Dear Home Ec 101,
I live in a home with two adults (myself and spouse), neither of whom much like to cook. I am the one who’s at home most of the day so I feel I should be planning and preparing our week night meals. The problem is that I have minimal cooking skills, and on top of that the spouse is a meat loving diabetic, whereas I am a vegetarian carb lover. We end up eating out way too much.
Can you suggest how I can plan meals that are simple to make and will be satisfying enough for both of us to keep us from escaping to the nearest take out joint?
I can see how this situation can feel difficult. I was actually discussing a problem with my boss that reminded me of your situation.
You see, I let perfect be the enemy of the good.
I have been struggling with a project and every minor roadblock frustrated me, took away my momentum, and made me feel helpless. These roadblocks weren’t even something I should need to solve, but because I couldn’t see that delegating was part of the solution, I have been needlessly banging my head against the wall for weeks.
The problem has many pieces and each of these pieces contribute to the solution.
Part 1: You currently have limited cooking skills.
The good news is this is not a static situation. Each technique you learn, each success you have is another tool for your solution.
Part 2: He is diabetic
Try not to look at it as completely up to you to solve. Yes, you both should absolutely take this seriously. Yes, learning to create meals that are low on the glycemic index should be a goal. However, at the end of the day, he is the one putting the food on his plate and in his mouth. He’s a grown man and it isn’t your job to be the food police. Obviously you love him and care for his well-being but don’t make yourself completely miserable in the process
Part 3: You’re a vegetarian who loves carbs
Just because you technically can have a lot of carbohydrates doesn’t mean they are they healthiest option for you, either.
Not every meal is going to be a perfect solution for both of you.
Start by making a list of foods and recipes that you already know you both like. Is there a cuisine you both prefer? Some techniques: grilling, stir fry, roasting for example make it very easy to keep the meat based ingredients away from the vegetarian options.
Not every meal you make needs to have meat as the source of protein and not every meal needs to center on a pile of pasta or potatoes, either.
I highly recommend making a vegetable dish the focus of each meal. You can then add a side of rice or pasta for you and a grilled or pan seared protein for him.
Pinterest can be your friend when looking for your main dish, BUT search based on an ingredient that is in-season and preferably on sale.
And don’t focus on the whole week today. Start with, what will I make for dinner tonight? If you still have energy and motivation to think about tomorrow, pick that out, too. It’s a long term goal, it’s okay to take it one step, one meal at a time.
What other advice would you offer this couple as they work to stay out of the drive-through
Send your questions to helpm