Oh how I dread this question. Because although I work all day, it's always the first question I'm asked when I get home. Sometimes I don't even get all the way home, sometimes it comes as an afternoon text. For some reason, I am the only one with the ultimate power to decide what to do about dinner.
I used to love to cook. No, let me rephrase, I still love to cook, but between taking care of a baby, trying to keep the house from becoming a disaster, and working my little (ok, maybe not that little) tush off to bring home the bacon, I'm just too tired to cook those gourmet meals every night like I used to. My poor husband, he thought he'd get 5 star meals every night for the rest of his life...and then came babies. How life changes. So how do I answer this notorious question? I have a book.
Recognize this? Yep, it's a cheap photo album I got for $5 at TJMaxx. I keep my family's favorite recipes in it. This way I'm not constantly digging through cookbooks. That gets really daunting to me. Plus, I'm a visual person. I like to see a picture of the food before I try it. I get most of my recipes from Food Network and Pinterest. I try them out, and if we love one, it gets added to the book. I bought some 5x7" index cards at the dollar store as recipe cards and used some pretty file labels I already had to separate chapters.
Every two weeks when I make my grocery list, we look in the book to see what sounds good or what we haven't had in a while. And if I saw something I really want to try, I'll add that to my grocery list. If we don't like it, it never makes it to the book (and gets deleted from my Pinterest page), but if we do, I add it, and then I modify it as I want/need. If you wanted to get heirloom fancy, you could even take a photo of the recipe and put it above the recipe card.
The great thing about a photo album is that the clear plastic protects the recipes from kitchen splashes, and it's really easy to remove the card, make a notation to the recipe, and slide it right back in! After I've made my grocery list, I write everything I planned to make for dinner on a dry-erase board in the kitchen. Every night when I get asked the dreaded question, I get to ask a question back: "Did you look at the board? What sounds good to you?" They pick, I cook. No hair-tearing-out. And in 50 years when my grandkids ask, Grandma, how do you make this? I can pass down the recipes to them. Yummy!