Today, I want to help you learn how to get better at cooking at home. If you’re looking for inspiration to cook better meals for yourself and your family, and to feel more confident in the kitchen preparing new recipes, this guide is for you…
Surprisingly, before becoming a food blogger and cookbook author, I had many things holding me back from becoming a good home cook…
Let’s dive right into secrets to enhancing your cooking skills, so one day soon, the aroma of home-cooked meals will fill your home with warmth…
See the video of tips to get better at home cooking…
1. Don’t let hectic schedules hold you back from cooking…
Especially us moms, we often struggle with busy schedules.
While it can take a moment to get into the habit, I find the best answer to getting out of a cooking rut is to plan and prep meals in advance.
On Sunday mornings, a calendar reminder goes off on my phone at 8am to order groceries for the week.
Even if we are off-schedule, and don’t need to order that day, I do check my fridge and pantry to get an idea of what we have.
When shopping, it’s great to utilize time-saving strategies like batch cooking and meal prepping on any less-hectic days.
I’m pretty picky when it comes to food texture and freezer meals, so I can personally confirm that the recipes above are perfect for planning ahead.
2. Question any lack of inspiration…
Feeling uninspired can be a challenge.
One way I find support to explore new recipes is to involve the family in meal planning…
If I get the “I don’t know what I want to eat” response, I just think back to what they last enjoyed at a restaurant, and think of ways I can make that food at home.
And, I don’t mind revisiting my family’s favorite dishes from the holidays!
For instance, I know my husband loves a particular dish I serve for holiday brunches, so once a month or so I’ll surprise the family with my Christmas egg casserole dish.
It’s always a hit and I’m so good and fast at making it with all the practice.
3. Avoid grocery shopping stress with a thought-out list…
Many people starting to cook more at home can find grocery shopping overwhelming.
There are two methods I suggest – choose whichever is right for you.
The first way to write your grocery list, which I recommend if you’re trying a recipe for the first time, is to keep all the ingredients and quantities needed together, so you know you have what you need for the recipe.
See what to buy at Costco for a month…
This helps you not second guess why you wrote something on your grocery list, only to find out later you actually did need the ingredient for your new dish.
The second way, the most popular method to create a detailed shopping list, is to organize it by sections – for instance, all the dairy is listed in one part of the list so you get all dairy items at once. Then veggies, proteins…etc.
If you’re clear on what you need from the store, I recommend you consider online grocery options for added convenience.
Oftentimes, pickup is free, and it can help you keep track of your budget.
See my favorite side dish recipes…
4. Realize everyone starts with limited culinary skills…
Some moms trying to get better at home cooking may feel their cooking skills are limited.
That is totally understandable, I didn’t learn to cook much growing up, so I wasn’t a natural when I started cooking – but now it’s part of my daily routine, and I even wrote and published a cookbook!
What I encourage beginners to do is to start with:
- Simple recipes (under 5 ingredients and 30 minutes or less).
- Gradually expanding repertoire by changing basics like chicken, steak and fish up with different seasoning blends (BBQ, Italian seasonings, fajita seasonings, etc.).
- And focusing on the types of foods their family likes to eat out – so they set themselves up for success when it comes to winning over their family with delicious new recipes.
5. Find work-arounds for any fears of wasting ingredients:
The fear of ingredients going to waste can definitely hinder home cooking.
I mean who wants to overcook a nice steak or burn a new casserole?
To do this, here are some tips:
- Plan meals that use common ingredients (example: eat Mexican-inspired recipes or Italian-inspired recipes for a week).
- Repurpose leftovers creatively (plan for 2 meals at once, so leftover chicken becomes tacos or enchiladas or bbq chicken pizza the next night…).
- Embrace a flexible approach to cooking based on what’s available seasonally (you can easily use seasonal ingredients in homemade soup recipes and salads).
6. Start small by not overcooking pasta
It’s so important to boil pasta until al dente, and most people don’t know how!
Check for doneness by tasting a piece of cooked pasta 2 minutes before the suggested time on the package.
Strain the pasta and get it in sauce when it’s just cooked through, and before it’s mushy!
See how to make homemade pasta sauce…
7. Find joy in recipe prep by not using dull knives
Keep knives sharp for safer and more efficient chopping; hone them regularly with a sharpening steel…
If you want some help, find out if your local grocery store or farmers market has a knife sharpening booth (I’ve had luck finding them all over where I’ve lived, from SF, to Portland, Oregon, to my current residence in the Dallas, Texas area).
When prep is easy (because a nice sharp will cut well, and faster) then making a new recipe can be even more enjoyable.
I often joke that cutting veggies is my lunch break therapy, because I snack on what I’m cutting while prepping peppers, carrots, celery, etc… and turn on a podcast for some me-time…
Which is a great segway into using home cooking as self care, which I’ve covered in the past and will dive more into in the future…
Now is the perfect time to get better at home cooking…
I hope you’re inspired now that we’ve covered how to become a good cook!
As you venture into the realm of home cooking, remember that your kitchen should be a place to have fun.
Nurture your skills with consistent practice, fearlessly experiment with flavors, and simple recipes like the ones I’ve written for you here on SipBiteGo.
May your culinary journey be filled with joy…
Shop for home cooking essentials in the SipBiteGo Amazon Store…
More home cooking tips from SipBiteGo…
- Benefits of cutting your own vegetables
- Why home cooking for self care is important
- Build your pantry with the best spice gift sets
- Do you have to follow a recipe exactly?
- How to get better at home cooking
- See more home cooking tips
Want to get better at home cooking?
I love to encourage people to cook at home for themselves and their families… I believe it’s a huge part of self care and that anyone can learn it.
To get started with a simple, beginner-friendly recipe, see the Sip Bite Go recipe collection…
All my best,