Anyone else burning out??

sarahsocal

Just a quick vent: I am running out of meal ideas!!


I love cooking but admit that after 3.5 months of being home pretty much 24/7 it is wearing on me. I have loved the opportunity to cook so much more but I am running out of new ideas. I know it sounds lame but 2-3 meals a day pretty much every day has tapped me out. Granted we do some takeout but we have cooked more since March than I would have thought possible.


Anyone else in the same boat?


I read constantly on here looking for ideas. Food Network website, Pinterest, etc.


Any fabulous recommendations or new finds to share?

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plllog

At the beginning of stay at home orders, I was in a bit of a funk. Sad. Little appetite. Fewer to feed. Then I got a project. New kinds of flour to experiment with. I still have a flour for pasta to experiment on. That really helped. I also started getting produce farm boxes (CSA sortof, with some choose your own added). That added pressure by giving me produce first and plan second, instead of my usual, where I'd often run around a store making up a dish depending on what I'd found. Since my boxes are always missing something or other, I can't even plan specifics until they arrive. That keeps me on my toes, and adds to the prod to get with it and get everything made. I've also been trying a bunch of recipes from my to-do list.

Given all that, my advice would be to find a long term cooking project that suits you. You could go through a whole cookbook, like Julie & Julia, or take on a new cuisine with different skills. Maybe it's learning to use a vegetable you've never tried before. Like I know people who've never cooked eggplant, and you could make an eggplant a week and have enough different things to do to last a year. Or perfect something--keep working at pasta or pizza or fried chicken or whatever you've never fully mastered, until you get it right. Finding ways of repurposing the "fails" can add to your variety (hint: casseroles are great for redressing cooking wrongs).

By taking on a project or two, you make cooking a challenge and an intellectual exercise, not just a way to have something to eat.

Good luck!

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Sherry

I have always been in that funk. We hardly ever eat out. Way before this virus. Husband likes almost nothing. I want something different 365/24/7 for several years in a row, preferably highly seasoned and spicy. He wants the same things, prepared the same way, day after day. No spice.

I read on here to get ideas. I also have started just keeping something basic cooked and in the frig/freezer that he can heat up. That way I can fix something I want.

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Sherry

Fry chicken/beef/pork/venison. Grill chicken/beef/pork/venison. Fix vegetables. Fix bread. Throw vegetables in trash. Repeat.

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Sooz

For me, I'd make a plan like this because sometimes I need things to be a no-brainer for me! LOL

Pick one to have on M/W/F & pick one for T/Th/Sat, Sun is up for grabs.

Breakfast:

* oatmeal with or without fruit

* pancakes

* eggs

* egg sandwich

* yogurt with fruit

* peanut butter toast with or without jam

Lunch--rotate for variety

* salad with some protein in it

* sandwich or grilled sandwich like grilled cheese, or egg or tuna salad, or turkey sandwich, or a peanut butter & banana sandwich, or grilled eggplant sandwich etc

* French bread pizza slice with whatever toppings you want

* soup & sandwich

* burrito

* leftovers from dinner before

Dinner--assign a day to each of these

* pasta, spaghetti and meatballs or spaghetti and Italian sausages

* chicken something

* taco bar or taco salad or enchiladas

* stuffed baked potato

* shrimp or shrimp salad

* quiche or frittata

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petalique

Sarah, are you looking for ideas? Or perhaps just sick of the whole intense cooking marathon?

A large family? Picky eaters? Budget?

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heatheron40

OMG, Sarahsocal! MEEEEeee TOOooooo! Good golly, It was great at the beginning! Then of course, I gained weight ;^( Stuffed that genie back in the box and went back to the old standbys. Boring!!!

Got nothin' for ya, just thought I'd commiserate ;^)

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petalique

I’d be good for an Awaken from the Rut thread.

My criteria (can be flexible) might be too low brow for this group. I’m not really in a rut, just busy and picky. I never mind eating leftovers, but, will say, only once. Unless it’s something really fine like genuine New Eng fish chowder, lobster stew, New Eng clam chowder (not that paste), crab quiche, leftover prime rib or cold good steak.

Recently, I attempted to look up a recipe for the humble ‘Tuna Noodle Casserole.’ I couldn’t find one in my 50 cookbooks. I wanted interesting color, flavor, noodles and character.

I made up my own double batch. The photos I took don’t do it justice. It included finely minced onion, a few cheeses, Pennsylvania noodles, a few mushrooms and diced red bell pepper, a large can of albacore & water in which it was packed, capers, bit of pale dry sherry, can on condensed mushroom soup and gross-sized crushed saltines on top. Be sure the saltines browned. Good hot and pretty good cold.

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sarahsocal

Well at least I know I am in good company!

Thanks for the input. Some background: it is just hubby and me - thankfully no big group to feed. We are not picky with a few exceptions. (I laughed at the eggplant suggestion because it is one of the few things I don't like.)

I have made chicken a million ways - breasts, thighs, legs, whole. Shrimp - ditto. Pork, yep - chops, tenderloin, carnitas (been there, done that about 4 times since March!). Steaks (cowboy steak, porterhouse, steak tacos - including beef fondue. Pastas - check. Again, just burnout.

Part of the problem is that hubby and I are both working full time from home (it was literally 7 days a week for the first few weeks). So I don't have a ton of extra time.

Again - just venting! But if anyone has any new finds or fabulous recommendations, let me know.

Lunch was french dip sandwiches, Tonight I am trying:

Goat Cheese Herb Pasta

I will let you all know how it goes.

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nancyjane_gardener

I cook 6 days a week. Fridays have always been my day off. Spring and summer my hubby usually grills on nice nights and the soups and pastas and comfort food go by the wayside.

BUT! Just found out daughter and her wife are expecting twins!

We offered to buy them a small freezer and fill it with home made meals, but they think they don't have enough room for one! HA! They barely cook now......and when the twins come????? I don't think so!

I remember having the first baby, then having a second 2 years later and many times resorting to P-nut butter sandwiches for dinner!

I'm going to clean out my freezer and start cooking up a storm to freeze meals for these 2 hard working moms-to-be!

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cooper8828

Let's just say that I am ridiculously happy to have some fresh okra tonight. I'm making a huge batch of fried okra with a side of roasted chicken and pasta salad.

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Lynda R (USDA 9b, Sunset 23)

@sarahsocal I hear you! I seriously want my old life back. I didn't know how good I had it.

Some things that work for us are 1) We focus on dinner so we are making one meal a day and not three 2) We have tried to make the dinner special so that it becomes an activity that we look forward to 3) We split the work between the three of us. My husband likes to cook, sometimes he takes the lead and I assist and other times I take the lead and he cleans up my mess. Our 11 year old sets the table and helps prep 4) Breakfast and lunch can be on our own, but dinner is always together. 5) Wine makes everything better.

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amylou321

Yes and no.

I am not tired of cooking. I am not tired of my regular recipes But I am getting tired of deciding which one of those recipes to make.

Today, I made SO a breakfast sandwich and myself some scrambled eggs when i got home from work this morning. Then when I woke up this afternoon I made him "chicken on a stick." I made 2,one for him to eat right away, another in case he gets hungry later. Then I made some waffle batter to sit in the fridge overnight for tommorow morning before i left for work and when I got to work this evening I made some tuna salad for myself.

It is only every blue moon that we get tired of the regular recipes I make. When that happens I either look on the internet until I am inspired or I get takeout. Or sometimes SO will see some sort of food advertised or on a cooking show and will suggest that I try to make it at home.

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sheilajoyce_gw

I am tired of what I am making. DH doesn't like stew, and I love it. I think that will be on the menu some day soon. He is fussier than I am. One of our favorite dinners lately is omelets, and I stuff them with shredded cheese, diced ham, fresh tomatoes, onion and sometimes mushrooms. We never eat them for breakfast, and they offer a nice variety for dinner.

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Islay Corbel

Cooking this for lunch with a green salad.


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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

I can happily eat the same thing for days in a row, as long as it's something I really enjoy. I have a hard time understanding the desire for something different at every meal.

My problem is using up what I have on hand when I don't have easy access to the usual ingredients, and having enough time in my kitchen to make all the things I'd like to.


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ratherbesewing

1) I am not responsible for breakfast or lunch for my DH. #onhisown

2) For dinners, My attitude is make enough for 2 meals.

3) I go in spurts and make a vat of soup, eat it for 2 meals and freeze the rest for a later meal.

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party_music50

Not in a funk at all here! Meals have been great and widely varied. Misfits deliveries have made a huge difference these past few months because I need my produce! :) I do most of the cooking, but BF likes to cook too and we have completely different backgrounds in foods and preferences.

What helped me keep things variable started years ago with the WFD threads... I decided to start jotting down what I made for the main meal(s) each day. THAT helped with keeping things interesting because I could see what I'd made over the course of the past days and weeks.


Sherry, I couldn't imagine. :(

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Marilyn_Sue

Not much has changed for me. I am most always home all my life. I cook just for myself now and on occasion when I feel up to it I cook for some of my children who no longer live at home. I am never bored.

Sue

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

@ ratherbe, our household is pretty much the same. I just make sure there is enough stuff to eat in the fridge and pantry. Hubby takes care of himself.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Not really burned out. We have always been on the same page about what to prepare. We talk about the evening meal sometime before noon. Usually options are discussed the night before and sometimes a few days are planned ahead. Options.

Breakfast, lunch, snacks are YOYO. We might skip one or both. Lots of healthy choices. Much more than pre-covid. With Misfits, Baldor, and local farm meat share we have access to so many new choices. All delivered.

Baldor served many of the best restaurants in NYC before offering home delivery when covid and stay-at-home began. Prime produce, meats and cheeses, etc. Even local farm produce.

Big bummer is house keeping. But we do keep the kitchen up....ready for prep for the next dinner meal. Often do some early am prep to spread out the chore.

Early March, with much more energy, I called 'prepping for the inevitable', I made stocks and a couple 'signature' dishes that filled the freezer with quick options that just need heating and maybe adding a few fresh produce items that need using up.



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bbstx

A few weeks ago, I was soooo proud of myself. I had managed to cook every day for 3 months without repeating an entree, except for steaks, which we eat about once a week. Then I, too, ran out of steam. I’m ginning up again, a little bit. My meal planning seems to revolve around “what is going to go bad if it isn’t eaten soon?”


DH didn’t especially want salad for lunch today, but that’s what he got. Lettuce only keeps so long. Yesterday, he got a Rueben sandwich because the pastrami was close to it’s pull date. I think supper is going to be bar-style pizzas because the pizza sauce is open.


It is exhausting to try to figure out what to cook. I finally remembered to add corn tortillas to my last grocery order, so we will have enchiladas, either white chicken or beef. I’ve got a hunk of beef tenderloin that I’m trying to figure out something to do with. Maybe beef tips. DH loves that.


About once every two weeks, we have an all vegetable meal with fresh, hot corn bread.


Sometime soon, I’m going to make Slow Cooker Ribs, again. Who knew that package of ribs that I ordered from Costco (Instacart) was actually 3 racks of ribs! If nothing else, they need to go because they are taking up a lot of real estate in my freezer!


DH will eat anything I put in front of him as long as it isn’t eggplant. I’m the one who wants variety.

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

I'm able to eat maybe once a day on a good day, so I make it dinner most days so DH has company while he eats. It's hard to stand in the kitchen and cook when I know I can't begin to swallow whatever I'm fixing. But DH is diabetic so he must eat and if I leave it to him he'll try to live on PBJ's and canned soup.

I did manage to eat some tonight" thank goodness. Green beans out of the garden!

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Islay Corbel

Just To add the onion tarte tatin was delicious. We scoffed the lot!

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bbstx

Sarahsocal, since you and your hubby are working such long hours, would it be useful for us to bombard you with slow-cooker recipes? Here are a couple


Slow Cooker Chicken

Italian Drip Beef , can be eaten like a roast as an entree; then make sandwiches of the leftovers.


I’m sure we can come up with many more if you are interested.

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sarahsocal

Thanks so much for all the input and suggestions. I soldier on. I think part of the key is to use this opportunity to try new recipes here and there.

I felt I had never mastered French Onion Soup so took another shot at it on Sunday. Success! Came out great - and we got two dinners out of it.

Tonight will be lamb chops and couscous. Very quick, easy and delicious!

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Islay Corbel

Had this veggie meal last night and it was good.


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