M & S (or equivalent) or from scratch....

(125 Posts)
SamanthaHD Sat 12-Oct-13 11:24:35

'What is wrong with spending a little extra time, cooking from scratch?' these were my DH's exact words. Aside from the fact that is very rarely 'a little extra time' I hate cooking, and were DH not around I would feed myself and the kids on bulked out (with veg, pasta, potatoes etc) ready meals, preferably nutritionally sound ones.

DH thinks this is very wrong.

Who, in your estimable opinion, is right?

ElbowPrincess Sat 12-Oct-13 11:25:34

Your DH, because I love cooking and hate ready meals, no matter how "nutrionally sound" they are.

Fakebook Sat 12-Oct-13 11:29:00

I don't think many ready meals are nutritionally sound, no matter how much veg you bulk it up with.

I agree with your DH. Does he do most of the cooking? Why don't you have enough time?

SamanthaHD Sat 12-Oct-13 11:32:33

He doesn't do most of the cooking, usually weekends. I have enough time, but I really hate wasting it by chopping, peeling, frying, boiling stuff that my kids won't eat. I really do dislike cooking, it's such a chore.

WorraLiberty Sat 12-Oct-13 11:32:54

I agree with your DH too.

Just because you hate cooking, doesn't mean you shouldn't take your turn doing it.

MichelleRouxJnr Sat 12-Oct-13 11:33:04

this is very wrong is a bit strong, but I agree with your DH's general opinion.
Ready meals just don't compare to cooked from scratch meals.
Really cooked from scratch - not a jar of this and a jar of that.

CoffeeTea103 Sat 12-Oct-13 11:33:22

Yabu, why do you hate cooking? You do know that ready meals are not very nutritious. Cooking from scratch is just not that difficult as it's made out to be.

SamanthaHD Sat 12-Oct-13 11:40:21

I'm not sure why I hate it so much, but it's definitely on a par with cleaning the oven or the fridge or similar. Tedious.

I know it's not that difficult, but my heart sinks at the thought of it really. Like my day's going pretty well, and then the thought hits me 'Oh God I've got to cook something'.

I'm sure someone, somewhere will back me up here!!

I told DH I would show him this thread, I was pretty confident I was going to have a triumphant moment. I hope he forgets I told him I was going to ask MN shock

Fakebook Sat 12-Oct-13 11:41:00

So you're just lazy then. Everyone hates the chopping and peeling part but you can get your children to help out and have it as family time. Also the prepping is not wasting time, it's part of cooking!

My dd is nearly six and I get her to cut up some lettuce or peppers whilst I'm doing boring stuff so I don't get bored standing alone in the kitchen.

I think you've already decided in your head its a chore when it shouldn't be. Doesn't matter if you buy from waitrose or M&S; the food still has additives and other stuff to preserve it.

WorraLiberty Sat 12-Oct-13 11:44:34

What Fakebook said.

LisaMed Sat 12-Oct-13 11:46:32

OP - you need to get this, the I Hate To Cook Cookbook. It is written by someone who hates to cook, who understands and while you have to translate the recipes from American you can never cook them, just enjoy the great writing and the fellow feeling of someone who would rather do anything than cook.

I hate cooking as well. I can cook, I will sometimes swap recipes. I can even make a souffle. Still don't like cooking. It is perhaps the most depressing job in the house.

KirjavaTheCorpse Sat 12-Oct-13 11:46:35

Cooking's a part of life, imo. You don't have to enjoy it. I do, incidentally, but I didn't always - still had to do it.

No matter how nutritionally sound your ready meals are, it's not going to set your children a great example.

If your kids grew up to have fridges stocked full of ready meals, would you mind?

bunnymother Sat 12-Oct-13 11:47:56

No. You are not just lazy. You just don't like cooking. Neither does my DH. So he doesn't. I like cooking so I cook all our meals, but I sympathise as its not great to have to do something you don't like, a few times a day.

If I was you, I would look for shortcuts, too, that didn't compromise the nutritional content of your meals.

littlewhitebag Sat 12-Oct-13 11:49:21

Ready meals are just not as nice tasting as home cooked ones. Sometimes i get fed up with cooking so i have a repertoire of quick and easy meals like fajitas which can be done in no time I even buy diced chicken for that so it is only chopping some pepper and onion.

NoComet Sat 12-Oct-13 11:49:48

I get the 'and the kids won't eat' DD2 walking and saying "oh!your cooking" in a crestfallen voice does not make you feel like bothering.

I'm a perfectly reasonable cook, but DD would rather chicken dippers or Pizza than stir fry or anything interesting. It might have veg or sauce!

Since chopping onions really makes my eye's hurt I do think of fuck it less have baked spuds again.

noblegiraffe Sat 12-Oct-13 11:57:21

I hate cooking too. Nothing to do with being lazy, when I hear people say they find it relaxing or they enjoy being creative I am baffled.

You can buy frozen chopped onion, frozen crushed garlic and frozen chopped veg. This takes some of the pain out of it.

harticus Sat 12-Oct-13 12:00:28

I am not lazy but I fucking hate cooking too.
It isn't compulsory to enjoy it and millions don't.
The thing is I also hate convenience food.

We eat well and love fresh veggies so I just crank up some loud music and get it done.
I am a very lazy cook and eater - I can't be doing with faffing of any kind. So we eat large amounts of fresh pasta sauces and curries and slow-cooked stuff that you can knock up quickly and shovel in.
You can have fresh and nutritious without spending hours in the kitchen.

Don't underestimate frozen veggies btw - they are consistently shown to have higher levels of vitamins etc than some moldy old "fresh" cabbage that has been sitting on a shelf for a week. Also make up batches of fresh pasta sauces, dhals etc and freeze them.

I have to side with your DH. But I agree that cooking really can be a tedious pain in the arse.

pixwix Sat 12-Oct-13 12:07:40

Ach - I sympathise. I work shifts as a HCP, and am the resident parent of two boys, and coming home after 'x' number of hours to start scratching my head about what to make for us makes my teeth itch.

I get round it by setting aside say a day a month, when they are at their dads. I go shopping early, put the radio on, pour myself a glass of wine, and get cracking! I make burgers, casseroles, curries, pies, fish pie, lasagnes, chilli, spag bol, fish mix for fish en creoute, pastry into 4oz lumps, dumplings, cheese sauces, chicken dishes etc - then freeze the bloody lot. I have a chest freezer in the garage, and a precarious mountain of plastic pots, ice-cream cartons in my cupboard..

Then the night before we decide what's for tea, get it out to defrost, and bung in oven the next day. Some nights we might just have a jacket potato, or soup and sandwiches, or pasta and cheese sauce, sometimes it's more substantial. Sometimes the kids just want sausage and chips, and we have had the odd ready meal, but I find the idea of cooking less onerous if I set aside time to do it all in one go. And wine helps wink

I quite like cooking but I completely agree that chopping etc is mind-numbing.

Buying frozen chopped vegetables eg onions, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, etc will provide just about the same nutrition as cutting up fresh yourself, without your wanting to kill yourself!

You could also try batch cooking so that you do the cooking once but the eating twice (or three times, or four times). For example, cook a big casserole once, split into four, freeze three, then that's three casseroles in the freezer for days when you don't even want to assemble food let alone work "from scratch".

QueenStromba Sat 12-Oct-13 12:27:40

I was going to suggest frozen onions, garlic and other veg but giraffe beat me to it. I love cooking but I can't be faffing around with peeling and chopping garlic.

Waitrose do a nice range of prepared and frozen herbs etc - I've got chopped ginger, chopped garlic and a nice mix of Italian herbs in the freezer.

If you're at home an hour or two before dinner needs to be ready then a roast dinner is really easy. Put a chicken in the oven (with a lemon up it's bum if you can be bothered) and then half an hour before it's ready take some new potatoes, cut the bigger ones in half and chuck them in the oven with some goose fat/olive oil - they come out like a cross between jacket potatoes and roast potatoes and are blooming lovely. Then you just need to cook some broccoli or whatever when the chicken is resting and make up some bisto. It's no more effort than a ready meal - you just need to be a bit organised.

You could do the same thing with fish - wrap it in tin foil with a bit of butter and lemon (optional) and put it in the oven with the potatoes.

Home cooked, nutritious food does not require slaving over a hot stove for ages (or even at all).

Sparklingbrook Sat 12-Oct-13 12:28:04

I hate cooking. It's a massive chore.

PuppyMonkey Sat 12-Oct-13 12:28:12

My name is PuppyMonkey and I also hate cooking.

I am also a bit lazy.

This is not illegal.

Viviennemary Sat 12-Oct-13 12:30:50

I hate cooking too. And am not a very good cook unless I spend ages and try really hard which I'm not often prepared to do because I don't see the point. It's a chore. If somebody wants home cooked food like their Mother used to make let them do it themselves.

Sparklingbrook Sat 12-Oct-13 12:31:24

Dh has suggested I go on a cookery course to awaken some enthusiasm for cooking. My idea of hell.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Sat 12-Oct-13 12:35:03

I like cooking.

It is producing 365 days worth of lunches and dinners that brings me to despair.

Could you find a win-not lose too much solution? Maybe purchasing chopped frozen vegetables? When I lived in Belgium. You could buy absolutely envy thing chopped and frozen: onions, broccoli, carrots, etc. it saves a lot of time and the freezing process saved the nutrients, etc.

mrsjay Sat 12-Oct-13 12:35:17

I detest cooking my heart sinks every dinner time and shopping for food URGH I am not a v ery good cook I just can't get it together the timings are all wrong, but I do cook meals from scratch I suppose just they are not very exciting meals and yes we will have the odd frozen pie here and there, it really is no biggie . I know people who are passionate about cooking spend hours and hours cooking I just don't enjoy it, I think I am meant for staff grin

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Sat 12-Oct-13 12:35:31

Not "envy thing" but everything.

Sparklingbrook Sat 12-Oct-13 12:37:02

Cookery programmes make me cross. All that faffing about and for what? James Martin was poncing about with bone marrow this morning. hmm

Threalamandaclarke Sat 12-Oct-13 12:38:37

We very rarely eat ready meals or use Bought sauces. DH used to do most of the cooking but I do more now as I'm on mat leave.
I am with you though. I don't enjoy cooking. It's a bastard chore. Usually with a demanding toddler and grizzly 8 m/o at my heels. It's stressful.
I actually feel stressed just thinking about it.
Soooooo much cleaning too. Pans and utensils aarrrghhh!
The best idea though would be a restaurant just 2 doors away that did a good breakfast, lunch and supper.
LTB grin

mrsjay Sat 12-Oct-13 12:39:10

OH i missed it this morning what was he making with bone marrow last week they had about 100 pans on the go for one dish hmm

teacher123 Sat 12-Oct-13 12:39:22

I quite like making cakes, but get very bored of general cooking. Luckily DH does most of it. When he's on a late shift I eat omelettes, soup or pizza for dinner.

Threalamandaclarke Sat 12-Oct-13 12:40:14

Cookery programmes serve to sell cookery books.

mrsjay Sat 12-Oct-13 12:40:48

My family are off here and there next week I am on my own for 3 days M n S have 3 for 2 on ready meals I am going there today grin

Sparklingbrook Sat 12-Oct-13 12:41:22

Not sure mrsjay-I was listening but not watching. Next time I glanced at the TV Paul Hollywood was showing us all how to make our own baguettes with some special baguette tins which nobody owns. hmm

mrsjay Sat 12-Oct-13 12:43:08

OH god baguette tins hmm

HarderToKidnap Sat 12-Oct-13 12:45:10

You need A Plan.

DH likes cooking. So once a month, get him to batch cook chilli, spag Bol sauce, beef stew etc. he also cooks the meals for weekends.

Once a week you eat something he's batch cooked out the freezer. So that leaves four meals to think about.

Once a week you have a ready meal.
Once a week you have jacket potatoes with cheese and beans or tuna mayo and avocado etc.
That leaves you two meals a week to cook from scratch. Get six recipes you don't hate too much...fish pie (Jamie Oliver does a great one where you just grate the stuff in and don't have to precook the fish), fish in foil with veg and new pots, chicken pie from Jamie Oliver thirty min meals, etc etc... Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals generally are great. Then you just do these on a 3 week rotation.

Sparklingbrook Sat 12-Oct-13 12:45:41

I could have nipped down to the shop and bought a baguette in half the time it took him to make them, and with not having to buy the baguette tin I would be quids in.

I am a disinterested cook but I am sure I would like it a lot more if I only had to do it as a hobby at the weekend.

Planning, buying, prepping, chopping, cooking, serving up 3 meals every flipping day is a sure-fire way of making me lose interest.

Besides, lots of short-cut stuff, like ready made sauces and pre-chopped vegetables are not the e-number-fest that they used to be, so I refuse to feel guilty.

TensionSquealsGhoulsHeels Sat 12-Oct-13 12:53:21

Personally I think the person who feels strongly about what should be happening with regards to meals should be the one to do something about it. Not doing so is lazy. So if your DH thinks it's important and is of the view a bit more time spent is no big deal, then heartily agree with him, thank him for the suggestion and ask him what he's cooking for dinner. The idea above about getting him to batch cook once or twice a month is a great idea too, that way he can feel happy that his opinion counts, he does his bit to give everyone some 'cooked from scratch' meals and you don't have to endure a task you don't like/want to do while your family still gets what your DH feels is important.

Win win!grin

ConsideringTheFuture Sat 12-Oct-13 12:56:35

I don't think there is such a thing as a 'nutritionally sound' ready meal hmm

I don't like cooking. I also don't like washing clothes, pairing socks, cleaning the toilet or mopping the floors.

They get done though because they have to. Cooking decent meals for the kids is not an 'optional' IMO.

Arf at a baguette tin grin

I find the two minute walk to the local Tesco quicker.

ConsideringTheFuture Sat 12-Oct-13 13:01:00

Personally I think the person who feels strongly about what should be happening with regards to meals should be the one to do something about it

I disagree. Luckily df and I feel the same about food and healthy options but if we disagreed, I wouldn't be sitting back and going 'Oh well, feed the kids a load of shite today then, it's your day off so nothing to do with me' hmm

sleepyhead Sat 12-Oct-13 13:04:27

Get a slow cooker and then it'll be easy for your dh to rustle up something home - cooked and nutritious for the next day before he goes to bed. Or maybe he could get up a bit early and do it then.

Also suggest that he does some batch cooking at weekends.

Want2bSupermum Sat 12-Oct-13 13:14:59

Im with you to a certain degree OP. I don't have time to cook so I have 'ready meals' that either I or my home help have cooked in the freezer. The baby has cooked food that is frozen down into ice cube trays.

The term 'cooking from scratch' annoys me. So much of our food is processed. Tinned tomatoes are processed yet using them is considered ok. How many of you 'cooking from scratch' are making your own pasta?

Where I draw the line is nutrition. Some ready meals and restaurant cooked items are very high in salt which is not good. Most of the meals lack enough vegetables too. If I buy a bertolli bag in the frozen section I am also buying a bag of frozen peppers and peas to add to it. I am very picky about what frozen meals I buy. I have no idea why a frozen meal has to have so much salt in it.

Jinsei Sat 12-Oct-13 13:28:02

OP, I hate cooking too, it's such a drag! However, I don't think processed ready meals are very nutritious so I do kind of agree with your DH. Can't he do a bit more cooking in the week as well as at weekends?

Batch cooking is definitely the way to go, saves loads of hassle!

PumpkinGuts Sat 12-Oct-13 15:36:19

If Dh isn't cooking he can fuck off. Yanbu

Your husband can get up at 4am to chop things and bung them in a slow cooker if he cares that fucking much.

How nice of him to volunteer you for the shitwork.

Prick.

Xpost with PumpkinGuts, with whom I agree 100%.

PumpkinGuts Sat 12-Oct-13 15:41:30

I'm very surprised everyone has taken his side. If he only cooks weekends its really not for him to dictate

PumpkinGuts Sat 12-Oct-13 15:42:27

Exactly Maltese!

.and I love cooking, but that's not the point

Exactly.

I hate cooking and let my husband do all of it, but that's not the point either. grin

I'm far from lazy just completely disinterested in food and cooking. I could quite happily live on soup, salad and chocolate. In fact, I did live on tuna baked potatoes for years before I met DH.
DH loves to cook. Therefore he does.

clarinetV2 Sat 12-Oct-13 16:10:29

YANBU to hate cooking. I do myself - the special occasion type, when I can set aside serious amounts of time and go to town a bit is OK, but I loathe the everyday kind. I find it boring, relentless and have better things to do. YABU to want to rely on ready meals. There are other and better options if you don't want to cook every day. First, your DH should take turns with you. If he thinks there is nothing wrong with cooking from scratch, fine, let him do his share. My kids have left home now, but when they were younger I got on top of a few 'signature' dishes that I could almost make in my sleep, meaning I never really had to think about the shopping or the preparation, it was done on auto-pilot. I also did what others on this thread have said, made large quantities and froze it. And as soon as they were old enough, both DDs took their share of the cooking and washing-up. If you and your DH were to do that, you'd find that you probably only need to cook once or twice a week each, the other times you are defrosting what's already there - and once your DCs are old enough, less than that.

That said, when my DCs were at home I did occasionally dish up a ready meal and we all survived to tell the tale - it's not something I would have done on a daily basis, but there were always a few meals in the freezer for when none of us could be bothered. I don't think the odd ready meal is a crime against parenthood.

Fakebook Sat 12-Oct-13 18:14:45

How nice of him to volunteer you for the shitwork.

Prick.

Yeah, feeding your children and yourself healthy food by chopping up a few vegetables is "shit work". Or is it just common sense and easier on the purse? hmm

Anyway, WorraLiberty agrees with me, so I must be right. grin

MerrilyMoo Sat 12-Oct-13 18:24:15

Ready meals taste disgusting, thats my problem with them.

I dont mind the odd bit of lazy, prep-prepared veg or whatnot, though. I hate cooking, too. Its boring and I'm not a foodie. I just want a plate of food of a night, not a gourmet experience.

Does your DH not cook?

MerrilyMoo Sat 12-Oct-13 18:25:22

Oh sorry, he does.

Well listen...you cook what you cook and he can make froms cratch loveliness when he cooks, no?

KeatsiePie Sat 12-Oct-13 18:35:47

Samantha I used to hate cooking. It's still not my favorite thing. I figured out one of the things I hated was not just the fussy fucking chopping stirring grating sauteeing ... but having to do it over. and over. and over. every damn day ... [clenches teeth]

But as pixwix said if you just set aside say a day every week or so (well, she does it once a month, but I'm not that good!) and do a whole bunch it is so much easier. Especially b/c you don't have to make like 8 different meals on that day. I make 3 lasagnas one day and throw 2 in the freezer. Then 4 stratas another day and throw 3 in the freezer. Triple batch of one kind of soup, freeze most of it ... after a few times you will have a lot of variety in there. Basically it is not really harder/fussier to cut up e.g., 5 onions instead of one, and then don't have to cut up any onions for a week.

Threalamandaclarke Sat 12-Oct-13 18:36:40

My Slow cooker has saved me from insanity.

StanleyLambchop Sat 12-Oct-13 18:40:45

I agree with Want2bsupermum, how do you all define cooking from scratch? Tinned tomatoes are processed foods, pasta could be made from scratch but most people used ready-made, yet that is still a 'from scratch' ingredient? The old staple of 'from scratchers' -stock cubes- are laced with salt so not that healthy- so why not spend hours boiling up your own stock and batch freezing that? I think some people are very smug about their cooking, yet in reality are using just as many processed ingredients.

KeatsiePie Sat 12-Oct-13 18:41:02

But anyway YANBU at all if your heart sinks at the thought of it! Not everyone likes to do it. I still don't exactly think oh goody will charge in there and make 18 casseroles and then wash everything, cannot wait.

I'm a little confused about whether you or he or both of you have time to do it but think generally the chores should be split. If he likes to cook so much then maybe he could do it and you could do something else.

KeatsiePie Sat 12-Oct-13 18:44:57

Threalamandaclarke is there a slow cooker site you like? I don't do very much with mine b/c I sort of can't find that much to do with it. Beef stew sure, but that's about it.

I'm with you OP. I was raised on fisherman's pies and lasagnes and bacon pasta bakes, padded out with those little pasta shell packs you just add water and butter to, and veg and mash... I much prefer the taste of those readymeals to most made-from-scratch food and I am not fond of cooking.

Since moving to AMerica I have had to make most stuff from scratch as they surprisingly do not have a good choice of ready meals. The froxen lasagne is vile so I make my own, which I like almost as much as British ready meal ones. I have to make my own stuffing and biscuits if I want them.

I'd far rather feed my kids the way I was brought up - and I never seemed lacking in nutrition.

Threalamandaclarke Sat 12-Oct-13 19:33:27

No keatsie I'm still looking. "crockpot" and "betty crocker" are ok.
I really need a decent book.
Sausage casserole, beef stew, lentil soup, chicken cacciatore, chilli. That's it so far. I think any casseroley recipe with an added cup of liquid, 8 hours on low would work from my limited research.
I desperately want to discover recipes where no initial browning of onions/ meat is needed. So far only rice pudding grin

KeatsiePie Sat 12-Oct-13 20:21:20

Thanks for letting me know Threal, I was looking at a Real Simple site here www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-techniques/cooking/slow-cooker-recipes-00100000075675/index.html but haven't gotten far as I lack enthusiasm.

I desperately want to discover recipes where no initial browning of onions/ meat is needed Me too, me too, me too. It is endless.

Threalamandaclarke Sat 12-Oct-13 20:31:13

Oh, thanks for that.

KeatsiePie Sat 12-Oct-13 20:33:39

Sure!

Rubybrazilianwax Sat 12-Oct-13 20:36:04

Ready meals all taste the same to me, even the m&s ones. I can taste that they just aren't fresh food. I don't love cooking especially but I love the taste of good food so much more that it makes me cook, if you know what I mean?

Housesellerihope Sat 12-Oct-13 20:41:02

I love cooking but I don't think it's compulsory to cook as long as you are well off enough to afford good quality bought stuff. There is a shop called Cook near me that does frozen meals that look really healthy. You can also buy nice stuff from Waitrose like marinated salmon, beef roulade, etc and just bung it in the oven and serve with prepacked salad and crusty bread. Nothing wrong with that but it's not something we could ever afford to do - if you can, though, go for it.

BlingLoving Sat 12-Oct-13 20:47:48

I think if he feels so strongly about it, he could make a bit more effort to help out with a chore you hate. Especially a chore that requires constant, never ending effort. I love cooking but even som the relentlessness of three meals a day really starts to get me down after a while.

I would say also that there's a compromise so,union as per this thread, starting with dh doing more and/or batch cooking, using the frozen/prepared vegetables others have suggested and perhaps mastering a few super simple meals. I also think for your ready meal days, there ar ways for these to be better. Eg I sometimes buy those "cook yourself" meals eg herb crusted lamb or stuffed chicken breast and serve with potatoes and frozen veg. I feel zero guilt in those moments as really it's just someone else doing the work for me.

Or, do what my mother has always done: decide you like your food bland and cook accordingly. We grew up on things like grilled sausages and boiled vegetables or the simplest cooked mince. As we got older, we learnt to expriment for ourselves.

ouryve Sat 12-Oct-13 21:44:56

Somewhere in between is the way to go, unless you have the time and energy to cook everything from scratch. I have HMS and often have trouble standing, holding a knife etc or I'm experiencing so much fatigue that I shouldn't be allowed near anything hot or sharp. The boys both have ASD and, as well as the food aversions phobias that come in with that package, DS1 has certain foods that he can't eat, at the moment, because we strongly suspect they're triggering abdominal migraines. Then there's the days when I can't take my eyes off them for 3 seconds without something happening.

So, I do cook about half of our meals from scratch, but the rest have at least one element that was either fished out of the freezer and thrown directly into the oven or came in a black plastic tray courtesy of M&S.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 12-Oct-13 22:59:41

I can't really understand why some people hate cooking. As other posters have said, it's just part of life. Like commuting, or exercising, or doing the laundry. Not all of us will love all of these tasks, but they still need done. And cooking is one of the fun ones, surely? Since you have to eat every day, you may as well eat things you like.

The idea of subsisting purely on ready meals depresses me. There are some ready meals that are quite good, which I do like. But the thought of eating them day in day out makes me feel ill. I'd be very surprised if it was a good for your long term health.

I do agree that if your DH has strong feelings about it, then he should step up and put in the effort himself. At the same time, it must be expensive, and unhealthy to over-rely on heavily processed food. There's no need to take 'home cooking' to silly extremes, like making your own noodles or bread rolls all the time. But I can't for the life of me understood why pre-prepared mashed potato exists as a thing in a shop.

noblegiraffe Sat 12-Oct-13 23:14:04

Because you can bung it in the microwave for 2 minutes and it tastes just as nice without having to peel a single potato? Let alone chop, boil and mash the bloody things.

Life is too short as it is. If you can take a few shortcuts on things which are necessary but ultimately not enjoyable, then why not?
Like commuting to work, if you could pay to take a faster bus, wouldn't you be tempted? Sure you might say you can read or daydream on the slow bus, but what if you have to stand so your feet hurt and it's smelly too?

crochetcircle Sat 12-Oct-13 23:15:29

Come on the whole thing

OccamsRaiser Sun 13-Oct-13 07:40:14

I desperately want to discover recipes where no initial browning of onions/ meat is needed Me too, me too, me too. It is endless.
I don't brown anything before chucking it in the slow cooker these days... Simply because I usually pre-load it the night before, chuck the whole bowl into the fridge then in the mornings (when I'm hustling to get out the door) I just lift it out and put in the slow-cooker and set it to come on during the day. Never had an issue with it.

I use chicken thighs, chopped onion, chorizo, potatoes (if lazy, get smallish ones and cut in half and throw 'em in) a tin of tomatoes and good slosh of wine & herbs. If I've got anything else (celery, carrots, parsnips, swedes etc) then in they go. Or nuke some frozen peas and chuck those in at the end.

My slow cooker does everything. Jar of Mussaman curry paste, chunks of beef, onion, potato and a jar of coconut milk & enough water to cover it - job's a good'un. Throw some rice on when we get in and chuck peanuts on top.

Spaghetti bolognese - just like normal, but stir a couple of times towards the end as it cooks.

Soup veggies, stock, couple of handfuls of soup mix or pearl barley - easy peasy soup option, served with crusty bread.

Or another favourite - www.chow.com/recipes/30356-easy-slow-cooker-pulled-pork

SPBisResisting Sun 13-Oct-13 08:00:06

I don't mind cooking when I'm in the mood but it's the continual requirement, plus the necessity to clean up afterwards and just manage the whole process.

Are we the only family that has 'quick' rather than ready meals? Kids regularly have boiled eggs and soldiers for tea. Seeds of change pasta sauce with chopped sausage and sweetcorn - is that a 'ready meal'. If it is, why is using a curry paste still classed as 'cooking from scratch'. Does (and I realise this is an MN classic) stuffed pasta count as a ready meal?

Ifancyashandy Sun 13-Oct-13 08:12:25

I don't think a jar of curry paste is cooking from scratch. I make my own when I make a curry.

I hate the taste / fat content / calories of ready meals. In fact, I couldn't tell you the last time I had one. Years who maybe? Oh no, tell a lie - fresh soups. I buy them for lunch. But never meat based. Pre-prepped meat makes me feel a little queasy.

SPBisResisting Sun 13-Oct-13 08:21:53

Most others seems to - I was really surprised.

Mumsyblouse Sun 13-Oct-13 08:23:08

I'm just laughing at someone describing cooking as one of the fun chores. Not for me it aint!

I hate cooking too, OP and feel a sinking in my heart around tea time.

I think the issue with many ready meals is that they are high in sugar and salt, however, if you have pots of money and buy some of the fresh but prepared stuff from Waitrose and M & S (e.g. bags of preprepared veggies) plus a nice preprepared salmon steak and some bread then I cannot see you are going to do much better yourself.

I don't have the money for this, so I do about half cooking from scratch and half chips/fishfingers type meals, depending on the guilt factor.

I also think some people are a bit in denial about how healthy their 'from scratch' meals are or how much they are really from scratch, lots of people use things like preprepared onions, garlic and a cheese and tomato sauce from a bottle and then call their lasagne 'from scratch'- ummm, not really, and not much difference than a high end low salt ready one. Combining semi-ready things doesn't make it 'from scratch'.

If your husband feels strongly about it, the onus is on him to do something about it- cook several meals a week himself from scratch, shop differently etc, not to nag at you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 13-Oct-13 08:28:23

Having no choice who does the cooking (lone parent) I can see both sides of the argument. There are days when I'll happily fuss over a big pot of something complicated, days when I can only summon up the enthusiasm for an omelette and days when I have time to do neither. Ready-meals, however, are packed with salt and outside my budget so I make full use of the freezer, cook extra portions and reheat them when I can't be bothered.

If the DH likes cooking at the weekends maybe get him to fill the freezer while he's at it?

Catsize Sun 13-Oct-13 08:36:21

Sorry, another vote for your DH here.
If cooking from scratch, you know what is going in - and what isn't!
Compromise and have one night your way perhaps?

MistressIggi Sun 13-Oct-13 08:48:57

There must be some massive freezers out there, mine has room for a couple of pre-cooked lasagnas on top of the frozen veggies, chips, spare loaf, quorn crap, and ice-cream (essential). I think cooking must be easier with a chest freezer in the utility room. And a ginormous open plan kitchen to cook while watching what the toddler is getting up to. I work part-time and plan for "better" meals on the days I don't work. When at home on ML meals where generally better, if at work full-time I imagine it's very hard to be arsed at all at the end of a day out of the home. (I'm busy at home but have pockets of time to go into the kitchen and, say, defrost something or prepare a vegetable. Not so easy from work).

That's very true - when we replaced our fridgefreezer with a double-width chest freezer it completely changed how I plan and cook.

It means we always have bread and cheese, because they freeze and defrost so easily. No more nipping to the corner shop for a loaf of bread and coming back with bread, crisps and a magazine.

closingeveryhour Sun 13-Oct-13 09:08:29

I'm with you OP - I just don't like cooking, never get it when people say they enjoy it. Have been lucky to have partners who liked cooking (I actually like cleaning) so haven't had to do it that much (though I can cook, I should make that clear!) I do a lot of salads and bread - greek salad, etc. and things like salmon fillets with salad or veg. When I had a lot more disposable income tbh I did live on ready meals - M&S ones are pretty good; not sure why people think they are always less nutritious - what about the "just cook" kind which are basically meat dishes for roasting? Served with salad, new potatoes & veg no less nutritious than making your own, it's just the preparation that's been done for you. Also agree with those above who point out that much "from scratch" cooking uses processed, frozen or tinned ingredients. Many meals people make supposedly from scratch are high in salt (from stock and added salt), carbs and fat as well. My sister lives on pasta cooked "from scratch" with fried onions, sweetcorn, cream sauce and cheap supermarket chicken pieces (the non-free range full of hormones stuff)! It's just carbs with salt and fat basically.

I also used to take the opportunity to buy nice ready meals which I'd never make myself - moussaka, lamb shank, etc. There are some great ones out there which are not processed if you don't mind paying a bit more - I lived off Pegotty Hedge ones with veg and salad for weeks when I'd just had a baby. Admittedly I can't afford to do that now my income has dropped post-baby, but actually cooking from scratch with good ingredients, especially good free-range or properly reared meats, is often even more expensive. I eat a lot of veg and it's a great deal more expensive than the ready meals to put with it.

I even once managed to lose a lot of weight on my patented "M&S ready meal diet" - one if their "count on us" low-calorie ready meals am evening with a big helping of steamed veg was the easiest diet I've ever been on - six of them a week when they had a three for 5 pounds offer and job done. Mind you those diet ones do taste shit and need a ton of kale or broccoli just to improve the experience :p

closingeveryhour Sun 13-Oct-13 09:19:26

NB my job regularly involved/involves 70-hr weeks so though I realise my post above sounds to some like I was rolling in it with the cash, I actually wasn't - but working that amount of time means you don't really go out or do anything much at the weekends so you can spend more on food - also didn't own a car, go on holiday much but nice ready meals made my life a lot more bearable after a 10-12hr working day. Do the people who like to cook to relax still want to do it after a long day at work though? I'm sure I'd just have lived on toast and marmite if I didn't have the option of decent ready meals, if you get back at 9pm from work and then start cooking from scratch you'd never sleep!

MadeOfStarDust Sun 13-Oct-13 09:35:41

I don't like cooking either - so go down the quick, with cheats, from scratch route - like most folks.....

Ready made fresh pasta and frozen broccoli in pot of boiling water for 5 min, salmon fillets in microwave, with a little frozen garlic and black pepper - nuke for 2 min -add some cream, stir - serve - takes 10 min tops - including getting the stuff out of the fridge... much nicer tasting than a ready meal, but no chopping due to frozen veg and pasta.. (though new potatoes go well - wash and cut in half before boiling)

Chunderella Sun 13-Oct-13 09:37:13

DH is right- ready meals aren't up to scratch nutritionally and tend to have a lot of salt, so children shouldn't be having a lot of them. Feeding DC properly isn't an optional extra. That said, I also agree with the posters who feel it shouldn't all fall on you. It sounds like you have more responsibility for food prep than he does, so I'll assume you're around more and that this isn't easily changeable- but this doesn't mean he shouldn't do his share, or that you can't keep your cooking time to a minimum.

As well as the batch cooking and slow cooker options mentioned, there are also ways to have healthy meals that don't involve either cooking or ready meals. You don't mention money worries and as you're talking about living on the more expensive ready meals, I'll assume a decent budget. Someone upthread mentioned having a jacket spuds night. This is a perfectly reasonable option, and if DH is usually the full cooked meal type this is his opportunity to compromise. You could also have a salad night, alternate between smoked mackerel, cheese and naice ham, perhaps. If you can afford bagged salad, it's literally just a question of opening some packets. Then let's say DH does a roast on Sunday- if he likes cooking, it makes sense for him to do this job. You could throw something together with the leftovers on Monday- just boil a few spuds and make a bit more gravy maybe. You don't actually even need to peel the potatoes. So that's 4 of 7 nights taken care of easily enough without you having to do much. The other three could be slow cooker or something DH has batch cooked.

Wallison Sun 13-Oct-13 09:38:25

I think it's a bit ridiculous the way that food has become almost a moral issue: you know, with people reverently avowing that oh no they would never use ready meals. Just do what suits you, I reckon. I do tend to cook from scratch but that's only because I don't like the taste of most ready meals I've tried and also I can't afford them - if I liked them and had the money, I would definitely buy them and I don't think I'm somehow a better person just because I spend time chopping etc. Do what suits you, OP, and if your other half doesn't like it then he's free to do the cooking himself instead, isn't he? It's all just bloody food anyway - you eat it because you're hungry and you need to.

Chunderella Sun 13-Oct-13 09:41:36

Ooh yes, fresh pasta could be a good choice too. You could also do something like fish fingers, frozen peas and boiled spuds (again no need to peel). Reasonably balanced meal. That's 6 of the 7 nights taken care of, then. DH can put something in the slow cooker before he leaves on the other morning.

Bloob Sun 13-Oct-13 09:49:11

DH is right that cooking from scratch is best (far healthier) but there's no reason it should be you that does it. Depending on work and other chores could DH do the cooking if you really hate it? I cook most evenings when get home from work because it's a chore I don't mind as much, DW a SAHM and does most of the other chores.

whatever5 Sun 13-Oct-13 09:51:00

I think that the main issue with M & S food (or equivalent) is that they tend to be high in salt. I expect that a good quality meal that is low in salt is probably as good as many "from scratch" meals though, particularly as people often use stock in their "from scratch" meals which is high in salt anyway.

I don't mind cooking but I don't have much time so often just cook chicken or salmon in the oven and eat it with potatoes/veg. Although it's not very exciting, it's no more effort than a pre prepared meal and it's nutritious.

missmargot Sun 13-Oct-13 10:06:09

I love cooking but it can become a chore doing the week, especially now I'm 28 weeks pregnant and it's all I can do to get through a day at work without napping let alone come home and be full of energy. DH can cook but he's not brilliant although he is willing however I am a control freak I would rather do it myself.

My solutions are trying new recipes and cooking things I really really enjoy eating so that greed overtakes my tiredness and lack of motivation. I also find pre chopped garlic, onions etc to be a huge timesaver and always have lots in the freezer.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sun 13-Oct-13 11:03:18

Pre-prepared mashed potato? How much time can it really save? It doesn't take much time or effort to rinse some potatoes, boil them, drain them, mash them. If you're just cooking for two people I can just about understand it, but if you're feeding three or four then you have to mess about with different packets and the microwave, and spend about £4 on a bit of sodding mashed potato.

Anyway, it's not just the health aspect of eating ready meals that would bother me. It's just that most of them aren't very nice. I like the Charlie Bighams ones - the Moussaka and the Fish Pie - but I would still get bored if I ate them all the time.

The thing is, if you're cooking for a family, then doing lots of different stuff in the microwave is a pain. And readymeals that need to go into the oven take just as bloody long as simple fresh meals that need to go in the oven. I can see that they are less effort, but I can't see that they're brilliant timesavers.

I timed myself making mash once. It took ten cunting minutes to peel and chop the potatoes, let alone bring them to the boil, drain them, mash them, and wash the pan, colander and masher. Or five minutes to drag a pot of made mash from the freezer (from an occasion where it was marked down to 9p in the supermarket) and stick it in the microwave, with zero resulting washing up.

Some cheats don't save time, but mash genuinely does.

SPBisResisting Sun 13-Oct-13 11:13:09

I think it does! Peeling them with startchy potato juice flying all over tje laptop (I cant be the only one who mns while I cook). Then boiling tjem. Draining them. Mashing them. Cleaning out the mash covered pan - thT stuff is like glue. Cleaning colander. Wiping up startchy splatters.

Housesellerihope Sun 13-Oct-13 11:23:41

You don't actually need to peel potatoes before you mash them. The peel is hardly noticeable in the final product and it adds a bit of nice texture plus lots of fibre and vitamins. If you really must peel it takes seconds with a potato peeler instead of a knife. But if you prefer to buy frozen then I don't think that's bad, just so long as you aren't using some horror like dried smash!

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sun 13-Oct-13 11:24:48

Don't peel them. It's a waste of time and the skin adds fibre and flavour!

I bung all my cooking stuff straight in the dishwasher. If you don't have a dishwasher I can see the appeal of packaged food more. Though I enjoy cooking/doing prep anyway. It relaxes me after work, and by the time my food is in the oven or ready to eat then I am definitely in home mode and not work mode.

Squitten Sun 13-Oct-13 11:28:19

I'm not a huge fan of cooking. I have learned to be a better cook since having the kids and becoming a SAHM but it's just another chore for me to do! I'm not very inventive and I don't have a good palate for knowing whether changing things in a recipe will make it better or worse. I try to batch cook as much as possible, especially now that it's getting colder and we're more in the mood for lasagne, stew, etc.

As others have said cooking "from scratch" is a matter of degree. If I can make something myself, like pasta sauce, then I won't pay for it out of a jar. I'm not, on the other hand, going to spend every evening making my own pasta!

bakingaddict Sun 13-Oct-13 11:37:01

It might have been said already...but it's not a matter of right and wrong but coming to a mutually agreeable arrangement regarding cooking.

You don't seem to it like it, no amount of courses or whatever is going to awaken a love for cooking, you either do or don't or at best you get to see it as an unavoidable chore like cleaning the toilet.

If it's becoming an issue for your DH then it's up to him to step it up. Can he cook at weekends and perhaps a couple of nights in the week?
I'm sure other posts have said but utilise frozen veg, pre-prepared veg, herbs, meats like those chicken portions in herbs from M&S etc, really anything in the arsenal that takes the chore out of cooking for you

CecilyP Sun 13-Oct-13 11:44:27

I do my own mash in the microwave, so the potatoes are cooked in a pyrex which I then mash them in. I drain by just tilting the lid slightly - so no collander and the pyrex is much easier to wash than a saucepan.

But while I would never buy ready made mash, I don't think there is anything wrong with the better quality ready meals (things have certainly come a long way since the days of the the Vesta curry) expecially the chilled ones that have a fairly short shelf life. They can be made more nutritious with the addition of extra vegetable, either fresh or frozen. The only real downside is that they are so expensive but OP has not said that money is a problem. While I wouldn't like to use ready meals all the time, there are some that are very good and are more complex than things I would do myself.

In the old days when people cooked just about everything from scratch, meals were very plain. I get the feeling that OP's DH probably would still want a variety of cuisine, rather than the meat and two veg of old.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 13-Oct-13 11:59:38

I don't think it's right to only eat ready meals and I also agree with your DH. However, with a full time job and two teenage children and a DH who doesn't like shopping and cooking I think there is a balance to be sought.

On Friday we had a tray of chicken thighs, drums and quarters - sprinkles with lemon juice, paprika, salt and garlic and bunged in the oven for 50 mins whilst I made a salad with olives and feta and shoved some good bread in the oven. Not exactly labour intensive and meant there was chicken for lunches and snacks on Saturday.

On Saturday we had macaroni cheese and a lovely salad. Took about 20 minutes, especially with ready grated cheese.

Today we will have an anti-pasti platter with lovely cold meats, roast artichokes, olives, good rockety salad, some diced spud with a splash of olive oil (in the oven for 30 minutes, etc.)

Monday - good quality beefburgers, salad and jackety chips.

Tuesday - Breaded chicken fillets, chips and peas

Wednesday - Carbonara (ready cubed pancetta, cream, cheese and mushrooms)

Thursday - a whole chicken, new potatoes, coleslaw and salad.

>>whispers<< sometimes when I'm really tired and have had a long day and I know stocks are running low I will buy a ready made salad in a plastic bowl for £3.

I think that's relatively healthy - I'm not cooking much at weekends at the moment because we are moving in a few weeks.

SPBisResisting Sun 13-Oct-13 12:00:11

Ds would reject them if there was skin in fhe mash smile
And I do use a peeler but it still takes ages. Dishwasher cant cope with mashed potato coated dishes - needs washj g first

CecilyP Sun 13-Oct-13 12:19:04

I find I get on better with a sharp knife than with a potato peeler. And ready washed potatoes are a real boon. If you just put water in your dish straight away, the dishwasher should cope.

I have noticed that many of the people on here recommending cooking from scratch, seem to to be recommending turning their kitchen into a factory at weekends, cooking industrial sized quantities of food and storing them in a huge freezer, so they are effectively producing their own ready meals!

The potatoes we buy need at least scrubbing. Peeling is faster than scrubbing.

And if you're buying peeled/scrubbed potatoes then you're already taking a shortcut so can't exactly be sniffy about mash someone else has made grin wink

My pans can't go in the dishwasher because they have copper bottoms. If I am feeling lazy and have none frozen, I microwave baking potatoes and scoop out the middles.

Housesellerihope Sun 13-Oct-13 12:43:29

The quality of potato peelers varies a lot, but this is a good one www.amazon.co.uk/OXO-Good-Grips-Swivel-Peeler/dp/B00004OCIP/ref=pd_sim_kh_4

DHs and DSs who reject mash with peel will eat it if they're hungry enough grin but again I say buy quality ready cooked stuff if you want and can afford! Not the stuff that's frozen with massive amounts of sodium and unpronounceable ingredients, though.

QueenStromba Sun 13-Oct-13 14:42:17

OXO good grips are great - I bought this one after using PILs' one. I use mashed cauliflower for stuff like fish pie - just defrost frozen cauliflower in the microwave and mash it with a stick blender. When it's covered in melted cheese you don't notice the difference between that and potato.

MadeOfStarDust Sun 13-Oct-13 16:23:35

Don't need to peel potatoes , or get peel in the mash - chop potatoes, boil and put through a ricer - you don't get the skin in the mash.... it is one of THE points about a potato ricer! no peeling required....

Willshome Sun 13-Oct-13 18:02:46

On the whole DH has logic on his side. Disregarding cost, look at the ingredients list on a ready meal – how many things apart the things you would recognise if you saw them? Those are things for the economic benefit of the supplier, not the nutritional benefit of your family.

It needn't be a chore. Waitrose's frozen broccoli, cauliflower and extra fine beans are excellent (brussels not so much). If DH wants meals from scratch, then get him to peel and chop carrots for the week at the weekend and bag them up in the fridge. Then it's just potatoes on the day and a slab of meat in a pan or a dish in the oven (or a casserole in a slow cooker). Personally, I don't think you can go far wrong with a stir-fry. So long as DH helps with the washing up too, no problem.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 13-Oct-13 18:30:59

I looked at a ready meal in Sainsburys last week. Small fat sausages, red onion, potato slices and a red wine gravy. I looked delicious and I thought "Oh that would be lovely" and then realised that for four of us we would need two. A tenner. Then worked out I could make twice as much for literally no bother at all probably with better quality sausages for around £6-£7. Literally slice one red onion, slice two spuds (no need to peel), cut large sausages in half (or buy a packet of those lovely casserole ones they do in Waitrose) and buy a pot of red wine gravy. Drizzle of olive oil, and sprig of rosemary from the garden.

Easy peasy and more food of better quality with enough for lunch for two the following day grin.

TrueStory Sun 13-Oct-13 18:33:49

Haha cecily! I knew something a bit odd about all this "batch cooking"! i do it sometimes but it never feels quite right ....

KeatsiePie Sun 13-Oct-13 18:47:23

OccamsRaiser that is great to know about onions etc. in the slow cooker -- think I will look a little harder for some recipes.

My stance is I don't peel anything. Apples, carrots, potatoes, nothing. But some kids are not okay with peels so that's not always an option.

Ha cecily that's exactly what batch cooking is like for me. I want to get up/come home and pull a meal straight out of the fridge/freezer and put it on a plate just as if it were a ready meal. I love it.

Housesellerihope Sun 13-Oct-13 19:01:38

Me too with batch cooking at weekends reproducing the ease of ready meals during the week. At the moment in the freezer we have lentil loaf, mac n cheese, quorn lasagna, pizza dough, pizza sauce, hummus, veggie burritos, and mash plus I'm sure some other bits too. All cooked completely from scratch, very cheap, and to our taste. I cook while DH helps by chopping/stirring/doing dishes. For us it's a fun way to spend time together and it keeps us off the streets. Then during the week we heat so ething up, steam some veggies to go alongside, and have fruit for dessert. However everyone is different and you could probably buy stuff that's just as healthy or close to it although it would cost you at least three times as much.

KeatsiePie Sun 13-Oct-13 19:16:38

Yep Houseseller we do some of the cooking together too, or DH cooks while I clean, etc., so it's a nice time. And the savings are a big deal to us too.

Threalamandaclarke Mon 14-Oct-13 09:19:22

Occamsraiser that's great to hear your slow cooker tips. Thanks.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 14-Oct-13 09:59:16

ready made meals are not got for you once or twice a week ok but every day you would be eating far too much salt, fat and probably sugar

there are lots of very easy meals to make a simple bolognese sauce can be used for the basis of many dishes - tell this to your dh and maybe he can cook it

I do cook from scratch and I also use some pre-prepared things (Pizza) I bung oven chips and veggie sausages in the oven if time is short. There is a balance to be had. As we are all vegetarian living on ready meals would be very boring and cheesy.

DH cannot cook so I take little notice of his input - he does whine about root veg - but you try cooking vegetarian meals in the winter without them! Anyway.

When we eat at PIL we always have a selection of M&S pre prepared dishes - all fine but a bit dry and salty and they never make gravy! Even when we have roast potatoes and what not... nowt so queer as folk. And and they have a massive range cooker with like 6 burners and a massive cavernous oven - which is as pristine as the day it arrived a couple of years ago [stifles sob of jealousy]. So people clearly do survive on ready meals - but I wouldn't be happy doing that as I enjoy food (and gravy) and cooking my hideously fussy and capricious children have sucked some of the joy out of cooking on a daily basis but I soldier on.

Op you are welcome to live on ready meals but I think it would ultimately be unsatisfactory and not as nutrious as the packaging may claim. Ultimately it is up to you though, it is possible to batch cook and use cheats to speed up the cooking from scratch process but you have to want to do it.

The lack of punctuation in my post is shameful and has made some of my sentences meaningless. I tend to write first then edit. I just forgot to edit. I don't cook my fussy children! I am tempted to occasionally.

Fakebook Mon 14-Oct-13 10:35:23

I find that cooking everyday makes you faster as you develop your own short cuts.

For example, I hate using a chopping board. It takes up space and wiping it over and over again wastes my time. So when I prep, I have one big bowl that I throw peelings in and then cut the vegetables straight into the pots. I've become faster at cutting onions without a chopping board and can even do it eyes closed when my eyes sting.

I also hate my hands getting smelly with herbs like coriander, so I bulk buy from the market and wash and cut the leaves and freeze them in freezer bags and take out as much as I need each time.

I also hate peeling garlic so I mash it up in my pestle and mortar and freeze tiny portions in foil that I make into balls.

Chunderella Mon 14-Oct-13 12:40:35

There's some really good tips in here OP. Duly inspired, I reckon I could draw you up a 2 week menu without too much repetition. No ready meals, but a couple of convenience ingredients. All cooked veg to be frozen, all potatoes to be either oven chips, ready made mash or boiled unpeeled. Nothing during the week involving any more than a few minutes preparation. I'm going to assume DH is around at weekend and can do some cooking then, weekdays either of you. Not factoring in cost as that doesn't seem to be an issue here.

Week 1
Sun- roast beef dinner, with all trimmings. DH to do.
Mon- leftovers with boiled spuds/oven chips/ready made mash and frozen veg
Tues- cheesy jackets and beans
Wed- fresh pasta, salad
Thurs- steak, oven chips, either salad or any frozen veg
Fri- smoked mackerel salad
Sat- DH to do a bolognese/curry/stew, double helpings, and freeze one

Week 2
Sun- roast chicken dinner with all trimmings, DH to do
Mon- leftovers with veg and spuds as with last Mon
Tues- risotto with stock from chicken. Sounds intimidating but isn't. Or tuna jackets if you feel this is too much.
Wed- defrost whatever DH cooked at weekend
Thurs- fish fingers, frozen veg, spuds
Fri- ham or cheese salad
Sat- whack a load of chicken portions in to roast with a bit of olive oil on them. Easy spuds or rice. Salad or frozen veg.

KeatsiePie Mon 14-Oct-13 15:02:52

Hmm, are there recipe threads around here? I wouldn't mind getting some new ideas.

Samantha sorry if some of this has been too much of a thread hijack. I haven't commented on the nutritional value of ready meals b/c I don't know anything about it. I imagine that organic frozen meals must be all right, or sure as hell ought to be for what they cost, but don't actually know. But I still think if you hate cooking and he doesn't then there should be a way for him to do a lot of it, depending on how you can rearrange other workloads.

E.g., he could cook a double meal and freeze one, twice a week. And you could cook a double meal and freeze one, once a week. That's five dinners. And then two organic ready dinners a week, or one ready and one dinner out, and you're covered. And you're only cooking once a week, not so bad smile

Using organic ingredients doesn't magically make a meal nutritious if it's got lots of water, salt and sugar padding it out confused

KeatsiePie Mon 14-Oct-13 18:38:22

Well no, just better than non-organic. I would check the labels, some are not bad, especially if it's only a couple of times a week.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 14-Oct-13 19:21:15

why is organic "better" ??

PumpkinGuts Mon 14-Oct-13 19:25:37

Organic isn't better, non organic is just worse.

It's like ff/bf. Formula does the job but it's not what your body was designed to eat.

You were not designed to ingest pesticides. or gmos

MadeOfStarDust Mon 14-Oct-13 19:53:33

but organic farming cannot feed the whole developing world ....
So middle class Westerners can be pesticide free, everyone else has to eat them....

And GM technology is used in ALL commercial vegetarian cheeses (and most other cheeses) nowadays - made using chymosin isolated from genetically modified microorganisms, as this is cheaper than using rennet and is vegetarian-friendly.

(chymosin is the active ingredient in rennet, and because it is chemically identical it does not have to be labelled as being made using GM)

PumpkinGuts Mon 14-Oct-13 20:01:50

You asked a question.. I answered it. It is better for you. Or were you merely being sarky?

As for cheese, it isn't a necessary component to anyone's diet..and were meat to be eliminated from the diet I suppose we would have a lot less to worry about regarding crops. (70% of the United Stated grain and cereals is fed to farmed animals for meat. )

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