In the Kitchen

This is something that I wanted to try for months. I don’t have a lot of energy or desire to cook dinner and it’s really ironic that my husband was a Sous Chef for years. He has a rule that there are to be no box meals (Hamburger Helper or frozen boxed meals). He likes home-cooked food. I don’t blame him. It’s healthier and tastier too. So, I’m starting this new section on my blog to help those people who struggle with the finding the energy to make a dinner.

What I plan to do is show you ways to make meals ahead and even some ingredients of meals ahead of time to help you save time and energy. Standing in the kitchen cooking a whole meal wears me out. I figured that others on oxygen may have this same problem. I will bring you ideas to save you time in the kitchen and help you have dinner already made on days when you are not feeling at your best. In some recipes, I’ve found that there are ingredients that you can prepare ahead of time and other recipes freeze well to serve days or a month later… even chicken noodle soup!

Helpful Tips:

  • Sausage and Rice
  • Favorite BBQ Ribs
  • Save Time with a Whole Bird (chicken)
  • Chimichanga Recipe
  • Beef Tips and Gravy
  • No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
  • Updated Dated: June 20,2017
    More to come!

    12 thoughts on “In the Kitchen

    1. Hi, there, just found your website and love it! I live with O2 as well but for different reason (a rare autoimmune disease with ILD). I love my kitchen and have always loved cooking, refuse to give up even my most complicated creations due to fatigue and this creature trying to take over my body! Besides, hubby doesn’t cook and hates the kitchen. Since I can no longer work and the loss of income has erased the possibility of takeout when I’m too tired to cook, we had to adjust – that was a bad habit anyway. So what I do now is plan ahead and make my meals in stages with rest periods in between: chop all (or some of) your ingredients and put them in the fridge, sit down and rest with a cold soda or cup of tea…..melt the butter and sauté the garlic and onion and herbs, turn off the burner and let that cool while the flavors blend, go take a nap or a soak in the tub…..etc. You get the idea. Yes, it often takes me all day to make a meal, but when it’s done 5-10 minutes at a time it feels less taxing – and I no longer feel like I can’t accomplish anything. Plus, we eat well! On my “good” days I will make a large pan in this manner of something that freezes well, like lasagna, manicotti, or Bolognese sauce for pasta, and freeze the leftovers in individual foil meal-sized containers I keep on-hand from the Dollar Store. Those meals I reserve for days that I have a doctor’s appointment or have done other errands and just have no energy left to cook. All I have to do is stick the tin in the oven. And relax while it heats. 🙂
      Other things I have learned, possibly obvious: most grocery stores sell pre-chopped veggies – chopping is especially taxing for me but I simply refuse to give it up, I’m stubborn that way! Just keep your knives very sharp to ease the work effort. Also, having a bar stool-type chair into the kitchen to sit while you work is quite helpful; memory foam mats to stand on decrease muscle fatigue, which can affect your oxygen requirements.

      • Paula,
        Hello! You have quite a lot of good cooking tips! Thank you so much for sharing them. I get so tired from standing in the kitchen preparing food and I hate cooking. I’ve started making extra larger meals so that I can freeze some of what I don’t need that night. Instead of making a one pound of meatloaf, I make 2 one pound meatloaves and freeze one of them in plastic then put it in the foil loaf pan wrapped with foil and in a brown paper lunch bag to prevent freezer burn. My husband doesn’t like food saved wrapped in foil because foil can leach into the food making the food taste off. He’s a little picky. haha! How many meals to you keep in the freezer ready to pull out in any given month? I love my crockpot! 😉 I hope you’ll keep coming by to share your cooking tips! I could use them!

    2. Thanks, Christine! I’m just full of kitchen ideas, it blossoms from having so much time on my hands with a mind that has energy but a body that doesn’t! What’s in my freezer ready to go actually depends on when my last “good” stretch was. Right now is a low-energy time and so I’m grateful for those insta-meals. What’s so terrific about it is that if done right, you can get several meals out of one cooking session. Lets see…..I have 9 insta-meals in the freezer right now!

      Here’s a few more tips I’ve learned:
      1. Two Words: Electric Stove. It seems obvious but if you are a gas-cooking advocate you may not have considered what a horrendous fire risk your gas stove is. NEVER cook on a gas stove while wearing your oxygen. Please! If you cannot remove the O2 and turn off the concentrator, get an electric range. (forgive me, but I was a RN Risk Management Consultant and have seen what can happen). The same goes for grilling! Flame+Oxygen = BOOM! (I say as I recall forgetting to remove my O2 just last evening while grilling some chicken! Oops! It’s so easy to forget!)
      2. Crockpot. Christine is so right, the crockpot is our friend and I have found that the internet is just full of recipes for ways to cook just about everything in the crockpot.
      3. Keep the pantry stocked and plan ahead. For me, there’s no more just-running-down-to-the-corner-to-pick-up-more-sugar. That would be the end of the kitchen session because it would take whatever energy I had. It’s a drag because I love to be spontaneous, but it’s also a reality. So now, I try and plan the meals for the week early on and make one trip to the grocery store to get everything I need. And use an Insta-meal on grocery day!
      4. Arrange your kitchen so that everything is easy to reach. I know this sounds pretty obvious, but do you have a cupboard you just hate to go into because it’s so difficult? One that leaves you breathless? If you do, stop accepting it and change things around (preferably with help). I had hubby install pullouts in every single lower cabinet in my kitchen so I would never have to get down on my knees and dig out items again…..and it’s just wonderful! My rule is that if I use it regularly, it must be easy to get to.
      5. Dishwasher – clean-up is part of cooking, sad but true. Here’s another one that probably sounds silly to anyone not on oxygen or who tires easily – it is not Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder! 🙂 I find emptying the dishwasher particularly taxing due to all the bending and reaching, so I usually leave it to hubby. But there are times when I need to do it, so we agreed on an “order” to the way we load the dishwasher so that emptying it is easiest on me. For instance, all the plates go together by size, all the cutlery is grouped together by size/shape, you get the picture. This makes emptying it so much easier. I will put away the top half, rest a few minutes, then go back and put away the bottom rack.

      That’s enough of my long-windedness. I truly hope that my experiences are of help to someone out there.

      • I love your love-windedness! I’m extremely careful around a gas stove and oven. I don’t like using them at my sister’s house. My house is all electric. I just don’t feel comfortable owning a home that has gas appliances. Crockpots are my best friend. I love them like a third sister! lol!

      • Do you have an electric or gas range in your house? I’m very nervous to cook with a gas range. I’m thankful to have all electric. It can get a bit tricky opening a hot oven though and your idea with tucking the tubing in your clothes & the apron is smart! 😉

    3. Hi Christine, I just found your site & love it. I don’t have HP but my little niece does, I will have to share this with her mom. But my reason for writing you is I am also on Oxygen 24/7. I have Interstitial lung Disease which was caused by having pneumonia so many times, & I mean a lot. I also have Lupus 😦 . I have really enjoyed what I have read on your blog. Now I do have a question. The ladies on here talk about cooking in the kitchen, I was told I can not cook so I am very blessed my husband does the cooking. This is my 1st time posting, & just realized the time. I’m off to bed, but if you or anyone else can tell me their thoughts on this. Also you look beautiful in yover picture with those pretty flowers,

      • Hi Keli… I cook because I have an electric stove and oven and as long as my cannula tubing doesn’t touch anything hot, I’m good to go. My sister has a gas stove though and I have cooked simple things like Kraft Mac & Cheese for my niece or just stir occasionally something that’s on the stove. I use extreme caution with gas ranges. I prefer not to cook with them because it can be dangerous if your tubing falls off your face and comes in contact with the flame. However, there’s fun ways to cook using a crockpot. You can make a lot of casseroles, roasts, spare ribs for dinner meals in a crockpot without having to worry about getting near the stove.

        I’m glad you found my blog! Thank you for your question. *hugs*

        • Hi there! I have recently discovered sous vide cooking and realize that I can share that this is one more cooking method that is quite safe for oxygen users as there is no open flame or heat source. It’s also very easy, similar to the slow cooker but the food (especially meat) doesn’t get dried out and can stay in the water bath for an extended period of time. This was a wonderful discovery for me since now I don’t have to be sure to get started ” on time” or be concerned about being around the stove. You simply vacuum seal your food with the seasonings, set the temperature and press start on the water heater/circulator. I bought the stick kind of immersion sous vide cooker because it’s versatile and I didn’t need extra space to keep it. Whatever is created can be eaten right away or refrigerated or frozen right in the vacuum sealed bag for another time. Genius! Just Google sous vide to learn all about it.

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