How to get out of a cooking rut


It’s April 29, 2020, and this post is under construction today.

How you got to where you are now:

So, you are in a cooking rut, it is best to assess how you got here and then find out how you can move forward.

  1. Bored: I need inspiration. I don’t know what to cook tonight.
    Jump to “How to get inspired to cook
  2. Familiarity: I only know a couple of recipes/cooking methods.
    Jump to “Types of cooking methods
  3. Busy: I have limited time.
    Jump to “Shortcuts for busy cooks
  4. Flavor:
    Jump to “How to get more flavor in my food, the secrets of gourmet cooking
  5. Dieting: I have a limited diet, my likes and dislikes limit what I eat.
    Jump to “What to cook when I have limited food choices

Here are other (worthy) blogs on “How to get out of a cooking rut”


#1 Bored: My cooking rut is that I need inspiration. I don’t know what to cook tonight.

How to get inspired to cook

  • Friends:
    • ask what they will make for dinner tonight (or ask what they made last night)
    • ask them about their yummy potluck item
  • TV / Online
    • find a favored celebrity chef, someone who inspires you and who you can mimic (their cooking style), and who makes food that looks good to you
    • for now, avoid the shows with food and cooking styles that you will never make
  • Cookbooks, cooking magazines
    • find a recipe that looks enticing to you and only look at the ingredients –skip their cooking method!— and cook the dish in a way that you already know.
  • Magazines
    • photos of food show up in most every magazine, it doesn’t have to be a cooking magazine
  • Restaurants
    • Go to their websites, read their menu and look at the ingredients of your favorite dish
  • Childhood
  • Meal kits
    • Look at their websites, read their menu and look at the ingredients of the meals that look good to you
    • Get a couple of their deliveries to try out new recipe
  • Specialty grocery stores and markets
    • farmer’s markets
    • international markets
    • cooking retail shops
    • book stores
  • Gadgets, use different ones:
    • slow cooker
    • pressure cooker
    • air fryer
    • food processor
    • immersion blender
  • Circulars, specials, sales
    • plan your meal based on the sales at your local market
  • Cuisine, seasoning blend
    • “Spicely” is a local organic herb company that sells at Whole Foods in small green boxes. They have many spice blends, and individual spices.
    • “Pensey’s” is a local herb company with a few stores and an online catalog.
  • Use different garnish or condiments
    • Capers, olives, pickles
    • Sour cream, yogurt, creme fraiche, ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, cream cheese
    • Fresh herbs will change the tone of a dish
  • Frozen veggies
    • Green beans, corn, okra, pearl onions — have these somewhat unusual ones on hand
  • International aisle in your local grocery store
    • Pad Thai kits
    • Taco kits
    • Simmer sauces, such as:┬áBiriani, Chana Dal, Coconut Curry, Red Thai Curry, Enchiladas, Fajitas, Pasilla Chili, Parmasan Mushroom Medley
  • Frozen meals
    • Go to the frozen food aisle in your local grocery store, read the ingredients on a box of a frozen meal, and then go buy those items
  • Watch a video with cooking secrets:

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#2 Familiarity: I only know a couple of recipes/cooking methods.

Types of Cooking Methods

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#3 Busy: I have limited time.

Shortcuts for busy cooks

  • Plan ahead
    • Save images, set a Reminder for when you make a shopping list. When you see an image of food that looks good to you, then take a photo of it, or a screengrab, and save it to a “NOTE” or a “Reminder”
  • Buy prepared foods:
    • pre-chopped veggies
    • pre-cooked rice, lentils
    • frozen veggies
    • frozen meat
    • frozen fish
    • frozen rice, quinoa, lentils
  • Change ONE thing, but use the SAME COOKING METHOD that you are familiar with:
    • different meat
    • different veggies
    • different seasons
  • Watch these videos for short cuts:

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#4 Flavor: My food is bland, I need more flavor.

How to get more flavor in my food, the secrets of gourmet cooking

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#5 Limited food: I have little food at home. I am on a limiting diet. My likes and dislikes limit what I eat.

What to Cook When I have Limited Food Choices

MORE TO COME HERE

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