can also be used as pizza sauce the next night. Buy a premade crust(Pillsbury is a favorite) and some cheese. I can get at least 2 meals out of a pizza, and 2 more of spaghetti. (My room mate shares the food.)
Make a "family sized" package of chicken breasts on the weekend. Shred some for tacos the next night, make chicken sandwiches and salad the next night. Or just top a salad with it.
Or make a bunch of chicken, pork chops, or burgers ahead of time and use a food saver to seal them and toss in the freezer. Pull out what you want for dinner, microwave that and a bag of frozen veggies.
Rotisserie chicken and a trip to the salad bar is my favorite fast food combination, and that will feed the room mate and I for a couple of days.

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08-09-2016, 09:04 AM
Post: #3
RE: "Tools" (Mental Tricks) for Motivating to Cook
Thanks, Nettie!

Cooking ahead is absolutely one of the smart ways to eat better. I've been fairly good at that at times but have fallen out of it lately.
I like how you end up with 2 or three different meals from one main starting point.

Any other ideas, kids? Any tricks for putting oneself in the right mood/mode to starting something from scratch?

"I don't cook; I prepare things." My late brother Bill
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08-10-2016, 02:51 PM
Post: #4
RE: "Tools" (Mental Tricks) for Motivating to Cook
I've been watching some cooking shows, and one person said to make the store work for you when it comes to preparing vegetables:
buy the pre-washed bag of salad (I still wash it again, but hey, then it's ready to go.)
Go to the salad bar and buy the mushrooms, peppers, onions, pea pods, broccoli or whatever you want to cook that night or within a day or two. It's already washed and chopped.

When you are in the mood to cook, make some extra.
For example, brown extra hamburger and put it in freezer bags in the freezer, in the amount you would need for a meal.
Then when you don't feel like cooking, you can thaw it in the microwave.
If you add BBQ sauce, you have sloppy joes. If you add taco seasoning, you can make tacos or taco salad(use that pre-washed bag of salad). You have meat for chili, or Lasagna, or with a jar of sauce and some noodles, spaghetti.
Or make extra burgers, and freeze them.
Thaw Burgers, open a bag of chips, wash that bag o salad...there's dinner.

Buy those bags of frozen vegetables that you can pop in the microwave. I can't tell you how many nights I have used those!
Microwave baked potatoes. Zap your veggies. Zap the meat. Dinner is ready in 15 minutes or less!

Do you have a slow cooker? If you know that it's going to be a hectic day, put the items for the recipe in the slow cooker the night before, and put it in the fridge(just the insert). Then just put the insert in the heating unit the next morning. Remember to plug it in. Dinner will cook itself.

Plan your grocery list, which means planning your menus for the week. What will you have time to make, and when? Then buy those things and fill in will the salad bar items, frozen, and canned foods. I used to think this was so time consuming, but it really saves time when I come home at night.
I'm a teacher and there are at least two days a week(during the school year) that the roomie and I don't get home until after 5.
Before we started cooking ahead, it was a can of soup and a sandwich for dinner, or a run for Chinese.
If I know I'm going to work late, I make sure to make enough the night before so that I can eat leftovers that day.
I hope that helps. I know if I have stuff that I can pull out, microwave, and have a decent dinner, I'm much less likely to go eat junk food, or a boring sandwich.

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08-10-2016, 02:54 PM
Post: #5
RE: "Tools" (Mental Tricks) for Motivating to Cook
(08-10-2016 02:51 PM)Nettie Wrote:  I've been watching some cooking shows, and one person said to make the store work for you when it comes to preparing vegetables:
buy the pre-washed bag of salad (I still wash it again, but hey, then it's ready to go.)
Go to the salad bar and buy the mushrooms, peppers, onions, pea pods, broccoli or whatever you want to cook that night or within a day or two. It's already washed and chopped.

When you are in the mood to cook, make some extra.
For example, brown extra hamburger and put it in freezer bags in the freezer, in the amount you would need for a meal.
Then when you don't feel like cooking, you can thaw it in the microwave.
If you add BBQ sauce, you have sloppy joes. If you add taco seasoning, you can make tacos or taco salad(use that pre-washed bag of salad). You have meat for chili, or Lasagna, or with a jar of sauce and some noodles, spaghetti.
Or make extra burgers, and freeze them.
Thaw Burgers, open a bag of chips, wash that bag o salad...there's dinner.

Buy those bags of frozen vegetables that you can pop in the microwave. I can't tell you how many nights I have used those!
Microwave baked potatoes. Zap your veggies. Zap the meat. Dinner is ready in 15 minutes or less!

Do you have a slow cooker? If you know that it's going to be a hectic day, put the items for the recipe in the slow cooker the night before, and put it in the fridge(just the insert). Then just put the insert in the heating unit the next morning. Remember to plug it in. Dinner will cook itself.

Plan your grocery list, which means planning your menus for the week. What will you have time to make, and when? Then buy those things and fill in will the salad bar items, frozen, and canned foods. I used to think this was so time consuming, but it really saves time when I come home at night.
I'm a teacher and there are at least two days a week(during the school year) that the roomie and I don't get home until after 5.
Before we started cooking ahead, it was a can of soup and a sandwich for dinner, or a run for Chinese.
If I know I'm going to work late, I make sure to make enough the night before so that I can eat leftovers that day.
I hope that helps. I know if I have stuff that I can pull out, microwave, and have a decent dinner, I'm much less likely to go eat junk food, or a boring sandwich.

Wonderful ideas, Nettie!

I have not had a slow cooker for a very long time...I think that would be a fun way to help with the issue.

I like the way you get two or three very different meals out of one main protein.

"I don't cook; I prepare things." My late brother Bill
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Quote this message in a reply
08-10-2016, 02:56 PM
Post: #6
RE: "Tools" (Mental Tricks) for Motivating to Cook
(08-10-2016 02:54 PM)Nung Wrote:  
(08-10-2016 02:51 PM)Nettie Wrote:  I've been watching some cooking shows, and one person said to make the store work for you when it comes to preparing vegetables:
buy the pre-washed bag of salad (I still wash it again, but hey, then it's ready to go.)
Go to the salad bar and buy the mushrooms, peppers, onions, pea pods, broccoli or whatever you want to cook that night or within a day or two. It's already washed and chopped.

When you are in the mood to cook, make some extra.
For example, brown extra hamburger and put it in freezer bags in the freezer, in the amount you would need for a meal.
Then when you don't feel like cooking, you can thaw it in the microwave.
If you add BBQ sauce, you have sloppy joes. If you add taco seasoning, you can make tacos or taco salad(use that pre-washed bag of salad). You have meat for chili, or Lasagna, or with a jar of sauce and some noodles, spaghetti.
Or make extra burgers, and freeze them.
Thaw Burgers, open a bag of chips, wash that bag o salad...there's dinner.

Buy those bags of frozen vegetables that you can pop in the microwave. I can't tell you how many nights I have used those!
Microwave baked potatoes. Zap your veggies. Zap the meat. Dinner is ready in 15 minutes or less!

Do you have a slow cooker? If you know that it's going to be a hectic day, put the items for the recipe in the slow cooker the night before, and put it in the fridge(just the insert). Then just put the insert in the heating unit the next morning. Remember to plug it in. Dinner will cook itself.

Plan your grocery list, which means planning your menus for the week. What will you have time to make, and when? Then buy those things and fill in will the salad bar items, frozen, and canned foods. I used to think this was so time consuming, but it really saves time when I come home at night.
I'm a teacher and there are at least two days a week(during the school year) that the roomie and I don't get home until after 5.
Before we started cooking ahead, it was a can of soup and a sandwich for dinner, or a run for Chinese.
If I know I'm going to work late, I make sure to make enough the night before so that I can eat leftovers that day.
I hope that helps. I know if I have stuff that I can pull out, microwave, and have a decent dinner, I'm much less likely to go eat junk food, or a boring sandwich.

Wonderful ideas, Nettie!

I have not had a slow cooker for a very long time...I think that would be a fun way to help with the issue.

I like the way you get two or three very different meals out of one main protein.
Thanks.
I learned the hard way. I was very ill for over a year due to stress at work and poor eating. I'm much healthier now!

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08-10-2016, 03:00 PM
Post: #7
RE: "Tools" (Mental Tricks) for Motivating to Cook
(08-10-2016 02:56 PM)Nettie Wrote:  
(08-10-2016 02:54 PM)Nung Wrote:  
(08-10-2016 02:51 PM)Nettie Wrote:  I've been watching some cooking shows, and one person said to make the store work for you when it comes to preparing vegetables:
buy the pre-washed bag of salad (I still wash it again, but hey, then it's ready to go.)
Go to the salad bar and buy the mushrooms, peppers, onions, pea pods, broccoli or whatever you want to cook that night or within a day or two. It's already washed and chopped.

When you are in the mood to cook, make some extra.
For example, brown extra hamburger and put it in freezer bags in the freezer, in the amount you would need for a meal.
Then when you don't feel like cooking, you can thaw it in the microwave.
If you add BBQ sauce, you have sloppy joes. If you add taco seasoning, you can make tacos or taco salad(use that pre-washed bag of salad). You have meat for chili, or Lasagna, or with a jar of sauce and some noodles, spaghetti.
Or make extra burgers, and freeze them.
Thaw Burgers, open a bag of chips, wash that bag o salad...there's dinner.

Buy those bags of frozen vegetables that you can pop in the microwave. I can't tell you how many nights I have used those!
Microwave baked potatoes. Zap your veggies. Zap the meat. Dinner is ready in 15 minutes or less!

Do you have a slow cooker? If you know that it's going to be a hectic day, put the items for the recipe in the slow cooker the night before, and put it in the fridge(just the insert). Then just put the insert in the heating unit the next morning. Remember to plug it in. Dinner will cook itself.

Plan your grocery list, which means planning your menus for the week. What will you have time to make, and when? Then buy those things and fill in will the salad bar items, frozen, and canned foods. I used to think this was so time consuming, but it really saves time when I come home at night.
I'm a teacher and there are at least two days a week(during the school year) that the roomie and I don't get home until after 5.
Before we started cooking ahead, it was a can of soup and a sandwich for dinner, or a run for Chinese.
If I know I'm going to work late, I make sure to make enough the night before so that I can eat leftovers that day.
I hope that helps. I know if I have stuff that I can pull out, microwave, and have a decent dinner, I'm much less likely to go eat junk food, or a boring sandwich.

Wonderful ideas, Nettie!

I have not had a slow cooker for a very long time...I think that would be a fun way to help with the issue.

I like the way you get two or three very different meals out of one main protein.
Thanks.
I learned the hard way. I was very ill for over a year due to stress at work and poor eating. I'm much healthier now!

The right food is so important!

"I don't cook; I prepare things." My late brother Bill
Find all posts by this user
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