Cooking can feel like a daunting task for someone who is not used to spending time in the kitchen, but it is one of the most valuable and rewarding skills you can learn. Not only does cooking at home help you save money, but it's customizable and creative. If you’re just getting started on your culinary journey, keep reading to learn more about navigating the kitchen with confidence, from Registered Dietitian, Chelsea Rice.
1. Stock up on kitchen essentials.
Before embarking on your cooking journey, you need to stock your kitchen with the right tools and equipment. Chelsea recommends starting with the basics, including pots, pans, knives, cutting boards, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and utensils. Spices also go a long way in recipes. Stock up on some of the common spices such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, just to name a few. Need some inspiration? Check out Chelsea’s Kitchen Favorites HERE.
2. Start with simple recipes.
If you are new to cooking, start with easy-to-follow recipes that have minimal ingredients, steps, and equipment. Recipes with step-by-step pictures or a video tutorial can also be very helpful. Looking for an easy recipe to start with? Check out these Mini Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins. They are the perfect on-the-go healthy snack!
3. Read the entire recipe prior to starting.
Every recipe is written a little differently, so if you are new to cooking, read the entire recipe before starting. This will help to make sure you have all of the right ingredients, tools, and equipment. If there are step-by-step pictures of the instructions or a recipe tutorial, review those prior to beginning the cooking process.
4. Prep your ingredients first.
If you are new to cooking, one of the most helpful steps to take first is taking the time to prep all your ingredients. Most recipes will tell you in the ingredients section which foods need to be chopped, diced, sliced, etc. Prepping these ingredients prior to starting the recipe will help the cooking process go more smoothly and make you feel less rushed. This organization not only makes cooking more efficient, but it also ensures you don’t forget anything! If you are uncomfortable with using a knife, you can look into online tutorials or classes that will help you with your knife skills.
5. Clean as you go.
To make cleanup easier at the end, Chelsea recommends cleaning utensils and surfaces as you cook. Depending on the recipe, you may have “down time”, where a recipe is in the oven or on the stove. This is a great time to utilize for cleaning. Cleaning along the way prevents a mountain of dishes from piling up at the end and also allows you to focus on your cooking in a clean space. Less stress, more success!
6. Embrace your mistakes.
It is important to remember that cooking is a learning process and a skill that you will continue to gain over time. Everyone makes mistakes! Don’t be discouraged by a burnt dish or a failed recipe. Instead, view these experiences as opportunities to improve your cooking skills. If your first attempts don’t turn out perfectly, that's okay! With practice and patience you’ll become more confident with each recipe you make.
7. Enjoy the journey and have fun!
You may think of cooking as following recipes step-by-step, but cooking can also be about using your own creativity. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavors to make a recipe dish your own. When you create a dish you love, share it with friends and family! It’s a perfect way to connect with loved ones and receive feedback on your cooking. Now, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, put on an apron, and start your journey into the culinary world. Be patient with yourself along the journey and don’t forget to have fun. You got this!