I am obsessed with food. I watch Top Chef religiously; I spend way too much money in restaurants; and when I am unhappy, a surefire way to make me happy again is to feed me good food. That being said, I hate the fact that I have to feed myself regularly. I'd far rather eat five really amazing meals per week than have to deal with the tedium of three meals a day, seven days a week.
Tonight, I was driving home late from a long Monday in my inner city clinic, when I realized that I was far too hungry (HAANGRY) to finish making the beef and barley soup I'd started yesterday. There were a few things in my freezer, but I was not feeling virtuous enough to eat lentil soup or bean-packed chili. I wanted something tasty. My initial impulse was to go to McDonald's, but I haven't been back since my nieces informed me that there were 17 ingredients in their fries. (I was under no illusion that McDonald's food was healthy, but I though that at least their fries were potatoes fried in oil and salted. Nope. I was 17 kinds of wrong on that one.)
So I decided to stop at the store. And what I was really craving was pizza. I could've just picked up a frozen pizza, but I've mostly been cooking at home lately, and as a result most processed food tastes like cardboard to me. So I picked up some pita bread for crusts, along with pizza sauce, cheese, canned mushrooms, and pepperoni. And 1 hour and 15 minutes after I pulled into the parking lot, I pulled six of these out of my oven:
(Only five are shown, because one was in my stomach by the time the photo was taken.) Once again, the light is terrible (no natural light after 5:30!), but the pizza is super yummy. Look closer...
Mmmm. Given that I have five leftover pizzas to freeze, this works out to about 12 minutes per meal for shopping and cooking time. And that's probably a bit of an overestimate for how long it took, as I spent the last 15 minutes or so sitting on the couch eating my pizza while the remaining pizzas baked.
So this is how I feed myself: batch cooking. I am absolutely not going to come home every night and cook for myself, but I am happy to cook big batches of food and freeze leftovers. Whenever I hear someone say that they don't like leftovers (like my mother), I look at them like they've just grown a second head, because leftovers are my entire cooking strategy. All hail leftovers!
(Yes, I recognize that pizza is not the healthiest dinner. When I eat the leftovers, I'll probably invest a bit of extra time into making a salad or some veggies to make it healthier, which will likely stretch the pizzas even farther, as a whole pizza is a lot of food on its own. With a big serving of veggies, I can probably get ten meals out of the rest of the pizza. Also, I generally eat pretty healthy food, so I figure that on a day when I am tired and grouchy and just want to eat a quarter pounder washed down with liquid sugar, a homemade pizza is probably acceptable.)
What is your cooking strategy?