My obstacle to frequent cooking is a relatively luxurious one—there aren’t children with ballet lessons or little league politics hindering my path to the kitchen. It’s more my inconsistent dining partner. My husband travels a few weeks out of the month for his job. When he’s home, he wants “manly,” steak-y things. Or he (easily) helps us justify a festive trip to our favorite Mexican spot since we often haven’t seen one another in a few weeks. I confess I need to learn to show my “food love” through a healthful, home cooked meal instead of a margarita and a bucket of chips and salsa.

With this goal in mind during the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to make it work for us. I’m perfectly happy with a salad-y grain- or legume-based main dish. So I’ll whip up something easy (Bulgur with Dried Cranberries, pictured here, has been in heavy rotation at our house) while the hubs grills a steak or chicken breast to “man” up his meal. We’re both participating in the kitchen and both eating (kind of) the same thing.

We’re still opting to eat out every now and then for things we can’t or won’t make at home (my sushi-making skills need some work). But toasting our time together in the kitchen is cheaper, more healthful, and—we’ve found—tastier than we thought it’d be.