People expect it on a regular basis, like every day.
And dinner is a process. First you have to figure out what’s for dinner, then buy the stuff and cook it.
It can be hard to come up with new ideas or even any ideas about what’s for dinner and those people who expect it every day are usually very little help.
“What do you want for dinner?”
“I don’t know.”
Well don’t be discouraged, because I have some great tips for simplifying dinner and I’m sharing them with you!
Start by meal planning. I have a massive Pinterest board dedicated to food. Seriously, I have over 1,000 pins just to that board. I really need to break it up into categories, but that’s for another day.
I meal plan on Thursdays and often use my Pinterest board for ideas. I also check the freezer, fridge, and pantry to see what I already have.
If you find it hard to come up with ideas, try writing down what you end up making each night for dinner. After a few weeks – or even better – a month, you have a meal plan already done for you. Just pick and choose for the coming weeks dinners.
Master the art of pantry meals and freezer meals. My life is less complicated than it used to be, but I know we all have those days when dinnertime sneaks up on you and you are not prepared.
Pantry meals can be a lifesaver because they have a long shelf life and are just waiting for you to put them together and heat them up.
Some pasta and a jar of sauce makes a good pantry meal. Add a salad and/or some garlic bread and you’re set. And just so you know, my mom used to make garlic bread out of hamburger buns. You don’t need the stuff that actually says garlic bread on it. Some stale bread of any kind, butter and garlic powder and you’re good to go.
Another meal that my family actually asks for is called Tuscan Bean Soup. I keep a large jar of Northern beans in the pantry during the cooler months. Put it in a soup pan along with some fresh or frozen spinach, a little chicken broth, and some Parmesan cheese and heat.
I have two hints for this recipe. First, I always have frozen veggies in the fridge, especially spinach because we love it.
And second, don’t bother buying canned broth – there’s very little flavor to it. I buy chicken or beef base and add water. You will find it next to the broth and bullion. It’s in a jar and looks sort of like a paste.
Freezer meals can be another lifesaver. I’ve got a Pinterest board for that too. Depending on what it is, you can pull it out in the morning, throw it in the crockpot, and have dinner waiting for you when you’re ready.
Here are some great ideas for freezer meals:
- Chicken plus the marinade of your choice. Allowing the chicken to thaw in the fridge really gets that marinade into the meat.
- Cooked ground beef. I usually add onions and garlic, plus salt and pepper. Let it cool and freeze. You can thaw this in the microwave if you need to and you’re just steps away from tacos, sloppy joes, spaghetti with meat sauce, and more. One of our favorites? Add broccoli and cream to the meat, and maybe a little Parmesan.
- Double up when you’re making a casserole and make two. Imagine pulling lasagna out of the freezer and just popping it into the oven. Yum! Hint: hit the dollar store and get some of those foil casserole pans to use.
Be flexible when it comes to dinner ideas. My family is perfectly fine with breakfast for dinner, or even sandwiches. Add some hash browns and sausage to your breakfast or some cut up veggies and dip to sandwiches (or soup) and no one should complain.