I asked my friends in the Dinner Party Facebook Group what their biggest struggles are when it comes to meal planning and cooking for their families. That's where I get most of the ideas for these blog posts! I love being able to offer insight that speaks directly to those issues. One of the responses I got recently, I thought, would make a perfect post because I hear it from a lot of women I meet inside the group, and also out in my daily interactions. The problem is not having enough variety of flavors, and eating the same things all the time. I think Ryan would back me up when I say we haven't eaten the same meal twice in MONTHS.
So, how do we do it? How do we have a brand new meal every single night without me pulling my hair out over it? I've got a Pinterest search process you can use TODAY to start cooking new, creative meals and BONUS, you'll end up saving a ton of money in the process.
First, source meal ideas from what's already in your house. You'll hear this from me over and over - check your fridge and pantry, first. In my course, I call it "taking inventory". What this will do for you is open your eyes to odds and ends of ingredients leftover from meals you ate earlier in the week, and when you tell yourself you HAVE to use them up without spending a lot of money, you'll be forced to get creative.
Then, type one (or couple!) of ingredients into the search bar on Pinterest. One of the best things about searching Pinterest for recipes this way is that you don't end up going down a crazy rabbit hole of meals you COULD make, and instead are limited, in a sense, by what you SHOULD make, as dictated by the contents of your refrigerator.
You'll be amazed that even the oddest combinations will return search results of beautiful photos that bloggers with better picture taking skills than me have taken, of recipes they've developed using that combination you thought was weird. Check out these screen shots of a few ingredients I had in the fridge, turned into recipe ideas using Pinterest search.
Kale + cucumber:
Here, you can see how kale and cucumber could become three delicious salads or four healthy smoothies. And those are just the first results without scrolling down the page, at all.
Onion + spinach:
In this one, you can see that onions and spinach can become quiche, a couple of different pasta dishes, a colorful salad, a healthy soup, and savory turnovers.
Then, once you've picked a recipe, click on it to find out what the other ingredients are. What you'll see is a list next to the photo, like these:
If the ingredients list is full of stuff you don't already have, and you don't think the recipe would be the same by skipping those ingredients, go back to your search results and choose another recipe. If it requires you to pick up one or two additional ingredients and you really want to try it out, go for it! If you think you can either use that new ingredient in more meals than just this one, even better.
Before you know it, you'll have lots of brand new go-to favorite meals. You'll also have an expanded idea of what you can make using different foods, which will lead to creativity and bravery in the kitchen.
So get in there and get creative! You got this!
This post is sponsored by my free, 5 minute training, "How to Write the Shortest Grocery List, Ever". Get it now to learn how to use up ingredients you already have on hand to make creative meals and save hundreds on groceries.