^^^ I'm lucky in that respect; I work from home three or four days a week, and on the day(s) that I don't, I'm home by 4:30PM, so I almost always have time to put something together.
Our preference is to be eating by 6:30PM. Neither of us really like to eat late, even if we're going out for a special occasion. Our yearly fancy-schmancy holiday supper club meal out, we make 6PM reservations, and they usually kind of laugh at us and tell us we don't need reservations that early. Even the older folks are getting there later than we do!
I generally like meal-planning, as long as I have time to do it. I usually do it on Saturday, so I can go to the grocery store early Sunday. I like thinking about the meals coming up, flipping through my go-to cookbooks, then writing my list. After trying about a dozen shopping list apps, I still hand-write my list. In the long run, it's faster, and less trouble.
My wife is like your husband, except her meals of choice when I'm gone are cereal and ice cream.
I've got the average American single-level house kitchen. Never enough counter space, though. Never. I wish I had an island workstation.
You should check out a show called The Little Paris Kitchen (also a book) with Rachael Khoo. She hosted dinners in her Paris apartment, making everything in a kitchen that's the size of my (small) bathroom. I don't really care for phony Food Network/Cooking Channel offerings, but I'm always fascinated by this one, just to watch how she does what she does in such a tiny, tiny space.
Baking...it's just an extension of cooking for me. I don't love it more or less, except to say I prefer a savory meal to a sweet dessert (not counting bread, which is essential), so I tend to bake less than some cooks, probably.
I brewed beer for quite a while. I didn't find it relaxing at all! It was an evening of anxiety, timing the boils and making sure the wort didn't cook over (you'll only do that once, I guarantee it), followed by a couple of weeks of nothing much, followed by another evening of frantic bottling, trying not to spill stuff, spray beer everywhere, etc.