View Full Version : When everything seems like the same old thing
What do you do when every thing you make for meals seems old and tired and just another rerun? Even with spicing it up, or fusioning, do you ever just feel like you'd like to try something entirely new without having to learn an entirely new culture of cooking and 10 new herbs and techniques? I can cook simple, basic Thai, Chinese, Asian, Mexican and American. BF doesn't like fish or non meat items. His doctor is also telling him he needs to learn. What to make?
What about Indian? Lots of variation with different spices and regional styles there, and lots of veggie- based dishes. There is one book that came out a couple of years ago that has over 100 recipes for different curries. I would be happy working my way through that one...
Working through a good all-purpose cookbook can sometimes give you some ideas, too -- especially one that leans toward more fusiony type approaches. I just got How to Cook Everything and plan to slowly work through it over the next few years.
I also get lots of inspiration from various cooking blogs. The Kitchn is one of my favorites, as is Simply Recipes.
Go to the library and look for a new cookbook.
Try a new vegetable or fruit. Pick something that looks good at the supermarket and then dig through recipes online or in your cookbook to see how to use it.
Try a new cuisine at a restaurant, and if you like it, get a cookbook from the library.
Look for healthy cookbooks of the cuisines you already know, or revise the recipes you use. Fish tacos instead of beef tacos, or bean burritos instead of meat-based.
Cut the meat in half in recipes you use and double or triple the vegetables. Make every meal colorful with different vegetables.
Oh, just thought I'd ask. I've given up on the local library. Our library has little to offer. I hear people say they get their movies from their library. Ours doesn't do that. I like to look at recipes online theres' a million recipes out there. I actually got rid of about 75 cookbooks in a fit of downsizing. I think sometimes I just get tired of things. I actually can cook most variations of anything and many different cuisines and don't have to depend on meat. I gotta say, I'm not really into the creative process of cooking lately. I just want to come home and have a nice meal. I just find that lately when I plan for the week, everything sounds same-ish. I like to look at blogs too. Lately I've been buying prepared/marinated meat from the Mexican market. Very good stuff! I also just like to ask every now and then and see what folks say.
Going through the same issue here as I move to flavorful recipes with less or no meat. For me, I went to the library and checked out a bunch of vegetarian books and browse through them for inspiration when I get the time. Cooking has become my new hobby so the process is as important as the outcome. I am finding that the recipes on this (http://www.mediterrasian.com) website are also interesting.
I was also going to suggest the library, but Rosemary beat me to it. ;) Check out several cookbooks with lots of pictures to get your creative juices flowing. In the evening, if you drink, pour yourself a glass of wine, sit in a comfy chair, and go through the books. Put bookmarks in the pages that are appealing...
A friend of mine once made a New Year's resolution to try a new recipe every week. Although many she tried were not that good, she did find several 'keepers'.
edit: Opps, I just read your response. Does your library have an interlibrary loan policy? Ask them. You can also find inexpensive cookbooks and cooking magazines at thrift stores or yard sales. That's where I got most of mine.
My library has a limited number of unique cookbooks so I can understand the frustration. May I suggest that you try a new soup recipe using just veggies and then sprinkle on some cheese or precooked meat or defrosted shrimp for an accent.
It is hard to feel like one is in a rut of sameness. I am turned off any recipe that requires a lot of effort. Think starch, protein, veggies, fruit and some fat. Any combination of foods that include these throughout the day works for me.
What about a strawberry (or other fruit) shortcake for lunch? soup and sandwich with dippy vegs for supper?
Sometimes, it helps to look at the meal planning differently as well. I now focus on the starch that I am using. It can be homemade biscuits, fresh bread, pasta of some kind, slivers of roasted potatoes or fried rice. I then try to dress that up and add fruit and veg or salad to the side.
I believe that I am thinking of the food as fuel but that it needs to look cheerful especially on a dark day.
The Splendid Table has an amazing array of recipes on their website. Plus the radio show is fantastic.
While I do often know what I want to cook before going to the store, I often will pick up things there that are looking really fresh and yummy, and around which I want to build a meal. Perhaps you could go to the grocery or farmer's market and look to see if there is some basic ingredient there that hits your fancy - then look for recipes that call for preparing that.
Just a thought. :)
LOL well, I think I should have asked the question differently. Rather than coming off sounding like "Where can I find inspiration?" I should have just asked, what's the best new recipe you've tried lately?
we had hotdogs cooked on the George Foreman grill, toasted buns and homemade coleslaw for dinner. It was simple and very good. Probably not too healthy.
My DH made a spicy lentil stew recipe he found in the Enchanted Broccoli Forest. Had spinach & apples in it. Super yummy. Also, have you made really good grilled cheese sandwiches, with an unusual cheeses, like Gruyere or Dill Havarti? And served it with organic tomato soup?
Chili. I love chili in the wintertime and you can make it a hundred different ways. Different meats, different seasonings, vegetarian, super spicy hot, or not so spicy, maybe even a little sweet - your choice, a very versatile meal in my book.
Well, my favorite new recipe is Mexican Meatballs, made using a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which I discovered to my delight that I absolutely love (though they're really too hot for my liking). Which led us to add a can of the peppers to the pot of chili yesterday and it turned out slightly-different and delicious (but really a little too hot for my liking). Which leads me to tonight I'm gonna make cornbread waffles to have the chili over, which is another something I've never tried but it sounds really good and I'm excited to try something different.
So my recent way of instituting a change-up in our menus has progressed just from discovering chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I'm thinking this weekend of trying a chipotle peppers in adobo sauce meat loaf, reworking my tired old meat loaf recipe. Old recipes, new ingredients - it's working for me this winter.
(Oh, and pork and shrimp dim sum dumplings - my other favorite new recipe! They were awesome - and I even made rice balls to go with 'em, which I hadn't made in years and years.....)
Best new recipe: Gypsy Stew, which someone has posted here
I made it as a soup, with more liquid, double the spices, no tomatoes.
Some of my favorite combinations:
spinach, potatoes, and feta.
black beans, sweet potatoes, and kale or spinach
black or kidney beans and winter squash (and greens... do you sense a theme here?)
...any of these you can make into a gratin or burritos.
One of my very favorite recipes is this one, with double the amount of beans:
I can recommend a book I dusted off again recently. It's called The International Pantry Cookbook - http://www.amazon.com/International-Pantry-Cookbook-Everyday-Seasonings/dp/0811816702
Basically, it gives you a base recipe - something like Chicken Soup or Rice Salad & then several variations, say, Greek Rice Salad, Mexican Rice Salad, etc. Might help you change things up.
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