Lazy Cooking 101

My husband is the chef of the family. I’m definitely okay with that. Before meeting him, my idea of cooking was salad and Lean Cuisines. I still love a great salad, but I’ve moved away from the food that has more ingredients in it than there should be; half of them are chemicals you can’t pronounce.

At our house, we eat healthy foods regularly. My son has several food sensitivities, which don’t allow for much prepackaged or processed food. It’s a blessing in disguise, since it requires us to make more meals from scratch, ensuring what ingredients are in them and that they’re fresh to the table as much as possible. He can still be a picky eater, devouring PB&J’s daily while having a love-hate relationship with carrots, but I also know he gets a variety of healthy foods most of the time.

lazy cooking4I don’t say that because we’re a perfectly healthy family. We splurge on desserts, frozen pizzas, and cheeses sometimes (once kiddo is in bed). We also find ourselves in ruts. But I’ve found I like trying new things. I enjoy meal planning and recipe hunting. I probably rely on it too much (which goes back to comfortable food habits from eating disorder days). I like to know what we’re going to eat and when. That’s also helpful when grocery shopping and budgeting. Trips to the grocery store can add up fast!

But that does not mean I spend hours a day making us meals from scratch. I say I because my husband is usually gone at night being Chef for those coming to the restaurant where he works. When it’s just my son and me, I tend to get a bit lazy. The day disappears in routine and trying to find bursts when I can work from home. Before I know it, my son is asking for dinner. So here are my tips for lazy cooking…

lazy cooking6Crock Pot:

If you do plan ahead, this is a great way to go! Chop a bunch of stuff up and throw it in the crock pot. Six to eight hours later, Voila… dinner! I have a great vegetarian crock pot cookbook my husband got me for Christmas. I LOVE it and use it all the time. He prefers cooking on the stove-top, but appreciates the simplicity of crock pot cooking so he doesn’t spend all of his day off in our kitchen. With my son in preschool now there’s more chance for me to prep dinner. It’s easier to do that in a quiet kitchen in the morning rather than one with him racing cars or demanding, “Watch this!”

Freezer Meals:

You take one big lazy cooking3day to cook a few meals, and then they’re ready to go. Or make a double batch of tonight’s dinner and freeze half for later. We love lentil loaf, vegan scalloped potatoes, and lasagna. Soup is a staple in our house that you can easily freeze. There are busy nights where pulling out a home cooked meal from your freezer is really nice.


Roasting Vegetables:

This is a favorite of mine, especially in the cold months ahead of us. It’s so simple! Chop any veggies in lazy cooking5the house, drizzle with olive or coconut oil, season and put the pan in the oven. Stir halfway. Listen for the oven timer, then eat! Some of my favorites are cabbage steaks, root vegetables, peppers and tomatoes. Of course my husband would recommend onions and garlic, too! You can pair this with baking anything else you need for dinner like a pre-made meal from the freezer! Or easily toss it on pasta or crock pot polenta. If I chop the veggies small enough my son will chow down!

lazy cooking2Emergency Items:

I also keep emergency items on hand. I look for quick, easy meals on sale that my son can eat. Sometimes that’s canned soup. Thankfully, he’s his mama’s child and adores soup. Other times it’s a frozen veggie burger with vegan mac and cheese or canned baked beans. Like I said, it doesn’t mean we never do prepackaged, but it’s not cost effective for us to do it all the time. Sometimes life happens and it’s suddenly past dinnertime. You just need something quick and easy before bed! With a hungry, tired child demanding a snack, I’d call that an emergency.

So maybe I shouldn’t call this Lazy Cooking. Perhaps it’s “quick-thinking, time-efficient, multitasking cooking”? Yeah, I like that better.

What can you add? How can you set your family dinner up for success without spending a lot of time?
Kellie Osler
Kellie received her BA in Psychology from the University of Iowa and stayed around after college instead of returning home to SW Iowa. She went to high school with Mike and they met again downtown after her college graduation. They’re now married and live in rural Riverside with their son Calvin, age 4. She owns Motherly TLC as a birth and postpartum doula, and is an active member of the IC Doulas. When she’s not building her business or chasing her son you can find her making vegan recipes, hunting for deals, volunteering at her bi-monthly eating disorder group, or putting in sweat equity on home remodeling projects. If she had spare time she’d love to write a book, do craft projects like hand decorated birdhouses, volunteer more and curl up to watch a favorite show with a hot cup of tea.



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