Dinner Cooking Hack: A Successful Failure

Dinner Cooking Hack: A Successful Failure

Our biggest time drain after work revolves around dinner. Cooking and then cleaning up after a nutritious meal takes up a lot of my evening. That’s time I’d rather be spending with Callee and the boys.

Besides, cooking with a toddler around can sometimes feel less like cooking and more like trying to get to the Holy Grail with Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade with all the sharp object and burn hazards seeming to jump at me.

For those reasons, I focus on preparing meals that reheat well and can yield enough food for at least two evenings. Seems obvious, everyone does that. Well then a few weeks ago, inspiration struck me to take it to the next level. “Hack” worthy level (don’t worry, no ridiculous “life hack list” posts coming from me – ever).

My thought was, what if I could cook a week’s worth of complementary ingredients on Sunday evening? All that would need to be done during the week is match, warm up, and assemble! Talk about big time savings on cooking, and fewer dishes to clean.

The issue with it is obvious, what things could you possibly cook separately that would easily turn into 3-4 different meals throughout the week without much more work? Frankly, I’m not really sure and welcome input there.

One theme did readily come to mind though, Mexican food! At least the Americanized version of Mexican food that I’m used to. So with some help from Callee, we were able to knock out the main bits that need cooking in pretty short time.

  1. Chicken Fajita mix
  2. 2lbs of taco seasoned ground venison
  3. 2 cups of rice
  4. 2 cans of refried beans
  5. 1lb of black beans

With the corn chips and tortillas in the pantry; plus our preferred toppings of sour cream, cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and cheese in the fridge; we were set to assemble four different meals in minutes this week.

  1. Chicken fajitas
  2. Mexican Pizza (I get it, it’s more Taco Bell than real Mexican.. stfu, idc.)
  3. Burritos
  4. Loaded Nachos

Conceptually, it sounds pretty great; and theoretically it even worked for us. I’m definitely going to try it again later, but here’s what I’d do different.

  1. Refried and black beans? I wasn’t thinking. Just stick to black beans.
  2. Smaller portions. I made enough fajita mix to feed us a week, and 1lb of venison would have been more than enough.
  3. It is unwise to have that many meals with beans in one week.

On the bright side, the food has been great and it seems we’ll enough to last us through next week too. If you have any ideas on some meals that might fit this model, I’d love to hear them.