Do you find that you gravitate towards the same dishes every week, or is your monthly menu a never-ending cycle of family favorites? There’s nothing wrong with cooking dishes you love time and time again, but there’s a lot to be said for variety. If you’re struggling for inspiration, or you’ve run out of ideas, here are some simple steps to revamp your menu.
Search for new recipes online
The Internet is an incredible resource for home cooks and aspiring chefs. With thousands of blogs, websites, social media accounts and apps devoted to food, it has never been easier to find recipes. You can access all kinds of dishes at the touch of a button. Use search engines to get ideas for specific occasions or courses, follow foodies and chefs you admire on social media and save recipes that take your fancy. You can set filters to look for certain ingredients or cuisines, or use settings to find healthy dishes, quick meals and snacks or recipes that cater to dietary requirements. Trying new recipes will help you expand your repertoire and encourage creativity in the kitchen.
Take inspiration from vacations and places you’ve visited
Many of us wax lyrical about vacations because we’ve enjoyed spectacular dinners or sampled amazing cuisine. If you’ve recently returned from an exotic escape, or you’re still thinking about a dish you had at a quaint little restaurant by the sea a decade ago, use your experiences and adventures to revamp and spice up your weekly menu. From fresh seafood on a coastal break to a mouthwatering Mediterranean meze or tapas banquet, you can try to recreate dishes and bring back memories at home. Search online for an easy homemade lamb gyros recipe or get some ideas for how to prepare and serve tuna steaks, king prawns or clams, for example. The world is your oyster when it comes to planning meals thanks to food websites, apps, social media feeds and cookbooks.
Watch TV cooking shows
Many of us love to watch TV. Television cooking shows offer a simple, accessible way to get ideas and inspiration for meals and dishes to cook at home. You can follow live, note down instructions and ingredients, or search for recipes on the show website after the episode. The beauty of cooking programs is that you can learn while you watch. You’ll see how the chef preps and cooks the ingredients, what equipment they use and how they add flavor and seasoning, and they’ll explain the method and offer tips along the way.
Eat out more
Eating out is a fantastic way to undertake a global food tour without traveling or spending thousands of dollars on an airplane ticket. Try different restaurants or switch up the types of dishes you order at places you love. Dining out can open you up to new cuisines and ingredients and give you ideas for recipes to try at home. In recent years, fusion cooking has become incredibly popular. Reserving a table at a restaurant that specializes in fusion cuisine is an excellent way to discover new recipes and combine culinary trends or traditions that you love.
Experiment with different ingredients
Many of us have firm favorites when it comes to the meals we cook at home. We often have a set pattern or a selection of recipes we make every week or month. If you are a creature of habit, but you’re keen to broaden your horizons without being too adventurous, why not experiment with different ingredients? Try replacing one type of meat with another or swapping meat for fish, for example. Add different types of vegetables or change the herbs and spices to put a different spin on the flavor. Be more creative when it comes to cooking methods or try turning savory classics into sweet dishes and vice versa.
Cooking is often an activity that involves trial and error. You may find that you absolutely love using a different ingredient, or you may feel like it doesn’t work at all. Be open-minded. If your experiment isn’t successful, try something different. Keep a record of recipes you’ve modified that have been a success. This way, you can cook them again with easy access to ingredient lists and instructions.
Are you struggling for inspiration when it comes to cooking dinner or writing up your weekly menu? It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut, especially if you’re short on time. If you’ve run out of ideas, try these steps today. Search for new recipes online, watch TV cooking shows and take inspiration from vacations and places you’ve visited. Experiment with different ingredients and broaden your culinary horizons by eating out and trying new dishes and cuisines.
This is a contributed post