As simple and easy as it sounds, preparing and cooking dinner can be a hassle when you are out of ideas. Sometimes the family can get a little picky and bored of the same dishes served few days or even just two days in a row. With the ease of the internet there are many recipes available online on websites, blogs and even on youtube to help make it easier to try something new. Where do you find new inspiration and how do you decide what to cook for dinner?
Do you plan ahead and then buy the groceries you need or do you scavenge through your fridge and try to make do with what you have?
If I lived alone, planning what to have for dinner would be much easier as I could buy just the ingredients I wanted. I live with my family, however, and my mum often ends up cooking lots of different meals in bulk. Some go in the fridge, some in the freezer. This often scuppers my plans on what I intended to cook.
When I do cook dinner, it usually depends on my mood. If I cannot be bothered, then I'll just stick some veg in the microwave and have it with tomato sauce. If I am feeling more creative, I'll see what is lying around the kitchen and then look at my list of recipes and see if I have anything that matches up.
I've got two methods I use when I run out of ideas for dinner. Either look through the fridge for what's available and then Google some ideas. e.g. "recipe for baked chicken". I've found some great new recipes that way. The other idea is to actually use some of the recipes I've cut out of magazines along the way although that can involve a trip to the shops if I don't have all the ingredients.
Since having a new baby in the house, I have taken to doing a butcher trip once a month. So I just pull something out in the morning and then work out what to do with it. I have standard meals I make with ingredients, but if I feel like something different, then I'll google the ingredients at hand and see what strikes my fancy that I have all the other ingredients for too. I admire people who do a menu plan for the month and then shop to it, but it never has worked for me!
My meals hinge on supermarket specials, therefore I make do with what I have. When I announced at my work that I was to be married, the Home Ec teacher challenged me to make a different meal each night for the first 12 months of my marriage. This became a challenge for all staff members as they bombarded me with recipes of all sorts. My husband was a great fan of offal, a childhood favourite, but I must admit I only cooked tripe for him once and that was in that first year. By the way, the challenge was met.
As I am on my own, I have no one else to please, so I generally plan a week ahead as I do my shopping online and spend too much if I go in between a shop.
I love planning for the week, and look through my recipes to decide what I will have that week.
I usually decide the night before what to cook. If I've had chicken then I choose either beef or pork and then decide what veggies to cook with it. I do try new recipes when I'm home all day and have the time to prepare them but also opt for easy meals on a Friday, like home made pizza on pitta bread, as we watch the football on TV.