It’s safe to say pretty much all of us have found ourselves in a cooking rut at some stage or another. Unfortunately we have to keep finding a way to get food on the table, so trying to get back into the swing of cooking is a must. Here are some of my top tips for getting out of a cooking rut – I’d love to hear yours too!
Make a list of all your favourite, regular dishes
When I’m trying to get myself out of a cooking rut I start by writing down all the dishes I like, or that I cook regularly. It’s amazing how helpful reminding myself of all the things I do like to cook can be! It may also job your memory of foods you haven’t cooked for a while, which can help reignite your interest in cooking.
Mix up an old favourite
The list comes in handy for this tip too! Once you have written down all the dishes you cook regularly, pick an element to change. This might be swapping out the protein you normally use, choose a new marinade, or serving your dish on a new base (eg mashed potatoes for rice). These relatively small changes can make the dish feel like something very different, which is sometimes all it takes to get out of a cooking rut.
Set yourself some challenges
Another excellent way to get yourself out of a cooking rut is to set yourself some challenges to follow. This might be picking a new cuisine to cook, focusing on using what is in your pantry or learning a new technique. You could even try taking some cooking classes to learn new skills. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone a little might be just what the doctor ordered.
Really commit to meal planning
I’m a big meal planner most of the time, but I find it particularly useful if I find myself in a cooking rut. By sitting down and planning out my meals I take away the guess work during the week which for me makes cooking much more enjoyable. It also means I am more likely to try new recipes or challenge myself, so it’s a double win!
Pull out the cookbooks
Over the years I have built up a collection of cookbooks that I love, but probably don’t use as often as I could. So, what better time to pull them out than when I’m in a cooking rut! You can use them in lots of ways to help – pick one to work your way through, choose a cuisine or ingredient to focus on, any way it works for you! I often like to pick an author (eg Ottolenghi, Hetty McKinnon) and work through a whole host of their recipes for a while. It never fails to help!
Get your vegetables delivered
An excellent way to push yourself to get out of that cooking rut is to get a produce box delivered. You’re bound to find yourself with ingredients you don’t use regularly so you’ll definitely have to mix things up and challenge yourself. I did it a lot last year and found myself cooking all kinds of things I never would have thought to cook. It can take a bit of getting used to, but it’s well worth it – if you need some tips for making the most of your produce box I can help with that too!
Buy some new ingredients
If trying a whole box of different produce is too much change, try just trying a handful of new ingredients. This might mean picking some vegetables you don’t normally cook with, trying some new herbs or spices, a protein you never cook at home – you name it. It’s all in the name of mixing things up and bringing some interest back in to the kitchen!