Now that the adult kids are gone and you’re empty nesting, mealtime seems a little lonely and somewhat boring. It might be just you at the table now, or perhaps you and Grandpa, and it takes a little getting used to cooking for you or cooking for two.
Small Batch Cooking
If you feel down to be eating alone, try to remember all the mealtimes that were hectic – kids saying “Yuck, I won’t eat this!” or trying to feed everyone when they all had different sports and activity schedules. See? There is a silver lining.
Now is the time to experiment on some new recipes and new tastes. You no longer have to please those meat and potato or bland food lovers. Get a fun cookbook or a Greek cookbook and try out some recipes and spices you don’t normally use. You may be pleasantly surprised when you remember how fun cooking and eating can be.
To take advantage of either a Food Co-Op or a big box store’s Chicken Cacciatore and divide the dish up into smaller portions and freeze them. For example, when you make a big pot of soup or chili, put enough for an evening meal into freezer containers. You might get 4 or 5 meals out of one pot. Tips – use freezer bags instead of containers if freezer storage is an issue, label what’s inside, date it, and add any additional cooking instructions.
Make a point of having dinner guests. Throw away your excuses, tidy up the few rooms your guests will see, and lay out a nice spread that you all will enjoy. Then you will look forward to mealtimes. If you don’t feel like you’re up to the cooking challenge, take a cooking class and make the dishes you’ve learned for your guests.
Start a dinner club with your friends. Have 6-8 friends form a group where you alternate houses for dinner, say once a month and do Pot Luck supper. These dinners can follow a theme of the host’s choice and every person is required to bring a specified dish – appetizer, salad/vegetable, starch, or dessert. The host of the month provides the main dish/meat, the beverages, and the dinner table.
Another idea is to make a point of trying new restaurants that are a little out of your comfort zone. Maybe you don’t think you like Pad Thai, but you’ve never tried it. You could be pleasantly surprised what you do like when it’s prepared in an appetizing fashion.
© Frugal New England Kitchen