Not so long ago, I had a meeting of the mindsets with my son. My family is pretty simple. We live simple lives; we eat simple food. So you can understand how occasionally, and I mean occasionally, I get the urge to really cook something “nice.” And by nice I mean not plain.
And there in came the rub.
I said, ” I want to cook something nice, and you guys like just plain food.”
To which the reply came, “Classic! We like the classics!”
Mmmm. To which I said nothing.
My son was right. We eat a lot of the
basics classics. The same menu items that you serve in your family: spaghetti, burgers, meatloaf, pizza, salads, ham, roast beef with potatoes and carrots, turkey and dressing, chili, chicken noodle soup.
And what’s wrong with that?
But here are a few suggestions for stepping up the classics if you are in need of a change:
1. Try different coatings on meats, i.e. fried chicken.
- I use a mixture of flour and corn meal (southern roots 🙂 )
- herb seasonings (like you use for dressing)
- crunched corn flakes
- crunched Cheese Nips (not to promote a certain brand or anything)
- finely crushed nuts
2. Try different seasonings alone or in the coating.
- Steak and Shake sells their brand of seasoning ~ I use it on chicken as well as beef
- Italian seasoning can be used on meats and vegetables alike
- try a new one from the store that you haven’t used before ~ trade off your normal season salt for lemon pepper, etc.
- check out this site for help with herbs and spices
3. Try different marinades.
- Italian dressing ~ I just decided to make this a staple in my house. No one here uses this on their salads, but they all love the flavor it gives chicken. I believe it would work for vegetables or even beef.
- McCormick seasoning has a couple of products out that provides the individual herbs and spices for a particular one time marinade. Hence you get to try it before investing in bottles of spices you will never use again. Recipe Inspirations and Recipe Mixes.
4. Try a different flavor of the same ingredient.
- cheeses ~ for example, try New York sharp instead of regular cheddar or Parmesan with your cheddar. Do be careful if you use choose a milder flavor of an ingredient; the recipe may lose its zing.
- use a hotter/spicier version ~ I have a classic breakfast casserole that calls for sausage. Not until I used Italian sausage did my family really like it.