Last Call: Is it bad to be in a dinner rut?

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Last night I realized I had nothing to eat for dinner and decided to stop at the grocery store on my way home from work. Unfortunately, I could think of nothing I wanted to eat but this ginger cashew chicken curry. It’s great. But it has been my dinner standby for the past year or so and I feel like I’m getting into a rut.


I have to admit, I’m also in a breakfast rut, but eating yogurt is Healthy and Good For You, and making my own makes me feel superior, so I’m not going to give it up.

Okay, and I’m in a lunch rut, too. I eat curry leftovers and frozen butter chicken from Trader Joe’s that I keep stacked up in the office fridge.

Oh, dear Lord, I am a food writer who doesn’t know what to eat. I am a fraud! Please help me out here with some suggestions that are quick and easy and comparatively healthy. Or tell me that ruts aren’t bad and that if my body is craving curry, it should have curry because it’s good for me. I also wouldn’t say no to someone making me a home-cooked meal every now and again. It’s such a gift, and I didn’t appreciate it when I was growing up and had my mom to do it for me.



Ruts aren’t bad. I often get on food “kicks” where I’ll eat the same thing (or the same thing with comparatively minor variations) for like a week straight, then get sick of it and move on to something else.

I’ve mentioned Bachelor Chow on this here comments section before—a pound of ground meat from the animal of your choice (the original recipe involved beef because I adapted it from my mom’s cottage pie recipe, but pork is my first choice these days), a bag of frozen vegetable (corn is my go-to, but peas, veg med, carrots, whatever you like), and a sauce (A-1 is the standard; barbecue sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, even a can of Pepsi worked for me once on a lark).

Brown the meat, add the veg, heat the veg through, pour on a generous portion of the sauce to coat all the meat bits, dump in a bowl, eat. Easy as you like. Dunno about the healthy part though. Well, maybe with a lean meat and a lower-sugar sauce...

Likewise, I’ll do Pasta 7 Ways over the course of a week. Ghetto Chicken Parm (spaghetti + Tyson frozen chicken patties + Prego + whatever cheeses I can wrangle, usually provo and mozz), Chili Mac (a Cincinnati 3-way but with better chili and Co-Jack instead of cheddar), baked ziti, a family-sized Stouffer’s lasagna (aka “a single serving”)...

There is nothing wrong with ruts, kicks, or whatever. Eat simple, eat cheap, and you’ll inevitably be sitting there one day inspired to eat something else. Then you’ll cook that something.