Busy, busy, busy. Who has time to cook healthy?

Busy CookThat’s what we thought, too. Perhaps that’s because when we used to cook at home, we always made a big production of it. Used every pot in the cupboard. Layered one dish on top of another until we put away more leftovers than the food we had consumed. My sister used to tell me “every meal doesn’t have to be a gourmet extravaganza.” Still, we tried!

As a result, we usually ended up with one of us exhausted from cooking and the other stuck with cleanup — scrubbing all those pots and pans. No wonder we preferred the convenience of eating out! When we began to contemplate the notion of cooking healthy, we expected that the effort required to make things healthy would be greater, not lesser. Not so, as it turns out. 

In learning how to cook our healthy noms, we’ve developed an evening ritual of cooking (and cleaning up) together. Of course, we don’t face the challenge of cooking for (and managing) a family that includes children. (Chico’s easy to feed — three cups of food in his dish at 9:00 and one minute and thirty seconds later — we’ve timed it — he’s a happy pup with a full tummy!) But still, our dinners now comprise fewer elements, smaller portions (which cook faster than huge ones!) and simple cooking styles, all of which come together in relatively short order.

The dishes we cook and share here rarely take us more than 30 minutes of prep and cooking time — sometimes, maybe 45. One of us typically tackles the protein, while the other manages the veggie and/or salad portion of the meal. We do a lot of grilling, which means no pots or pans to scrub. When we do cook on the stovetop, we usually manage with only one pot — our trusty and versatile dutch oven. If we do use a second pan, it’s usually our cast-iron skillet, which is super easy to clean up!

Cooking, eating and clean up all take place in the space of about 60 minutes. And since we’re doing it all side-by-side, it’s a great time to decompress and debrief our day.

Ritual, we’re learning, is useful and powerful. More on that in another post.

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