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Tired of cooking meals at home? Some fresh ideas from Chef Stephen

You aren’t alone if you feel more than a little burned out from making most of your meals at home since COVID started. A recent report shows that sixty-five percent of people say they are tired of cooking at home, and the average respondent has cooked the same meal 28 times since the pandemic began.

Cooking at home more often is a necessary part of our new reality, and I hope some of the ideas, tips, recipes, and resources below can help you and your family gain a reinvigorated sense of excitement for the joy that food can bring into our lives. I hope you continue evolving your recipe repertoire and maybe gain a few new favorites. 

When the pandemic started, we created this webpage with recipes, cooking technique videos and other resources for cooking at home. The page features simple but oh-so tasty recipes like this Carrot Cumin Soup. You should also check out the video on this page which we created to show how you can easily turn a gallon of milk into yogurt and ricotta cheese -- a great idea that was submitted by a BVSD parent. In addition to the resources on our own page, here are a few other ideas to pep up your plate:

carrot soup

Photo: The Spice House

Take a night off from cooking and let your kids take the lead. Empower your kids or a family member who doesn’t normally cook to put on the apron for one meal a week. Our Iron Chef competitions have shown me that elementary and middle school kids can be super capable in the kitchen with a few safety guidelines and resources. I’m a big fan of the resources that Chop Chop provides on their website and newsletters. They are approachable for so many age levels of students. A recent newsletter has a tasty carrot fry recipe alongside a tutorial for safely peeling carrots and ideas for other food-related activities for kids. Their newsletter archive is a great stash to go through and is also printer-friendly.

  • Start a steady stream of ideas. There’s nothing wrong with old standby favorites. But unfortunately, as many of us are realizing, you can only have your mom’s meatloaf recipe so many times before it starts to lose its appeal. Subscribe to new resources by email or social media to get regular bursts of great cooking ideas delivered to your inbox:

    • Cook’s Gazette - My former chef mentor from Chicago, Lisa Gershenson, has a great recipe website with global flair, nice photos and a searchable recipe database. Subscribe to their newsletter here.

    • Five Weeknight Dishes from the NYTimes - this free newsletter sends five recipes that are ideal for weeknight dinners for “busy people who still want something good to eat.”

    • STOCKED newsletter - BVSD parent Kate LaCroix runs STOCKED, a Boulder-based business that helps women save money on their grocery bill and invest the savings. Her @SheIsStocked Instagram account is filled with mouth-watering recipe ideas and money-saving pantry-building tips. She also writes a newsletter and is offering 50% off subscriptions for BVSD families.

  • Two less meals a day to worry about - let us cook for you - Breakfast and lunch are free for all students until the end of this school year thanks to USDA and congressional waivers. We hope you’ll take advantage of this chance to let your students eat our healthy and scratch-cooked meals that regularly receive national-recognition. Our menus include kid-favorites like beef nachos, local tamales, and hand-breaded chicken strips. We always have one vegetarian entree per day and we use healthy, locally sourced, and organic ingredients whenever possible.