Are you in a cooking rut? If you find yourself making the same things over and over again, it's time for some fresh inspiration. As seasons turn, you might crave different types of food. This is the perfect reason to think beyond the ordinary and experiment with new flavors.
We asked registered dietitian and nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner for her favorite tips to help breathe new life into your weekly meal lineup without compromising taste and nutrition.
Eat fresh: Farm-to-table is big at restaurants, and your local farmers market offers a bounty of fresh fare that's likely plucked within miles of your home. Visit and enjoy exploring the colorful fare for sale while gaining inspiration for your next dish. The sweet peas and strawberries you buy may have just come off the plant that very morning. Stock up on fresh, nutritious foods for snacking and cooking. You may even discover new produce you've never had before!
Get crackin': Let's face it; we're all strapped for time these days, which is why it's important to keep your kitchen stocked with food items that are versatile and quick cooking. Look no further than eggs! Whether they're the center of your meal, or used in a recipe to thicken, glaze or garnish, this modest kitchen staple is a high-quality protein source that will brighten up any dish. But, not all eggs are created equal. For delicious dishes packed with extra nutrients, I always recommend Eggland's Best eggs since they are the only eggs with 25 percent less saturated fat, more than double the omega-3s, 10 times more vitamin E, and more than double the amount of vitamin B12 of ordinary eggs. Eggland's Best even has hard-cooked peeled eggs with all the same nutrition plus the convenience of not having to hard boil the eggs yourself if you're really in a hurry!
Meal mix-ups: Chicken and waffles might be the classic example of blending two meal-specific foods into one super delightful dish, but meal mix-ups don't stop there. Have fun experimenting to find combos that tantalize the taste buds. Steak and Egg Hash for dinner? Yum. Whole wheat pancakes instead of tortillas when making wraps? Sure! The sky is the limit.
Grill or steam: When the weather warms up, you probably want to turn the oven off and skip the stovetop frying. To lighten food and maintain freshness, try grilling or steaming. For example, when you grill meat, it allows the fat to drip off while touches of char bring out earthy notes. Steaming is a simple approach that is ideal for produce because it cooks while allowing your foods to maintain their distinct flavor profiles.
Local inspiration: Iconic local ingredients can be the perfect way to add pizzazz to your meals. From Swedish meatballs in Minnesota and Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia, to Jersey tomatoes and Michigan blueberries, there's endless inspiration for redefining dishes. While experimenting, consider submitting your recipe for Eggland's Best 2018 'America's Best Recipe' Contest. You could win $10,000!
From now until April 30, Eggland's Best is searching for the most passionate egg fan with the best and most creative original egg recipe. Think your hometown recipe has what it takes to be America's Best Recipe? Submit a recipe inspired by your favorite local/state ingredient or dish for the chance to win great prizes, including the grand prize of $10,000! Enter now at www.americasbestrecipe.com.
For inspiration, check out a 2016 America's Best Recipe Contest winning recipe for Watercress Confetti Quinoa at www.egglandsbest.com.