It might come as a shock to you, but sometimes I get stuck in food ruts. I usually make the same thing for dinner during the week so that I can keep Adam and I on track with healthy meals and I can keep our food costs down. But the other reason is that I can get lazy. Sometimes the idea of coming up with something new and delicious just makes me tired. So it’s easy to rely on the same old favorites in the kitchen and not venture into new territory.
While there is nothing wrong with preparing the same food that you know you like and you know is healthy and works for your body, it does get a little boring after awhile. Boredom, as least for me, only leads to bad things in the area of food. Soon I start eating more and more to feel satisfied because the meals I’m eating are the same old same old. When that happens I know it’s time to switch things up and throw some new tricks into my old routine.
Here are some things that I have added to my kitchen and pantry in hopes of shaking things up and keeping my meals healthy and fun!
P.A.N- Pre-cooked White Corn Meal
If you follow me on Instagram (which you should, I’m fun), then you have heard me rave about this. Actually you have heard me rave about arepas which are made from pre-cooked corn meal. I have seen arepas on other bloggers feeds and seen them on shows like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Every time I see them being made, I’m like, “Those look amazing, I need to try them myself.” So I finally got this flour to make my own arepas. Yes, you have to use pre-cooked corn meal not regular corn meal. This was the brand that was recommended everywhere I looked, and I found it on Amazon for like $2. Expect an arepa recipe soon because not only is it delicious, it is way easier to make than you would think.
This is another thing that I constantly see on social media and yet I have never tried them. Well, I have never tried fresh figs. I have had dried figs and fig newtons if you can count those as actual figs. But the fresh version was never on my radar. They have a very short season and I just happened to see them on sale at my Jewel so I picked some up on a whim. They are really good! I think I might have to try making some fig jam with them so I can enjoy them just a little bit longer.
Canned Coconut Milk
Ok, this isn’t a new one for me, but I had forgotten about it for awhile. I used to get a couple of cans of coconut milk a week and use them in soups and stews and oatmeal and baked goods. It’s really nice and creamy, so it works great as a substitute for things like heavy cream or whole milk. My favorite thing to do with it lately is make creamy herb dressings/sauces, which I used on my pasta salad recipe last week and which leads me to the next thing….
Another one that isn’t new, but that I had put on the back burner. I usually pick up a bunch of cilantro each week, but one stand at my farmer’s market sells every fresh herb known to man. I have started getting fresh basil, dill, parsley, cilantro, and lemon grass and using them in all the things. Seriously, go get some fresh herbs and put them in your meals. They enhance the flavor and bring a wonderful freshness to boring old dishes. Throw some basil into a frittata or blend in some parsley with meat/lentil loaf. It will up your dinner game and everyone will think you’re a culinary whiz. You can also freeze, turn them into oil, or sauces to have them on hand for the winter months.
We have a Trader Joes in our neighborhood, but I always forget about it because it isn’t in my usual rotation of grocery stores. That needs to change because I went there on Friday to find shaved brussels sprouts (another Instagram phenom) and remembered why I love Trader Joes. They have good food for a decent price. Plus I found these dark chocolate covered espresso beans for Adam that he has become obsessed with at work. Brussels sprouts and chocolate. Yup, good combo.
Long story short, don’t be afraid to branch out of your food comfort zone. It can get so easy to make the same things over and over and over… but even just a little change can add some pizzazz and flavor back into your meals. Plus there are plenty of healthy options out there to make dinnertime tasty and nutritious.
What are some things that have turned your kitchen game around?