broccoli bacon cheese quiche
Food for Thought Kitchen Tips

When I’m Not Feeling Creative in the Kitchen

I don’t have to tell you all that I love cooking, because…well, that’s kind of the point of this blog. I love cooking. I love throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot and seeing what happens. It makes me feel like I’m on the set of Harry Potter, making potions.

But sometimes I just don’t feel the kitchen magic. Sometimes I look at the stuff I have in my pantry cabinet and my fridge and I haven’t got a freaking clue what to do with it.

So what happens then? Is it an automatic default to take out?

Hardly. Because in this wonderful modern age of ours, there are a ton of super talented chefs and home cooks out there who share their recipe genius with the rest of us. And they’ve almost always got something awesome that my family will love!

So if you like my cooking style and flavor profile, here are the recipe blogs I go to when I have a hungry family, I’m out of ideas, and I’m not ready to pull out the DoorDash app just yet!

1. Skinnytaste.

Skinnytaste Latin Chicken

Gina’s blog has everything you need – fast, simple, delicious meals that are also friendly to a lot of different meal plans! She has keto, paleo, veggie, kid friendly, gluten free, low carb, meal prep, dairy free – you name it, she has an option. And she’s got all your essential nutrition information ready for you.

I love that she consistently shares delicious recipes that don’t hold back on flavor, but hold back on the extras that you don’t need. I strive to follow her example…but, y’know, butter happens.

2. Half-Baked Harvest.

If you haven’t already discovered Tieghan’s creamy, cozy, rich, and fantastic collection of recipes that are guaranteed to feed your comfort food needs, you need to go visit Half-Baked Harvest.

She’s fearless when it comes to flavor combinations and willing to try some crazy stuff that, believe it or not, actually works. And she’s got a collection of holiday cocktails to die for.

3. Damn Delicious.

Chungah’s recipes live up to her blog’s name – they’re damn delicious. Her recipes are fun and approachable, use fresh and rich ingredients, and turn into beautiful and delicious feasts!

She also has an awesome offering of meal prep meals that made me buy her meal prep cookbook. I love having a ready stash of meals in the freezer that we can go to if we want something yummy and homemade but the day took it out of us.

4. A Classic Twist.

Zainab offers up a lot of sweet baking recipes, but she’s also got an awesome offering of savory recipes and some killer cocktails, like this Apple Bourbon Cocktail that I’ve decided is my new go-to.

I also really love her perspective on life and cooking as a professional scientist — she’s a neuroscientist — and her emphasis on being able to have a creative hobby outside of work definitely resonates with me!

5. Cooking Classy.

Jaclyn is a self-taught cook and baker who makes delicious family-friendly food that you can class up with good presentation! Pretty much everything we’ve made from her blog, my family has loved.

She does a lot of one-pot and slow-cooker meals {check out her whole slow-cooker section here}, which helps out busy folks like me. And even though her recipes are family friendly, she is pretty adventurous with her flavor profile, so there’s a lot of variety to like here as well.

6. Pinch of Yum.

I love Lindsay’s blog. Aside from just beautiful photography, she makes her food and her life very approachable and real. She makes all the things you’d be excited to cook.

She’s also extraordinarily real with her stories of family, love, loss, home, pets, and the rest of life that creeps in around the edges even when you vow you’re just going to write about food – or is that just me? Anyway, I love it.

And yeah, I read blogs for the stories, not just the recipes, for all those out there who complain about stories in food blogs. You don’t want the stories, buy a cookbook or go to

7. Budget Bytes.

Beth is a super creative cook, a scientist, a number cruncher, and super practical about cooking great food on a small budget. She cooks delicious and creative meals that you can make for a small amount of money and shares all the costs and potential savers.

I love how she outlines where she will and won’t make substitutions, and teaches you where you really want an ingredient to be the star of the show and where you can let a substitution just blend into the overall flavor.

8. The Candid Appetite.

Jonathan presents a ton of absolutely beautiful and delicious photos with his fun and creative recipes. Over his 10+ years of blogging in the space, he’s created a place where people can come to find something fun and try something new and have it turn out to be utterly delicious.

I love his latest series, where he’s having fun playing around with recipes on the back of the box of different things purchased throughout the store, to show that some of them are actually pretty good and that you can also riff on a theme in awesome ways.

9. Dad With A Pan.

Derek is a dad, an IT professional by day {seriously, I think all of us techies are closet foodies and cooks}, and an enthusiastic home cook dedicated to making sure his family sits down to dinner together every night.

He makes lots of creative but easy family-friendly recipes and has significant sections in his recipe list for the grill, the smoker, and Mexican food – all of which are must haves in my house!

10. Culinary Hill.

Last, but definitely not least, Meggan has a great repertoire on her site, from upgraded family favorites to creative new offerings, all tested by her team to create a homey feel, just elevated.

She also has a large number of restaurant favorite copycat recipes, tips and tricks for meal prep and meal planning, and lots of ways to creatively use up leftovers – which makes her site a win all around in my book!

So here you go, these are the sites that inspire me most when I have no idea what I want to cook – and I have to say, their photography is also what I want mine to look like when I grow up as a photographer. I’m hoping you find some great inspiration there, too!

What are your go-to sites for finding great recipes when you’re not inspired to come up with your own?

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

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