5 Simple Ways to Get Out of a Dinner Rut

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5 minutes
September 30, 2022
Carole Jones

Learn how to get out of a dinner rut today with these 5 simple ideas! Making dinner every night is hard enough all on it’s own, let alone trying to find new recipes that you will like and your family will actually eat. This post will definitely help you snap out of it and learn to enjoy cooking again.

5 Simple Ways to Get Out of a Dinner Rut

1. Start Small – No More Than One New Recipe a Week

It is easy to allow the excitement and enthusiasm for wanting to completely change your repetitive menu plan all at once. Please, don’t fall into that trap. After the first couple nights of trying to figure out too many brand new recipes, you will get frustrated and give up.

Change can happen my friend, but set yourself up for lasting success by taking it one manageable step at a time.

5 Simple Ways to Get Out of a Dinner Rut

One new recipe a week allows you to grow your cooking repertoire and gives you the flexibility to plan it on a night you have some extra time to learn to make it.

Plus, let’s be honest. Not every new recipe you try will be a winner. Again, only one new recipe a week will keep the frustrations from lackluster recipes at bay.

2. Keep Track of Dinners You Already Love

This might sound too basic for some of you but for others, this is an amazing concept that will completely rock your menu planning world!

Set aside 15-20 minutes with your family and create a list of dinners you like. There are no wrong answers here. If your 6 year old says “fish sticks and tater tots,” write it down!

You can easily do this on your phone or if you want something a bit more organized, go grab this free Personal Recipe Vault planner that allows you to organize it by category and include links to the recipes.

Now that you have this great resource, not only will it help trigger your memory when you menu plan, but you can constantly add new recipes to it as you try new ones, or remember ones you forgot to add.

It will quickly become an invaluable resource for you!

3. Invite a Friend to Dinner

Need a bigger push that #1 and 2? There is nothing like the motivation and deadline of having friends over for dinner to get you out of your rut.

Even if you doing Taco Tuesday together, I promise you it will be a better no-rut version of your normal taco spread. You love your friends and of course, want to impress them so you will naturally up your dinner game a notch or two when they come over.

5 Simple Ways to Get Out of a Dinner Rut

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy at all. Just invite a friend or two as a way to encourage yourself to dig a bit deeper into your menu planning and cooking.

4. Take It International

The reason we get stuck in a rut and can’t get out is because we feel uninspired by recipes. Sometimes we just can’t take another chicken recipe….or worse, ground beef.

One of the quickest ways to find some dinnertime excitement is to look outside the borders of the USA. Look around and discover a couple international recipes you want to try….even if they scare you a bit.

Table full of Mediterranean food

There is so much to choose from. Some of my personal favorites include Mediterranean, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Indian, and Thai. And since we are only trying one new recipe a week thanks to tip #1, it’s ok to be a bit adventurous when the rest of your week will be predictable.

If you are unsure where to start, pick an international flavor you’ve had experience with and find a recipe that looks delicious to you. Then, read the reviews for that recipe….they will give you a “real” person’s experience with both making the recipe as well as how it turned out for them.

5. Ask a Trusted Friend for Recipes to Get Out of a Dinner Rut

This does not necessarily mean asking your best friend. “Trusted” in this sense means someone who has similar culinary tastes as you and you have experience trying their cooking or even restaurant recommendations.

I’ve been burned a few times by friends who have shared a recipe or a restaurant with me, only to be disappointed. I’m sure you have had similar experiences.

Friends sharing a recipe

You should also have at least one friend who has a similar palette and expectation for how yummy a dinner should be. That doesn’t mean fancy….it just means he/she share the same culinary vibe as you.

Use those friends as a resource as you are looking for new recipes to try to get out of the rut. They can become your built-in beta testers for all new recipes if you set it up right 🙂

Looking for even more ideas and support? Come hang with us in our free Facebook group, Family Dinner Squad. We talk all things family dinner and share amazing resources with each other!

Looking for Menu Planning Help?

Check out these two idea-packed posts, which each come with a free printable to get you set up for success!

Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

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