Ever feel like you are in a total dinner rut? This is a great time of year to get out of that rut and here is an exercise to help you. BRAINSTORM!!! Open up a word document or just grab your note pad and in five minutes write down every meal idea you can think of. Write down everything that pops in your head from those quick grab and go options (macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets) to those family favorites that take hours (pot roast with veggies slow cooked all day) to those standards (spaghetti and meat balls) that we all rely on. Save this list and work through it as you are planning your meals for the next few months. Keep the list in a handy place so you can update it from time to time. Families change, my list today is greatly different than it was 5 years ago. Today mine looks something like this:
Lemon Garlic Chicken
Steak with Baked Potatoes
Soup and grilled cheese
Pancakes, eggs, bacon
Crockpot Italian Chicken with Pasta
Spaghetti and meatballs
Beef and Bean burritos
You get the idea. My guess is you'll come up with at least 20 dinner ideas.
Another way to brainstorm is to raid your recipe box. Every few months I pull a few recipes out that we haven't made in a while and I try them out on the family. After dinner everyone has to vote to keep the recipe or throw it in the trash.
Last but not least, commit to trying one new dinner idea each week for a month. It can be something super easy (like off my Blog!) or a more elaborate recipe you pick out of a magazine, cookbook or website. Either way at the end of the month you'll either have 4 new meals to add to your list or 4 really funny family stories to share!