How to make weekend meals special

how to make weekend meals special // a little gathering

It’s not everyday that we get to enjoy a special meal. I mean, we’d love to. Like really really love to.

a special meal is not always realistic for those that are busy with work, family and/or school.

Even so, there are simple ways to make meals special on days when you have the time for them. For me, the weekends are when I can get creative and experiment. For you it might be another day of the week. Embrace those days with these ideas.

Choose one ingredient you’ve never cooked with before

Think of this like Chopped. Browse your grocery store aisles + find something you have never cooked with before. Doesn’t matter if it’s brussels sprouts or tahini. Reach for a new ingredient + work it into your meal.

Cook an ingredient you cook with all of the time, but find a new recipe for it

Weekday meals get boring because we make the same thing over + over again. Take something you typically make during the week, say chicken thighs, but change it up. Do you usually roast chicken thighs? Try roasting them with honey, dijon mustard + tarragon. Serve this over a risotto you’ve never made before.

Take inspiration from your favorite restaurant’s signature dish

You know those eye-rolling good restaurant dishes you’ve had? Make those at home. You might not recreate the dish perfectly, but you can take ingredients from the dish to create something special. those moments when you think it tastes so good or the flavors are so clever? those are the moments you try to recreate.

Bake the bread you’ll serve with your meal

Have you ever baked your own bread? Admittedly making bread is tricky. It takes time to get it right, but you don’t have to go crazy. Start with a simple cornbread or quick bread. Next step, try making some cheesy dinner rolls. Even you mess it up, it’ll taste like cheese. that's a win. 

Serve a cocktail that goes with your meal

Ok maybe this is all too much for you right now. That’s ok! Let’s just stick to a cocktail that goes with your meal. Serving something that contains citrus? Add a citrus-based cocktail into the mix. tacos? red wine sangria. eating something with pork? try a drink with apple or something that tastes like pineapple + ginger. bottom line, alcohol.

So are you ready to take on any of these challenges? Let me know your ideas in the comments!

How to cook when you don’t have time

how to cook when you don't have the time // a little gathering

This isn't going to be your typical list, nor is this going to be a sponsored post for the latest meal subscription service. Let's chat about how to cook when you don't have time.

Let's keep this real. Sometimes we don't have the time to cook for ourselves. In these moments, when there is no wiggle room, take out or cereal is the reality. But when there is time to cook, even twenty minutes, you can make delicious food happen.

So for you, I put together six tips for cooking when you don't have time.

Create a Pinterest board for ideas

A lot of uncertainty about what to cook comes from not knowing what to cook. That's just silly because there are many platforms dedicated to recipe inspiration. Heck, this blog is dedicated to that very mission! 

Have your ingredients delivered to your doorstep

Grocery shopping takes time. Have your ingredients travel to your doorstep. This is easy.

Doctor up pre-cooked or boxed meals

It's alright to buy pre-cooked or boxed meals. If someone says otherwise, they probably don't understand what it's like to have zero time to eat. At the same time you don't have to serve these meals as the instructions say on the box. Have a few go-to ingredients around for livening up your food, like fresh herbs, green onions, flavored oils + vinegars. Boxed mac & cheese with chiles in adobo is a game changer.

Find weekday staples

Weekday staples are your easy to make + quick to eat meals. We're talking twenty minutes or less, here. Amazing ideas are sandwiches, soups + salads. Anything that's more like prepping versus cooking.

Make weekend meals special

I have a category on my blog called fancy eats. These are eats for the weekend, when you have a bit of time to cook something special for yourself. Here's the thing, make meals special when you have the time. A great idea is to try a recipe you've never tried before when you have the time. Serve these with a glass of wine or break out the fancy plates.

Cook with your loved ones

With work + hobbies, there aren't enough hours in the week to get everything done, let alone spend time with friends + family we love so much. A way around this? Cook a meal with them. We all have to eat, but how fun would it be to have your favorite people join you? I used to cook all of the time with my friends in high school and college. It was fun + always delicious. Bring it back by inviting people over for a pizza night. I mean, you only need pizza dough, sauce + cheese. 

SO, bottom line. Stop making excuses. Try making something fresh + your own at least once a week. Go. Get. It.