My mother Jan, bless her, had a very set menu on rotation for us kids back in the 80s. Tuna mornay and rice, beef stroganoff, chow mein, and the ultimate go-to, the plate of steamed (wilted?) vegies and meat. With gravy on special occasions.
Now I confess, as much as I riled against it at the time, the grown up, busy, working-mum me tends to adopt the same approach. Once I ‘master’ a meal (a nice, loose definition of the word master there) I tend to stick to it. Most weeks my shopping list making brain will resort to some sort of hybrid Thai curry, mild, spaghetti bolognese (a no brainer), a tuna puttanesca or whatever Mexican readymade meal combination that makes sense to me at the time.
A daily occurrence when you're a parent. Image: Giphy.com
But even I get bored of serving up the same meals time after time, week after week. And then there are those mid-week moments when you just can’t even deal and the thought of frying an egg is too much. We’ve all been there.
Well, there are alternatives. Here are five ways to avoid dinner Ground Hog Day.
1. Encourage the kids to choose and cook a meal.
Now this is obviously age-dependent, but once your kids hit high school, they will most likely be doing a Home Ec class, and they can actually do more than they let on in the kitchen. With a little supervision from you and some control over choices on their end, you’ll be surprised how well this can turn out for everyone.
2. An old favourite with a new twist.
Instead of having your trusty bolognese with pasta – so obvious! – why not try it as a sauce over a baked potato? A massive, hot smashed potato, some green beans on the side and a flurry of parmesan to finish off, and you have just hit one out of the park.