It’s the start of the year and most of us will make an ernest effort to eat at home:

  • We are trying to lose weight, so eating out is a huge caloric expense
  • It’s cold outside so staying in sounds toasty
  • The money could be used to pay off some holiday bills

Cooking meals for families has become a modern day chore.  Weather you are the father or the mother, you know what I am talking about.  Life is busy – we work all day and come home to chauffer our kids around, and multi task cooking with catching up on our loved ones days, completing work emails and helping the kids with homework.  We wonder why we don’t have the same love and joy for cooking as our parents did.  We begin to resent our kids as they seem ungrateful when they see a fresh meal on the table, and when did our kids start demanding alternative meals – we all grew up with “ you eat what I give you!”.

So the age old question is what’s for dinner?  How do you make dinner easy for the whole family to enjoy including the cook!  Here are some WHAT’S FOR DINNER IDEAS

  • It starts with your staples, before you want to try something new, begin to know your staples. What do you cook most often.  Before you try to reinvent the wheel, sometimes writing your staples down will remind you that it’s been a while since you ate them.
  • Clean your fridge and pantry. No different when you clean out your closet and find clothes you have not worn in a while.  Cleaning your kitchen will have you find ingredients that you may want to use up, or that you simply forgot you have.
  • Make a family chart: ask the the kids what they want: I usually write key words on a piece of paper, such as CHICKEN, BEEF, FISH, VEGETARIAN, AROUND THE WORLD…and then I have the kids write their favorite dish in each category.
  • Open up a cook book, not every day but once this week, try a new recipe. Go back to your staples, and simply try to recreate your staple using a recipe.  This way the meal is different yet similar to what the family is used to.
  • Cheat a bit: sometimes I hit restaurants for part of the meal. I have many nights made my own salad and grilled chicken, but have picked up homemade hummus at the local restaurant.
  • Look at menu’s, instead of googling recipes, explore online menu’s. Here are a few restaurant that inspire meal choices for our family: FRESHII, BE GOOD, KUPERT AND KIM.  I simply look at their menus and ingredients and come up with my own version.
  • Create an experience, get the kids involved, set the table with new dishware or colourful table clothes, have décor themes to match the meal, or offer up a social game that will have the whole table talking. Turn meal time into meal time vs a chore of picky eaters, and tired parents.

These are some ideas, share any dinner strategies that have worked for your family!

Don’t forget to try our LADS 2016 favourite… The Italian Meatballs! These are an easy hot dinner idea that everyone will love