Too busy to cook. Help!!

  1. Hi everyone...
    I'm in my last semester of nursing school and I am so busy that I don't seem to have time to do anything anymore. I manage to keep the main areas of my apartment looking tolerable, but my study room...forget it. I just close the door.

    Anyway, because of my hectic schedule, which you all can understand, I no longer have time to cook. Dinner used to be anything I could make in 30 minutes or less, but tacos, stir fry, and sloppy joes are getting old! Fast food gets too expensive and is unhealthy. Does anyone have any suggestions for quick meals? Feel free to e-mail any suggestions or recipes. Thanks!
  2. Visit Rileycat profile page

    About Rileycat

    Joined: Jan '01; Posts: 130; Likes: 2
    Med-surg RN


  3. by   Doc
    That sure sounds familiar, Rileycat! I had no social life and as for cleaning up, don't even go there! But cooking was something I made time for. At this stage of your course you need to maximise your energy and keep your brain on track and fast food does not make up part of that triangle!

    My advice is do what you do when you start a shift - make an inventory of what needs to be done, then prioritise it. As a nurse you'll be stretched to the limit time-wise on an almost daily basis. So concentrate on only what you really need to study for. For instance, if you're good on the nursing theory side but not on the anatomy & physiology, minimise your study for theory and maximise your A&P study.

    Also, make a little time for some relaxation if you're not already doing that. Good food and relaxation will actually save you time because a relaxed, healthy mind picks things up quicker.

    As for what to cook, try some pasta dishes (15-20 mins), vegie stir fry with rice (10 mins) - energy food! Alternate this with things like steak and salad. Red lentils and split peas cook very quickly (5-10 mins). Occasionally, bake a fish with potatoes. Use a microwave to speed the cooking process.

    Best of luck!


  4. by   ShannonB25
    Hi Rileycat,
    I know exactly what you mean. Not only can I not possibly keep up with cleaning my house, but it's also pretty tough to come up with quick meals (and don't you just hate to cook on clinical days? I do!)

    What I have found works best for me is to get a big bulk package (like 5 or 6 pounds) of ground chuck and brown it all in a big batch, then package it up in individual freezer bags. That way, when I want to cook I can just grab a bag out of the freezer and it's ready in like a minute on defrost (or if you're really ahead of the game you can stick the bag in the fridge before you leave for the day). I buy ground chuck a lot because it's pretty cheap and let's face it, I'm on a nursing student's budget I will splurge on boneless skinless chicken breasts though. They are really handy and can be used for several purposes.

    As far as recipes, a couple of quick things I do are as follows:

    Take noodles of your choice (boiled and drained) and add a jar of spaghetti sauce.
    Add a bag of ground chuck (conveniently pre-packaged) and mix well. Bake it at 350 for about 20 minutes. Top with cheese (mozzerella or cheddar work well) and bake for 5-10 more minutes.

    In a medium sized crockpot (I love crockpots) add one bag of ground chuck, some minced onion, 2-3 cans of Veg-all (hey, it's quick), a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis, a can of black eyed peas, a can of corn. I usually toss a couple of beef boullion cubes in there too. Add a little salt and pepper and cook on low overnight or start in the morning and it's ready by dinner. The only effort involved is opening your baggy of meat and opening a few cans. (Tastes yummy with some sliced french bread, too.)

    A quick beef stroganoff is to brown one pound of ground chuck in a large skillet, draining well. Add one can cream of mushroom soup and one package of Lipton Onion soup mix and a couple of tbsps of worschesteir (sp?) sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes. While this is simmering cook one package of egg noodles, then drain well. Add half a cup of sour cream to your beef stroganoff mixture and mix well. Serve stroganoff over the noodles and enjoy!

    These are just a couple of things I do. Hope it helps and good luck with the rest of your semester!!


    "The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it."-Johan Ruskin
  5. by   cheri2

    I know how you feel..and I have kids. So..searching out time to cook is always a challenge. I either will throw things in the oven that need to cook for hours and not fuss...that will leave me with can make open face sandwiches for the next day with the left overs. I also make a lot of grilled sanwiches. I have one that you take salami, provolone cheese and sandwich peperoni, butter some bread, layer the cheese, meat, and peperoni and grill in pan like you would a grilled cheese. Then heat up some quick pizza sauce in a microwave..that is for dunking your sandwich and chips on the side. That is my favorite. Pasta dishes are essential in my house. Chef boy R dee has his own little kit, Make lasanga that you can throw in the freezer for days where you can just whip it out and put in the micro. I also am great at making pasta salads...and having that with a great sandwich on the side. Frozen fish sticks are good...There are some healthy just have to keep an open mind. I have seen a cookbook at the bookstore...dinners in less than 15 minutes. I flipped through it and it seemed pretty good. Not strange stuff. So...go check it out.

    NO wonder we are forced to take diet and nutrition classes. it is probably meant for us...cuz I know since I have started in my nursing eating habits are horrible.

    Good luck to you!
  6. by   janine3&5
    One of the nurses I work with turned me on to veggie wraps-just throwing a bunch of veggies and some salad dressing on a tortilla and rolling it up. Have also been using pita bread pockets. I always keep cut up cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, or whatever in the fridge to make them even quicker. I was surprised at how good these are-now I'm addicted!
  7. by   WendyBSN2004
    I just wanted to say thanks for the great post, I was starting to suffer from the same problem. I also have a family and the posts here have given me some great ideas. I haven't even begun my clinicals so I guess my fun of not wanting to cook has just begun. Thanks!!!