"I am not the best cook and have a really hard time coming up with lunch and dinner ideas for my family. I was just wondering on how you come up with yours -- being creative while spending so little. Thank you for all your hard work and wisdom!"
I have a hard time coming up with ideas for dinners as well. I love trying new recipes, but I don't always have the time (or money) for fancy things. Here are some resources I use to plan meals:
- Recipezaar.com -- At Recipezaar you can type in a single ingredient or many ingredients (either ones you have on hand or something you'd like to make a meal out of) and it will come back with thousands of user-submitted and user-reviewed recipes containing those items. I've never tried a highly rated recipe from this site that I didn't love! They're all printable and free, so you can slip them right into your recipe binder for safe keeping.
- Utah Food Co-Op -- This is a community-run food co-op. Place an order for a full, half, or harvest share once per month and pick it up on delivery day at your local site. All food is locally grown and very fresh, at less than half retail cost. Go to www.foodco-op.net to join (it's free!) and place an order. Then once you receive your food, use Recipzaar to find things to make with your share from that month!
- Slow Cooker Cookbooks -- I have a few slow-cooker cookbooks (Fix It and Forget It) that I love, as well as the blog www.crockpot365.blogspot.com (which is now a book -- Make It Fast, Cook It Slow). I've discovered that crockpot recipes are fast & simple, and make almost anything taste great.
- Blogs -- I love blog-hopping and seeing ways that others feed their family simply and cheaply. I love when others post their recipes, so that's why I try to post mine a little. When I find a good one, I bookmark it so I can try it out later. Here are a few that I like: jane4girls, Sunday Baker, Food for Thought.
I hope that helps you a little, Danielle! Good luck with your meal planning!