How to shake up mealtime: 10 creative kitchen ideas

Due to quarantine and social distancing measures, Americans have found themselves cooking at home more than ever. However, after creating some of the same meals week after week, you might be hitting a home-cooking rut. To shake things up in the kitchen, consider these 10 ways to add excitement and creativity to your dishes.

Explore cultural dishes: Look to other cultures for food inspiration. Whether inspired by a book you read, a movie you watched or a place you have visited (or want to visit), there are a lot of dishes that can open your eyes to the way people all around the world eat and enjoy food.

Use a new ingredient: “Try a new ingredient you’ve never cooked with before to expand your palate,” says Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Jordan Andino. “Experimenting with a new ingredient like SPAM® Classic is great because the product is flavorful, versatile, quick to cook, and when added to a dish, it can give your favorite recipe a whole new twist.”

Host a virtual theme night: Invite friends for a virtual dinner party where everyone shows off their homemade creations. To add a little excitement to the virtual party, pick a different theme to create a meal around — a luau, a crawfish boil or decades night are a few examples. Don’t forget to add some fun decor to make the virtual mealtime extra special.

Get inspired online: With cooking classes going virtual across countless social media platforms, look to some of your favorite foodie influencers and celebrity chefs for inspiration in the kitchen. Your favorite cooking brands, restaurants and chefs are probably hosting online cooking classes where you can learn some new tips and simple tricks to make a tasty new dish.

Get the gadgets and tools: Turn your culinary world upside down with a new kitchen gadget. Try out a vegetable spiralizer that’ll help you make zoodles (zucchini noodles) or a dressing mixer to create homemade dressings, marinades and sauces. Pick up a sushi kit for a fun family dinner activity.

Try trending recipes: Try your hand at one of the latest food trends for more motivation in the kitchen. A few recipes that are gaining popularity include bread making, cooking flavored gnocchi or eating the iconic Hawaiian snack SPAM® Musubi.

Add new spices: An easy way to enhance any dish is by adding spices. Try a new spice or make your own blend. Whether you’re going for some heat or want to add a savory element, a spice you’ve never had before may do the trick. Furthermore, a new spice might even inspire new dishes you’ll love.

Embrace backward day: Try shaking things up and eat breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast. Flipping around the traditional awakens palates and is a simple way to keep meals interesting. Plus, what kid doesn’t love waffles or egg bakes for dinner?

Share a favorite, find a favorite: Organize a virtual or old-fashioned recipe swap with friends and family. Discover new meal options and walk away with a pile of fresh recipes to cook at home.

Make your own bowls: Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, make a “build your own bowl bar,” where your family can choose their own base and toppings for their custom creations. For example, try a smoothie bowl by pairing yogurt, fresh fruit and extras like grains and nuts for a nutrient-filled breakfast. For dinner, try rice bowls that can be customized to your liking, such as a bibimbap bowl.