How to pick recipes, it’s a question we’ve all asked at one time or another. In this post, I will be sharing some of the ways I find new and exciting recipes to try. As well as some tips and tricks for if you feeling stuck when it comes to what to cook.
”Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” -Denis Waitley
When it comes to being in the kitchen, to actually cooking a dish, there is a general set of rules, albeit a vague set of rules. But there still are a few basic rules. Such as always using fresh herbs over dried, that yes wine will be drunk straight from the bottle. If you are the chef it’s always your second glass of wine that goes with supper. Little things that everyone knows things, like there is never such a thing as too much butter, that bread and cheese go well together, and that heavy cream should always be used and without question.
Little unspoken rules that everyone knows. But in order to get into the kitchen in order to cook something, you have to have something to cook. But What? Sooner or later we all find ourselves in need of them, recipes, inspiration, or at least literal things to cook.
How do you find something to cook? How do you find recipes? Well as much as I wish I could give you a foolproof place or source for food and inspiration. I don’t have one. And I’m not sure anyone does. What I can give you though, are a few ideas and tricks I use when it comes to looking for new dishes to try, or when I am trying to motivate myself to get back into the kitchen.
Decide How You Want To Feel
Before I even start looking for ideas or recipes I ask myself one important question. What mood am I trying to create? Usually, I am trying to create excitement this leads to looking at things people don’t eat every day, things people have never even heard of.
The mood I am in, or the mood I am trying to create plays a huge role in the food I make. If I am cooking for a Mother’s day brunch, I want things to free light and carefree. Once I know that I know what sort of dishes to avoid and what kind of things to look for. Whether you are coming up with your weekly meal plan or hosting an event before you set out to find new recipes.
Ask yourself how you want to feel, how you want others to feel, and what atmosphere you are going for. The food you make enhances the mood or changes it. Knowing what that mood is, means you are already well on your way to finding the perfect recipes.
If It Sounds Weird, Make It.
Why? Because why not? You never know what amazing thing you might be missing out on just because it sounds a bit strange. I would have never, never thought of putting feta cheese and sweet potatoes on nachos, but take it from me it’s amazing. Nothing about putting a pumpkin in chili sounds right, much less like it would actually taste good, but that my friend is a dish that can change your world and how you view food as a whole.
It might sound weird, it might sound downright disgusting, and yes, there is a possibility it might turn out to be in the end. But so many times it turns out to be the sort of thing you eat and wonder where it’s been your whole life. So next you are looking for what to cook next, instead of scrolling or flipping past the ones that sound a bit strange, give them a try. I challenge you to try at least one weird recipe in the near future. You never know it might just become your new favorite.
Nothing Is Impossible To Make
You heard me, nothing. So often I hear people say they would love to try making something but it’s just too hard. I say nonsense, nothing is too hard for those who have the will to try.
Cooking is about gaining experience, trial, and error, and becoming fearless. And the only way to do any of those things is to try. Believe me, you won’t get anywhere in the kitchen if you are afraid to fail. Personally, I think the harder a recipe is the more inclined we should be to try it.
Sometimes a recipe works sometimes it doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean we should be afraid to try. So go for it. Take it from me, nothing is impossible in the kitchen. Proper baguettes can be made without a kitchen scale, and with a few deep breaths, a lot of patients, and a little prayer, puff pastry can turn out on the first try.
Fake It Till You Make It
Truth be told there is no such thing as a master of cooking. Cooking is a trade where you are always learning, always gaining experience, and making mistakes. More often than not I haven’t the slightest idea what I am actually doing in the kitchen.
I wing everything, I swap out ingredients, I skip parts of recipes I really shouldn’t, I change measurements, and I refuse to get a kitchen scale. The point is that what happens in the kitchen, is between you and the kitchen. No one else needs to ever know how little you actually know about what you are doing, or that you don’t actually have any idea what you are doing. No one needs to know what the recipe was supposed to be like, or that you made it even though you knew you didn’t have half of the ingredients.
So long as it tastes good your job is done, and the rest is history.
I know this might not have been quite what you were expecting. And it might not have even been the most helpful guide to picking recipes. And, well, maybe that’s because there just isn’t a set rule for picking recipes and that’s how it should be.
The biggest thing to remember when picking a recipe is to pick it. Don’t worry about how weird they sound or how hard they are going to be, pick them anyway.
Food is supposed to be exciting, it is supposed to take us places, and teach us things. So next time you sit down to pick a recipe, remember, the only thing that stands between you and a dish is you. So pick something odd, something hard. It might not turn out the best, but you’ll have fun getting there, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
Looking for more inspiration? You can check out my recommendations page to find all my favorite cookbooks.
Good ideas!! I definitely think people tend to overthink recipes. The only way you grow as a cook is just to keep doing it!
So true! The only way to get better at anything is to keep trying!
How I pick recipes — the number of ingredients (especially if I have them on hand or not) and number of steps lol… anymore technical and I am not going to be able to pull it off realistically. Thank you for these great steps!
I’m the same way when it comes to creating recipes, I’m up for trying just about anything in the kitchen both cooking and eating. But I know if it uses too many things so is too hard to make, I’ll probably never make it again!
I love looking through old recipes and cook books to find ideas. It’s such a good idea to keep a list of them. It is so helpful to see how others handle these matters of homemaking.
Me too! I actually just finished going through most of my grandma’s recipe collection. Historical recipes are also a huge favorite of mine!
I always love hearing someone else’s process! I enjoy trying new recipes but there are definitely times when I feel like I can’t think of a single thing to make! A list of meals is a great way to get the brain back on track:)
I defiantly struggle with thinking of what to make some days, usually, I have two running lists, one of the things I want to try, and one of the things I know everyone likes!
Great post. I have been perusing recipes for more than 40 years. I find it relaxes me to simply spend some time doing something I adore so deeply 😉
I love spending time looking at recipes! I already have quite a large collection of them, and I’m looking forward to watching it grow as the years go by.
I’m sooooo bad in the kitchen that it has to be extremely special occasions for me to cook but I will try to remember these principles then