How to Eat at Home When You Hate to Cook

eat at home

Do you want your family to eat most of their meals at home?  How do you do that when you hate to cook?  Well, I hear ya.  We eat at home almost all the time.  Literally.  Like we go out once every few months.  Crazy, I know.  But I’m going to let you in on a couple of secrets for how I manage to feed my family at home all the time and do most of it from scratch.

My first secret is a practical one I learned from my mom:

Keep your pantry and freezer stocked!

I have a mental list of go-to meals that I know my family enjoys.  It’s nothing complicated and amounts to things like barbecue meatballs, various chicken dishes, hamburgers, sloppy joes, pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans, various fresh veggies, etc.  They are very traditional meals.

Rather than watch the sale fliers from the grocery store and plan my meals around that, I watch the fliers for those things that fit with our list of meals and stock up.  This gives me the ability to cook almost anything I want at any time.  Sometimes I meal plan, but most of the time I don’t.  I’ll try to plan in my head about 24 hours in advance so I can get something out of the freezer to thaw on time, but I don’t have a fancy plan, that’s for sure!

By always restocking my pantry and freezer, I never have the excuse that we have nothing to eat!

Now, you don’t have to cook traditional meat-and-potato meals like my family prefers.  This idea of keeping the pantry and freezer stocked works for any type of meal preferences!

If this is totally new to you, then sit down and make a list of meals you know your family likes.  Write down the ingredients needed to cook those meals and stock your pantry and freezer so you can make any of those meals at anytime!  And don’t just buy one of something.

For instance, if you know you’ll need tomato sauce for a certain dish, buy several so you can make that dish more than once.

By shopping and cooking this way, it also eliminates multiple weekly grocery trips.

Until our small town got a grocery store again, I had to travel 12 miles to the nearest store, so I often would go two weeks between trips!

Now I’ll let you in on another secret about me….

i hate to cook!

Yup, that’s right.  I’ll give you a bit of the back story on that and then I’ll tell you how I overcame it 😉

I grew up in a very traditional farming family.  My mom cooked two meals every day, without fail, which we called “dinner” and “supper.”  (See we were/are very old fashioned!)  Dinner was promptly at noon and supper was always at six.  During busy seasons, she would take meals to the field for anyone that was out there, but the premise was still the same.

When I got married, I did NOT know how to cook!  My poor mother tried multiple times, but I was a confirmed tomboy and farmhand and I did NOT like being inside doing domestic work!

The first year of our marriage, Jeff and I lived on sandwiches, frozen pizza and macaroni and cheese.  He’s easy going about most things, so he really didn’t care.   But after we had kids, I realized that I wanted my kids to have the same meal time memories that I had, so….

I learned to cook.

And I hated it.

But, yet, I cook two meals a day 6 and half days a week (I take Sunday evenings off and it’s a fend-for-yourself/popcorn night!).

The fact that I hate to cook, yet do it all the time, surprises a lot of people!  I’ve had close friends who will confess to me how they just can’t get their meal times together and they wish they could cook as much as I do.  And then they’ll say, “I know you like to cook, though.”  I just laugh and tell them, “Nope! I actually hate it and if I could hire a chef, I totally would!”

My secret is that I’ve made it a habit to plan and cook two meals a day.  I just do.  It’s like brushing your teeth or making your bed.  Do you like to brush your teeth?  Honestly, it’s probably not what you would consider fun, right?  But it’s necessary for your health and well-being.

Cooking meals for your family is the same way.  I don’t enjoy it, but my desire for my family’s health and well-being wins out over my hatred of all things kitchen.

On another note, my autistic son LOVES to cook, so I’m hoping if he ends up living at home as an adult he can just cook for me, ha!

What are your struggles in the kitchen?  Any tips for those of us that don’t enjoy being in the kitchen?

Feel free to share with your friends!

Why My Kids Don’t Have Chores



Ok, so technically, we do have chores around our house and farm, but the farm jobs are the only ones we deem “chores.” I have never implemented the “chore chart” idea or assigned anything to anybody.  I’ve often pondered it and once bought an expensive magnet chore chart system at a homeschool convention, but after attempting it for a week, I gave up and a couple years later, I sold it.

Yet, my kids still help me around the house daily.

How do we do it?  Everything I’ve read maintains that assigned chores are the way to go and I’m one of the only moms I know who doesn’t “assign” their kids specific tasks for a specified amount of time.

There are two reasons:

  1.  I’m somewhat lazy and disorganized and I’m not a list fan.
  2.  My kids don’t want assigned chores.

Of course, you say.  What kids want assigned chores?

So, here’s the deal.  My kids are 14 and 11, so I’ve been doing the parenting gig for awhile and while I don’t pat myself on the back often for perceived parenting wins, I think I may have done something right way back in the day when they were toddlers and preschoolers of which I am now reaping the benefits.

Here’s what I did:

They constantly “helped” me around the house every day, all day.

And now, after a decade of it, it’s totally normal for my now big kids to help me when I need it, sometimes without asking (some things are just automatic) and sometimes with asking (but in a cheerful, non-nagging way).  We work together all day.  When we have our weekly deep cleans, they help- no complaining.  When we have meals (which is every day, 3 times a day), they help clean it up, do the dishes, and clean the kitchen- with me.  Sometimes we divide and conquer- “Elisa, you sweep the floor, while Lindy loads the dishwasher and I’m going to switch out laundry.”  It works beautifully.

I asked them a couple months ago if they would rather have assigned jobs or do they like our current non-system.  And you know what?  They liked the status quo.

I think our lack of chores fosters a better sense of actually working together as a family rather than each individual completing an individual job because that what the boss (me) assigned.  Yes, someday they will have jobs in the real world and that might be a scenario for them.  But they will also have families in real world and I think a family home should be a much different place than a work environment.

So, let your littles work with you everywhere in the house (I know it can often seem counterproductive at the time!).  That stage is so short in the grand scheme of things and before you know, you will be seeing the results of your hard work and patience.  Clearing the table isn’t such a chore when you all work together and you can talk and chat and laugh.

And that is why we don’t have “chores.”


What do you think?  Do you have a chore system? What is something you did when your kids were little that has benefited you and them now that they are older?

Feel free to share with your friends!