It’s easy to order delivery or go out to eat – we get it. We love to cook but we are guilty of avoiding dirty dishes and refusing to wait until chicken bakes or a casserole bubbles. This year, many of our friends found a love for cooking. We also have friends that are still super skeptical of cooking and find it tedious, time consuming and expensive. If you’re in the latter group, we’d like to challenge you to make cooking a New Year’s resolution in 2014. We can’t change you but we want to encourage you, you may find you really love it. You don’t have to break the bank or slave in the kitchen to make cooking a habit and most importantly don’t forget that the end result is delicious food. Keep your eye…and stomach on the prize 🙂
Here are 10 ways to start cooking in 2014, effortlessly, cheaply and deliciously:
1. Simple is Still Delicious
Don’t over-complicate things. Stick with the basics like pasta, rice, chicken or even stir fry’s. In 2014, now add a personal touch to your basic meals. If you’re making noodles, maybe try a new sauce or if you’re making a stir fry try using fresh herbs or a new spice. Believe it or not, that’s cooking.
2. Pick Recipes Before Shopping
One way to guarantee that you will cook something during the week is plan ahead. Look through cookbooks or blogs and find a recipe that you’d like to make. Then, when it’s time to shop, make sure the ingredients are on your list.
3. Use What’s In Your Fridge
You don’t even need to go outside to cook something. Use what’s already in your kitchen, pantry and refrigerator to make a delicious meal. We often forget what we bought last week or what we have hidden in the back of our fridge. Rediscovering what you already have could open up a world of cooking opportunities.
Fun tool to use – type in what ingredients you have in your home and see what recipes you can make.
4. Do a Potluck with Friends
One way to open your palate is host or attend a potluck with friends. Keep a theme in mind and delegate a different element of the meal to each friend. This will allow you to sample several different dishes and inspire your own cooking. This will also help you test out your own creations with friends who will give hopefully give you constructive feedback. Don’t bully each other out there.
5. Set a Cooking Goal:
My co-worker Amy Schoenberger recently told me that she set a cooking goal for 2014. I loved the idea! Set a goal that you will cook one new dish each month, week, whatever works for your schedule! I know for us, if we set a goal, we’re more likely to actually do it.
6. Weekends Help
Sometimes cooking does take time and we know the weekdays are busy. Use the weekends to try out recipes, use the slow cooker or try a baking project. If you don’t want to rush after work, the gym or whatever your daily routine entails, use the weekend.
7. Watch the Experts
One of the biggest inspirations for us is watching people who really know how to cook do what they do best. From parents to contestants on Chopped, we get inspired by how they work with different ingredients, short cut recipes and how they manage a well organized and delicious meal. Watch the experts and you will learn the right tricks.
8. Cookbooks and Blogs are Everywhere…for free.
Don’t love food shows or don’t have any good cooks to observe? Rummage through cookbooks and look at blogs all over the internet. You could even stop at a Barnes & Nobles, take a photo of a cookbook recipe and make it at home. Explore your family’s and friend’s cookbook collections. All without spending a dime.
9. Cooking Class on Google+ Hangout
Google+ Hangouts are REALLY cool. Stay on top of upcoming hangouts and you could get expert tips from famous celebrity chefs and brands…right from your home computer.
10. Buy Yourself Something New For the Kitchen
The age old trick – buy something new and you’ll feel inspired. It works! Buy a brand new pot, cooking utensil, spice or cookbook. It doesn’t have to be anything big! Adding something to your kitchen so it feels more you and you might want to spend a little more time in there.
Are you adding cooking to your 2014 resolutions?