Without realizing it at first, it turns out that every year I do quietly resolve something to myself: to be a better cook.
Even though I already love cooking and make many meals from scratch, I always want to find more dishes that my kids will like, or be able to cook faster and more reliably so our family can spend more or our precious, limited time together. We know that restaurants, take out and convenience foods help buy us time, but we trade them for high costs and usually unhealthy foods. Like any good resolution, don’t take on too much at once.
Here are a few ideas I have for you and your kitchen.
- Try a new recipe at least once a month.
- Make a favorite new recipe 5 times – you’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn each time.
- Commit to “mastering” something you don’t like to do (or can’t yet do) in the kitchen, such as chopping garlic, boning a chicken, or making soup.
- Upgrade key kitchen tools, such as a chef’s knife, peeler or cookware. The right tool for the job makes cooking easier and more enjoyable. Watch my recommendations – just replacing a tool may not be an upgrade.
- Test a new ingredient, especially a vegetable or fruit. Tip: Get the whole family “in on it” in advance and make it fun. For example, create a feedback card to hand out to your eaters. If the dish fails, at least you didn’t push it on them solo; if it succeeds, you all win.
If you want to get started, next post includes a very simple recipe that is great for kids, but unique enough to please adults. White Turkey Chili with Garbanzo Beans and Barley.
It includes several uncommon ingredients and flavors – barley, garbanzo beans, marjoram and savory (you may need to visit the spice aisle for those last two, though). It’s not spicy, the tastes and textures are all comfortable and pleasing, so it’s a good way to play up “something new for the New Year”.