On Cutting Corners

Well, when I say “cutting corners”, I don’t necessarily mean in a BAD way. I mean…in a “lesser of two evils” way. Allow me to explain…

I saw what looked like an absolutely delicious recipe on Pinterest the other day. See?


This is Kristin’s recipe for Shepherd’s Pie Meatballs & Mashed Potatoes, which she shared on her blog, Iowa Girl Eats!

It’s a wonderful recipe (CLICK HERE to see the whole thing), carefully prepared from scratch, and the final result is, as you can see above, absolutely scrumptious!

But there’s one problem. Not a problem with Kristin or her recipe! But a problem with ME! A problem with THIS Kristen!

I am only one person.

Yes, this is a problem.

Because if i was multiple people, I could get a lot more accomplished than I do now.

I have often thought that, if I could clone myself, I would have one me for keeping the house clean and organized, one me for cooking, one me for working, one me to keep my hubby happy, and one me for ME! (Oh, I could have many more me’s and life would be better…ever feel that way?)

However, since I do, in fact, realize that I AM indeed only ONE person…I also realize that I cannot do it all.

Sometimes I need to cut some corners. And that means that I don’t have time to cook a complete from-scratch meal, but I still don’t want my husband stopping for McDonald’s on his way home from work.

Sooo…cutting corners. Check this out:


Yes, you are seeing what you think you are seeing. Instant mashed potatoes, canned gravy, frozen meatballs, and frozen mixed vegetables.

Instant mashed potatoes: still not as bad as french fries.
Canned gravy: I’ve got nothing here.
Frozen meatballs: my saving grace here is that they were TURKEY meatballs.
Frozen mixed vegetables: I think these are still better than canned.

And here’s how mine turned out:


Not too bad, eh? My husband LOVED it! (And that’s pretty much what counts around here!)

I’m all for cooking from scratch, and trying to be as healthy as possible, don’t get me wrong. But I’m also working a full time job, a part time job, doing this blog, keeping a house clean, keeping a man happy, staying involved in church, trying to spend time with friends and family…and trying to keep my sanity, ha! I’m not all about beating myself up because every meal at my house isn’t completely home-made. I’m about trying for the lesser of two evils!


I gotta say, it still ended up pretty good! (And I seriously want to thank Kristin for the inspiration!)

So whatcha think? Are you one who is able to do everything from scratch? All the time? Then YOU ARE AMAZING!!! Or are you one who has to cut corners sometimes? And are you okay with that?

45 thoughts on “On Cutting Corners

  1. That looks AMAZZBALLSS to me! I am constantly cutting corners because.. I just don’t have time! I run after a 18 month old all day, im preparing my blog to launch (November 1st—shameless plug) and its just hard being a Mommy 🙁 I find nothing wrong with your cutting corners. It does look great by the way!

    Wonderful post!

  2. I so feel you! Its so difficult to cook for a person’s share! I usually just cook instant noodles and get it done with, sometimes I don’t eat at all till the next meal with the husband and kid.

  3. That’s looks amazing. All of us just have very little time to spend in the kitchen all day so “cutting” corners may just be the way to go. I think if I save a few minutes here and there I will have more time for my family :O)

  4. Working a very full time job, so cooking from scratch only happens if I can put it in my crockpot in less then 10 minutes in the AM . . .yeah I know not really from scratch. . . but my freezer has a stash of Ore Ida Mashed Potatoes in my Freezer. I’ll have to try this receipe.

  5. Oh looks like yummie food, sadly cooking from scratch is more of a dream than reality in our Western world, and while it’s the healthiest one of all, sometimes we must make do what we have available. And this here certainly looks like something yummie that can be done for a quick dinner.

  6. I believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with cutting corners. While I love food that is cooked from scratch, sometimes I’m in a time crunch and just don’t have the time. My husband loves when I mash my own potatoes or make cornbread from scratch, but sometimes we have to settle for instant and that box of Jiffy. When folks are hungry, they’re hungry, and you just have to get the food on the table.

  7. I love how you cut corners on this. I am with you about only being one person. I have a lot to do all the time and stress out over dinner many days. This is certainly something that I would whip up. Thanks for the idea.

  8. I like it how you are trying to make the best of your situation. I cut corners too, but in a different way. I do not always keep my house clean and organized, I do not work full time and have money for all I want, but I think it is still better then Instant mashed potatoes ;). So we all have to find our way.

    • This is a wonderful point, Anna. None of us can “do it all”, and we all have to cut corners in one way or another. Funny thing is, my husband actually prefers instant potatoes over home-made! I guess I lucked out there, huh? 🙂

  9. Nothing wrong with cutting corners, especially when it turns out looking so scrumptious as that. That will be added to my menu list for a quick weekend meal! I have most of those ingredients in my pantry now 🙂

  10. Your version is just as beautiful and looks amazingly yummy! I do some from scratch, but my favorite store-bought savior is Zatarain’s. I just purchase inventory in it. It was 10 for $10! Woot! I add to it, maybe chicken, shrimp, other veggies, greek yogurt, etc., etc. I LOVE your idea of transforming a recipe in a time-saving manner! 🙂

  11. The planning that would go for so many ‘me’s’ would probably be atrocious and counterproductive in the long run. 😉 The Shepard’s Pie looks delicious!

  12. I absolutely love this post and I do the same thing, at least some of the time. I keep intending to make from-scratch biscuit but most days it’s good old Bisquick. My favorite cut-corners thing is canned chicken breast, so easy to make all kinds of stuff with. Like you I work full time, mom to a 7yo, involved with church, blogging, cooking, cleaning, like to garden (for a few things that I don’t cut corners on, ha!). Your meal looks amazing, totally sharing!

  13. I cut circles, honey! There are times I go all out and do the from scratch thing, but many times life just gets too busy. I have come to accept that I am just one person, and all I can do is my best. Frozen vegetables are very healthy for you, and they sure come in handy for a lot of recipes. This looks delicious. 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

  14. I cut corners all the time. With 4 kids and a job that I’m at almost all day there isn’t much time to really cook so we do a lot of frozen or canned foods at times. Hamburger helpers etc do make quick easy meals. 🙂

  15. I completely hear you and support this whole cutting corners idea! I work full time as well, plus all the other stuff we women do. That dish looks completely delicious and I would love to come home to something after work that looks half that good!

  16. I love making food from scratch. There are days that you can cut corners. On my way of cutting corners, I love to make canned meat. Granted, meat balls don’t can well. But this is what we do a lot. But I loved how you improvised! This was great Kristen, thanks for sharing.

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