DP: the reboot

Pepperpalooza July 2014

You may remember this, but perhaps not: Before leaping blindly into Dinner Prompt I had a regular weekly menu thing on my writing blog, jenny’s lark. I had been making weekly dinner menus for a couple of years before I started posting them, and the discipline of posting them gave me both a fresh way of looking at my weekly routine and pressure (in a good way) to stay on task. I didn’t have a hard and fast format (meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, etc.), but I did try to work at least one vegetarian meal into every week, and I did post links to new recipes that I wanted to try. Then, not surprisingly, I got bored and wanted to change things up, wanted to look at new ways of inspiring myself and, perhaps, other cooks along the way. Enter Dinner Prompt, or at least 10-ish weeks of it.

What I learned creating, writing and posting daily Dinner Prompts is that planning a week ahead is just the only way that’s going to work for my family. Period. Going from day to day without a master plan did not, in fact, keep me cooking but instead had me eying the Tyson boneless chicken wingz (sic).

But what I liked about the Dinner Prompt format was thinking of different ways to approach one thing, depending upon how much time I had to cook. If I had the luxury of a couple of hours, I could dig in. If my day went nuts, I could run by the grocery on the way home from work and take the “need a miracle” approach.

Also, there’s the whole dinner workbook project thing. What project, you ask? Well, we did chat about this when I took the time out, but here is it again:

With the help of a graphic design pal, the years of dinner planning on Jenny’s Lark are going into a workbook called What’s for Dinner Dammit?, a cheeky, not too serious, not too prescriptive tool to help regular ordinary people plan dinner a little in advance, but with enough wiggle room to still feel creative freedom. When can you buy it? Late summer, I hope.

Anyway, the point is this: A flexible plan, that’s the ticket for me. And maybe for you, too; but maybe not. If not, then there are at least 1146 other blogs and websites to help you with dinner. At least.

So this week starts a new format for Dinner Prompt: five dinner ideas posted on Sunday (though earlier in the day next week; that’s my plan), followed by M-F ideas on how to vary each one of the five dinner ideas for the week. With the Sunday week-at-a-glance post you’ll also get some of my sometimes a tiny bit witty (more often a large bit cuckoo) thoughts about food or cooking or dinner or whatever.

This week, for example, one of the dinner ideas is white bean/turkey chili. Tomorrow’s prompt will include ideas and recipe links for different ways of making white bean/turkey chili, using the same three-option format as before: Love to Cook, Weeknight Reality, and Need a Miracle.

Oh, and the titles for the weekday posts will likely, I think, stay with the one-word schtick, focusing on one central flavor or other element that defines the idea.

Yep, we’ll see how it goes, one week, one dinner menu at a time.

Happy cooking.

Dinner Ideas – Week of May 18, 2015


Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sliders | Blue Cheese Cole Slaw

Spring Rolls | Vegetable Fried Rice

White Bean Turkey Chili | Green Cabbage Slaw with Buttermilk Dressing | Corn Tortillas

Grilled Shrimp over Green Leaf Lettuce Salad with Strawberries | Oven S’mores

Spring Vegetable Chicken Noodle Soup | Cheese Toast | Fresh Fruit

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