family eating at dinner table

The other day, Casey and Cole looked at me, the way they do everyday around 5 o’clock and asked me the question that is akin to nails on a chalkboard for me. “What’s for dinner?”

You’d think I’d be used to it by now; after all they are 12 and 14; I’ve had YEARS to come up with an answer or a meal plan.  But once again I was caught short… uh-oh!

Thankfully no sooner had the kids asked that dreaded question, there was a knock at the door. When I opened it, there were two huge boxes on the doorstep. I struggled bringing them inside, all the while mulling over in my mind whether there was lunchmeat in the refrigerator and how many days past the “sell-by” date we might still be able to ingest it without resulting in a trip to the ER.

So you know in the movies when someone opens a box and the light from within shines so brightly because whatever’s inside is so wonderful? Yeah, well that happened in my kitchen when I opened the boxes. That’s because there were no fewer than two-dozen frozen, Healthy Choice Entrees inside, courtesy of the folks at ConAgra (who showed impeccable timing!)

Turns out when I was speaking at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration a few weeks back I happened to mention that I ate a Lean Cuisine entrée in my closet everyday for lunch. ConAgra’s PR folks follow twitter (and you should too!) heard my comments and offered to send me a few of the new dishes from their Healthy Choice line. I highly recommend the Café Steamers’ Chicken Margherita and my other favorite the Chicken Romano Fresco. Mmm!) Before I go any further let me state for the record, I never endorse a product that I don’t personally use and seeing as I am lacking a certain culinary gene, I have been eating Healthy Choice entrees or years.

But as Casey, Cole and I dug into our manna from heaven, there was a little pang of guilt. My children have never come home from school to a house that smelled like pot roast or pie in the oven. More often than not, 5:30 comes and goes before we decide to throw something together piece-meal like and it tends to be heavy on the starch and light on the  handful of vegetables I have introduced them to.

So in an effort to change that, I dug out the crockpot, which had to be one of the first ones off the assembly line, and vowed to use it. I even started following Crock Pots Rock on twitter for some hints. I made one meal, it was good and embarrassingly easy, then I put the crock-pot away and haven’t pulled it out since.

It’s not that I CAN’T do it, it’s just that I don’t WANT to cook. Unlike Buff, who is the chef in our house (thank God the kids are getting home-cooked food on the weekend and leftovers during the week) I derive no pleasure from cooking. None. Zero. Sip. Zilch. Oh I do a little bit but it’s safe to say my skills are on par with a ten-year-old, meaning pasta with canned sauce is about the extent of it. Should I try more? Yeah, probably, for the sake of the kids. But not only do I not enjoy cooking I also struggle to find the time for it. In many ways I think the idea of cooking from scratch has become a luxury in this fast paced and frantic day and age…

But what about you? What does dinner look like in your house? Do you cook? Are they simple dishes or more rudimentary in nature? Do you have some fan favorite (and EASY) recipes I should try? And do you think cooking has become a luxury? I’d love to hear your thoughts…