Cooking the same thing over and over can get boring. However, you can change up the flavor profile in various ways to make things more interesting. Then, even if you eat the same basic protein, you're still getting a bit more variety. You'll finally have an end to boring meals once you learn how to tweak your favorite recipes. Check out these 9 ways to spice up your meals for a real flavor boost.
Try Something a Bit Sweet
Sometimes a little bit of a sweet taste can really make a meal more interesting. You don't want your savory main dishes to be overly sweet, but adding a bit of molasses, maple syrup, or honey along with spicy or sour flavors can amp up the flavor of your food. You can even use something like Oliver's Harvest honey sticks in your dishes or your beverages. Just be sure that the sweet flavor doesn't overpower the sour or spicy notes in the dish. You want a complex flavor profile.
Use a Spice Mix
Depending on the style of dish you're making, you can use a ready-made spice mix to give it the right flavor profile or you can create your own. Look into the main spices used in dishes from a certain region to give you a good idea of which herbs and spices to combine. For example, Italian food often contains oregano, basil, and garlic and Indian food typically contains curry powder, cumin, and coriander. Experiment with different spices to find out which ones you and your family prefer. You can try most of these spice blends with scrambled eggs to get an idea of how they all taste without a lot of competing flavors.
Purchase a Ready-Made Sauce
Sometimes you can make adding more flavor to meals very simple by purchasing a ready-made sauce. Add salsa to Mexican dishes, a pasta sauce containing herbs for Italian food, or a BBQ sauce for southern dishes. You can also buy the sauces typically used in Asian or Indian dishes right in the grocery store that you can add to your protein and vegetables of choice. Once you're more familiar with different flavor profiles, you can even start with a ready-made sauce and add a few extra ingredients to make it your own so it better suits your flavor preferences.
Don't Forget About Citrus Juices and Zests
You can add a bit more brightness to your dishes with citrus juice or zest. Lemon juice and zest are particularly common in cooking, but you can also try adding flavor with oranges, limes, or even grapefruit. Lime goes particularly well with tomato dishes, for example. Vegetable sides are a great place to start. Try cooking broccoli with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice, for example. Orange goes well with spicy flavors like habanero peppers as well as with foods like dark leafy greens that are a bit bitter.
Top with a h2ly-Flavored Cheese
While some cheeses are mild and creamy, others are a bit bolder and can really punch up the flavor of a meal. Consider Parmesan cheese for Italian dishes, Feta is the perfect cheese for a Greek dish, and blue cheese goes well with vegetables, meatballs, and hamburgers. If you don't appreciate the bold flavor of these cheeses, even milder cheeses add some flavor and saltiness to dishes. You can even use the rinds of Parmesan and other cheeses to soups or other dishes.
Consider Using Some Vinegar
Citrus juices aren't the only way to get a little more acidic flavor in your dishes. The various types of vinegar can accomplish this as well. Apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and white vinegar are all options to consider. Start with just a small amount and taste the dish before adding more because these have a very h2 flavor and a little bit can make a big difference to a dish. Acidic flavors like vinegar go particularly well with foods that taste a little bitter, as the acid helps balance out the bitterness. You can also try adding a little acidity if you accidentally make a dish a little too hot with chili peppers.
Make It Spicy
If you really want to spice things up, try adding hot peppers, hot sauce (like Sriracha), or ground cayenne pepper. Just remember, like with vinegar, a little bit goes a very long way. Some people can tolerate a lot more heat than others, so start with just a tiny bit and then adjust to taste. Mixing spicy things with dairy, such as yogurt, will help moderate the spice level a little bit and add creaminess.
Use Fresh Herbs
While it may be convenient to keep a stash of dried herbs in your spice cabinet, you'll get a lot more flavor if you use fresh herbs instead. Use the dried herbs when you can't get fresh. With most herbs, you need more fresh herbs than dried herbs, usually about three times as much. Also, while dried herbs are typically added near the beginning of the cooking time, you'll want to add fresh herbs at the end of cooking.
Add a Little Soy Sauce
While you might think soy sauce is just for stir-fries, it can be used in any number of other dishes. You can actually use it in place of salt to add a slightly more complex flavor. People add this sauce to everything from eggs and pasta to vegetables and dressings. It can be mixed with other ingredients to make a variety of different marinades and dips. You may want to limit soy sauce in your dishes if you have to watch your sodium, however.
Using the above tips can help you make your meals more interesting and say goodbye to bland breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Your family will enjoy the added variety as well once you experiment and find out the best flavor combinations for your tastes. If you're a bit leary of coming up with your own flavor combinations, check out existing recipes to get a better idea of what flavors go well together and in what amounts.