It can be hard when you are just learning to cook. Especially if it’s not something you grew up doing with your family.
After having several recipes fail miserably it’s hard to keep up the moral in the kitchen. It can be much easier to turn to fast-foods. Convenience foods are just so tempting these days – trust me I know! Even healthy fast-foods are becoming more readily available. (Hello, Whole Foods hot bar!)
I’ve put together a few tricks that I learned when I was just starting out in the kitchen that have really stuck and helped me resist the urge to grab take-out every night.
Have a well-stocked kitchen.
This is important because you will use the fact that you don’t have chicken stock on hand to just grab a pizza. If your kitchen is stocked with ingredients you won’t have to worry about running to the store for this or that mid-week. Make sure your fridge, pantry and spice items are all fresh.
Dinner recipes are everywhere! Literally the internet is saturated with recipes. Get online once a week and create a meal plan for the following week. Print out all the recipes you will need. Create a grocery list based on your recipes. Shop and you are set for the upcoming week.
Fake it ‘til you make it.
This is phrase is relevant to just about everything you are just learning to do. It does not exclude cooking! The grocery stores now days, have a ton of pre-made healthy meal packs in the produce or meat section. You can start with these and then create your own version once you see what is in them. You could also try meal delivery services like Blue Apron.
Have a few essential tools.
You don’t need to have all the latest and great kitchen tools and appliances. But having a few good quality items make preparing and cooking meals so much easier. A few things I love are; a good paring knife, cutting board, non-stick skillet.
Organize. Organize. Organize.
Having a well-organized kitchen makes cooking so much more enjoyable. You don’t want to spend 20 minutes looking for that spatula or the chili powder. Making sure everything has a proper place in the kitchen is just as important as knowing what to do with it all, in my opinion.
Taste everything as you go.
This tip is important and really teaches you to layer seasonings. If you taste and adjust as you go you won’t have to worry about over seasoning your dish. You can always add more but you can never take away.
Always salt pasta water.
I never knew this for a very long time. I just always thought it was a useless step that adds unnecessary sodium to my dish. But it really does make all the difference in the pastas taste and the salted starchy water can be very valuable in creating the final pasta and sauce dish.
Always keep trying.
Even the most seasoned chef’s have a bad day in the kitchen. No matter how many flops you have they are experience to change things next time. To become a good cook you just need practice.