Do you always intend to try new recipes, but find yourself cooking the same old things time and time again? I’ve been there. Though I love having a good routine, and some tried and tested meals under my belt that I know are both delicious and easy to make, I find it really easy to get stuck in a rut in the kitchen.
There’s nothing wrong with having a few dinners that you go back to again and again, but after a while, they can become really boring. So I’ve found some practical ways to regularly try new recipes and get a bit more creative when it comes to cooking. Here are some things that I’ve tried, that have proved to be really successful…
COMMIT TO MAKING A NEW RECIPE EVERY WEEK FOR A FULL YEAR
Okay, so this one might seem like a very big and bold step, but bear with me. A couple of years ago, I was thinking about setting some New Year resolutions that would provide me with a hobby, keep me interested throughout the year, and ideally have some health benefits thrown in for good measure. I’d been saying for ages that I wanted to try new recipes, so I committed to doing exactly that. One new recipe, every single week, for an entire yet.
To be honest, I amazed myself by actually following through and sticking to it. And I really loved it, too. I rifled through old recipe books that had previously just been gathering dust on the shelves, and I hit some of my favourite online sources like BBC Good Food. Thursday nights became new recipe night, and I’d look forward to it all week. Sure, I had a few disasters along the way. But it was great fun, and I added a whole host of new dishes to my repertoire.
TRY AN INGREDIENT THAT YOU’VE NEVER COOKED WITH BEFORE
We tend to not only have solid routines around the dishes we cook. We get stuck in a rut with the ingredients we use as well. I’m very much guilty of this with mince… In one week, I’ve been known to knock up lasagna, meatballs, cottage pie, and an Indian keema. So it can really help to not just try new recipes, but try new ingredients too.
A good starting point here is to look for items that are in season. They tend to be fresher, more flavoursome, have less impact on the environment, and also be more affordable. In the autumn months, try cooking with aubergine, blackberries, beetroot, and broccoli. Your taste buds will thank you for it.
SUBSCRIBE TO A RECIPE BOX SERVICE LIKE HELLO FRESH
There are plenty of recipe box subscription boxes available on the market right now. The premise is fairly simple and straightforward… Each week you’re shown a selection of recipes on their website. You choose 3-4 that appeal to you the most, and they send out the ingredients and instructions. You get just enough to create the meal, so there’s practically zero waste, and you don’t have to worry about hitting the supermarket.
I’ve tried quite a few, and Hello Fresh is my favourite. The recipes are delicious, easy to follow, and there’s something to suit all kinds of tastes. And of course, once you have the recipe, you can recreate it as many times as you like.
START AN INSPIRATION BOARD ON PINTEREST
Are you familiar with Pinterest? It’s a foodie heaven, and you’ll find recipe inspiration by the bucket load. Tons of food bloggers upload their creations to the site to get more eyeballs on their work, and it’s a fantastic place for finding new ideas and adding them to your list. Whether you want something fancy that’s going to wow guests at a dinner party, or just something that you can throw together within 20 minutes after a long day at work, you’ll find exactly what you’re searching for.
It’s easy to forget about all the beautiful dishes that you’ve seen, so make sure that you create a dedicated board so you can ‘pin’ them and revisit them at a later date. And remember too to make sure that you actually go ahead and try new recipes… It’s not just about building a fancy page on the internet that you never take action on!
Whenever I find myself slipping into a cooking rut, I go back to these things that have served me really well in the past. It keeps meal times interesting, and it also helps to ensure that I steer clear of the temptation of ordering a takeaway.
How do you make sure that you keep things fresh and interesting in the kitchen? I’d love to hear about how you shake things up and continue to develop your cooking skills.