I always seem to want dinner to be a huge production involving the making and serving of restaurant quality food. I love cooking, but this mindset of mine does occasionally cause me stress. Like today, when I'm feeling really poorly and don't have the energy to churn out a top notch meal. Other –more sane– people would open a box of Hamburger Helper or a can of soup and press on with life, feeling no remorse at all. Well, not only do I not have anything in the house that would be considered insta-food, I just can't bring myself to buy or use such modern time-saving and stress-reducing products. They make me feel like I'm cheating. I'm certain this is some form of mental illness.
Still, I'm sitting here suffering through the last stages of a nasty cold, and I do not feel like cooking. Or rather, I feel like cooking, but I barely have the energy to remain upright in a seated position on the couch. Standing for an hour doing something complicated in the kitchen is quite likely not possible, no matter how much I'd like to whip together something fabulous for dinner.
I thawed some ground beef and am now trying to decide what to make with it. We just had spaghetti, and it wasn't too many days ago we had meatloaf. Both of those things still require a lot of chopping and stirring and fussing. They aren't easy, at least not the way I do them, and they both require a salad or some other kind of side dish. If it were just me I was cooking for, I'd just cook the ground beef, put it in a bowl, top it with ketchup and chow down, but I'm pretty sure the husband would be less than thrilled.
I used Google to find some recipes for Hamburger Helper made from scratch. Silly that I needed to look that up, but my brain isn't running on full steam today. Anyway, looks easy and it's all in one pot. Seems like a plan, but then my other mental problem with dinner making rears its ugly head: my absolute insistence that all meals have a entree and two sides. Though I know my parents used to serve Hamburger Helper all by itself, and I am certain many other people do too, a meal doesn't feel like a meal to me unless there's a veggie or two and a salad. For ME, it's ok for a meal to not be so specific (I had pop tarts and crackers for lunch), but when serving someone else, I need it to be a main entree and two sides. Otherwise, I feel like I'm cheating at cooking.
Considering I broke two coffee mugs and two plates yesterday, because I bumble a lot when sick, I don't think I should spend too much time using sharp knives and processing fresh veggies. I got new knives for Xmas, and they are the sharpest knives I have ever owned. The first thing I did with them was cut some potatoes into fries while simultaneously attempting to remove the end of my thumb. I wasn't sick and distracted when that happened either. I'm afraid using one of those knives today would lead to a tragedy of some sort. I'm feeling really feeble (both body and mind).
So I guess I'm just wondering … is it ok to just serve (homemade) Hamburger Helper all by itself without any veggies or salads or side dishes of any sort? Feels wrong to me, but I think I'll be lucky to get just that made. In fact, the longer I sit here pondering the situation, the less I feel like cooking anything at all. Maybe I should go make it right now and then have a nap to regain my strength to make at least a salad.
Or maybe I should just order takeout from the Italian place and let go of all this cooking stress, though ordering takeout is (in my eyes) the ultimate failure of me to provide nutritious and healthy meals for my household. Also, I have been availing myself of the takeout options more often than once a week for weeks now, and it feels weird and well, like cheating. I take my cooking responsibility very seriously!
But not cooking at all tonight … sounds nice.