Five Simple Ways to Cook More in 2020
Whether you're just starting out or want to incorporate some new recipes into your routine, here's how to spend more time in the kitchen this year.
If your New Year's resolution is to cook more in 2020, take it one day, one recipe at a time. If you're a beginner cook, start with the basics—make marinara sauce, mashed potatoes to pair with crispy chicken cutlets, or a batch of chocolate chip cookies. As you build your cooking skills, you'll gain the confidence to try even more advanced recipes. If you're a competent cook but find yourself falling into the same types of recipes each week, we have ideas for that, too (like trying to cook with one ingredient you never have before!). Ahead, we're offering our favorite ways to cook more this year—and always.
Keep It Simple
If you're just learning to cook, think of something you love to eat and choose a simple recipe. For pasta lovers, cacio e pepe, which is often thought of as grown-up macaroni and cheese, is a fantastic place to start. If you're a fan of poultry, try cooking chicken thighs; they're much more forgiving than chicken breasts, which can quickly dry out.
Invest in Quality Equipment
Much like the way that new workout clothes can be motivation to hit the gym, purchasing a sturdy Kuhn Rikon vegetable peeler ($8.22 for three, amazon.com) or heavy-duty cast iron skillet pan ($29.95, williams-sonoma.com) can motivate you to cook more often. A sharp knife will make everything from mincing garlic to cutting large pieces of meat so much easier—and, in turn, more enjoyable, too.
Visit Farmers' Markets
Take a walk through a farmers' market or even your local grocery store and see what ingredients inspire you. Try picking up some produce or protein that you've never experimented with before to introduce something new to your palate. Be sure to talk to the vendors and find out their favorite ways to use a unique type of cheese or a specific seasonal vegetable.
Cook with—or for!—Friends
Hosting a friend, or a group of friends, for dinner makes cooking feel much more rewarding (especially if you're doing it together!). Start by inviting one or two close friends over for dinner—they'll love the experience and will appreciate the effort, regardless of how simple or elaborate the meal is. Soon enough, you'll be hosting a dinner party for a crowd.
Mise en Place
A simple French phrase that can make a huge difference in the kitchen. Mise en place means "everything in its place." Before you start cooking, read the recipe thoroughly to make sure you have the time and ingredients required for preparation. Next, lay all of your ingredients out in bowls or on a cutting board, which makes it easy to grab a few tablespoons of olive oil or salt as needed. Plus, it means you're not rushing to peel and chop vegetables or bring your butter to room temperature as the dish comes together.