Written by: Ann Sawyer – Mom
When it comes to the nightly meal of the day – dinner meals easily become a victim of repetitive entrees and side dishes. Some individuals and families find themselves stuck in a rut, preparing some of the same meals on a weekly basis – fish on Friday, Meatloaf Monday, bland corn, white rice, and lifeless mashed potatoes. To keep dinner fun, fresh, and in many cases, exciting – there are plenty of ways to stop the boredom that comes with fixing and eating the same dishes. A few ideas include:
1) Try New Recipes
Whether you scan the cookbooks lining the library shelves or browse the infinite number of online resources, there are plenty of recipes awaiting the eager cook. New recipes add excitement and new flavors that not only add spice to the dining room table, but also awaken the taste buds. You never know if you don’t like something if you never try it. Why not experiment with veal or make your first gumbo?
2) Try New Ingredients
Sometimes you can transform an old favorite by simply substituting the ingredients you normally use. There are thousands of different spices, meats, vegetables, fruits, sauces, and other cooking ingredients that you are unaware of. This is also a great chance to explore some of the different worldwide methods of cooking, as you consider the use of cilantro, rose petals, Adobo, hummus, and oyster sauce.
3) Theme Night of the Week
To spice up the dinnertime you have grown accustomed to, theme nights create a great break from the norm. You may select a day of the week that is especially set aside for a particular theme of your choice, such as “Dinner and a Movie.” When preparing a mealtime your family will never forget, you may choose to explore another culture. A few theme night feasts may include: Italian (pizza, cannoli, lasagna); Asian (spring rolls, chicken stir fry, fortune cookies); Middle Eastern (pita sandwiches, falafel); or French (croissant sandwiches, quiche, crepes).
4) Breakfast Food At Night
When you’re tired of the meat and potatoes dinner, there is nothing wrong with setting a hot, stack of pancakes on the table for the last meal of the day. Omelets, waffles, French toast, scrambled eggs and bacon, all make great selections for a dinner that breaks from the norm.
5) Fun Presentation Ideas
Perhaps the things you cook for dinner taste great and are crowd pleasers, but you want to step up the level of enjoyment. Enhanced presentation of food not only heightens the interest of the meal, but also gets the conversation going around the dinner table. One of the most attention-grabbing ideas for meals includes fruit and vegetable carving, where radishes, apples, oranges, and melons become works of art. Sometimes, dinner plates may showcase a bright explosion of foods, arranged according to the colors of the rainbow.
6) Decoration, Decoration, Decoration
To encourage a more enjoyable dinner meal, decorating the dining room table is a great way to boost the level of delight, including colorful napkins, inviting candles, fun silverware choices, decorative tablecloths, new cups and glasses, or beautiful spreads of flowers and plants.
7) Change The Scenery
Sometimes the food served during dinner isn’t the boring part of mealtime, but the monotonous seating and setting at the dining room table sometimes becomes the problem. To change up the scenery, make arrangements to have a picnic dinner, gather on the patio to watch the sun set over a delicious home cooked meal, or plan a laidback feast to enjoy in the family room. Why not hold an outdoor Hawaiian luau, where the backyard is transformed into an island paradise with roasted pineapple, grilled food, and leis?
Overall, if you think coming up with your own creative meal ideas is hard, there are plenty of cooking resources and meal planners to consider. For example, to help cooks keep dinner interesting, culinary exploration reports offered at Menu Planning Central help add life, creativity, and imagination.