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How to Cook After Work (And Enjoy It)

How to Cook After Work (And Enjoy It)

Five handy tips on how to make weeknight cooking feel less like a rushed chore and more of what it should be: a ritual to help you decompress after the day.

Sometimes after a long day of work, the last thing we want to do is cook dinner. From grocery shopping to prep, cooking and (we’re already exhausted typing this) cleaning, it’s no secret why takeout may seem like the better option. 

While it’s certainly okay to opt for delivery from time to time, consistently ordering out adds up (because what kind of superhuman can skip guac?), and can affect your overall health. On the bright side, there are tricks to make weeknight cooking feel less like a rushed chore and more of what it should be: a ritual to help you decompress after the day. So go ahead, grab that recipe you’ve been eying recently and test out these tips the next time you find yourself with a case of the Mondays.

Plan A Grocery Store Strategy

Nothing says “no thank you” quite like hitting up a busy grocery store after work. Try making a stop during your lunch break to pick up a few of those last-minute dinner items. Not only will you have the luxury of the mid-day grocery store lull (trust us, it’s the best), but you’ll already have a head start on your meal when you get home. 

Healthy Snacks At The Ready

No one likes a hangry person, let alone a hangry chef. Rushing while cooking can only lead to problems, including undercooking and a lack of flavor. To avoid a sad dinner, have a light, healthy snack on hand to curb your cravings until your meal is ready. A handful of cashews, a bowl of mixed berries, or almond butter can tame even the loudest of tummies while you prep for the main event.

A Fresh Perspective 

Cooking can sometimes feel laborious, especially after an 8+ hour workday. Look for opportunities to treat yourself while cooking, like experimenting with a new recipe, listening to your favorite tunes or enjoying your go-to beverage. Giving yourself that extra comfort can enhance your experience and allow dinnertime to feel more like a luxury than another to-do. 

Look For Leftovers

We’re not telling you to cook every single night (we certainly don’t!), so planning your meals to account for leftovers helps you to get the most bang for your cooking buck. Soups, stews, pasta sauces, or homemade salad dressings are great options for meal prepping that allow a few simple swaps to make your meal feel brand new the following day. Top your soup or stew with some fresh herbs, leafy greens, or grated cheese; boil some fresh pasta or veggie noodles for the sauce; or make a fresh salad for the dressing. Your prep time will be quick and painless, and you still get to enjoy the comfort of a home cooked meal. 

Avoid Dishwashing Burnout 

Congratulations on finishing that delicious meal, you did it! But now… there’s those pesky dishes. For weeknights, look for recipes that require minimal cookware: one skillet, pot, sheet, or dutch oven recipes are our go-to. If you’re looking to avoid excess cleaning, opt for non-stick cookware (wink), so you don’t find yourself on an after-dinner date with the Brillo pad. Bonus tip: clean up used pans and utensils as you cook, because there’s nothing worse than staring down a mountain of dirty dishes after finishing a full meal.