While on Facebook, my friend, Brandy Jones of Celtic Cat Rustics, commented on a recent post that sometimes they get into a food rut.
I know the feeling! Every week I make a menu, but sometimes I settle for familiar items never realizing that Greg might be tired of them too. We all go for what’s easiest.
The change of seasons always reminds me to change my menu items. Come Fall, I’m more interested in soups and stews. In the summer, I want bbq and salads.
I’m just as guilty for falling into a food rut though. I have to force myself to think outside my usual recipe brain. Here’s what I do when I catch myself falling into the same old, same old.
• Inventory what you have in your freezer and pantry. This gives me a base of what I might have in abundance and need to use up.
•Make a list of all your favorite meals, then extend the idea. For example, say meat loaf is a family favorite. Instead of meat loaf, make mini individual loaves, meat balls, or Google for new ways to prepare meat loaf. I actually did this during our lean years. I must’ve had two dozen different ways to make meat loaf.
• Take a cooking class. Sometimes it’s all about stepping outside your comfort zone. What better way than to learn something you’ve never done before? If you can’t afford a cooking class, offer yourself as a willing aide to a friend who’s a very good cook. I have a couple of friends like that. Whenever we’re invited to dinner, I try to get there early so I can help with the prep or the cooking. I learn a lot on how other people do things.
• Pick a cuisine or style. I usually have a night for Mexican, Asian, Italian, bbq, casserole, etc. You can do this seven nights a week and never have the same thing twice.
• Buy yourself a new cookbook.
•If you’re on Facebook or other social media, ask your friends what they’re cooking that night. That might inspire you for some future meals.
•Skip or change one thing. If you normally make potato salad with bbq, try coleslaw. If you normally bake fish, fry it instead. If your spouse is used to baked potato, try roasting small red potatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper. One change could change how you see the same old meal.
What do you do when you’re in a food rut?