Six ladies and I gathered around a table to talk purposefully about homemaking, with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and hot cups of tea in hand. The conversation took an interesting turn, and I think you should listen in.
We were talking about making meals, because of course, it’s a key job we have, to feed those people of ours. One mother of four, who is now an empty nester, sagged her shoulders in discouragement and said she loves to cook but is struggling to do that while working almost full time.
A 20-something single woman also shrugged her shoulders and said she loves to cook but finds it depressing to make a meal and have leftovers that last longer than her taste buds can stand.
So we hashed this out as a group, and may I say that if these women hadn’t been willing to share their struggle and frustration with cooking, the rest of us never could have encouraged them? It’s important for us to be brave enough to admit to each other that we have trouble spots in homemaking.
At the end of our chat, I suggested to these dear friends that they go home and find a bunch of recipes that fit where they are in life. Let me toss those ideas to you and see what you think.
For the woman working full time
If you have to work full time, then you need recipes that feel do-able on that tight schedule. For that to happen, I give you permission to let go of the idea that all meals must be worthy of Food Network.
I used to think that fancy and complicated meant kitchen success, but a while ago I had worked full days and felt discouraged about making dinner. I stooped to buying tater tots and hung my head in shame. But when I put them on the plate for my guys, they almost wept with joy. “Tater tots! No way! We love tater tots!” They said things like I was the best mom ever and what a great cook I was.
That was a turning point in my mind when I accepted that easy and simple could mean kitchen success, too.
So if you’re working full time, I suggest you think about putting three foods on your family’s dinner plates: meat, starch, green. That’s my formula. A can of green beans or a bagged salad count as green. Tater tots or a thick slice of good bread can be the starch. And a simple pork chop, fish fillet, or chicken breast can be the meat. Easy, easy, easy.
I try to prepare meat from scratch, such as marinating a piece of steak. But it’s also nice to let Costco make your meat for you. A rotisserie chicken or a pre-cooked roast or breaded cod fillets? Those count as dinner items!
To the working woman, let me say it one more time: Easy can be successful, too.
To The Single Woman
If you’re living alone, I encourage you to care for yourself and make dinner in the evening. Eating good food is restful to our souls. Please don’t let cereal become your evening meal.
For this season of your life, you need meals that fit for one person. This isn’t a good time to make big casseroles that feed six. Get on allrecipes.com and fill a recipe box with meals that will feed you for one evening and maybe leave enough for one meal of leftovers but not more than that.
I bet you’ll enjoy cooking more if you know you’re not going to have to eat what you just cooked for the next five nights. It will be worth the time to find simple recipes that make sense for you right now.
The working woman and the single woman –these are just two examples of unique life situations that require thoughtfulness in meal planning.
For whatever season of life are you in, your meal plans should match the rhythm of your life.
What changes do you need to make to your recipe box? I’d love to hear your ideas.
With love from Montana,