5 new easy dinner ideas and recipes to ease your kitchen rut –

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Over the past few months, my family has fallen into a dinner rut. We’re desperate for new dinner ideas that will satisfy picky eaters and are suitable for families – oh, and they have to be easy recipes too. Sound familiar? The three or four must-eat meals I prepared in constant rotation were once great crowd pleasers, but now everyone is a little fed up. The dreaded “what should we eat for dinner” conversation has gotten all too real – it’s definitely time to mix things up with some new dinner ideas.

The pandemic has taken its toll on so many things. One of them is mealtime. Being home more than ever meant cooking a lot more. Naturally, my family got bored eating the same old recipes. (I guess you can relate.) The flip side, however, is that I have unadventurous eaters in my family who are hesitant to try new things. Still, I’ve decided to err on the side of caution and introduce new foods, new flavors, and maybe even new traditions into our dinner routine — lest we all get stuck in taste bud country. not excited.

Now here’s the caveat – I didn’t want dinner to turn into a long or overly complex process. I’ve also always played it a little safe in the kitchen because knowing a recipe and having all the ingredients in my cupboard is handy. So, I set out to find easy dishes that would excite my family without creating more work for me.

Below are some of the things I’ve tried to spice up our meals, which may also work for your family. I’m happy to report that I haven’t heard a single moan yet!

Prepare a fun appetizer.

We tend to think of appetizers as something you get at a restaurant, not something you make at home. But adding a pre-dinner application can rejuvenate your dinner routine. Plus, this fun extra course brings a festive and dining atmosphere into your home. One of my recent favorites is baked brie cheese topped with a sweet mango chutney that I picked up at Walmart. You just put it in the oven for about 15 minutes, and it comes out melty, gooey, and ready for crackers and a sweet filling. (See below for the recipe.) Creating the app is a great job for a child, spouse, or friend to get them involved in cooking dinner.

Take turns choosing the dishes.

At my house, we regularly have Sunday dinners where we all sit down together and have a slightly more complex meal. Each week a different member of the family chooses the meal, ideally something we have never cooked before. This new tradition has us really digging deep to find unique dishes to try, and it’s great that everyone has their turn to choose from.

Try meals that are new to you.

You don’t have to get a bunch of obscure ingredients or try out a complex recipe to try something new. Take the Indian dish tikka masala. Sounds complicated, right? It’s not at all — plus it’s really delicious. Once I found out Patak’s Tikka Masala Curry Simmer Sauce at Walmart, it really changed the way I look at this dish. The sauce is so flavorful and a quick and easy dinner option. Now I can put tikka masala on the table in less than 20 minutes, and it’s now part of our regular rotation. Check out Patak’s 20 Minute Tikka Masala recipe at the end of this article and see for yourself how easy it is.

Turn any meal into a mini buffet.

Build-your-own pizza is always a popular dinner party, so why not apply this concept to other foods? Give your family the freedom to create exactly what they want with build-your-own tacos, baked potatoes, and even tikka masala. For example, the Patak’s 20-Minute Tikka Masala recipe below has options for adding cilantro (which my daughter doesn’t like) and lemon juice (which I really like). By offering different toppings, it gives us more choices at dinner and more to look forward to.

Do a meal swap with a friend.

A friend and I will make a favorite dish, doubling or tripling the recipe. We reserve some for our own families, then pack up the rest and do a quick exchange. Meals are usually takeout, so it’s a good way to try new foods and cook less overall.

Baked Brie with mango chutney

Start to finish, 20 minutes
Up to 9 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 wheel (8 ounces) Brie or Camembert cheese
  • 1/2 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces Patak’s Sweet Mango Chutney (Buy at Walmart, $3.98)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews
  • Plain naan or crackers

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the Brie on a platter; using a small knife, make small holes in the top of the cheese.
  3. Press the garlic slices into the holes. Spread brie with chutney and sprinkle with walnuts.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until hot and so on.
  5. Serve with naans or crackers.

20 minute Tikka Masala

Start to finish, 20 minutes
Up to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 red onion or 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups (1 pound) diced rotisserie or leftover chicken, skin and bones removed
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jar (15 ounces) Patak’s Tikka Masala Curry Simmer Sauce
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar, to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, optional
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Prepared Basmati rice, for serving

Directions:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and add the red onions or shallots.
  2. Add chicken, tomatoes, pepper and simmered sauce. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, sugar and lemon juice. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with Basmati rice.

This story was sponsored by AB World Foods.

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