Some nights you just can’t be bothered. It’s no use what you do; you just can’t be bothered to put in the energy to make a meal. It might be that you’re alone and it just doesn’t seem worth it. It might be that you just haven’t got the energy tonight. It might be that food is scarce (you forgot to go to the grocery store before you got home) and you can’t be bothered to pull together something creative when you’ve got frozen fish, tinned water chestnuts and a packet of Doritos. It could be that you’re sick and you know you need to eat something with a few vitamins and nutrients so you can get better.
But it’s so much effort!
I hear you. I really, really do, because I’m the one leading the charge.
I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in 2011 and there are days when I’m too tired from the reactions I’m having, or just plain confused about what to give my body in its sensitive state, and I just don’t feel like cooking.
Since 2011 I have been able to manage the IBS through my diet. In fact, a major reason for changing the way I cooked and I ate was because of the IBS (and of course I learnt to cook for my husband too so that he didn’t have to suffer all the reactions with me). I learnt to cook all my meals at home so I can control what goes into each thing I eat.
And I’ll do this in about 90% of cases but I still just can’t shake those nights when I can’t be bothered.
So, what do we do about this problem?
Here are a few ways in which I have tackled the ‘can’t be bothered’ nights in my house:
Pressure cooker meals
These types of meals are great because you throw everything in at the beginning and it does all the work for you. It’s also a great way to cook if you need to take a shower after the gym or settle a child into bed, or to talk over an issue with a loved one or friend because you can take your eyes off it and it won’t burn. It’ll probably just become too dry or too mushy, but at least you won’t burn the place down! You can also use a slow cooker for these types of one pot meals but you have to be organised ahead. A pressure cooker therefore is more for the disorganised and exhausted types who want something soon-ish.
Rice pilaf – throw a cup of rice, 2 cups of stock, some veg and some meat into the pressure cooker with something for flavour (some Moroccan spice for a Middle Eastern meal; lemon and oregano for Mediterranean meals; paprika, cumin and oregano for Mexican, etc). In my electronic pressure cooker it takes 5 minutes to cook and dinner is ready. Boo yeah!
|Rice pilaf emptied out of the pressure cooker with
sliced almonds added in an effort to make it look nice
despite not being bothered.
Kabseh – this is a Middle Eastern rice, potato and chicken dish. Add a cup of rice with 1 or 2 chopped potatoes, a tin of tomatoes, a cup of stock, 1-2 chopped chicken breasts, 6 cloves, 6 cardamon pods, a cinnamon stick and any other vegetables you like (optional) into the pressure cooker. Cook for 5 minutes then remove from the pot and place on a plate. Sprinkle with sultanas and pine nuts and slices of boiled egg (optional). It’s really, really yum!
Lamb shanks – this one takes a bit longer but it’s worth it. Roughly chop an onion, some carrots and capsicum and put into the pressure cooker pot with 2 lamb shanks, a tin of tomatoes, 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste, raj el hanout spice mix (or Moroccan spices) to taste (the more you put in the hotter it gets), lemon juice, dried chickpeas and a little water (not much as it won’t evaporate off) to just cover the lamb shanks. Cook for 40 minutes. Check the water level and the seasonings. Add in 1-2 tablespoons of flour and cook for a further 20 minutes. As the pressure cooker cooks 3 times as fast as the stove you will have essentially cooked the lamb shanks for 3 hours and the meat should be falling off the bone, and the sauce should be a little bit thicker than before. If the sauce isn’t thicker drain it into a pan on the stove and stir in flour and heat until it thickens a little. Serve with rice and salad if you can be bothered making them, but if you have a rice cooker it’s a great time to use that too.
No Fuss Quick Meals
Now, if the above meals still sound like too much work you can always try the ones listed below. These take less time and there is less cooking involved, but you will have to chop something but it’ll only be quick. I promise.
Tacos – shred lettuce, chop tomatoes, grate cheese, open a can of refried beans or kidney beans, grab some sour cream and dice an avocado and pile it all onto a bought tortilla. For something a bit fancier cook some tomatoes with the beans and some small diced chicken for a warm taco. Add taco seasoning to the mix and it tastes really good.
|This is a make it yourself kind of meal.
Awesome when you can’t be bothered.
Minute steak sandwich– this one is thanks to Jamie Oliver and his 30 minute meals cookbook (and we all know that it takes more than 30 minutes!). I’m only using his steak sandwich recipe not the rest of what he makes for this meal. So just chop and prep whatever you want on the sandwich like pickled cucumbers, cheese, mustard, ketchup or tomato relish, lettuce or salad, etc and whack onto a bread roll, Turkish bread or two slices of toast. Grill the minute steak with a few herbs and spices for…yep, you guessed it…one minute per side. Then slice the meat and add to the sandwich. Done.
Pizza on English Muffins or Lebanese bread – this is great for those nights when you crave pizza but can’t even be bothered picking up the phone to order. Just spread some tomato paste and herbs over the halved English muffins or the Lebanese bread. Add whatever toppings you have on hand or want to eat and sprinkle with cheese. Pop into the oven until the cheese is melted then dig in.
|2am on New Years Day 2013 – whatever I had went on the plate
cause we were hungry after the fireworks.
Lebanese pizzas are on the back plate.
As easy as it is to get take away on a night like this, it’s much better for your body and your wallet to put in a tiny bit of effort and make something for yourself. Even if it’s not pretty or you’re not proud of your efforts, you should be proud of the fact that you’ve made a major step in keeping yourself healthy.
|Or just chuck a bit of stuff on a plate. 🙂|
What do you make when you can’t be bothered?