5 Ways To Refresh Your Cooking Routine
If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably spent the better part of the past 14 months indoors. And while restaurants are opening up in many states and dining out is still a novelty, there will likely come a time when once again, going out to eat gets saved for special occasions.
The truth is too, pandemic or not, cooking and eating at home is often the healthier and less expensive option. But practicalities aside, if we put a little time and thought into how we’re making our meals, it can become a rewarding and enjoyable experience as well.
So if you’re looking for a little energy boost when you step into the kitchen, dive into our tips below for ideas on how you can push the reset button on your at-home cooking routine.
Adopt A New Mindset
Let’s set the scene: You, and perhaps your partner and family, are starving and the temptation to open up your go-to delivery app is real. We’re not going to sugarcoat it, because sometimes, cooking can truly just feel like another chore you have to check off.
When the desire to give up hits (and hits hard), take a breath and switch from panic mode to getting excited about all the possibilities that can already be found in your pantry and fridge. Our favorites? These Black Bean Burgers take shape with the help of just five ingredients and are ready in 30 minutes flat. Pair with a simple salad or your favorite roasted veggie (pro tip: toss veggies with coconut oil for a little added deliciousness), and you have a well-rounded, balanced meal on the table with only a bit more effort than it takes to order from your favorite take-out spot.
Pasta is always a great option too for when you’re short on time. Sure, you might be thinking of taking the old butter-and-noodles route, but we’re here to tell you this: don’t. Instead, use your favorite pasta as a base for all the colorful, delicious, and nutrient-packed veggies your pot can hold. Add to that a make-ahead sauce (nothing beat this Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce), and dinner’s ready in a snap. Oh, and not to overdo it on the black beans, but if you’ve got dessert on your mind as well, these brownies are a non-negotiable, super simple, must-make sweet.
Try these tricks for changing your approach, and you might be surprised to find that you’ll *actually* enjoy the experience of cooking at home.
Seek Out New Inspiration
Maybe you have a favorite food influencer whose recipes you come back to time and again, or perhaps you love going all-in on the TikTok meal hacks. While social media can be an amazing place to find recipe and meal prep inspiration, the sheer volume of ideas that get put out on the platforms daily might feel (scratch that, can definitely feel) overwhelming.
While we’re not telling you to quit the social media game altogether, it can be beneficial to change up where you’re going for recipe inspo. Try taking it old-school: Bloggers are the OG influencers, and their sites can be true treasure troves for inspiring food content. With many of them having developed recipes for years, their archives are loaded with meals to fit every need. Whether that’s a quick-and-easy dinner or a vegetarian-friendly main dish—there are recipes and meal plans to be found that can work for everyone.
And before you dismiss cookbooks as a thing of the past, we encourage you to give this analogue resource for recipe inspo a shot. Try this on for a new weekend ritual: Brew up a cup of coffee (made all the more delicious with a spoonful of CoCo, of course) and dive into a stack of new cookbooks. Not only are cookbooks jam-packed with all the meal ideas you could ever need, but they’re also a fun peek into the lives and lifestyles of your favorite wellness mavens, healthy cooking influencers, and celebs-turned-at-home-chefs.
Switch Up Staple Ingredients
There’s serious magic in a made-from-the-pantry meal, and while it’s always fun to impress dinner guests with a dish composed exclusively from ingredients you already have on hand, you might find yourself wanting fast and easy ways to switch things up.
If that’s the case for you, look no further than a few key ingredients for a major flavor boost. Keeping your spice rack stocked with staples like cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, and red-pepper flakes will help create added depth in any dish. Add to the mix our anti-inflammatory-fave turmeric, and you’re set with all you need for five-star meals at a moment’s notice.
Herbs are also a fast way to sprinkle in extra flavor to your favorite grain dishes, sauces, or salads. Keep them fresh in the fridge for more than 24 hours with this little trick: Thoroughly wash and dry your herbs, and as you would a fresh floral bouquet, fill a jar with water and arrange your herbs inside. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and you’ll be all set with herbs that’ll keep fresh through the following week or longer.
Think Outside The Box
Were you one of those kids who got ridiculously excited when your parents announced that tonight was breakfast for dinner? Same. Well, we grew up, and learned the truth that pancakes are easier to put together than most other meals, but this shouldn’t dissuade you from trying the same trick yourself. In fact, when you broaden your idea of what a meal can be, you open yourself up to countless options for creative recipes.
By all means, make French toast tonight, or enjoy your favorite smoothie bowl in the A.M. and P.M. for fresh fruits around the clock. Any way you slice it, loosening up the constraints you put on your meals makes breakfast, lunch, and dinner a win-win for everyone.
Make A Template For On-The-Fly Meals
If you take one thing away from this article, make it this: A lot can be done with just a few ingredients. Gone are the days of needing recipes to be overly-complicated to be considered delicious, and we’re all embracing the five-ingredient, 30-minute (or less!) meals that make our lives that much easier.
Streamline things further by identifying a template for every night of the week. Maybe Monday is grain bowls, Tuesday is a veggie-loaded pizza, Wednesday can be a protein-packed salad, and so on. By giving yourself a rough outline of what the evening’s meal will entail, you’ve already done the majority of the work in making dinner happen. Simply take a peek into the fridge and work with what’s available. You’ll be surprised to find that with just a few ingredients and a little imagination, you’ll be able to come up with something delicious every time a cooking craving strikes.
At Conscious Coconut, we’re all about streamlining wellness to help you live your healthiest and happiest life. Make our fair-trade coconut oil a part of your routine and shop all our options here.