Do you find yourself in the kitchen at dinnertime, about to make chicken, veggies, and rice for the millionth time? Are you basically yawning while you warm up a piece of Sunday’s leftover lasagna? Or, if you’re like me, you might just pile a bunch of ingredients into a skillet, and whip up some sort of mashup. Yeah, food boredom can be all too real. Listen up, though — learning how to get creative with food is a commitment, but it doesn’t have to mean you need to go all-out and become a professional chef overnight.
Take it from a person who is not a natural when it comes to cooking — there a few super simple things you can do to totally shift your mealtime from lame to, you know, not so lame. Before you know it, you’ll be stepping up your game. You might become one of those people who has food shows streaming in the background while meal prepping, has a shelf filled with the coolest cookbooks, and posts their creations on Instagram on the daily. But for now, try a few of these tips towards making you at least a little bit excited about what you’ve put on your plate.
1. Do An Ingredient Challenge For Yourself
Why not draw some inspiration from the Chopped mystery basket ingredient challenge? (Except, in this case, you can choose the main ingredient you’d like to work with.)
An ingredient challenge can be as simple as cooking with a type of meat you’ve never tried before, or incorporating a new grain, like barley, instead of opting for your usual quinoa or rice.
Personally, I experimented with lamb for the first time a few weeks ago, and made a very delicious ragu. It inspired me to experiment with all kinds of new proteins. (Goodbye for now, roast chicken!)
2. Make Your Own Spice Blends
Experimenting with spices is exciting, so consider taking dinner to the next level by making your own spice blends. (YouTube has a variety of different tutorials you can easily follow along with.) Embrace your experimental bliss as you take your normal smoothie to the next level.
3. Try Your Hand At A Dish You’ve Never Made Before
Maybe it’s trying your hand at pasta e fagioli, or whipping up Japanese stir fry for the first time. Choose a dish you’ve never made before, look up a recipe that doesn’t seem too intimidating or complicated, and give it a shot. (The blog Curious Cuisiniere spotlights a variety of delicious recipes from all over the world that can be made in 30 minutes or less!)
4. Pick Out A Cookbook That Inspires You
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Take a trip to the bookstore and see what speaks to your soul. Whether you are up for a major challenge, or you want the equivalent of an adult cooking coloring book, there’s something for your inspiration as well as your appetite.
5. Utilize Seasonal Produce
Hit up a local farmers market or grocery store, and fill up your basket with colorful finds. Using seasonal produce is not only a healthy move for your body and the Earth, but it’s also a great way to shift how you’re planning your meals.
6. Do It For The ‘Gram
If thinking about your meal like a work of art makes you feel more creative or inspired when it comes to meal planning, by all means, consider your breakfast a photo shoot! Whether it’s piling up your green tea pancakes on a pretty plate and topping them off with fresh strawberries, or making a whole meal out of foods that are red, getting those likes might be the push you need to shake things up in the kitchen more often.
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