Change Up Your Boring Dinners

We all have our go-to meals that we can make with our eyes closed. Though that’s awesome and a sure way to whip something up quickly after a long day, we can’t deny that those regular meals can get pretty boring after a while, even if you’re a culinary academy student. Here are some routine dinners and fun ways to change them up:

Stuffed peppers
Red sauce and ground beef taste great in stuffed bell peppers, but that’s hardly the only way to serve them. Try stuffing poblano peppers with chorizo, guacamole and sour cream for a Southwestern twist or quinoa, avocado and shrimp for something a little lighter.

A salmon steak cooks up in minutes, so it’s no wonder it’s a busy night regular. Rather than sprinkling those same ol’ seasonings or soaking it in the same ol’ marinade, try making miso salmon. Miso paste, grated ginger, rice vinegar and sugar are all it takes to flavor your fish. Serve on top of a noodle salad.

Breaded chicken
Breaded chicken is quick, easy and pretty versatile. However, many people fall into a breaded chicken rut, just eating it by itself with a side of rice or veggies. It’s boring just thinking about it. Instead of bread crumbs, how about using corn chips? Throw the chicken on top of a salad the next day to bring to work.

Do you use some bagged greens and cut up whatever pieces of vegetable you have in your fridge to make a salad for lunch? Even more mundane, is your go-to dressing ranch? You need to change up your salad routine. Try a Mediterranean salad with olive oil, cucumber and tomato, or a summer salad made with strawberries, mint and sunflower seeds.

Fried rice
While it’s true that chicken fried rice can be a meal in and of itself, why not try a new rice dish? For a Hawaiian barbecue chicken rice dish, throw the chicken, barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce and pineapple into a slow cooker for a few hours. When you’re ready to eat, cook up your rice and serve the slow cooker concoction on top.

Put down the sodium-packed powder flavoring and try adding your favorite steamed veggies and a little bit of soy or teriyaki sauce to turn a 25 cent snack into a real stir-fry meal. Since cooking ramen and steaming vegetables are both so quick, you’ll have a meal in just a few minutes.

Mac and cheese
One might argue that mac and cheese is a side and not a dish. However, if you stuff your mac and cheese with more than just noodles, you’ll quickly discover that it can be very filling and substantial. Combine two favorite dinners with pizza mac and cheese.

Hot dogs
A hot dog with mustard and ketchup is all that you need sometimes. Other times, it can leave you feeling sad and unfulfilled. Try topping a hot dog with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, peppers, pickles and celery salt. Does this sound familiar? It’s the famed Chicago hot dog.

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