25 Dinner Tips from a Mom Who Hates to Cook

I can boast an assortment of talents that I’ve found useful as a mother: getting strange stains out of clothing, cutting sandwiches in the “right” shape, picking every tomato out of a meal, remembering to give my daughter a bath at least every few days, and tuning out undesirable sounds like beeping, clanging, screaming, whining, Disney Jr., etc.

All are carefully cultivated talents that have served me well over the last seven years. I mean really, after looking at this list you have to admit that I’m pretty much the perfect mom. But even the perfect mom has her kryptonite. What’s mine?

I hate to cook.

I actually really hate any kitchen activity that extends beyond eating and drinking. So today, I thought I would give you my time-honored and proven tips for surviving the dreaded dinner meal. This list does not take into account breakfast, because that is what cereal is for; nor does it take into account lunch, as I work full-time and make my kid eat those delicious and nutritious school lunches.

25 Dinner Tips from a mom who hates to cook

Meal Planning

Tip 1: Spend hours searching Pinterest for recipes. Try search phrases such as “easy week night meals,” “30 minute healthy recipes,” “dinnertime for the working mom,” “is dinner really such an important meal,” and “the best cereal for supper.”

Tip 2: Print the dozens and dozens of recipes you find on Pinterest – in full color, and single sided. Buy a nice, expensive binder for those recipes.

Tip 3: Create a meal plan, but before you do that spend several more hours searching Pinterest for cute printables to put your weekly meal plan on.

Tip 4: Pin every idea you find. Decide they are all awful and create your own. When you go to print it, realize you’ve run out of colored ink. The black and white ink will probably be full, but the printer won’t work until the colored ink has been replaced. Find a piece of notebook paper to write your meal plan on until you can buy more ink. Try not to throw your printer against a wall.

Making Your List

Tip 5: Using your notebook paper meal plan, create a shopping list for the grocery store. Do not – I repeat, DO NOT – go into your kitchen while you are making this grocery list. Do not check to see if you already have any of the ingredients.

Tip 6:  Choose the grocery store that is located furthest from your home and drive there. It is far and overpriced, but it has a Starbucks and no one can expect you to grocery shop without Starbucks.

Tip 7: After purchasing your Grande Skinny Non-Fat Iced Vanilla Latte (just kidding – I would never drink something skinny or non-fat), grab a cart and start at the produce section. I only suggest this because I once read somewhere online that you should always start at the produce section (and if you read something online that means it is true). Also, it’s the section closest to the Starbucks, so that is just pure convenience.

Tip 8: Search your purse for your shopping list. Realize you left the shopping list at home. Briefly consider going home to retrieve it before remembering that home is really far away.

Grocery Shopping

Tip 9: Try to remember what you put on the list as you navigate the store. Oreos and wine were most definitely on the list. Vegetables are good for you, so stock up on those even if you can’t remember which you need. Be sure to grab lots of fruit. Get the $5 strawberries, because the $3 ones always look a little sketchy. Grab a bag of apples, because your kid probably finally started liking apples in the last two days and they are really cheap. Continue in the same manner through all sections of the grocery store.

Tip 10: Don’t use any coupons or shop any ads, because you left those with the shopping list and really, they probably just annoy the cashier anyway.

Tip 11: Don’t use reusable bags, either, because – that’s right – you left them with the shopping list.

Tip 12: Drive home. Be sure to take all turns way too fast so that your bags tip over and spill the groceries all over the trunk of your car.

Preparing Your Kitchen

Tip 13: Lug the groceries inside by yourself, silently cursing every other member of your family for not helping. Including the dog.

Tip 14: Put all the food away, but only after throwing away all of the expired and/or rotted food already in your kitchen.

Tip 15: Throw away your grocery list – you didn’t actually need it anyway.

Organizing Your Recipes

Tip 16: Look for your recipes because you certainly never put them in that expensive binder you HAD to have. The expensive (and empty) binder will, of course, be easy to locate.

Tip 17: Locate your recipes under the stack of mail located next to a cup of ice water that is leaking condensation everywhere.  

Tip 18: Don’t put the recipes in the binder. They are wet, and you might ruin your binder.

Tip 19: Attempt to locate your meal plan because you can’t remember which recipes you were going to make this week. Once located, pull out the correct recipes and attempt to choose one for tonight.

Tip 20: Realize you forgot at least one item from every recipe.

Tip 21: Lose your mind and throw away the meal plan and all of the recipes. Be sure not to recycle them. You haven’t been responsible thus far – why start now?


Tip 22: Open the fridge door and stare into its depths as you waste electricity and attempt to make sense of the food inside of it.

Tip 23: Decide that there is nothing you can possibly make for dinner.

Tip 24: Order pizza.

Tip 25: Feel guilty about ordering pizza. Make your kid eat some carrots with her pizza.

Continue to repeat this process, week after week after week, until you no longer have a soul.


Caroline is an Arizona native who moved to Iowa in 2007 ‘for love.’ She and her husband live in Coralville with their 8-year-old daughter. Caroline works full-time at the University of Iowa and recently earned her MA in Higher Education Administration. Caroline is a self-taught sewer, fabric hoarder, Starbucks lover, wannabe graphic designer, and avid reader. Her greatest aspirations are to raise a kind, strong, and fearless girl and have a clean house.


  1. This is amazing!!! And also why we’re friends. I’m proud to say frozen pizza and a side of carrots is a staple for us once a week.

  2. This post was hilarious! And not what I was expecting. Thanks for the laugh. And totally relate to getting mad at people for not helping get the groceries in the house.

  3. This is something I exactly attempt to do at least once every few months !! It sucks and I used to be so happy to create something spectacular in the kitchen…. (before kids!)


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