When You’re Stuck in a Dinner Rut

This is not revolutionary, but in our house one of the best ways to get kids to try new things is to involve them in the process. Both the planning and cooking. If you have trouble giving up control sometimes for the sake of something being done “right,” then please my posts about pretzel cookies and totchos. The massive mess in the kitchen is worth it… sometimes. I’m not suggesting you make tater tot nachos every meal. But getting creative in the kitchen with your kids can be fun. 

My friend let her son do this once, and the result was a dip he now brings to parties, adorably and self-congratulatorily (her words, not mine) labeled “Lucas’ Famous Bean Dip.” It was created because one day he asked to make something all by himself. He’s now tweaked it several times and added variations. But most of all, he’s immensely proud of his creation and not gonna lie, it’s freaking good. (Scroll down to check out the recipe.) 

Expanding Your Family’s Taste Buds

I have moments in meal planning where I get really annoyed that I’m the only one responsible for coming up with ideas of what to cook. Here’s three ways I bust the decision fatigue:

  • Everyone in the family has to pick a night/meal. That way, at least ¼ of the people in my house will surely be satisfied and the burden isn’t all on me. I find this is a good exercise to do during dinner one night when we’re all sitting together. Just bust out the planner and force people to make some decisions. 
  • International week is when we pick 4-5 different cuisines to feature. I don’t necessarily require that my family picks the actual meal, but just having the country to start from puts me in a great direction to go scour Pinterest for meals in that theme. 
  • Rainbow week where every night has a different dominant color of food can be really fun. It forces us to get creative and think of recipes and dishes outside everyone’s comfort zone. Purple can be particularly challenging, but I love eggplant and it’s also what inspired my purple cabbage recipe.

Share with me your best ways to break out of meal planning ruts. And in the meantime, here’s our first ever recipe created by an 8-year-old. Let your kids try to make it and add their own spin! 

Lucas’ Famous Bean Dip


  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 2-3 tablespoons sour cream 
  • ½ cup salsa 
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon Cholula sauce 


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix 
  • Enjoy as is or for smooth texture, blend on high for approx. 1 minute in a high-powered blender 
  • If desired, empty into baking dish, sprinkle with cheese 
  • Serve either cold or pop in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes and serve warm 

How do you keep dinners from feeling boring at your house? Tell me in the comments! 

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