I have been learning to cook for a little while now, and can make 10+ good looking and tasting meals but I have a problem I am encountering that I notice more and more as I learn new meals.

It seems all my meals (exception of things like soup or salads) break into the same 3 things

  1. A meat (Chicken, Fish, Ham, Steak, Pork, Lamb, ect)
  2. A starch (Either Pasta, Potatoes done some way or Rice)
  3. A few vegetables (Normally do something like carrots and broccoli)

It seems this way with almost any fancy (ish) dish I try to make, since I don't like cooking simple meals since I one day plan to open a restaurant. I am still young and would love to learn more.

Is there other areas of cooking I can look into to break this trend of 1 meat, 1 starch, and 2 veges (or more)?

Or some way of modifying the #2 and #3 things so that it is vastly different enough to provide variety (since the meat is always cooked different ways or in different sauces).

Thanks for any help I get!

P.S. I should mention I have celiacs so I can't have gluten, but I do generally know all the substitutions in order to make up for it.

closed as too broad by Jay, rumtscho Jul 2 '15 at 15:38

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Try making a list of more interesting foods that you've had at restaurants. Then google for recipes and try them out. Also check out the Kitchn and Serious Eats for ideas. – David Bruce Borenstein Jul 2 '15 at 13:13
  • Where I live there are no nicer restaurants. Every time I go to one the meals I get are more basic and worse than the stuff I cook at home unfortunately, since they are more family restaurants. – Lain Jul 2 '15 at 13:17
  • Try going vegan or vegetarian for a couple of weeks -- if nothing else, you'll get out of the 'meat' category. Even though I grew up in a pasta-heavy household, we had a lot of variety of sauces (butter & parmesean, oil & garlic, tomato, ragu, bechamel, carbonara, pesto, etc). – Joe Jul 2 '15 at 13:45
  • 2
    Try different cuisines - Italian pasta, Chinese (ha! as if there was "a Chinese quisine") stir-fry, Indian curry, Thai curry, Mexican enchiladas, Mediterranean seafood..... None fall into the classic "meat and two vegs" category. Come back after your culinary world trip. – Stephie Jul 2 '15 at 14:09
  • 1
    I agree with @Stephie. Different cuisines can open a vast array of dishes. A couple more ideas might be German or Spanish. A good paella, dish of kielbasa and sauerkraut, or Hunter's schnitzel make for excellent meals. Of course, it all comes around to what you and your family like. – Cindy Jul 2 '15 at 14:36

Different Cuisines is definitely the way to go. Many dishes from South America (chile, brazil, argentina) seem truly innovative from an American palette. Maybe you can gain some excellent insights into these amazing and wonderful cultures through their culinary voyages!

While the meat-vege-starch thing is a staple of a euro-centric diet, something that our privileged positions in society takes a certain advantage of, it's remarkable what you can pull off with the addition of different plating techniques involving sauces and various cooking techniques.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.