I didn't keep track, but my guess is that I cooked more meals in 2017 than in any year prior. For me, cooking is a fun, and I like the challenge of making meals that my family finds tasty. I don't want to be hollering at my kids to FINISH YOUR MEAL. I want them to enjoy their food. Does it always work out nicely? Hell no. There are many "eeewwws" and unimpressed faces but overall the kids do alright in eating what's put in front of them.
Again, I didn't keep track, but I probably spent more time watching Food Network this year than ever before. Funny, the more I watch and become acquainted with new ingredients and new culinary terms, the more I keep things simple in the kitchen. For instance, today's lunch was quesadillas. If you watch Food Network for a few hours on any given day chances are you'll see someone whipping up a fancy version of a quesadilla or taco. But I stay in my simple lane. For the kids I made black bean quesadillas. Using black beans was an easy way to get them some nutritional value. It's common for me to make a slightly different version of a meal for my wife and me. My kids hate zucchini unless it's breaded and fried. So I diced up zucchini and made black bean and zucchini quesadillas for my wife and me. Salsa and sour cream on the side, good to go. All you need are tortillas, a bag of shredded cheese, a can of black beans, zucchini, and whatever you want on the side. I'm big on budget friendly fast and easy meals, always striving for flavor and incorporating some nutritional value. No crumbs on the plate leftover for this lunch.