In May my ministry does a two week summer project called Crush Fear. This year I took a step if faith to crush some fears myself - I took on the job of cooking for everyone! For some, this is a no brainer job. For me, this was hard!
Through this process I realized some things about myself:
1. My fears with cooking for 25 people had to deal with what others thought about me.
2. My fears with cooking had to do with expectations from myself and that I assumed from others.
In reality, my fears were based off of what others thought of me, and not based off of the truth. When I did look at the truth and believed it, cooking food took on a different light for me. It wasn't about everything tasting perfect, but it was about the food being sufficient for the needs of those participating. The birthday cake I made didn't have to look perfect, but it was a sweet reminder of this life that God has created - to show them that they were thought of and loved.
The other thing I realized from this is that the fears I had about what I ate at home was also based off fear. I was afraid someone would look down on my food choices - not enough vegetables, not enough variety, too many carbs, too much cheese, too much processed food and not enough homemade food. But what's the truth? "Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31) Food needs to be glorifying to God but also a help for you to fulfill the Great Commission. Realistically, I
don't have lots of time to make elaborate meals. I am a one dish wonder. I don't have lots of money to buy fancy ingredients. The last thing I want to do when I get back from campus is cook for an hour - I want to spend time with my husband before we conk out for bed!
There has to be a good balance, obviously. We shouldn't gorge ourselves on Twinkies just because they are cheap and convenient. But if having the "perfect meal" is more important than being effective for sharing the gospel with others, then there is something wrong with our world view! We need to be realistic with the time and energy God has given us so we best use it to glorify Him.
Here are some things I do to make my cooking life easier:
1. Cook a whole chicken, take the meat off the bones and put it into freezer bags. Then stick it in the freezer until you need it. It's cheaper than buying chicken breasts that you cube and cook anyway, and it takes less time and energy to stick the bag in the microwave
and toss it into things. I bought a huge turkey and the meat has lasted me a year! Worth it.
2. Buy already cooked meats. Smoked sausage/kielbasa, BBQ beef/pork, shredded beef, or, my favorite, steak bites. I put precooked and seasoned steak strips into Mac n cheese (homemade or from a box), quesadillas, etc. Super tasty and easy way to make sure you get
3. Add hard boiled eggs to ramen. I learned how to cook hard boiled eggs in the microwave too! (Boil water, add to eggs in safe dish, microwave for 2 to 3 minutes - no longer because they EXPLODE - then let them sit for 5 minutes.) You may not like ramen, but I've had the oriental and the hot chili both with eggs and they are really good!
4. Always keep freezer food/meal-in-a-box ready for when you don't want to cook. Malcolm lives pizza, and it's the one meal he's always willing to make. So I keep frozen pizzas on hand. Let's face it, you know what you're like when you don't want to cook. You
default to something, just keep it on hand.
5. Get a cupcake maker if you need to bake often and in a shorter amount of time. I had one and I made tons of mini cupcakes in a short amount of time. Mine died and I want another one! So easy - it's like an easy bake oven for adults.
So here's something I thought would be fun. In the comments, share you favorite
fall back recipe you make that takes less than 30 minutes to make. If anything,
you will be helping ME have some more ideas to cook in a flash so I can think
more about how to reach people for Christ than think about what to cook and cook
Leah works with Master Plan Ministries at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Other than watching college students' lives change, she enjoys getting her mind blown by God and His Word, watching sci fi, baking cupcakes, and spending time with her hunky husband.
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