I’m scared to be too excited about this, but I’m happy to report that I’m still doing a lot of cooking at home. I’m not doing this because I have to for a specific reason (like a diet plan or limiting food options). I’m doing this because I want to.
Most of my cooking is still pretty basic. It’s not as much of a lazy thing, it’s more because I don’t want to have to buy a ton of ingredients or risk a recipe coming out badly. Turkey burgers and sautéed veggies are still a staple for me. It’s super easy and fast to put together and while it isn’t the most flavorful meal it keeps me full. And when I’m getting home late after a workout, I really don’t want to have to spend a long time putting together food.
But when I do have the time, I’m testing more and more recipes so I can have more things that are easy enough to put together and are very tasty. So many cookbooks seem to have dozens of ingredients (and things that I don’t always keep in my house), so I’ve been doing a lot of searching online for recipes that include a lot of what I already have (or something that I decided to pick up at the store that week).
This past weekend while doing my grocery shopping, I decided to pick up some ground beef. I honestly had no plan of what I would do with it, but I figured I could make meatballs or hamburgers or something. So I did some searching online for fun ground beef recipes and what came up most often was meatloaf. I’ve made meatloaf before and it didn’t come out so great because the outside was overcooked and the inside was undercooked. But then I started to do a search for meatloaf muffins and found enough basic recipes to put something together myself.
I made meatloaf (made pretty simply with a pound of ground beef and added a minced onion, diced a red pepper, added some ketchup (about 4 tbs), some Worcestershire sauce (about 1 tbs), a cup of bread crumbs, an egg, and some salt and pepper) and mixed it up pretty well. Then I took a disposable cupcake tin and divided the mixture into 6 portions. I baked it for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees (I waited until a meat thermometer got to 160 degrees in the middle of one of the muffins) and they looked pretty amazing. I also made smashed potatoes (I microwaved baby potatoes until they were soft, smushed them onto a baking sheet, and baked them with some garlic olive oil while the meatloaf baked) and my food looked pretty incredible.
Between the prep time, the baking time, and the time to let things cool down so I could serve myself; it was only about an hour from start to finish (and I was able to do all the dishes while the food was cooking). That’s not bad at all and the food tasted pretty great! The potatoes could have used a bit more olive oil on them (and maybe some actual garlic on them too) and the meatloaf had a bit too much Worcestershire in it, but overall I was pretty happy. And I know the next time I make the meatloaf I’ll add some more veggies in the mix because you couldn’t tell they were in there at all. Maybe I’ll add some mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini since I usually have those in my fridge anyway. And the recipe is pretty easy to double, so I can always make even more and freeze them so I have easy microwave meals on days I’m too tired to cook (instead of having limited time to eat leftovers in the fridge).
I’m seriously proud of myself for cooking when there isn’t a specify reason I have to. This is the start of making cooking more of a habit for me. And I know that this habit has started and stopped for me a couple of times in the past, but this time things are different. I’m not trying to be trendy (by following a specific plan or tying to bulk cook). Those trendy cooking things work for so many people but I guess it doesn’t help me. I just need to cook when I feel like it, allow myself to have easy meals on nights that I don’t, and to have enough variety to not get sick of what I’ve made and want to go and order delivery food instead.