13 Ways to Be a Better Cook

| Diet & Nutrition

bettercook2_645

Let's face it, some women are a little more blessed with the cooking gene than others. For some, whipping up a 5-star meal just comes easy, and for the rest of us, cooking can quickly turn into a hot mess. To guide you through your cooking daze, here are 13 simple tips that will improve your cooking skills and have your guests coming back for second helpings!

Cook often: The more you cook, the better you will be at it! It doesn't matter if you are scrambling an egg or making a delicious, healthy pasta. Every time you cook you will learn something new. So even if you think you will fail, try it anyways.

>> Here are a few simple recipe ideas to get you started: Healthy Stovetop Mac & Cheese, Skinny Avocado Egg Scramble, Pasta Pizza Casserole

Read cook books, food blogs and food magazines: The beauty of recipes is that you can pick out exactly what you want to eat. There are so many versions of food you crave that you can get creative and make your own version. For some healthy, delicious recipes for you and your family, check out our recipe index.

Make food that you like: Sometimes it's easiest to cook something that you know you'll like. So what is your favorite meal? Find a recipe close to it, tweak it so it becomes how you like it. Or if you're starting out, try one of our fabulous top recipes from 2014.

Be creative: Once you've tackled the cooking basics, it's important to get creative, branch out and try new things. It doesn't have to be a hard recipe. It doesn't even have to be a whole new recipe. Just a little tweak here and there, maybe adding or taking away something, and voila you have a new dish!

Use a slow cooker: This is one of the simplest ways to cook a great meal! Set it in the morning, forget about it, come back a few more hours and dinner is magically done! It's usually super flavorful since it cooks together for a long time. Time to get inspired and try one of our 55 slow cooker meals for dinner tonight!

TortillaSoup9_horEDIT copy

Keep your work area clean: Clean as you go. Put away dishes once you are done with them and you will not feel as overwhelmed with the mess at the end.

>> Keep the chemicals out of the kitchen with some of these great green cleaning products.

Use the oven: The oven is another great way to cook for beginners! It's kind of the same as the slow cooker, you can just "forget" about it for a little while.

>> Try one of our favorite recipes that is easy to pop in the oven, the Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole.

Have good kitchen tools: Splurge on some sharp knives, good pots and good pans which are essential for becoming a better cook. When it comes to kitchen tools, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Typically, the better quality, the more expensive - and the longer lasting.

Take a cooking class: Some people just need an extra push, so why not try a fun cooking class? Or try a cooking class where you cook a food that you enjoy but never have made, like sushi.

Use fresh spices: Food tastes so much better when you use fresh herbs and spices instead of dry. It might seam tempting to just grab one of the dry spices, but get out of your comfort zone and try some fresh herbs next time.

>> Grow your own Oregano! Learn how here.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 2.42.08 PM

Cook with family or friends: Turn it into a fun evening with a glass of wine, some chatting and lots of laughter. Let everyone be in charge of one thing and just let loose in the kitchen together making an old family recipe. Ask for help or have others show you how to cook something.

Watch cooking shows: Get some of the best tips from cooks like Rachael Ray and The Pioneer Woman and watch what they are doing. See how they are using their tools in the kitchen, and what they are saying about the products.

Try using all fresh ingredients: Stay away from already prepared things and do it yourself. A homemade pasta sauce will be so much better than a grocery bought jar. And always use the freshest vegetables, fruit and meats that you can find! Avoid frozen if it's an option.

So get in the kitchen and get your hands dirty! It's FUN to cook, and if you mess it up, oh well! There is always pizza delivery!