First, a big ol’ thank you to all of you for your kind and gracious comments on the post where I shared how I’ve been struggling in the cooking arena since my anatomy and physiology class started.
A lot of you accurately saw what was going on. You are right; I am comparing my current situation to a time when my kids were all little and I had less going on outside the house. It’s not super logical for me to expect myself to have quite as much time to spend in the kitchen now as I did then.
Also, you all are right about how working hard right now is not a waste of time. Anatomy and Physiology builds on itself, and I am pretty sure that a lot of my future nursing training will build on what I learn now. So, it’s better to do a thorough job.
My friend Mia (a fellow nursing student!) told me about a classmate who barely studied and thus, barely passed A&P. Then down the road, she really hit a wall in a class that required A&P knowledge and she had to take that class twice.
So, I remind myself: classes are expensive. (Way more expensive than takeout, actually.) So, if I skip cooking here and there in order to pass a class, that’s still smart.
In light of all that, here’s how I’m planning to navigate the rest of this semester (7 more weeks).
Ok, and also next semester because I will be in Anatomy and Physiology 2.
(School year 2022-2023 should be much easier because I only will need microbiology and developmental psychology.)
My game plan
1. I bought a crockpot
I have only ever had a Wal-mart cheapie crockpot, and it is SUPER ANNOYING to use because you can’t remove the crock part for washing.
Also, it’s really small, which means that sometimes I can’t fit a whole recipe’s worth of food into it.
So, I read the Cook’s Country reviews and ordered the Kitchen-Aid slow-cooker they recommended.
2. I got an America’s Test Kitchen slow cooker cookbook from the library
I have been a little unimpressed with the crockpot fare I’ve often seen, but I am hopeful that America’s Test Kitchen will have better offerings for me.
I also browsed through the Budget Bytes list of slow-cooker recipes, and I think maybe I will give this teriyaki chicken one a try.
3. I’m going to designate one night as a no-cooking night
On Wednesdays, we have a lot going on schedule-wise, so I am waving the white flag when it comes to cooking that night. Between being busy and all of us not being home at dinnertime, we are going to do a fend-for-yourself or takeout night on Wednesdays.
Hopefully having that reprieve will help me feel more motivated on the other nights.
4. Mr. FG is going to cook once a week
He’s going to take over on Sunday nights, and since we do our date night on Saturdays, this means I don’t have to cook at all on the weekend.
5. I am going to guiltlessly press the easy button
French toast and OJ can be a dinner. 🙂
What I Spent
- $6 at BJ’s
- $67 at Lidl
- $25 at Whole Foods
- $26 on Wednesday takeout
- $2 at Panera
So, $126 altogether.
Week 1: $110
Week 2: $148.50
Week 3: $111
Week 4: $126
What We Ate
Mr. FG and I did our date night at Panda Express (where we used my survey coupon!) It was a $12 meal for the two of us, which is pretty darn affordable.
Mr. FG had not started his Sunday cooking pattern yet, so we used a Panera gift card to get dinner for the four of us. I only had to spend $2 out of pocket for our meal.
I grilled some chicken sausages, which we ate on buns. Chips plus a fruit salad on the side.
I tried a Pioneer Woman recipe for sesame noodles and I also rummaged through the freezer and found some marked-down steaks and some chicken, which I sauteed for us to add on top of the noodles.
Recipe verdict: the flavor was good, but the sauce was so thin, it just drained right into the bottom of the bowl. I think some thickening would improve it immensely.
My no-cook night! Sonia chose to eat some leftover sesame noodles and chicken, I picked up fast food for Zoe, I got a bowl from Noodles and Company while Zoe was at youth group, and Mr. FG got a sandwich from Arby’s.
I spent a lot of the day looking at cadaver slides* to learn muscles, so I made French toast and called it a night.
(*It is a very good thing that I am not easily grossed out. This is probably true of most students pursuing a medical degree!)
Zoe might want me to take her and a friend thrift store shopping, so I’m not sure what to plan for dinner. If we go thrifting, then it will be something quick!