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Need help!! Challenging brief!

(28 Posts)
BertieBeatle Mon 11-Jul-16 15:30:34

Hi all,

So before we had a baby my dh used to do all the cooking as he really enjoyed it and he is an amazing cook.
Since having our ds who is now 10 weeks old my dh has become quite depressed and isn't coping well with going to work and our very challenging baby who just cries from 7 till 11 every night. Im actually really worried about dh who is suffering recurrent migraines and just doesnt seem himself at all. I therefore need to start doing the cooking before he gets home as I think that will take the pressure off him so he can relax when he gets in. He hasn't asked me to do this I just want to help and get my dh back!
The problem is I CAN'T COOK. I met dh at uni and have never learnt. He's always been content cooking whereas I do most of the cleaning. I need quick easy meals that are healthy but also that are vegetarian (we are both veggie) and gluten free as dh is allergic. Ds is challenging and needs a lot of attention so I don't have time to learn to be a good cook or to follow complex recipes, even chopping lots of veg would be difficult so any shortcut suggestions like buying pre chopped stuff would be useful. I don't do the food shop so all of this is alien to me!
If you can suggest some easy healthy recipes and how to cook them it would be really appreciated. Please don't worry about patronising me, I literally can't cook anything except beans on toast and pasta with sauce from a jar! blush

Thanks all!! smile

TheSpottedZebra Mon 11-Jul-16 15:31:30

Have you a freezer?

BertieBeatle Mon 11-Jul-16 15:32:00

Yes I do!

TheSpottedZebra Mon 11-Jul-16 15:33:24

Then you NEED frozen pre chopped onions.
And probably garlic, peas, sweetcorn, spinach. Frozen veg v v good IMHO.

TheSpottedZebra Mon 11-Jul-16 15:33:57

And also those bags of precooked rice, that you Shove in a microwave. Er, do you have a microwave?

OhNoNotMyBaby Mon 11-Jul-16 15:35:52

I'm not sure this is such a good idea tbh. If he loves cooking and he is stressed, I think you should let him do it. NOT being able to do something you like is stressful in itself.

Also, this is not addressing the cause of the problem. Whether that is 'just' the crying or adapting to life as a father, or feeling the weight of parenthood.... I think these are the issues you need to be addressing.

BertieBeatle Mon 11-Jul-16 15:36:06

See I didn't even know you could buy frozen pre-chopped veg!! Would I be able to order them from ocado? I've never online shopped but am going to start now!
Yes I have a microwave smile

TheSpottedZebra Mon 11-Jul-16 15:40:48

Oh god, do have a gander at the frozen 'aisle' on ocado then - they have onions, poss shallots, winter veg, soffrito. Lots and lots, to at least take a step or 2 out of the faff.

Maybe you need to sit down and have a think about what you want to eat, eg do you want a range of

Protein +carb + veg meals that you can pull together from the constituent blocks, or you you want bath cooked dinners pre made and frozen, to be heated up at your convenience.
Or do you just want a few weeks healthy-ish convenience food ro cover you while things are a bit tough?

TheSpottedZebra Mon 11-Jul-16 15:42:35

So easy proteins might be: baked beans, eggs, pulses (you can buy them cooked in tuns, packets, frozen...).

Carbs might be GF pasta or bread, or rice, or spuds.

Veg might be straight from freezer, or plain and simple like carrots, salads, etc etc

Boredomismyenemy Mon 11-Jul-16 15:44:46

Make use of your freezer! Frozen onions, garlic, herbs, meditteranean veg mix are all great and require no prep.
Does your DH eat gluten free pasta?
Simple things like gently roasting the frozen med veg in olive oil and frozen chopped basil, boil the gf pasta, mix the veg in oil through the strained pasta, handful of pregrated parmesan and lots of black pepper. Easy but tasty!
Does your DS have colic? Is that the cause of the crying? Do you have a sling so your baby still feels close to you but you are hands free?

BertieBeatle Mon 11-Jul-16 15:45:06

I think I want your last option 😊Quick dinner options that meet the requirements of carbs/protein/veg.
Jacket potato and beans and salad is good for example but we can't eat that every night. Variations of that kind of theme would be good!

Boredomismyenemy Mon 11-Jul-16 15:46:05

Yes ocado do all the waitrose frozen prepared veg and herbs, as well as fresh ones which obviously don't last as long.

BertieBeatle Mon 11-Jul-16 15:47:11

Yep he will eat gf pasta. Yeah he's really colicky! He doesn't like the sling as i think he feels restricted. he wants to be carried around or bounced in his chair. Very difficult to leave him for very long and the crying can be relentless until he passes out at about 11.

Boredomismyenemy Mon 11-Jul-16 15:47:48

Egg based dishes are quick and easy. Omelettes or oven baked frittata, microwave new potatoes and a side salad for example.

Boredomismyenemy Mon 11-Jul-16 15:48:42

Bless him, that sounds rotten for all of you. flowers

Boredomismyenemy Mon 11-Jul-16 15:49:18

Ocado do garofalo gf pasta which is definitely the best of all of the ones I've tried.

BertieBeatle Mon 11-Jul-16 15:50:26

Ohnonotmybaby - I think the problem is his work is so stressful now and before we had time for him to cook in the evening but he gets home at 6.30 or 7 and if he starts cooking then it's too late to eat as ds is crying which is really stressful.
So instead he is just eating toast or sticking ready meals in the microwave and has put on weight which isn't helping. I think if I could gradually learn a few quick meals I could build on that and it would be nice for him to get home to a nice healthy dinner at least a few nights a week. He can then enjoy cooking at the weekend.

GinIsIn Mon 11-Jul-16 15:53:06

Everyone can cook, don't worry! Just stick to simple things to start at work your way up! Do you eat fish or are you veggie veggie?

GinIsIn Mon 11-Jul-16 15:58:26

Really quick easy first attempt recipe. My niece can make this and she's 6, so it will be fine!

Gf pasta
Creme fraiche
Black pepper

Put a pan of water on to boil. Chop the broccoli up into bite sized bits, then throw the chopped broccoli and enough pasta for two into the pan and boil until the pasta is cooked (about 12-15 mins) Whilst it's boiling, grate the Parmesan. Drain the pasta and broccoli, and return both to the pan. The pasta should be done and the broccoli just starting to fall apart. Throw in 3/4 of the Parmesan, enough creme fraiche to coat the pasta and broccoli nicely, a knob of butter and plenty of black pepper, give it all a vigorous stir, and serve with the last of the Parmesan sprinkled over the top. YUM.

adagio Mon 11-Jul-16 16:01:24

I'm not veggie, but I am the proud owner of 2 small people so grew adept at knocking up easy-ish meals ready for DH to come home to (mine at 5 months has thankfully stopped screaming all eve every eve now - it does pass!).

Buy baby salad potatoes, boil with skin on (less prep) cut in half to speed up cooking. You can rough chop carrots to about same size (its faster than chopping properly) and they boil in same pan at same time.

If desired, boil small skin on potatoes for 10 mins then put in an oven tray with rough (as in fairly big, much faster to chop) chopped peppers, onions, salt pepper, drizzle of oil and shake it all about, garlic if you fancy it. That makes a nice veg dish - I would serve with chicken personally (2 breasts wrapped in foil cook in same time as the veg) - what protein could you eat?

Stir fry - bag of stir fry veg (pre-prepped), stir fry in a pan. Either use shop bought sauce or add in a teaspoon of honey, pinch of chinese 5 spice, soy sauce and stir around. I add chicken to this but thats optional.
Another pan - boil rice for ten mins then drain
Frying pan, make a really thin omelette (1 egg at a time) and once cooked/set tip onto chopping board and chop up really small
chuck rice in frying pan, add cooked chopped up egg back in
stir fry for a minute or 2
add soy sauce, white pepper, taste, probably add more soy sauce (!)
serve the two dishes up.

Good luck smile

My DH cheered up when I kicked him into the spare room to get proper kip and started dropping him to the pub every week or two (I think he had initially felt obliged to stay in and share the misery with me, but to be honest he was more use happy and wakeful than tired and grumpy)

BertieBeatle Mon 11-Jul-16 16:13:58

These suggestions are so useful already! Thank you! Like the idea of baked fritatta with microwave potatoes and salad as dh loves anything egg based and means we get protein.
That pasta dish sounds yummy fenella thank you smile i love brocolli and try to eat it regularly for iron so that sounds lovely. we don't eat fish.
Adagio that is really useful thank you, useful to have the detail of how to make it. We could use tofu as a protein source for the stir fries.

BertieBeatle Mon 11-Jul-16 16:19:15

Adagio - I already kicked him into the spare room but he still doesn't seem to be getting a full night sleep. He has really bad hay fever which isn't helping. He used to go to the gym a lot but I think he feels guilty leaving me in the evenings. His weight gain Is definitely getting him down which I why I want us to eat healthy again. I'm breastfeeding and walking miles with the buggy during the day so it's not really affecting me.
I might start telling him to go to the gym if it means having a happy husband back! It's hard cause Im desperate for company by the time he gets home but he also needs to wind down as well. Babies are hard work aren't they! shock

Lostmybrolly Mon 11-Jul-16 20:24:42

Stuffed peppers like these with lentils and mozzarella can just be chucked in the oven and served with a bit of salad, you could do stuffed mushrooms as well.

adagio Mon 11-Jul-16 23:13:28

Exercise helps mood- DH does 3 x1h training each week with my blessing - ok I sometimes grump about it a bit but I try to accommodate

NannyMarmalade Tue 12-Jul-16 16:06:59

You might like to have a look at some 'how to cook' videos online. I think it's easier when someone shows you how to do the basics.

Jamie Oliver has some good tips and demos on Jamie's home cooking skills


Delia's recipes are very easy to follow especially for beginners. Her website has also got some online tutorials and a nice section on
suppers without meat

Do you need some help on GF ingredients?

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