General Question

Supergirl's avatar

Where do you get your ideas for cooking dinner every night?

Asked by Supergirl (1686points) October 4th, 2007

Follow up question to “what to make for dinner.” Where do you come up with ideas, I know where to find recipes, but I never can think of what to look for!

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17 Answers

Jill_E's avatar

It depends what in the mood to cook for.

When I get stuck on what to cook, I would think of what my mom cooked growing up. The other night was spaghetti and cheese, because that was my mom would cook for comfort food. I couldn’t find her recipe, so I looked up at and came up with a similar recipe. I just thought of my dad’s favorite italian sausage and peppers growing up, may cook that tomorrow.

Poor my family, I usually cook the usual stuff. Tacos, spaghetti, chicken, stir fry etc. Am a mom of a very busy toddler, I try to find recipes that are easy quick and delicious to make. If you don’t have energy to cook that night. Can always pick up rotersserie chix or spare ribs at a supermarket (like Safeway)

It helps to “double” the recipe, can freeze the other one.

Also crock pot are great, one night can have pot roast with onions only and the other night can have french onion soup (beef stock and onions already made) with melted cheese broiled on top.

Or one night ground lots of ground beef or turkey, use half for taco nights that night and the next night, spaghetti etc to save time.

Or Costco have easy meals…like chicken lettuce wrap. You can do the microwave only to warm up the chicken filling. And the lettuce comes with it.

A turkey is great…if cook on a sunday. You have plenty for the next few days…we made ‘day after sandwiches with stuffing’, turkey stir fry, turkey tacos etc.

Rachael Ray’s 30 mins meals are great..we use her “BLT Salad” with avacado dressing…it is yummo as she would say. :) and that is quick.

You are not alone when get stuck sometimes with ideas.

christybird's avatar

I usually will find what’s in season, and build a meal around that. Right now, winter squash (like acorn squash, butternut, etc.) are great, so are kale and other hardy cool-season greens, some kinds of wild mushrooms like hen-of-the-woods, fresh figs, apples, etc. I will go to a farmer’s market or co-op to get the best, freshest veggies & fruits.
Here’s an example of a good “fall” dinner option: a butternut squash & apple blended soup, maybe with bacon, onions and cream, and perhaps a bit of fresh sage, salt and pepper for seasoning.

Jill_E's avatar

oops I meant Rachael Ray’s Turkey Club Salad with Avocado dressing…instead of BLT Salad…,1977,FOOD_9936_28187,00.html

sdeutsch's avatar

I’m with christybird – I like to go to the farmer’s market or the local produce stand and pick out the tastiest-looking things they’ve got. Once you’ve got the basic ingredients, then you can head for the cookbooks and figure out what to do with them!

andrew's avatar

How far in advance does everyone buy meat? That’s what I struggle with…

hossman's avatar

If I were still a young man without kids, I would buy meat on the way home to cook, from a butcher. Fresh is always better. As I generally can only shop once a week, then frequently with the kids along, it usually ends up with me buying the mega cheapo family pack of skinless chicken breasts or ground beef (the “neutral Switzerland” of trying to find something everyone will eat) then putting them in the deep freeze, where they will sit for months while I first cook the other packages that have been sitting for more months.

Supergirl's avatar

I buy meat everyday, unless I am buying for a dinner party or holiday (in which I case I always like to shop a couple days before so I am not super rushed the day of the event or in case I forget something on my initial trip)

joli's avatar

If I buy meat for a recipe I cook it the same day, or the next. If it’s still sitting there on day three I’ll quickly cook it in the morning, or throw in the freezer. Fresh is always better than frozen in my mind, but I don’t like to take chances with bacteria. Same with cooked meat, day three ends and it needs to be eaten before dawn!

christybird's avatar

I used to buy an eighth of a cow directly from a farmer about every 4 months. We would meet up in the parking lot of a strip mall way out in the suburbs and “exchange the goods.”

The different steaks, ground beef, soup bones, etc. came separately wrapped and frozen and completely filled up my freezer. This was a great way to get local, organic, grass-fed beef at incredibly reasonable prices (I think it averaged out to $2.99 a pound, which for T-bone steak is ridiculously cheap, and about average for ground beef). This would be especially good for anyone with a chest freezer, so they can store beef there and keep ice cream, chicken breasts and frozen broccoli in their fridge freezer.

I would encourage people to talk to farmers in their area to see if they are interested in doing something like this, because the farmers end up getting more profit too if they can sell a lot to one person and not have to go through a “middleman.”

phred78's avatar

Check out That’s where I get most of my recipes from. Easy to make and all of them delicious. You can even subscribe to their newsletter and once a week they’ll send you seasonal ideas. Really good stuff.

segdeha's avatar

There are some great, tasty recipes on (whether you’re vegetarian or not) that incorporate seasonal fruits and veggies like those you might find at a farmer’s market.

hossman's avatar

Excellent solution from christybird. Sometimes you can find unpasteurized milk and cheese on the downlow.

b's avatar

I just look at what is in my fridge and cook something. This means I usually eat stir fry or quesidillas with a side of rice and beans.

millie's avatar

Must admit I head to with remarkable frequency. It’s also a good idea to find a local market (outdoor is the best) and look for seasonal goods that will inspire you.

goinggreen's avatar

I watch PBS and I love “America’s Test Kitchen”.....

Also try Cooks Illustrated –

is_that_it's avatar

you can search by ingredients, by name of dish or by length of time.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Since you are talking just the everyday dinner thing, I plan it by what ingredients I have.

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