I dream about food in Technicolor most nights and wake up with gorgeous, delicious meal ideas leaping from my brain into my recipe notes. Most of them turn out as I envisioned them. But some days even I have trouble deciding what to do for dinner. If you are top chef for your family, significant other, or your own personal daily cuisine, the job can be daunting. It’s hard to come up with new ideas to keep meals from entering the ho-hum zone.
How many times have you glanced at your wristwatch or cell phone and realized the day turned to evening and you don’t have a clue what to do for dinner? I’ve had many a discussion on the bus stop with harried moms trying to find a way out of this dilemma. And I’ve felt panic spread through my veins when my child or spouse interrupts my quiet concentration at dinnertime to ask “What are we eating tonight?” I’ve tried not to let “I Love Lucy” eyes give me away as I reply, “Something good!” while my mind races to find an answer without relying on premade, frozen food, or the local drive-thru. I’d rather make my own fast food. It’s cheaper, healthier, I know what’s in it, and it’s usually just as fast.
One thing that bails me out is a pantry well stocked with the kind of food staples I always recommend in my cookbooks and articles. Simple fare like grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, like those pictured here, can easily be made to look like a feast on chilly days.
More often than not, when I get stuck I try to think inside the box—the calendar box, that is. I look for holidays and special events to inspire the colors and flavors of my dishes. Professional and college sports events, school events, and community events can be rich sources of inspiration. So can ethnic heritage and events associated with them, like St. Patrick’s Day.
Do you or one of your family members have a favorite sport? Build a dish around it.
Is there a holiday lurking around the corner? Celebrate early. Use food like the jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers pictured with this post.
Did you know that almost every day of the year is associated with a national food holiday of one sort or another? The Easy Weekly Meals Facebook Page regularly posts food ideas and links to recipes or ways to obtain them. Visit it and give it a “Like” and you’ll see our posts in your newsfeed. You can also find more detailed food information, pictures, cooking techniques, and recipes at EasyWeeklyMeals.com under the Recipe and Blog tabs.
Happy cooking and sweet dreams!