There are only so many foods in the world. Seriously. There are unlimited amounts of ingredients, but when you put them all together in the traditional way of composing a meal, most of what we eat are basically the same things. The only reason food magazines and cooking shows promote recipe after recipe is so you buy the magazine or watch the show and buy the advertised products! Once you know how to cook an ear of corn, how many different recipes do you need for cooking corn on the cob? Well, here's 15+ (sorry, I realize it's not corn season but this is what came off the top of my head)
All of them sound yummy...bacon, mayonaise, jalapeno butter etc...but trust me, once you know how to cook an ear of corn, all of those recipe ideas will come naturally! Who knows who was the first person that made jalapeno butter, but I'm sure it's been around for a long ass time! If jalapeno is a flavor you like then at some point you would have "invented" jalapeno butter!
In every culture, all over the world, there are only so many ways to cook and prepare foods (methods and techniques). The only things that change are the ingredients that reflect it's regional and cultural roots.
Why must we eat "Italian" one night, "Mexican" another, "Chinese" another?
If we eat a salad everyday but change the dressing...one day we add pickled jalapeno vinegar to the dressing, maybe some corn, some black beans and chicken..."Mexican". Another day we use red wine vinegar (or God forbid balsamic, lol), white beans, garbanzos, or pasta, basil and again...chicken. Another day we use Chinese cabbage, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, ginger, (sirachi sauce!) and again....chicken (lol, does anyone eat anything other than chicken....beside me of course!)...a salad is a salad, is a salad. But all of a sudden you can see the tremendous variety in a salad.
Here's one of my point. Make a damn salad everyday! Or some other meal you love, but you have to make it, you have to practice it, until it's yours. You will find the variety if you want it, or need it! Same with any other kind of meal. How do you think "wraps" started? "Wraps" are burritos that reflect regional flavors! Put all of the above salads in a tortilla and what do you have? A wrap! A recycled burrito!
So what's the point? The point is that you can trust yourself. You know what you like, and what you don't like. The basic skills of cooking are "the craft", and you must learn and practice in order to express your creativity, and then your imagination will come to the forefront. For instance, you cannot create a kettlebell swing routine if you don't know the skill of a proper swing. One you understand and have practiced the skill you can be free.
Variety is not freedom. The illusion of variety is a trap. Food is basic, so use basic recipes and basic techniques. All that "fancy, smancy" stuff can be fun, if that's what you are in to, but at the end of the day learning how to feed yourself and your family with uncomplicated and nutritious foods/meals is what health and happiness is all about.
(note* Take note that although pickled foods are usually very low in calories, they may have different effects on different people.....I never lose weight by eating pickled products...maybe because I overeat them thinking they are "low calorie". Find your own way.