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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
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Monday, May 02, 2011

Frugal Kitchens 101 - The Dreaded Cooking Rut

Frugal Kitchens 101
Every home cook has at some time experienced the dreaded cooking rut.  The cooking rut happens for many reasons with one of the biggest causes being the comfort zone.  It's easier to turn to a tried and tested family favourite meal rather than try a new dish that may not be well received.  Adding to the problem is some home cooks rely rather heavily on menu planning  or they have a system of a particular dish for each day of the week (eg. chicken on Sundays, fish on Fridays, and etc.).  Like many home cooks I have recently been in a cooking rut although not a full blown one.  It's been a long winter so homemade soup has been a weekly meal and while the soups differed the homemade bread and presentation remained the same.  Now that the weather is getting nicer the meal of choice is grilled steak and potatoes.  Cooking ruts can end up costing in that there is a greater temptation to eat out or buy take-out.  This week's Frugal Kitchens 101 focuses on a few of the ways I deal with cooking ruts.

  • inspiration - One of the most effective ways of breaking a cooking rut is finding inspiration for making a new dish.  Inspiration can come from a variety of sources.  
  • change one ingredient - Small changes in a dish can make a big difference.  For example if you always make mac and cheese with cheddar cheese try making it with a different cheese or stir in salsa for a change in pace.  What this does is make the dish feel like a new dish and creates a bit of a spark to tweak a bit more.
  • nix the menu plan - In many ways menu planning encourages the cooking rut.  I do not menu plan unless it is for a special occasion.  Rather I find cooking from the pantry helps to prevent a cooking rut stimulating creativity in the kitchen.
  • buy one new ingredient - This is one of my favourite ways of breaking a cooking rut.  I will purposely put one new food item in the grocery cart when I'm shopping.  It doesn't matter that I don't know what to do with it, it matters that I am going to learn what to do with it.  The neat thing is this tip does not have to cost a lot of money either.  I usually keep this type of purchase to under $5.  Occasionally I may go over that but not very often. 

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