Full Meal Regression

by Lori Dwyer on September 4, 2012 · 9 comments

Full meal regression. (adverb; ‘full me–al re–gres–sion’; eg “That spaghetti bolognaise she attempted clearly shows she’s in a state of  full meal regression”)
Definition: The state of one’s cooking and meal delivery skills when in rapid decline.


It’s hardly a well kept secret– I think we may have covered it a few times before– cooking is not my strongest skill.

In fact, not only do I not enjoy cooking, I completely suck at it. When my husband was alive, I actually used to put some effort into creating meals for him and the kidlets that were reasonably healthy, reasonable economical, reasonably easy and sometimes even tasted reasonably edible. Fats forward to now and… well…

The night of my husbands funeral (those with particularly sensitive sensibilities, cover your ears, please) I declared in all seriousness to a friend of mine that I was never, ever, ever cooking a roast dinner ever again; be it beef, chicken, pork or lamb.

So far, so good. Let’s face it, the act of not cooking is not the most difficult goal to obtain.

If we could just leave it at that, we’d all be happy. Me, especially. But my children having this annoying habit of wanting to be fed every bleeping evening right about six o’clock. And after eighteen months of sandwiches, oven chips, microwave pasta and homemade Lebanese bread pizza for dinner… maybe it’s time I began cooking again.

The universe seems to approve of this idea because some new Maggi stuff arrives in the letterbox within the week. In my life Before, I felt it was one of my duties as a full time housewife and mum to avoid ‘packet mixes’ at all costs and deliriums. I cooked everything I could from scratch.

But that was Before. When I was up one set of hands, a whole lot more patience and dose less trauma. In the After, I am the person the packet mix was invented for– I have a family to feed and far more important things to do than cook.

And the less washing up, the better.

So bring on the Maggi One Pan range. They also included a pack of their new So Crispy schnitzel coating. And everyone loves a schnitzel. (Randomly, we were playing #SchnitzelAsASwearWord on Twitter a few weeks back. Try it. You’ll be amazed at what a brilliant curse substitute ’schnitzel’ actually is. Mother schnitzels.)

Considering I was cooking a grown up meal I figured I may as well have some grown ups round to share it with. And, you know, do most of the cooking for me. My mates Kristabelle and Pete the Chef were more than happy to oblige. (Kristabelle and Pete the Chef live nearby in a tiny sandstone house named the Daisy Cottage. It’s become somewhat of a sanctuary for me in these last few weeks of winter.)

The first question Pete the Chef asked was whether or not I happened to have any carrots, broccoli or shallots. I told him that if he wished to desecrate my kitchen with such evil, complicated vegetables, then he needed to bring his own.

Pete the Chef’s One Pan, one hand flipping awesomeness.

Which he did. There is something to be said for One Pan awesomeness. You basically take your packet, and add whatever you’ve got. Veggies (complicated or not), meat (beef or chicken or… whatever. I’m sure there are either types, I just don’t eat them very often. Or, for that matter, on purpose) and then your noodles, rice or pasta. Cook it all in the one pan, as the name suggests, and watch the flavors infuse. Yum.

While I did have meat in my freezer (probably chicken) it was most probably frost bitten, so Kristabelle and Pete the Chef swung by to pick some up from the local supermarket one their way. And guess what was on special…?

That’s right… chicken.

Long story, short– One Pan Chinese Beef Stir Fry with chicken instead of beef and hokkein noodles actually stir fried and flipped itself (with the help of Pete the Chef) into a total win. The whole procedure was declared ‘seriously easy’ and quite tasty. And that’s from an actual, real chef (as Pete the Chef’s suggests, no?). As promised– one pan. Add two chopping boards, a couple of knives and a few stirrer–thingies; and consider the dishwasher stacked.

Maggi One Pan Chinese Beef Stir Fry. With chicken.

The Chicken Schnitzel Coating mix was officially designated as dinner for the kidlets. My kids– especially the Chop– are, sadly, just as fussy as I am. And, like me, the best way to get them to eat anything at all is in nugget form. Chicken schnitzel nuggets with good old fashioned BBQ sauce? Nom nom. And when they are super crispy, cooked in the oven without a smidgen of oil- that’s called ‘guilt free child chow.’

My main problem with cooking dinners has always been that the time s
pent in preparation– which I really don’t like, especially any raw chicken factor– is inversely proportioned to the time spent enjoying the meal. The dreaded roast dinner, for example, takes a good two hours to prep and cook. And no longer than twenty minutes to eat. Add the forty five minutes (minimum, dishwasher inclusive) cleanup time, and, mathematically, cooking dinner becomes a waste of time.

I think, on that note, it’s safe to declare dinner in One Pan, and about half an hour, a success. I’m not promising it will become a habit. But it certainly makes everyday cooking an option.

*As I’m sure you already guessed by now, this post is sponsored by Nuffnang.

I’ve got 25 Maggi One Pan and So Crispy packets for some RRSAHM readers to try- Fill out the form here and tell me- how many pans do you use, on average, to cook one family meal…?You can check out the t’s and c’s here, and entries close Sunday 9th September.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Marianne Arensmeyer September 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm

You need a crock pot. I know you have an aversion to the roast meal…but what if you could conquer and reclaim? I don't know if crock pots are something primarily used in the South here in the US or what…but if they're available down y'all's way, get one.
Then you take your meat (I'm partial to a beef rump roast) and put it in. peel and quarter an onion, put it in. Get some fingerling potatoes and baby carrots and toss those in. Then take a pack of au jus seasoning and mix into some water and pour over. Add more water 'til everything is covered. Walk away. Come back 8 hours later…done. Meat and veggies and one thing to clean.
Left-overs can be chopped up, add a package of frozen mixed veggies and a can of stewed tomatoes, and a Tablespoon of Italian seasoning and thrown back in the crock pot the next day for vegetable beef stew.
I know you work from home, but crockpot days are my favorite since dinner is ready when I walk in the door after a long day at work.


Sapphyre September 5, 2012 at 10:37 am

Lori you are not alone in giving up cooking from scratch.

I used to like cooking before life became such a juggling act. But this sounded easy & yummy.

I try to avoid pans completely. I use the George Foreman to grill something with crumbs on it and the oven to fry potato gems to go with it… or I buy fried rice and/or microwave steamed rice (one of those 90s things).

My meals are all frozen microwave things.

When I make hot dogs, I boil them in one pot, when I'm really short on time I wrap them in glad wrap and microwave them.

I do make spaghetti, like Cassondra. That requires a pot for the spaghetti, and a pot in which I brown the mince, throw in some beef stock and the pasta sauce. Does this count as actually cooking? I think not. I've tried to make it with different brand/type of sauce, then the buggers won't eat it.

Don't even waste the stirfry pack on me (I'm off sugar and no one else will eat it, well maybe DH), but I'll give the schnitzel stuff a go :)


Cassondra September 5, 2012 at 4:11 am

Two. One is for the pasta, that's really more of a pot than a pan but whatever. The other is for everything that goes on top of the pasta.


Meri September 4, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Im with you :)
I need roughly 4 million pans, spoons, tongs and other assorten kitchen gadgets. I love cooking and relish the mess thats made at the end. Even if I have then to clean it up.
No entry for me either – just commenting:)

Love the idea of the nuggets for the kiddlets.


Miss Pink September 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Three is a good night, but up to five, and this is just the stuff that cooks/heats the food.
To own a dishwasher and not have to dry up as you wash up because not everything fits would be a DREAM.


Karyn September 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Oh gosh. Way too many pans!

I usually use 1 pan – I don't have a stove, so it's the electric frypan. However .. I also use the rice cooker, and around 2-3 microwave bowls …


Tara @ Our Whirlwind Adventures September 5, 2012 at 12:31 am

Hubby's been cooking since the night I managed to cook my hand while attempting to cook rissoles about three months ago.
I'm the designated dishwasher and he uses every bloody dish in the house.
He got me a set of pots and pans for Mother's Day, and I wash them everynight. Even if we have takeaway.
Makes no sense!?


Bri September 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I don't use any pans. I make someone else use them. I f*cking hate cooking.


woahmolly.com September 4, 2012 at 8:48 am

(No entry for me, I'm one of those bloody vegetarians, but I generally use about eight million bowls and pans per cooking event – yep when I cook it's an event – and I have this weird habit of not being able to use a spoon for more than one thing before I chuck it in the wash and get another one.)

I go through ebbs and floods of cooking. Sometimes I just want to create culinary art, sometimes all I can be bothered with is lebanese bread pizza (though it's really tasty so it's no big loss.)

Good luck on adventuring back into cooking – it CAN be fun soemtimes, trust me. Even though it's often lots of work and even more washing up.


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