Quick and Delicious Dinner Strategies for the Person Who HATES Cooking

Kelli Wilson

If I were to place myself on the scale of cooking ability, I would say that I am exactly halfway between “Can’t boil water to save her life” and “Michelin-starred chef.”

Okay, maybe that’s a reach; I am FAR from being a Michelin rated chef, though I can pull my weight in the kitchen and then some. Truth be told, though, I don’t like to cook much. I cook twice a week, if that. I make enough to last a few days, and the rest of the time, the family is perfectly content with a sandwich. I know there are a lot of us busy people out there, and there are those that just cannot cook to save their lives. So I wanted to share some of my thoughts and strategies with the other non-cooks out there.  

First, let’s talk about the weeknight family meal. Can we all just take a moment of silent gratitude for the slow cooker? Crock pot, Instant Pot, whatever: utilize this beast! There is something about going into the evening knowing that dinner will be ready soon, and you won’t have to do a damn thing. It’s glorious, really. Dump some shit in it sometime in the morning and just LET IT GO. Allow it to do its thing and don’t worry: it’s got your back. A great go-to for this heaven sent miracle is the roast. Get a cheap cut roast that’s got a lot of marbled fat running through it. Throw it in with some potatoes, carrots, a packet of onion soup mix, and enough water to cover it about ¾ of the way. If you’re feeling extra fancy use red wine or beer instead of the water. You can’t go wrong.

What about when you’ve got company coming, and you either just do not have the time or the cooking expertise to whip up something special? Grab some refrigerated bags of premade tortellini or ravioli at the store. Throw some jarred marinara sauce in the cart (get the good stuff if you can), some fresh parsley, and a chunk of real parmesan cheese. Once you get some water boiling it takes less than five minutes to heat the pasta through. Drain then toss with the sauce. Easy-peasy. Sprinkle each serving with the chopped fresh parsley and parm like you’re Ina fucking Garten. Own that shit.

Last but not least, let’s talk about something fun to cook with kids. That’s right: pizza. Not the frozen shit. Get out of your comfort zone a little and try store-bought, uncooked refrigerated or frozen pizza dough. Let them pull and stretch and roll it out. Have the little miscreants do the work for a change. Use the ol’ jarred pizza sauce, bagged cheese, and whatever toppings you guys like. This is a little extra, but I like to use the kids’ string cheeses to make a stuffed crust. Just put them along the edge and wrap the dough up and over the cheeses. Bake until brown and bubbly. Pour some wine for yourself. Everyone is happy.

Don’t dread cooking. Do what you can, when you can, and make it easy on yourself. Easy can be good, really fucking good.