Weekly Dinner Planning for the Mom Who Hates Cooking

So, we just finished watching the first season of Worst Cooks in America. We love this show because:

  1. it shows people learning from the basics,
  2. the contestants are really supportive of each other, even on opposing teams,
  3. the chef coaches really believe the contestants can learn how to cook.

After watching a few shows, my kids said to me, “Mama, you aren’t even as bad as them.”

This, my friends, is a huge vote of confidence, because I hate cooking. And as much as I try not to say anything, my kids are well aware of my nemesis.

Well, let me rephrase & reframe: I hate being interrupted while cooking. I’m not good at it, I don’t have a natural talent for it, & I have 20 other things I’m more interested in improving in my life. Being interrupted while trying to follow a recipe is torture.

I’m more of an “assembler.” I like making salads, sandwiches, omelettes, & lasagna. I trust myself & semi-enjoy putting a bunch of things together, but I have neither the attention span nor the acumen for actual chemistry & multiple steps that overlap.

So my approach to feeding my kids has been, for the last 9 years, avoid it. At all costs, avoid cooking. Order in. Warm up frozen food. Assemble cold items. Serve crudité.

I obviously have a problem, but I have a bunch of other problems that seem to have solutions with more potential than me actually learning to cook or learning to like cooking. Not even the $25,000 prize on Worst Cooks in America makes me the least bit interested in doing what it would take to win in.

One of my major obstacles is planning ahead; I don’t (see “my approach” above). So when I don’t have any plans, I then have to make decisions on the fly at the last minute when three kids are gathered around my behind when I’ve got my head in the freezer, looking for options. By 5 PM, I have decision fatigue, & I can’t possibly make one more choice. I have on occasion told my kids with great enthusiasm, like it’s a treat, “Yes! Go ahead & just eat snacks! It’ll be fun!”

So our family is about to embark on a brand new adventure: Tonight, over dinner that my husband has prepared, we will plan out our dinners for the coming week. I found this very awesome form online, & thank you to ‘Chelle from her site Getting Sorted Each Day As It Comes. I like this form because it has three lines for each dinner, which I’ll use one each for protein, veggie, & carb. Then all the items are listed on the right in an actual column for the grocery shopping (another thing I dread). Some forms online look cute but have cloud shapes & paragraph forms for lists–nope.


Dinner smells good up there. My husband is a pretty good cook. Wish us luck. I’ll let you know what happens.


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