Ok here it is quick, dry, simple: I’m in a deep food rut. I’m making the same things over and over each week with little variation. It seems to be the season for me to do this. The last time this happened, several years ago, and I used Saving Dinner to help get me out. I don’t want to go that route again, it’s good, but again, been there and done that.

So I ask you, the few readers I have, what culinary ideas do you have that:
– I’ve likely never made or if I did it’s been quite some time
– I can make kosher
– I can make vegetarian
– I can make gluten free
– I can make with local goods, or at least items that are seasonal for the Northeast even if I’m bad and buy them from the local supermarket.
– if possible I can make soy free (and if you could keep peanuts out, there isn’t a problem but I’ve been scared into fearing them)

As incentive: there are quite a few hand knits of various types (hats, scarves, cowls, toys) floating around this house that need a nice home and perhaps I can convince a ball of yarn to go into a box, if you are so inclined.

Now please remember, despite this rut I am an adventurous in the kitchen and dining room. My husband is not, so please keep mushrooms and onions to a minimum. Spice is ok, as long as it can be a bit lighter for his plate. There are few cookbooks I won’t bother opening for inspiration as non-kosher things do not offend me, I just won’t make or eat them. So, there’s a large chance I’ve tried something that is potentially out of your comfort zone. I want something different. I don’t want rice mix in winter squash. That’s one of the weekly items on our table at the moment. It’s good, but here it is mid-November and I’m tired of it already!

So I ask you, some who I know, most I probably don’t. Please help me find me something new and exciting that makes me smile and dance in the kitchen and linger at the table. It can be for dinner, lunch, or even something for me to enjoy at breakfast. Your work and time will be rewarded. Thank you.

Reader interactions

11 Replies to “rut”

  1. Oh, wow, I don’t even know where to begin…this is a tough one.
    Can you have dairy?
    For gluten free, you might try making gluten free crepes, those are pretty easy. (I have a recipe if you need, but it does require eggs.) With the crepes as your base, you can add all sorts of things, from steamed broccoli alone, to exotic dessert crepes with things like local strawberries or blueberries and their own sauce made from a little sugar. One of my favorites is chicken crepes with sauteed mushrooms and onions with a little gravy. Not vegan, but it gives you an idea of something to try.

  2. I do the same thing — same foods over and over. I think most people kind of settle into a “food rut.” Some people don’t mind, some do.

    One thing I make for the grown-ups is refried beans out of all different sorts of dry beans (one at a time). Pintos are standard, but I really like black beans, and the refried white lima beans reminded me so much of mashed potatoes. Really easy too, but it does take several hours elapsed time. I “quick soak” by bringing to a boil and then leaving for an hour, dump the water, add new water, cook on a simmer for at least an hour, maybe two or more, until beans will mash easily with a fork. Stick in food processor with as little of the cooking water as possible until pureed. Heat oil in saucepan, add chopped onions, saute, add pureed beans and assorted spices to taste. Cook not too much longer — maybe 5-10 minutes. We often eat these in taco shells with added salsa, but I don’t always bother with the shells.

    I have a couple of lentil dishes I like too — ooh, I need to make red lentils for Shabbos this week! I use the recipe off the Goya red lentil bag.

  3. Ratatouille?

    In a roughly 9X13 pan, make rows of peeled sliced eggplant and zucchini. (Zucchini slices in quarter rounds, eggplant more like 6ths, and you can have separate rows or alternate in each row) Use 1 medium or 2 smallish eggplants, at least 2 zucchini. Optional: add strips of red and/or green bell pepper thrown over the top of the rows.

    In a frying pan, heat oil and saute 1 -2 onions, chopped and 1 clove garlic, minced. (Or equiv in dry — I often use dry minced garlic, 1 good shake). I add 2 Tbl flour, but you can leave it out or substitute. (Does cornstarch work for you?) Dump in one big can of petite diced tomatoes (29oz?), or one small can (15 oz?) and similar sized can of tomato sauce. All diced tomatoes is better — you can also just dice the equivalent in fresh tomatoes, but don’t ask me how many. Add spices: 1 tsp basil (or 1/2 each basil and oregano — dh is oregano intolerant, so I don’t use it), 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp black pepper, salt to taste. Heat to boiling, then pour over eggplant and zucchini in pan and bake (covered or uncovered) at 350 for an hour or so.

  4. I would make suggestions, but I’m in a similar rut…

  5. Hmmm. Fried rice? Rice, eggs, vegetables, olive oil and garlic and a little soy sauce.

    Bob’s Red Mill makes a ton of gluten free grains.

    Quinoa salad? Quinoa, with sweet potato and squash chunks maybe with some garlic, balsamic vinegar and basil or thyme?

    Roasted sweet potatoes and white potatoes with garlic (throw the whole cloves in to roast with the potatoes) along with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.

    Smitten Kitchen’s smashed chickpea salad on a bed of greens with a little bit of vinagrette.

    Baked beans.

    Chili, no meat (or with quorn crumbles. I’m not sure if quorn is kosher, but it’s a non-soy meat replacement, it’s a macro fungus grown in milk). You could serve this over baked potatoes or baked sweet potatoes.

    Potato and leek soup. (You could even add just a tiny bit of liquid smoke if you wanted it smokey like bacon-y.) Corn chowder.

    Nachos, with or without fake meat. Heck, tacos. Corn shells, lots of beans, salsa, corn, lettuce, spinach, onions, olives, peppers, sour cream, cheese.

    Bean and cheese enchiladas.

  6. I don’t seem to be cooking this month. I’m of no help. I’ll let you know if I think of anything, though!!

  7. wow! thanks everyone. please feel free to keep suggestions coming. i’ll see what i can concoct to help you out of your food ruts.. the biggest issue i see is that i’m getting bored cooking the same things every day.

  8. I just cataloged a new book of crock-pot recipes that all are gluten free:
    Make it fast, make it slow – by Stephanie O’Dea. Maybe your local library can get it for you….

  9. todays times has 100 ideas for thanksgiving ideas–some are for the MAIN dish (turkey) but many aren’t–(cranberry polenta!)

    and the chili sweet potato salad (# 67) with pumpkin seeds–sound very good!

    they aren’t really recipes but ideas- still you might cull some good ideas.

  10. I’m in a food rut too. Though hopefully that will change after the move. It’s so hard to get motivated to cook after packing boxes all day. Besides when we move it will mean new grocery stores to try out, which is always inspirational!

  11. Potato leek soup reminded me – CHOWDER: I do potato leek soup and add some plain white fish (pollock, flounder, whatever I have stashed frozen), simmer until the fish is cooked, break up the fillets, and presto, potato fish chowder. Not exciting, but yummy winter comfort food. I use the boring-est potato soup from Spice and Spirit as my base: garlic powder, onion powder, dill for spices (I lose kids if I use diced onion). No oil because it won’t stay blended anyway, but if you saute diced onion, the onion will likely absorb it.

    If you are adventurous in the kitchen, does that mean my “boring” recipies are likely not in your current repetoire? I’ll keep thinking. We do lots of pasta around here, I would expect the substitutes get old really quick doing gluten-free.

    Eggplant parmesan? I’ve heard at least one version that fried the eggplant straight, without breading it.

    My kids like (cold) tuna tacos – tuna, shredded lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese. Cheese cut in thin strips from a block, they don’t like it shredded.

    AVOCADO (sorry, probably not local or seasonal)
    Green egg salad – 2 hard boiled eggs per avocado, use mashed avocado instead of mayo for texture. Yummy! My SIL chops each in bites and calls it guacamole, but I like the texture better as eggsalad. I use canned diced or petite diced tomatos (with spices already in) for guacamole, 2 avodacos per 15 oz. can.

    Any random winter squash for squash pie. I found something called kurri squash last week. Mild and tasty just plain.

    Spaghetti squash served with tomato sauce and shredded mozzerella cheese is yummy too.

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