When you’re quarantining at home, you cannot enjoy the same grocery shopping trips that you’re used to. You cannot host large dinner parties or prepare elaborate meals anymore, so you’re usually stuck with preparing the same, boring meals over and over again. While the occasional take out order can mix things up, it’s nice to be able to cook something healthy and surprising at home. Here are 4 suggestions to mix up your quarantine meals at home.
Choose Meals Randomly
Most people are familiar with certain foods and don’t know how to make their meals more interesting. Planning each meal is monotonous and causes many people to eat the same foods every week. Choosing your next meal randomly helps every cook to create unique dishes. You can also choose random ingredients to create unique combinations. While you certainly cannot do it every week, making your mealtime into a game or a competition can be a great way to liven things up.
Request Ideas From Family and Friends
Get help from family and friends when you cannot make interesting meals yourself. Take turns giving everyone the chance to choose the main dish, side dish, appetizer, or dessert. Ask for cookbooks and recipes that your friends use to cook for their own families. Social media can be a great way to ask for ideas, especially recipes that take household items.
Prepare Meals Weeks in Advance
Prepare your meals for weeks or days in advance. Post your grocery lists and menus on the refrigerator, making it easier for everyone to see the foods that you are planning. Allow others to add ingredients or suggest additional recipes to the list.
You can trust other people to suggest ideas that you’ve never thought of. To prepare a traditional pasta recipe, a family member may suggest a brand-new, Asian-style recipe. To replace traditional dinner rolls, one of your friends may suggest kaiser buns instead. Even small swaps or changes can help alter or improve the taste of a familiar meal. Overall, avoid preparing a meal all by yourself and always ask others for cooking advice or ideas.
Consider Exotic Ingredients
Add new ingredients to old recipes that you’ve been making for years. Include one or more foods that you don’t eat regularly. Try unique substitutes for common ingredients like butter, sugar, or cooking oil. Any new food or spice, such as garlic or hazelnuts, will bring an exotic taste to your dish.
Meal planning gives everyone greater peace of mind when cooking. You will go to the store and buy the exact ingredients that you need for the week. You and your family will know the exact meals that you’ll prepare. Although this level of pre-planning is safe, it tends to be repetitive and boring over time. When you’re quarantining meals at home, it’s never too dangerous to spice up your meals and make your life at home more interesting. Even just swapping ingredients or trying one of a selection of new quarantine meals a week can add some needed variety.