5 Weeknight Recipes to Break the Dinner Rut

Beat the dinner doldrums by trying something new to you! Throw some fish on the grill, get comfortable with a wok, and blow the dust off that Instant Pot.

5 recipes for when you are in a dinner rut

Simply Recipes

One of the gripes my friends and family have about cooking is how mundane it starts to become.

My suggestion is to switch things up as much as you comfortably can. Sometimes that takes the form of using a new ingredient, but one of the simplest ways to avoid a cooking rut is to change up your cooking methods. If you’re only doing stovetop meals, you won’t find things as exciting after the 4th night of cooking.

This week, you’re going to put the Instant Pot to work, have fun stir-frying in a wok (if you have one), and make use of the grill—maybe for the last time this summer.

One thing’s for sure, this week’s meal plan will keep you interested and your family full.

  • Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

    Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice Casserole in an Instant Pot
    Coco Morante

    This Chicken and Rice dish is casserole-esque but without all of the, "it's gettin' hot in here" qualities of an oven-baked dinner. Chicken breast or tenders can replace the thighs in this recipe. Leftovers freeze exceptionally well if you have the mind to double the batch for a meal to serve at a later date. 

  • Classic Pasta Primavera

    Overhead view of primavera pasta in a bowl with a navy linen underneath.
    Michelle Becker

    This quick vegetarian meal is ready in 30 minutes or less and it’s packed full of veggies which is always a plus in my book. If you don't have time to clean and trim veggies, use a bag of a vegetable medley from the frozen foods section instead. Wait until just before you plan to toss the pasta to cook the veggies though, so the entire meal can come together at the same time.

  • Chili Dogs

    Chili Dog
    Elise Bauer

    Why aren't Wednesday night chili dogs more of a thing? I mean, they usually get pushed to the weekends, but I need some comfort at this point during the week. They're so easy to make, too. Get that chili going, then save any leftover chili for tomorrow's lunchtime chili fries because that also needs to be a thing. Serve the chili dogs with a side of French fries or chips. 

  • Grilled Fish Tacos with Strawberry Pineapple Salsa

    Grilled Fish Tacos with Strawberry Pineapple Salsa
    Sabrina Modelle

    I kind of feel sad knowing that this is the very last of the summer recipes in this meal plan. The strawberries are waning, and this sweet and savory combination meal is the best way to say farewell to them. Use any firm-fleshed fish like sea bass, halibut, or mahi-mahi to make these tacos. A pinch of thinly shredded cabbage and pickled red onions also add some texture and piquancy to this meal. 

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • Broccoli Beef Stir Fry

    beef and broccoli
    Elise Bauer

    Have a hibachi restaurant dinner at home this week. Another 30 minutes or less meal, this Broccoli and Beef Stir Fry is a fun way to switch things up tonight. If you have time to marinate the meat earlier in the day, the dish comes together even faster. Serve this simply with steamed white rice and some store-bought or homemade egg rolls.

  • Weekend Baking: S'mores Cookies

    Chocolate Chip and Marshmallow S'mores Cookies
    Emma Christensen

    S'mores are a summertime treat, but that doesn't mean we have to say goodbye to them as a dessert option. Instead, bring your s'mores indoors in the form of these chewy, gooey cookies. There's no tastier way to farewell the summer than with these.