A Writer's Life (Food) by Melinda Curtis

In the old days...
When I had kids at home and I wasn't always on a writing deadline...
And I wasn't rushing the kids to whatever activities they needed to get to...

Were there days like that?

Anyway, in my mind there were days like that. And on those days, I enjoyed cooking.

Nowadays, my husband is an athletic director (never home at a traditional hour) and I always seem on deadline (with my peak productivity being the hours of 4-7pm - not exactly ideal for cooking). Even the idea of a service like Hello Fresh wouldn't fit into my schedule.

Enter the trend to "Food Prep" and use the Instant Pot.

Food Prep was first introduced to me by my daughter. She prepares all her ingredients for the week on Sunday. All the chopping and measuring are done for each meal, plus any cooking of ingredients that is longer than a "brown" or a "saute." She then puts the ingredients that mix together in plastic bags together, some of which are frozen.

Where does the Instant Pot come in? If you haven't heard, this electric pressure cooker is like a crock pot that produces melt-in-your mouth pot roast in less than an hour and one-pot pasta in less than 30 minutes.

I enjoy all the new kitchen gadgets. It makes thinking about cooking more fun. What is your latest favorite dinner routine?

Melinda Curtis is an award-winning, USA Today bestseller. She writes sweet romance for Harlequin Heartwarming, sweet romantic comedies and sexy traditional sports romances.


  1. I try to avoid cooking as much as possible, but the crockpot is my go-to fave for a one-pot, two night meal. Love that second day when all I have to do is reheat.

  2. The BBQ. It was a birthday present for the spouse, and he thinks he's the only one who can use it properly. I happily concede. ;)

  3. This new version of the crock pot sounds good, Melinda. I’m ashamed to admit selling mine years ago at a lawn sale. Best dinner routine for me is when hubby is away and I can fend for myself...

  4. I love my instant pot. I discovered I can make barley pilaf in the time I'd make rice, and bean soup in half-an-hour. Prepping for the week sounds like a wonderful idea, although I'm not quite that organized. I still make the same recipes I used to cook for the whole family, and the two of us eat leftovers the next day or freeze the extra. Soup, especially, is better the next day.

  5. I shouldn't admit to just zapping stuff in the microwave. It's really bad for a person, but I've never liked to cook. In fact I fall back on cheese and crackers a lot. Or scrambled eggs.

  6. I'm just a few pages in to your book "Marrying the Wedding Crasher." (It isn't you. It's me. I'm reading in between softball games and not getting too far.)

    My latest go-to is going back to the crockpot. I find I hate standing and cooking at dinner time when my schedule is off-the-rails. But I feel like I'm winning whenever something is done ahead. The Instant Pot scares me a little but I'm considering it. I don't know the price. I wonder if it will do smallish portions, because I'm about to go all empty nest. AND I'm not sure how concerned I should be about stories of taking the lid off at the wrong time and food exploding around the kitchen. My family and I are notorious for jerking the lid off of the crockpot without much thought. Hmm

  7. Haven't tried the instant pot but I've heard great things. I love the idea of meal planning, but often it seems like what I plan doesn't sound good when the scheduled day arrives or something comes up and we end up going out or... I do like those crock pot meals where you can eat leftovers for a day or three.

  8. I try to stay on top of things and prepare ahead of time. I bought an Instant Pot six months ago. It's still in the box. Really need to start playing with it . That said, I love my CrockPot. Especially for winter soups.

  9. I can't live without my pressure cooker. Such a time saver!

  10. I'm glad to read your testimony on the Instant Pot. As soon as I figure out what to take OUT of my kitchen, I'm thinking hard about bringing one of those in. I tend to love twenty-minute dinners that involve a meat, a starch, and a vegetable, but I want someone to tell me WHAT to cook. If I have that, I'm good.


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