Is Your Dinner the Same Old, Same Old?


We’ve all been doing a lot more cooking at home lately. I mean, a lot. In fact, 51% of Americans have been preparing more meals at home.* Yet, only 26% have become better at planning those meals across the week.**

While it was fun at first to bake bread and take Instagram-worthy photos of our dinner, we’re now five months into a global pandemic and feel less inspired to plan meals.

Even I’ve had days when I’m tired of thinking about what to prepare — and I’m a chef!

It doesn’t matter if you’re single or have picky toddlers or a house full of teenage boys. Meal planning is a challenge for everyone.

Home cooks everywhere say the same thing: “I get tired of trying to decide what to make, so we eat the same things over and over again.”

You’re not alone in your meal prep weariness!

These days, we need to spend so much energy thinking about the big things — keeping our families safe and sending our kids to school — that we have zero energy left for other important everyday things, like what we should have for dinner.

The food industry calls it “family meal fatigue.”

The great news is that we can help each other out with easy inspiration!

Imagine a trustworthy online cookbook filled with delicious meals easy enough to prepare any night of the week. Imagine each of those meals having been tested and prepared by other home cooks to ensure they’re delectable family favorites and include basic food safety instructions. Now imagine you are a contributor of a meal idea that simplifies an evening of meal prep for another family!

You might be tired of your Turkey Sloppy Joes or the Chicken & Rice you make once a week, but it may be just the inspiration — and the recipe — someone else needs!

The next time you make one of your go-to meals, take a photo, and jot down the instructions using the Safe Recipe Style Guide. Send your recipe and photo to enter the 30-Minute Meals Safe Recipe Contest by August 17, 2020.

There’s no need to overthink the contest — you already have everything you need to enter!

Recipes from the contest will go into an online cookbook that the Partnership for Food Safety Education will share widely to help combat family meal fatigue. Imagine having your winning recipe make someone else’s day because they didn’t have to decide what to prepare or spend too much time making it! You’ll also be inspired by the recipes from others.

If you’re not sure about how to use the Safe Recipe Style Guide, we have a short video that walks you through the steps. There are only seven steps and, it’s a simple cut and paste!

Are you still not sure you have the right recipe? Because you do, trust me.

Salmon with Kale & White Beans

We all have recipes we make simply because they’re fast, simple, and everyone loves them.
Maybe you use chicken legs or boneless thighs, red or black beans, precooked rice, fish, vegetarian substitutes, ground turkey, or Italian sausages. Does your family love grilled sandwiches? Got a
twist on pizza using store-bought dough? Maybe you’re like me and make “clean out the fridge” salad with whatever you have on hand. Those recipes are perfect for others too!

Did we mention kids can enter too? Yes! You and your children (ages 5 to 17) can enter a recipe into the contest, but only two recipes per household.

If you haven’t done so yet, it’s time to enter your favorite dish in the Safe Recipe Contest! If you have a question about eligibility — or anything else — feel free to email me at

Share this post using #sharemyrecipe. The contest deadline is August 17, 2020. Good luck!

*April 2020 Axios-Ipsos poll;  **May 2020 Hartman/FMI

Chef Leslie Owens is lead BAC Fighter on the 30-Minute Meals Safe Recipe Contest. Leslie is a chef and writer from Central Florida. She is guardian of the furry Stooges. Leslie created the “Salmon with Kale & White Beans” recipe pictured above.