I hate cooking. I hate cooking so much that I’m almost getting angry writing this post. I honestly have to remind myself that I chose to write it. I’ve tried to find joy in cooking. My mother-in-law is an incredible cook, and she’s given me so many amazing recipes, cooking tools, speeches about how great cooking can be… Nope. Just the idea of having to chop, season, pureé or whatever else cooking requires sends me into a heightened state of anxiety that can’t be remedied without, you know, just deciding not to do it. I had an “a-ha!” moment recently when one of my friends with a cooking blog talked about liking the freedom cooking offers. She was talking about not using measuring cups, kind of going-with-the-flow, and just tasting as she went. Nope nope nope. I’m way too type A for that. I need measurements and step-by-step instructions to ensure I don’t hopelessly ruin all the ingredients I took the time to buy.
The problem with hating to cook is that, you know, you still have to eat. I’m the type of person that can eat the same thing every single day, and I’m also happy just to graze while never eating an actual meal. One time I told Denny that I’d be just as happy eating a bowl of cereal as I would be going out to dinner, and he informed me that was the saddest thing he’d ever heard. I’m just a super boring eater! I can’t help it.
However, I guess it wouldn’t kill me to have some actual dinner recipes on-hand that I’m capable of cooking. My main priority is obviously simplicity, followed by healthy, filling ingredients. (Well, most of the time. Sometimes you just need to eat a tray of Mac & Cheese.) So where did I go to meet all my novice cooking needs? There was really no other choice than Trader Joe’s. After hearing coworkers talk about things like zoodles for years, I love that I can walk into Trader Joe’s and buy a box of frozen ones- no spiraling required! I’m also newly obsessed with their cauliflower gnocchi as it has a great texture and pretty much absorbs the flavor of whatever you put on it.
I wouldn’t say I necessarily have full recipes ready to go just yet, but here’s a quick list of the things I reach for during my trips-
- Frozen aisle- Zucchini Spirals, Cauliflower Gnocchi, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, frozen fruit for smoothies, and a bunch of frozen meals, including the Chicken Burrito Bowl and Chicken quesadillas
- Meat– Chicken sausage, pre-cooked chicken breasts (I love their pre-cooked chicken options!)
- Sauces– Marinara sauce, Pesto sauce, Soy sauce
- Vegetables– I will be completely honest that I buy things pre-chopped because that greatly increases the chance I’ll actually use them. I always reach for the spinach and broccoli bags and use them throughout the week to make salads for lunch.
- Bento box- Some nights I just make a “bento box” for dinner using a few pieces of cheese from their pre-packaged cheese slices (previously called “A Real Crowd Cheeser”- sadly, the name has changed), some salted almonds, and grapes. It’s easy and can be taken on-the-go, if need be.
- Best sweets- If you have a sweet tooth, Trader Joe’s has got you covered. I’m currently obsessed with their peanut butter cups and dark chocolate caramels.
- Spindrift sparkling water- I’ve never been a LaCroix person, but I’m obsessed with these.
I’m still playing around with recipe combinations, but I’m currently loving the cauliflower gnocchi (WHICH CAN BE MICROWAVED) with pesto sauce and shaved parmesan. I’ve also been mixing it with marinara sauce and chicken sausage for a heartier pasta. I don’t have any great recipes yet with the zucchini spirals so comment below or on my Instagram if you have any good ones! I’ll never be a lover of cooking, but I’m glad I’ve found a few solid meal ingredients that can be used a bunch of different ways. Maybe I won’t be a complete cooking failure after all!