Dinner Planning Tip: Take a periodic cooking adventure.
Adding something new to the weekly dinner plan keeps things interesting, fires up the taste buds, and provides a new experience.
It’s easy to fall into the same dinner planning routine, rotating through a familiar list of recipes. They are comfortable, we feel confident in making them, we enjoy eating them, we already know where to find the ingredients in the grocery store, and we know what to expect when preparing them. This can be fine, yet I propose that expanding our cooking experiences even just a bit makes cooking so much more fun and interesting.
I Want To, But…
In my Dinner Planning workshop, I share that it’s okay to reuse recipes and cuisine categories. At the same time, I encourage participants to jazz things up a bit by adding something new from time to time. For example, add a new ingredient to your pizza, or go ahead and try that Greek recipe you’ve been eyeing.
The thought of adding a new recipe may cause us to feel hesitant, maybe even fearful, or like we don’t have time to manage it. I am here to (gently) challenge those thoughts!
At the very base level, adding something new into the rotation keeps dinner interesting and excites our taste buds. On a larger level, trying something new stimulates our brain, sparks creativity, and builds new pathways. It gives us “an experience” even if it is small. It increases our cooking confidence and provides us with an opportunity to learn something about ourselves, an ingredient, a new cuisine, or a cooking technique.
Even if a recipe does not turn out to our liking, we can relish the idea that we tried it!
5 Tips for Adding a Little Adventure to Your Dinner Planning Routine
Jazzing up your dinner planning routine can be as simple or complex as you choose. Use these five ideas for guidance and inspiration.
1. Choose one new-to-you seasonal ingredient
Maybe you are not familiar with using parsnips. Try adding them to a familiar recipe or use them in a completely new one. How about adding diced parsnips to your usual chili recipe, or making a parsnip-potato mash to serve alongside roasted fish or meat?
2. Select one new recipe
Check your recipe file, a newsletter, a magazine, or an online source – you know there’s at least one recipe (or five…) you’ve always wanted to try! Choose something at your cooking level or a step above if you are ready to stretch yourself a bit. Perhaps you love stuffed peppers but have never made them at home. Now is a good time to give it a try!
Chef Tip: Remember to read the entire recipe before assembling ingredients and starting to cook. This gives your mind a “mental walk-through” of the process, prepping you for success.
3. Choose one new type of cuisine
Allow yourself to be curious about different types of cuisine. Peruse cookbooks, other print sources, or online sources for inspiration. (This would be a great time to pull out that cookbook you picked up while vacationing in the Caribbean!) Try to find a recipe that fits your cooking level. If a recipe video is available, such as on YouTube, watch it to gain insight into tips and techniques, especially for something more advanced.
4. Slowly incorporate new finds with old favorites
Jazzing up your dinner planning routine does not require a total revamp. In fact, adding one new recipe, ingredient, or cuisine per week, couple of weeks, or month is a great way to go. It’s not a race, it’s a journey and an experience! 😊
5. Put time on your side
Treat yourself well by allowing yourself the gift of time to concentrate and cook without feeling rushed. It always takes longer to do something the first time. If you are rushed and stressed, the experience will not be enjoyable.
DINNER PLANNING IDEAS
Here are 3 dinner ideas to use as is or as inspiration for adding something new to your dinner planning routine.
- NEW INGREDIENT
Never cooked with soba noodles or miso? Try this:
- Grilled Chicken or Pork with Soba Noodle Salad with Miso Nut Butter Dressing
- NEW RECIPE
Want a change from the usual whole grain? How about this:
- Roasted Fish Filet with Coconut-Turmeric Cauliflower Rice Pilaf
- NEW CUISINE
Interested in cooking Thai food at home? Give this one a try: