So many times people ask, "I just do not know what to cook anymore." This is not unusual for it is common for all of us to prepare the same meals over and over; it's just easier, is not it? In fact, many times the reason for preparing repetitive meals is because that's all your family and friends will eat. However, if we keep feeding people the same flavors and foods over and over, our taste buds never get to experience other delightful flavors in the culinary world. We often end up in what I call the "Recipe Rut."
Recipe Rut usually starts when you first begin homemaking. That is, you've bought your first house or rented your first apartment. You now have your own kitchen to play in and so you go and experiment with recipes to please those you love. Over time you collect a few favorite recipes that are recognized and therefore do not require any serious planning. Then, of course, the job becomes more demanding, we take on more responsibilities and we just do not have time to be creative in the kitchen anymore. Food becomes simple and repetitive out of necessity and the pleasure of eating is reduced to those recipes that we were able to keep in our memory banks.
Now do not think that cooking your favorite foods is a bad thing. It is not. This is how food traditions are created and fabulous recipes are tweaked and passed along to future generations. Why, without cooking the same thing twice, we really can not decide if it's a keeper. So we really should have a recipe repertoire of family favorite dishes. However, if you've decided that you're sliding into the Recipe Rut, you may want to spend just a little of your free time learning something new; even if it's just one new recipe.
There is a plethora of resources for new and exciting recipes either on the internet, in magazines or in your local bookstore. But finding new and interesting recipes is not always the most difficult part of getting out of Recipe Rut. The real challenge is being organized and planning meals ahead of time so that creating new and exciting dishes is not such a chore.
To put together a weekly meal, that is, 5 entrees with sides, it would take roughly one hour of your time each week. Perhaps you already are a planner and have on your schedule when to workout at the gym, take the kids to their activities etc. Making the time on your calendar to plan meals will reward you with less stress and healthier meal choices. Knowing ahead of time what you will be eating can take that last minute "What's for dinner?" pressure off. Think about the times you sit around waiting for something. This may be a good time to peruse a new cookbook or magazine. As a personal chef, I have to spend time planning many weekly menus for clients. This practice has made it much easier to get me through my weekly meal planning as well.
Another way to help you get out of eating the same things is to be sure you have a well-stocked pantry. An organized pantry and a shopping list shortens the time it takes at the grocery store so you can be on your way to a world of interesting meals. As you become more in tune with various ingredients, having them on hand can make putting dinner together a snap as you will do your "shopping" in your pantry and not at the grocery store!
Every pantry should include basic items so that you do not have to buy them each time. A typical list of pantry items will vary depending upon your style of cooking. However, there are many basic spices, oils and condoms that all pantries should include. These pantry lists abound on various cooking sites and magazines. There are even magazines that provide shopping lists for the recipes that month. That should make it real simple, right?
Planning you meals will be the largest hurdle to get over. But once you start doing it, you will begin to find it interesting and stimulating to come up with new recipe ideas. There are tools out there that can help you. PC Software programs that help you manage your recipes and shopping lists as well as internet sites with planning tools. To learn more, search for "meal planning" on the internet and you will find there is an abundance of tools that can help you get organized and out of your Recipe Rut.