Does the thought of whipping something up in the kitchen stress you out? Face your fear of the kitchen this year and know that cooking isn’t as hard as it seems (MasterChef Junior is proof!). All you need is confidence and a lot of practice. Embrace your inner kitchen goddess and resolve to try several cooking challenges this year. You’ll be a confident cook in no time!
1. Go on a food trip and try new dishes.
If you’ve ever seen the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi and watched the Japanese chef work his magic on sushi, then you’ll definitely remember this quote: “In order to make delicious food, you must eat delicious food.” Try everything your appetite and budget allows —it will help you discern good ingredients from bad, dishes you like, and the ones you’ll want to recreate at home.
2. Wake up to creamy scrambled eggs.
Scrambled eggs don’t take a lot of time to cook and they’re a perfect way to start the day: whisk eggs until it’s foamy, cook in softened butter instead of oil, and turn the heat off before it’s completely set (it will continue to cook after). Morning made instantly better!
3. Make one dish and perfect it.
Truth is, you don’t need to know a lot of dishes. Although there’s fun in experimenting from time to time, there’s value in mastering one dish and making it yours—it can easily be your go-to dish when you need to bring something to a potluck party or when friends spontaneously pop over at your place.
4. Learn to cook pasta perfectly.
No one likes soggy noodles and the only way to always end up with perfectly al dente pasta noodles is by way of practice. Always remember: don’t add oil when cooking your noodles, only add your noodles when the water is boiling, and use a large pot. Sounds easy enough, right?
5. Play with mac and cheese.
The store-bought kind may be convenient but mac and cheese essentially just pasta, cheese, and a cheesy Mornay sauce (butter, flour, and milk!). Use your favorite cheeses and play around with pasta. You’ll be making your fave comfort food perfectly in no time!
6. Dare to make pancakes from scratch.
Sure, there are boxed ready mixes in the supermarket but you can actually make them from scratch with your pantry staples. All you need are flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, milk, and unsalted butter. No artificial stuff and preservatives!
7. Make your favorite desserts.
Let your fave dessert be the jumping point of your cooking (or baking) adventures! After all, who wouldn’t be excited at the thought of eating leche flan, tiramisu, chocolate chip cookies, or brownies?
8. Invite friends over and cook for them.
What better way to practice and show off your newly-acquired cooking skills than by sharing a meal with friends?
9. Plan and make your baon for one week.
Planning and making your own meals makes you more mindful of what you eat (no more settling for burgers every day of the workweek!), plus it can be more practical, too. Remember to stick to easy-to-prepare and no-fuss recipes.
10. Make homemade condiments with your pantry staples.
Homemade always trumps store-bought stuff and condiments are no exception. Love chili oil? A big fan of salad dressings? You can make them at home!
11. Ask for an heirloom recipe and give it a try.
Love your lola’s chicken molo soup or your mom’s Lumpiang Shanghai? Ask for their recipes and give it a try. You just might surprise yourself if it turns out exactly how they make it!
12. Try poaching an egg.
Love the golden yolks on a perfectly poached egg? Make it your next project because it’s no secret that you will be more excited to try cooking something you love to eat.
13. Take cues from your fave chef and learn a thing or two about their techniques.
Pick up a cookbook by your favorite chef and thumb through recipes and lessons that call out to you. It’s never too late in the game to learn a new skill (or a new dish!).
14. Make mashed potatoes once a month.
Mashed potatoes is a pretty foolproof dish one can make. When you perfect it to the consistency and the taste that you prefer, you can even try adding crispy bacon, herbs, and spices.
15. Go for food gifts instead of going shopping for gifts.
Friends will appreciate the effort and no one will say no to a lip-smacking dessert or dish!
16. Try your hand at making a cocktail.
Entertaining and partying with your girlfriends at home is more fun when you can make your own cocktails. They don’t have to be fancy but they have to taste good. Go for the easy favorites: you can’t go wrong with a margarita or a mojito!