1. Buy something you've never tried-a vegetable you've never tasted, that quinoa that everyone has been raving about, or that weird gooey stuff you have been curious about in the foreign food isle at your supermarket. Ensure it gets used within your grocery period. It might just become a new favourite.
2. Menu plan, making sure that you schedule to try one new recipe. Menu planning not only ensures you're only buying what you need for the week/fortnight, but you have everything ready to go without any last minute grocery store dashes (and lets face it, you always end up buying more than you intended!) Menu planning has been the best way in cutting down costs for me personally. Our shopping bills have been heavily reduced. There is great peace of mind in knowing what you're cooking at the beginning of the day.
3. Use pinterest for inspiration-sometimes all it takes is a little tweaking of the same ingredients to make it a whole new meal. Do you always buy chicken breast? There are a million and one ideas on how to change up chicken breast on that damned addictive site.
4. Challenge yourself to use what is in the pantry before stepping out to grocery shop. Had a can of cream of chicken soup in the pantry for a few months? Got chicken and pasta and broccoli? Type these ingredients into a recipe finder such as Recipe Matcher to generate dozens of new recipes using those ingredients.
5. Buy a food magazine every so often. Woolworths and Coles often has publications they give out for free. Have them in a central area like the coffee table and you will probably have other family members looking at them and making requests. These mags are also great reminders that you are in a food rut and should or can do something about it.
Good luck getting out of the rut and finding new favourites to cycle through! Here's one to kick start you off. It's the best potato soup I have ever tasted. It's the ultimate comfort meal- hot and hearty, thick, cheesey, bacony, potatoey goodness just packed with flavour. You will have people groaning with delight as they spoon this down-it's a real keeper! I have served this at the end of a party once, serving it in mugs as everyone huddled around the fire outside. My guests just couldn't get enough! I have also served it as a dip in a cob loaf, which worked well, as it gets quite thick as it cools. It's one of my most requested recipes. I know you will cherish it too.
Got any other tips? I'd love to hear them!
THE ULTIMATE POTATO SOUP
500g diced bacon
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups potato, peeled and diced
1 carrot, finely grated
2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbsp plain flour
3 cups milk
1 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped (optional)
Fry the diced bacon until golden and crispy. Drain any bacon at that may be in the saucepan. Add the onion, potato and carrot, along with the stock, parsley, salt and pepper. Place a lid on the saucepan and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the potato is quite tender (this time will depend on the size of your potato chunks.) Meanwhile, place the flour in a bowl, and adding a little of the milk at a time, whisk until a smooth paste forms. Add the remainder of the milk, and mix until well incorporated. Add this milk mixture to the pot of stock and potato. Let it reach the boil, then stir continuously for a further two minutes, until it thickens. Add the cheese and stir through. Serve sprinkled with chopped green onion if desired.