How To Figure Out What To Have For Dinner

I saw this quote the other day that was like “A relationship is just choosing what to have for dinner until you die”… and it couldn’t be more true. Nic and I wake up at different times in the morning. We eat lunch  in our respective work break rooms.  And so that leaves dinner to be our only meal together five out of the seven days of the week. So this is the question that pops up a lot: “What should we have for dinner?”

But the thing is that someone has to be decisive or else it could cause  some tension in the evenings… so I thought I would share what goes on in my head when choosing what to have for dinner:

reducing food waste fridge
Reduce your food waste by checking your fridge often.

Check the Fridge:

The first thing I think of when trying to figure out what to have dinner is checking what we already have. It starts first with the perishables, then go down the list to things like noodles, rice, beans, or other pantry items.  Some questions you might ask:

What fresh veggies/fruits are in the fridge?

Is my bread going bad soon?

Did I open a container and not use all of it?

Do I have leftovers I can revamp?

It can be difficult to decide what you want to eat when you don’t have any inspiration.  It’s always easier to start with something you already have, then branch off from there. Even if you just have one item , like a couple mushrooms, you can build a recipe from it.

Not only are you eliminating food waste, you are also making sure that you are using your budget wisely. It’s a win- win – win situation for the Earth and you.

vegan enchiladas- classic recipe
Cheap ingredients and easy recipes make Mexican food a great go-to dinner recipe. Check out this recipe here: Plant-Based Enchiladas

Something New or Classic?

We have a lot of go-to recipes. Spaghetti, stir fry, tacos… they are all classic recipes that are easy to pull together. They are some of our favorite meals, so if we are in a rut, just deciding on one of these meals can take away the pain of choosing.

But I have been trying to try new recipes, so if I am motivated to find something to make, I will take what ingredients I have and try to brainstorm ideas for something fresh.

Aj's food pinterest board
Pinterest is genius. I share my own recipes, but also can find wonderful pictures and recipes to inspire my own creations. Check out my food Pinterest page here.


I am not a recipe follower, so Pinterest is the best source of inspiration…. keyword…. inspiration. Taking a quick look at ingredients, the title, and the pictures are usually what helps start the gears for choosing an evening meal. It’s fun to look at the pictures, and then guess what I have to put into the recipes.

To get started, just search “____ recipe” and fill in the blank with whatever ingredients you have in your house.

Grab the Groceries

Going to the grocery store around 5 o’clock after work is an absolute mad house. But what makes it worse is not knowing what to have for dinner, so you have to know what you need, then go in and get out. After checking Pinterest for inspiration, make sure to note the ingredients that you don’t have at home, and make a list for your shipping trip.

I always keep a resuable tote with bulk bags in my car for last minute trips. Most apres work grocery trips are small, so I can usually just carry it in my arms… but just in case you grab extras for breakfast or if you want to get loose items like fingerling potatoes or brussel sprouts.

Don’t forget to still be a conscious consumer… for your benefit and the environment’s.

white cooking wine in vegan green bean casserole
Making my own cream of mushroom recipe, I didn’t really know what to use except almond milk and mushrooms, but I added some cooking wine…. ’cause wine not?? Check out this recipe here.

Put Your Own Twist To It

Don’t forget to add a little of your own flair when cooking in the kitchen. It’s easy to get stuck in a recipe rut, so you need to make sure to mix it up. Don’t be afraid to use random ingredients to spice up your dinner.

Use Italian dressing in pasta sauce.

Use sriracha for Spanish rice.

Use leftover tomato sauce in minestrone soup.

Remember to just think outside the box and the Pinterest recipe.

veggies in a pot
Not all recipes have to be winners… but good thing this “chik’n” pot pie was! Check out the recipe here. 

Winner Winner Chik’n Dinner?

Lastly, it’s okay for dinner to be an experiment. Life is too short to eat safe boxed bland foods. Honestly, there are so many pictures that are on my phone right now of recipes that were a total flop so they didn’t make it to the #parttimeplants blog, but I don’t regret them at all.

Whether your dinner is a winner or not, be stoked that you reduced food waste, used your imagination, and also got some (hopefully!) good food.


Your full-time plant-eater and full-time dinner planner,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s