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View Full Version : How do you decide what to make for dinner?



rhymegirl
09-06-2007, 12:01 AM
See poll.

JoNightshade
09-06-2007, 12:04 AM
I open up the fridge and stare for a while. Then I do the same thing in the cupboards. Whatever pops out at me is what we have that night.

If the cupboards are bare, we go out, and I go grocery shopping the next day. :)

Soccer Mom
09-06-2007, 12:07 AM
I usually have one or two things planned. When I grocery shop each week, each kid gets to nominate a favorite meal (but I hold the veto power.)

RumpleTumbler
09-06-2007, 12:09 AM
I look at my sheet. I am two days from my colonoscopy. That means no fruit, vegatables, roughage, wheat, fibre, basically anything that I normally eat. Soooooooo it means fast food for tonight. I'm so sick of it I could scream.

sassandgroove
09-06-2007, 12:11 AM
Oh it is a constant process isn't it.

I make a list of 5 meals and then make a shopping list to buy what we don't already have. It gets a little difficult sometimes, I find I list the same five things after a while and it gets a little old. I ask hubby what he wants. "Anything's fine." ARGH! I want input dammit! Then, if I take him to the store he'll start impulse buying things. UGH. Anyway, usually I'll stand at the fridge and cabinet and mull over what we have and what would be the least effort, becuase I have laudable intentions when making the list but am tired and cranky when I get home from work.

Secret to variety. WHat is variety? ....kidding.

One thing I do is look at magazines. I get this free one from Kraft (you can subscirbe at their website) and get ideas. One that I tried has been a big hit. Hubby doesn't like rice, so I wasn't making stir fry. It is so simple I don't know why I didn't think of it but the Kraft mag suggested using Ramen noodles. Well duh! Hubby likes so much it has become a staple on my five things.

Azraelsbane
09-06-2007, 12:14 AM
I look at my husband and say, "What are you making for dinner?"

If it's not acceptable, I say, "Oh, that sounds...good."

And his response is always, "Okay. So tell me what you really want."

By then I've usually decided, because what he was going to make in the first place triggers the "Eh, but I really want..." reaction. ;)

melaniehoo
09-06-2007, 12:17 AM
I look at my husband and say, "What are you making for dinner?"

If it's not acceptable, I say, "Oh, that sounds...good."

And his response is always, "Okay. So tell me what you really want."

By then I've usually decided, because what he was going to make in the first place triggers the "Eh, but I really want..." reaction. ;)

WOW - that's EXACTLY what I was going to write!

He's an awesome cook and, in return, I clean. The few times I do cook he ends up taking it back to the kitchen to 'fix it.'

JLCwrites
09-06-2007, 12:18 AM
I have a CookingLight rss feed on my home page. I usually try a new recipe/week. When I make the grocery list, I plan for 5 dinners. It seems to help keep the grocery bill down. BTW. Groceries have gotten almost as expensive as gas! Yikes!

Speaking of awesome hubbies.... mine does the grocery shopping with one of our munchkins. It is better when he goes, because he always comes back with a snacky food. (we are total organic health nuts, so an occasional splurge in the junk food isle is a bit of a treat.)

rhymegirl
09-06-2007, 12:19 AM
I open up the fridge and stare for a while. Then I do the same thing in the cupboards. Whatever pops out at me is what we have that night.

If the cupboards are bare, we go out, and I go grocery shopping the next day. :)

Good method.

rhymegirl
09-06-2007, 12:20 AM
I usually have one or two things planned. When I grocery shop each week, each kid gets to nominate a favorite meal (but I hold the veto power.)

My son would choose pizza for every meal if I let him choose.

JoNightshade
09-06-2007, 12:20 AM
Then, if I take him to the store he'll start impulse buying things. UGH.

You have one of those, too? I can't take my husband to the store at all. In fact, I have to actively dissuade him when he DOES want to go because we end up with sugar cookies, candy bars, ice cream-- if it's more than 80% sugar, whatever it is, it goes into the cart.

RumpleTumbler
09-06-2007, 12:21 AM
Sometimes I'll thaw a chicken breast and then look at it night after night in the fridge and eat something else. Then when it has breathed its last I throw it out. What a savings!

sassandgroove
09-06-2007, 12:22 AM
Jo- Mine won't make suggestions when I ask if he wants anything in particular for dinners or lunches, but when I take him to the store I guess he sees things and thinks, "Ohhhh that's what I want." Then we end up with pizza rolls and cookies and cheesy puffs. I suppose he is more visually stimulated than I am.

Wait, that sounds bad....:)

Azraelsbane
09-06-2007, 12:22 AM
WOW - that's EXACTLY what I was going to write!

He's an awesome cook and, in return, I clean. The few times I do cook he ends up taking it back to the kitchen to 'fix it.'

That is exactly why I don't cook. LoL. I tried helping out when we first moved in together, but I got tired of the constant evil eye he would give me. God forbid I mess up "his kitchen," and one day when we sat down to eat and he said "Did you remember to drain the corn?" I smiled and said, "Hun, how about I play World of Warcraft from now on, and you cook?" And so it was.

sassandgroove
09-06-2007, 12:24 AM
The only time Mr. Groove will cook is if I don't feel good. He does dishes, which is fine with me.

rhymegirl
09-06-2007, 12:24 AM
Oh it is a constant process isn't it.

I make a list of 5 meals and then make a shopping list to buy what we don't already have. It gets a little difficult sometimes, I find I list the same five things after a while and it gets a little old. Secret to variety. WHat is variety?

Yes, exactly. I keep buying the same foods over and over again. I go in the store and think, "What can I get that's different?" And "What can I get that they'll eat?"

When I was single, I used to go out to eat after work or buy frozen Stouffer meals to pop in the microwave. So much simpler then.

melaniehoo
09-06-2007, 12:25 AM
That is exactly why I don't cook. LoL. I tried helping out when we first moved in together, but I got tired of the constant evil eye he would give me. God forbid I mess up "his kitchen," and one day when we sat down to eat and he said "Did you remember to drain the corn?" I smiled and said, "Hun, how about I play World of Warcraft from now on, and you cook?" And so it was.

Funny. :) I throw out the occasional "do you need any help?" from the other room, but my job is to set the table. If there's rice, I make the rice. Sometimes I need to remind him that I mangaged to survive before him & I'm not helpless, just not as gifted in the kitchen.

StoryG27
09-06-2007, 12:29 AM
I usually have one or two things planned. When I grocery shop each week, each kid gets to nominate a favorite meal (but I hold the veto power.)
This is sort of what I do.

I actually make a list and write down a dinner for each day of the week (except one dreaded left-overs day). The kids each pick a dinner they want, and my husband (if he's home) picks one or two and I fill in the rest. If I feel like I'm cooking the same things over and over, I look online or in books and magazines for new recipes. Then I write all the ingredients I will need for every dinner and go to the grocery store. I do this every week. It works for us.

Jaycinth
09-06-2007, 12:34 AM
Well...after all of these years I know what I like to eat and I know what my family likes to eat.

....And I like to cook.
....And I like to pinch pennies until they scream and beg for mercy and then I keep pinching them until the neighbors beg me to stop.

So I have system of spreadsheets.
On the grocery budget sub-spreadsheet I have a list/column of ingredients which I usually buy. I have a list/column of the stores which sell them at the most reasonable prices. I have a list/column that indicates the unit price I am willing to pay, and I have a column that shows the total I intend to pay.

At the bottom I have a list of meals (Usually 2 weeks worth)

On Sunday I look through the sales and coupons and make adjustments to the meals as necessary.

I enter the products I need in the quantity I need and the spread sheet calculates the price and totals my grocery list.

Then, if, for example, my son says he's going out with his girl, then that meal is bumpped to the next day and my daughter and I raid the 'Kitchen Jar' (I keep a jar in the kitchen and when i find change in people's pockets if I do the laundry..or in the sofa..or on the floor..or if someone cusses too much....in goes money)...and walk to the sushi place or the pizza place or the salad place and eat out. Or we just munch on fruit and soup. If I am going out, I make the meal as if I were there and I take my portion, freeze it and take it to work the next day.

If my kids eat something that they like...or I see a recipie I want to try, I work it in to the schedule at the next opportunity.

And the Spreadsheet is posted on the fridge so I have not heard 'Mom, what's for dinner', except as a joke, for 15 years now.

I try to not repeat the same meal three times in a month...except chili. we all seem to like chili.

Example: tonight we are having boneless porkchops (I got a deal on a pork loin) Tomorrow we are having pulled pork barbecue. Friday I am making Lomein with garden veggies and pork. Saturday - Burgers, Sunday I roast a chicken on the grill. Monday: I pull all the meat off the chicken and add curry powder and veggies and it is a curried chicken salad. Tuesday I take that London broil and cut it upand add some more volunteers from my garden and rice and it looks like Tandoori beef. Wednesday, I will have to work late so they'll have to have leftovers or hit up the kitchen jar and go buy a pizza. Thurs..Baked Ziti...

And that is how everyone knows I am a controlling anal sociopath:)

sassandgroove
09-06-2007, 12:35 AM
Yes, exactly. I keep buying the same foods over and over again. I go in the store and think, "What can I get that's different?" And "What can I get that they'll eat?"

When I was single, I used to go out to eat after work or buy frozen Stouffer meals to pop in the microwave. So much simpler then.
When I was single I would eat the same things several nights in a row, because it was cheap and easy. I don't know why I don't feel I can do that now. I usually take leftovers to lunch though, if I can save them before Mr. Groove gets them. ;)

THings we have regularly:
Spaghetti
Pizza (home made)
Taco Salad
BLT's
Soup w/ biscuits (stand by for when we're out of other stuff or I am feeling yucky)
Hamburger Helper
StirFry
Broiled Chicken with potatoes and green beans(or other veggies)
Pork Chops with potatoes or macncheese and green beans (or veggies)
Fish (broiled)with potatoes or macncheese and green beans (or veggies)
Hamburgers or sloppy joes with fries or tator tots or corn on the cobb

we often have salad instead of veggies, and I've recently started getting some fruit to mix itup, like melons and berries.

RumpleTumbler
09-06-2007, 12:36 AM
my husband (if he's home)

You need to have a win a dream dinner with StoryGirl contest.

rhymegirl
09-06-2007, 12:37 AM
Will you cook for me, Jaycinth? I can't pay you but I could maybe proofread your writing and cheer you on!

CaroGirl
09-06-2007, 12:37 AM
I do a combination of meal planning and making whatever I have the ingredients for. For example, I shopped earlier in the week and bought the staples to make 3 meals: spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and caesar salad, and tacos with tossed salad. Tonight is the chicken. If I don't shop tomorrow, it'll be whatever's in the fridge or freezer. I'll surprise myself.

ETA: I experiment with new and different meals only on the weekend, when I know hubby will be home for dinner. There's no sense going all out just to sit and listen to the kids whine about how much they hate the meal I just spent an hour preparing. If the new meal goes over well, I add it to the repertoire. If not, or it's too damn much work, I throw out the recipe.

III
09-06-2007, 12:38 AM
Whatever my wife has waiting for me when I get home. Unless she's had a rough day, in which case I'm cooking whatever she wants or taking the kids out to dinner.

Nah, I'm just kidding. Usually just the hot wings at the strip club. I'm there every night. Stripping!

Azraelsbane
09-06-2007, 12:38 AM
Funny. :) I throw out the occasional "do you need any help?" from the other room, but my job is to set the table. If there's rice, I make the rice. Sometimes I need to remind him that I mangaged to survive before him & I'm not helpless, just not as gifted in the kitchen.

My surviving before him was Easy Mac & a case of Dr. Pepper a day. My life was basically a 24/7 LAN party until I moved to Europe. Didn't bother me a bit. Loved my life. I love it now too. It's different, but I'm happy, and that's all that matters.

Ahhh, and I see your husband placates you with the "boil the rice" job too. Yes...I get that. He always takes it off the stove though. I have a knack for spilling boiling hot water on myself.

Rich
09-06-2007, 12:39 AM
It's take-out about three times a week. I do most--almost all--of the cooking. Tonight it's bbq grilled porthouse steaks and a cheese and macoroni that she bought. I like to do chicken breasts. When it comes to chicken cutlets I don't pound the breasts, I fillet them. My favorite is a reduced masala/beef broth sauce over chicken and mushrooms. My plans for dinner only hit me when I'm hungry.

melaniehoo
09-06-2007, 12:42 AM
My surviving before him was Easy Mac & a case of Dr. Pepper a day. My life was basically a 24/7 LAN party until I moved to Europe. Didn't bother me a bit. Loved my life. I love it now too. It's different, but I'm happy, and that's all that matters.

Ahhh, and I see your husband placates you with the "boil the rice" job too. Yes...I get that. He always takes it off the stove though. I have a knack for spilling boiling hot water on myself.

Surprisingly, he burns rice. His complaint with my cooking is it has no flavor ie it's not spicy. Damn Mexican (said with love). Now I pour chili powder in and it's 'not horrible.'

I posted I blurb about making mac & cheese not too long ago - I'm writing a true story/memoir. I miss Dr. Pepper. :(

akiwiguy
09-06-2007, 12:42 AM
I tend to be a bit repetitve, similar meals each week. I tend to allow for something like..

1 Takeaway night (Fish and Chips or whatever)
1 "Easy" night.. Baked Beans or whatever
1 more expensive meat night, steak usually, or lamb chopsd, or pork
2 nights stir fries
1 night pasta, say spaghetti bolognese
1 night where I assume one or two people won't be there, so a bit of scramble.. toasted sandwiches, a fry up.. whatever people choose to concoct.

I sometimes vary this a bit with crock-pot meals (so easy to cook during th eday when busy).. one of our favourite ones is a pork chops/apple/kiwi fruit recipe.

JLCwrites
09-06-2007, 12:43 AM
Mine thinks he is the smoothie king. He has a particular method of layering the juice, frozen fruit and protein powder.

He is also the same way with loading the dishwasher. The bowls have a special spot next to the large cup row. If I load the dishwasher, he will redo it. Now I just leave the dishes for him to do. (don't get me started on his laundry methods! He does his own laundry as well.) :)

Azraelsbane
09-06-2007, 12:46 AM
Surprisingly, he burns rice. His complaint with my cooking is it has no flavor ie it's not spicy. Damn Mexican (said with love). Now I pour chili powder in and it's 'not horrible.'

I posted I blurb about making mac & cheese not too long ago - I'm writing a true story/memoir. I miss Dr. Pepper. :(

Oh I nearly died when I moved to Vienna. NO DR PEPPER. :Soapbox:

We would drive to Bratislava once every two weeks to stock up on it.

CaroGirl
09-06-2007, 12:46 AM
(don't get me started on his laundry methods! He does his own laundry as well.) :)
Where do I get one that does its own laundry?

MidnightMuse
09-06-2007, 12:46 AM
One day my sister and I sat down and made a list, in the computer, of what we eat for dinner. We listed everything we could think of, as long as we liked it and one of us knew how to cook it - we listed it.

Then we threw in Dinner Out.

Now we take that list every Thursday or Friday, pick 7 things we want, then make a grocery list accordingly. We shop that Friday or Saturday for just what we have on the list (adding the usual misc. items).

Our list was made up according to days of the week and what we want to eat that day. Then every morning she checks the list, takes out of the freezer anything that needs taking out. When I get home I know exactly what I'm suppose to cook - or what I'm suppose to get prepped if she's cooking it.

Sounds geeky, but it not only takes the guess work out of what to eat, it seriously helps the grocery bills !

Jaycinth
09-06-2007, 12:48 AM
Will you cook for me, Jaycinth? I can't pay you but I could maybe proofread your writing and cheer you on!

Sure...be there when I get back from the gym. I marinated the chops in a citrus marinade with a bit of rum to tenderize them.

They've been marinating since last night. They'll be tender. Green salad with roasted almonds and sweet bell peppers (yellow) from my garden.

Bring some wine...the kids will cleanup after:D.

CaroGirl
09-06-2007, 12:49 AM
Sure...be there when I get back from the gym. I marinated the chops in a citrus marinade with a bit of rum to tenderize them.

They've been marinating since last night. They'll be tender. Green salad with roasted almonds and sweet bell peppers (yellow) from my garden.

Bring some wine...the kids will cleanup after:D.
I'm in! I'll bring the ridiculously over-sized gun.

JLCwrites
09-06-2007, 12:52 AM
Where do I get one that does its own laundry?

Ten years of marriage... it takes some training. :)

Actually he prefers to do his own because I don't separate the whites from the yellows and pinks. He likes his whites to be ONLY white. It's funny.. he will leave his clothes folded up in the laundry basket and just dig through it when he gets dressed, so after all that, he ends up going to work in wrinkled clothes anyway. But I can't complain. He's an awesome hubby, and a wonderful dad.

Siddow
09-06-2007, 12:53 AM
I'm starting to collect new recipes, since I've made all the old ones so many times. I get a LOT of magazines, so I've been culling through them for interesting meals. I'll pull out a week's worth, make up the shopping list, and if the meal meets the approval of the family, it gets typed up and placed in my own 3-ring cookbook.

I also keep a jar of spagetti sauce and a box of rotini on hand for those nights when I just don't damned feel like cooking.

CaroGirl
09-06-2007, 12:56 AM
Ten years of marriage... it takes some training. :)
I guess it's hopeless then. We're on 13. Ah well, he's got a few other things going for him ;)

JLCwrites
09-06-2007, 12:57 AM
I also keep a jar of spagetti sauce and a box of rotini on hand for those nights when I just don't damned feel like cooking.

Those are the nights that the toddlers will actually eat their dinner! Yea for pasta!

JLCwrites
09-06-2007, 12:58 AM
I guess it's hopeless then. We're on 13. Ah well, he's got a few other things going for him ;)
LOL... yes, there are still some things I CANT break him of. *wet towels need to be hung up to dry, NOT piled on the counter!*

melaniehoo
09-06-2007, 01:25 AM
LOL... yes, there are still some things I CANT break him of. *wet towels need to be hung up to dry, NOT piled on the counter!*

On that note, I figured out how to get him to close the shower curtain - I explained how it costs extra money if we have to buy new liners more often because they get moldy. If I can equate it to money, I win. Works for tupperware, those types of things.

sassandgroove
09-06-2007, 01:27 AM
Man I just reread my post. I'm in a RUT!

rhymegirl
09-06-2007, 01:29 AM
I also keep a jar of spaghetti sauce and a box of rotini on hand for those nights when I just don't damned feel like cooking.

Hmmm...I would be eating that every night if I did that.

Gravity
09-06-2007, 01:29 AM
Open fridge. Stare inside. Anything not moving or fuzzy I eat. Repeat until fridge is empty. Then, and only then, do I go to the store.

jennifer75
09-06-2007, 01:44 AM
Open fridge. Stare inside. Anything not moving or fuzzy I eat. Repeat until fridge is empty. Then, and only then, do I go to the store.

Much of the same.

jennifer75
09-06-2007, 01:46 AM
A helpful bit of news......any of you near a 99Cent Store? Produce!!! They've got produce!!! Some locations have even more than others, check it out if you haven't! I swear by it!

maestrowork
09-06-2007, 03:12 AM
I open up a Victoria's Secret catalog and point...

Then I open up a bottle of Chianti.

maestrowork
09-06-2007, 03:13 AM
http://www.homebistro.com/

EriRae
09-06-2007, 03:16 AM
I look at my husband and say, "What are you making for dinner?"

If it's not acceptable, I say, "Oh, that sounds...good."

And his response is always, "Okay. So tell me what you really want."

By then I've usually decided, because what he was going to make in the first place triggers the "Eh, but I really want..." reaction. ;)

I just wait for the steaming plate of food to appear before me. Somtimes at the computer :) I don't even ask what he's making any more. I trust him.

acharity
09-06-2007, 03:16 AM
My parents cook for when I get home >:} Since I'm usually out all day with classes and work and they're home far more often than I... it satisfies everyone!

On those days when my mom declares "pot luck!" I just grab simple things... one of my favourite things to do is make this dipping sauce that's really cheesy *drools* then I dip bread and crackers in it! Man, it's filling... but oh so delicious!

Ol' Fashioned Girl
09-06-2007, 03:23 AM
Food Network recipes are a life saver. ;)

Rolling Thunder
09-06-2007, 03:23 AM
I have a weekly menu:

Monday - Pizza ($4.88 for a large 16" cheese pizza. Can't pass that up.) :)
Tuesday - Broiled chicken with potatoes, carrots, peppers, and onions.
Wednesday - Spaghetti, sometimes with sauce, sometimes with olive oil and oregano.
Thursday - Pork chops with sauerkraut.
Friday - Fried cabbage with noodles. (Add some browned sausage and it's called Kluski.)
Saturday - Whatever I have leftover.
Sunday - Depends on how I feel and what's on special at the grocery store.

JLCwrites
09-06-2007, 03:33 AM
I have a weekly menu:


Thursday - Pork chops with sauerkraut.


Unfortunately I am the only one in my family who likes sauerkraut. I love red cabbage too, but I can only get that at a local German restaurant. *sigh*

sassandgroove
09-06-2007, 06:44 PM
Turkey Lurkey I want chocolate cake now thanks!

rhymegirl
09-06-2007, 07:40 PM
Turkey Lurkey I want chocolate cake now thanks!

I have a craving for something chocolate right now.

But shhh!!! Don't tell davids.

sassandgroove
09-06-2007, 07:48 PM
I made chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter chips. Mmm....

Salem
09-06-2007, 07:50 PM
This is how I decide: *standing in the kitchen, yells into living room* "Hey, what do you guys want to eat!?"

sassandgroove
09-06-2007, 07:59 PM
I wish I had a house elf.