I am one of those people that doesn't necessarily enjoy cooking, but I love to eat, therefore cooking is a necessary evil for me. I would say that even though I think I'm a good cook, it still stresses me out to do the meal planning, buying the groceries, prepping it all, and then cooking it.
And cooking for some hungry football players is no exception.
This year my goal was to try my best to minimize the stress I take on while preparing this meal. I'll share some of the practical tips I used, and also some of the mental changes I made in order to make this happen.
I'll start with the mental preparation.
I saw a post made by a fellow coach's wife and author/speaker, Anne M. Rulo, that mentioned about coaches and their mission fields. That really spoke to me and has stayed with me ever since! So while I was mentally preparing for this meal, I kept reminding myself that these boys were our mission field, and this meal was our ministry event.
I will admit that in the past I have grown a little grouchy at the fact that I am spending hours on preparing this meal and that my husband just pops in to eat it, helps to clean up a little, and then heads back to work. I didn't have the best attitude about it at all, and that was something I wanted to change. Because I DO enjoy cooking good meals for the players and having them in our home. And I don't want to be grouchy towards my husband in a time when he doesn't need the added stress. Even though I wanted to achieve all those things, cooking for a crowd definitely does still stress me out. Telling myself that this was my ministry really did help to improve my attitude.
Another move I made in trying to reduce my stress in this meal was to try to give myself more grace. I also did a lot of thinking about ways to reduce my work load and came up with a few things that helped me out so much! Here are the things I did:
I decided to make the same meal I made them last year, which helped in my planning process, and I even removed one item from the menu (pretty sure they didn't even miss it!)
I bought water bottles and gatorades so I wouldn't have to make the drinks, or feel like I had to keep getting up to re-fill their drinks
I learned to not feel guilty when everything I make isn't homemade from scratch. I used a local catering company and bought a potato casserole. I would have bought more things, but I have a green bean recipe that our players LOVE and I thought they might kill me if I didn't make that! ;)
I made the meat in crock pots (3 crock pots, to be exact) and that helped me in being able to prepare it the night before. This also freed up the oven for the other stuff I needed to cook
I used disposable cooking trays, plates, and plasticware to help make clean-up a breeze! I highly recommend this when cooking for a crowd!
I also made brownies from a box instead of making a dessert from scratch. They still loved it, and I doubt they could even tell!
My next blog post will be the recipes and measurements I used for this meal. In the meantime, I hope some of these tips help you reduce your stress as you prepare to cook for your team in the future! It truly is an amazing opportunity to have these players in your home over one of the most universally loved things- FOOD! And it benefits everyone to try to have a positive attitude about it and also to reduce the stress that you take on yourself.
If you use any of these tips, be sure to mention it in the comments below! And if there are other tips I don't know about, PLEASE share them with me! I need all the help I can get ;)