Because We All Need More Dinner Ideas — by Guest Mom Jora

March 26, 2009

A few months back, there was an article in Cookie Magazine about a mom who was frustrated with cooking the same few meals for her family to accommodate her rather picky children. She missed eating a variety of interesting foods (as did her husband) and she was worried her kids were getting stuck in a rut. What, you say this all sounds familiar do you?

Well, this brave mother set out to try 30 new dinners in 30 days…all meals within reason of course. This inspired me to come up with my own list of dinners to try that would, in theory, be pleasing to all members of my family and would push their culinary boundaries a bit, if you will. Every family’s list would look different, obviously. But I thought I might share some of the sources I frequent when I am in a dinner rut and want to try something new, yet still involve approachable foods and techniques.

One such list came from the Cookie article itself. It is a great list of 30 very family-friendly yet sophisticated meals, most of which can be prepared on a weeknight. Check it out here.

I would have to say one of my favorite sources for dinner ideas will always be the magazine Everyday Food. True, it is a Martha publication, but the food is not intimidating, I promise. Plus you get all that Martha eye candy (photos for each recipe don’t hurt one bit!). You can get year’s subscription for like $12. I can’t think of money better spent, frankly. Get a subscription here.

I’m also a huge fan of online sources. Epicurious, MyRecipes, and Dinner Tonight (by the editors of Everyday Food) are my personal favorites. You can just type in ingredients and it will come up with recipes to try.

Of course food blogs are some of the most fun to read. There are so many good ones out there, but Smitten Kitchen and Simply Recipes have huge archives that are easy to search, and both of those girls are always cooking up something tasty. Also, if you’ve never come across it before, there is a Food Blog Search Site that many of the food blogs are linked up to, so that is a great place to start if you don’t have any food blog favorites yet.

Do you have any tips for coming up with ideas for dinner for the family?

Photo courtesy Cookie Magazine

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katie @ goodLife {eats} March 26, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Anytime I come across a recipe online that I think looks great, I bookmark it. I have a folder called "recipes" and subfolders for different categories. When I plan my weekly menu I try to pick at least 1 new recipe to try. Since I have so many, I decided to feature 4/week with picture & link in a "To Taste Tuesday" post on my blog.

It's easy to get stuck in a rut, but also easy to work your way out.


2 picturinglifeinplacencia March 26, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I love Smitten Kitchen and Simply Recipes too. Another favorite is


3 blake March 26, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Like Katie I also use a system for bookmarking recipes but I use, which allows you to tag any bookmark with searchable keywords. I tag by ingredient or meal (or who might like it) so I can find recipes fast. I also love Everyday Food! It’s great for lunch-packing ideas too.


4 Catherine March 26, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I’m kindof obsessed with the Pioneer Woman. Her recipes look easy and tasty, too!


5 Lindsey March 26, 2009 at 1:15 pm

We just got a new cookbook called 9×13: the Pan that Can (bhg) and we have tried so many of the recipes. My kids have loved them, which is hard for them to do.


6 Jennifer March 26, 2009 at 1:23 pm

I come up with new ideas every day on my healthy family food blog:


7 Janssen March 26, 2009 at 1:30 pm

I LOVE Everyday Food. It’s one of my all-time favorite magazines.


8 Amy March 26, 2009 at 2:09 pm

One of my new favorite recipe sources is You can search numerous food magazines at once (incuding the Martha Stewart publications AND Cooking Light which are favs of mine). You can create your own recipe box which is so handy. I like this site so much I even added their recipe search to my blog.


9 Damaris March 26, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I love cooking and also have a food blog. One thing that I noticed that helps my son be open minded is if I let him help me prepare the meal. He always wants to try what he made. Of course this takes some preparing.

I always plan my meals for the week on Sunday It helps to have a menu and know what to expect. That way if I’m out my husband can just make it.

My favorite site these days has been I get most of my recipes from there


10 Girlfrog March 26, 2009 at 3:52 pm

We actually tried most of the meals from the Cookie article! They were not all our favorites but we did find a few! I also love Everyday Food but was wondering if you have any good suggestions for indexing the recipes (I also have the book but it doesn’t have all the recipes). I have dozens of the books and it gets tedious looking through them all for an old favorite! Not to even mention storing them all.


11 amyks March 26, 2009 at 6:20 pm

I saw that article in cookie, too and thought it was such a great idea…I clipped it out, have yet to try it out, but at least the thought is there. I also am a sucker for everyday food. I sometimes catch it on PBS, and the recipes are so simple, unlike a lot of stuff in the MS Living mag. I try something from the everyday food once a week, may tweak it a little, but its a “good thing”. Jora thanks for your great posts this week. You did a fabulous job being a guest mom.


12 Carrian March 26, 2009 at 7:21 pm

We plan our meals around sales. We are big on fresh produce and trying out new meals. I post recipes over at that we find to be good.


13 Debbie March 26, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Great recipes from 30 dinners in 30 days! I think I printed off two thirds of them to try.


14 R-Eight March 27, 2009 at 6:53 am

Love Everyday Food and most of the websites mentioned. I can’t wait to see the recipe list on Cookie.

I also love a recipe book called The Fast and Healthy Cookbook. Each recipe comes with a picture and nutrition information.


15 kmberrien March 27, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I am a big fan of CityMama. Her recipes always come out great and she has a tap on her blog called “kids will eat it” that has grown-up tasting but kid friendly dinners.


16 Kathryn March 27, 2009 at 9:38 pm

You already gave away my #1 dinner tip–Everyday Food!


17 Joanne March 30, 2009 at 4:21 am

I’m always looking for new ideas to try out for my family and always end up looking for sources online. I’ve used recipes from cookie magazine and smitten kitchen in the past. On another note, I found a great resource for parents; especially for girls’ parents. It’s called . There’s some very good advice in there. And another couple of sites I use for recipes is and


18 Lanne March 30, 2009 at 8:08 am

We find our son will try most things if he gets to choose – so we eat new meals by setting out platters with the food on it, and have mini tongs which work wonders – he loves picking it up. I thought this would wear off but it doesnt seem to have. He can choose anything and leave anything but he has to eat whatever he takes.. good deal. He eats really well at these meal times.


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