Getting dinner on the table sounds simple enough, right? And in theory, it should be — but it doesn't always play out that way. Between meal planning, grocery shopping, prep, and making an effort to vary the meals you put on the table, dinnertime can be tough.
Here are five tips — from staple foods and tools, to meal templates and a tip for finding new inspiration — to help make getting dinner on the table a little easier for you.
1. Your pantry and fridge can beat a frozen pizza.
Instead of reaching for a frozen pizza, keeping basics — like pre-cooked veggies, frozen veggies, grains, tortillas, and eggs — makes it easy to stay on track with simple and healthy dinners.
2. One good sheet pan is the best pan in your arsenal.
As Molly Gilbert points out, sometimes the key to a great dinner is actually using the right tools. In this case, that tool is a sheet pan, capable of putting out easy yet stunning food.
3. Plan with templates instead of recipes.
Templates are much less rigid than recipes. They're basically a simple dinner formula you know by heart, with variables and ingredients that can be swapped and omitted based on what you have handy. Once you’ve identified one dinner template, you are likely to spot more of them already at your fingertips.
4. Meal plans keep boredom at bay.
It might take some work to get started, but creating a meal plan with recipes that excite you is a way to prevent falling into a dinner rut.
5. Get inspiration from going out.
If you're at a total loss for dinner inspiration, or it feels like you're cooking the same meals night after night, sometimes the best solution is to get out of the kitchen. Try out a new restaurant or order something different from one of your favorites. It's a helpful way to get inspired to add new meals to your lineup, use new ingredients, and cook with new flavors.
Read more → 5 Tips for Getting out of a Dinner Rut