7 Tips if You're New to Cooking ...

New to cooking? Many people are intimidated by the kitchen and the art of cooking, but it doesn’t have to be that way. For many people, cooking is a relaxing and therapeutic activity where they can let their creativity shine, not to mention make some good food! If you’re new to cooking but want to learn more about preparing food, keep reading for seven awesome tips for cooking newbies.

1. Start Small

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No one said your first meal needs to be a fancy French dish with a béchamel sauce. For some of you who are new to cooking, a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich with pesto and tomato is a great start (or even a bit ambitious). Try simple recipes that don’t use a ton of ingredients. Find recipes with directions you understand and read these recipes thoroughly before you start cooking. Once you get a feel for how food should look and taste, you’ll rely less on the recipe and more on your intuition.

2. Choose Simple, but Flavorful Ingredients

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You don’t need to spend $100 at a fancy gourmet grocery store to make good food. Simple ingredients like lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs might be all you need to take something bland like chicken breasts and turn them into something great! These simple ingredients also won’t cost you much, making them an even more advantageous investment.

3. Pick Your Battles over Fresh Vs. Frozen/Processed

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If you’re pressed for time, the thought of buying and preparing only fresh food might seem a little daunting. But if you play your cards right, you’ll learn to balance the fine line between fresh and frozen/processed foods. Frozen vegetables, for instance, are often a great route for people who have busy careers or lots of other responsibilities. However, fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, and dill are an easy ingredient to boost the flavor of many dishes.

4. One Great Chef’s Knife Goes a Long Way

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You won’t enjoy cooking if you’re constantly sharpening a dull knife. One or two high-quality knives (like a chef’s knife and a paring knife) can go a long way in the world of cooking. While a traditional knife set might be a hefty investment, buying one or two good knives might be just what you need.

5. Non-Stick Spray and Even Water Are Your Friends

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Has one bad burning accident barred you from the kitchen for life? There are plenty of measures you can take to keep from burning food in the future. Always make sure to use non-stick spray or even a little oil/butter before frying or sautéing food. If you’re sautéing something like chicken strips, a splash of water can help deglaze the pan without adding any additional fat.

6. Social Media is a Great Way to Find Healthy and Simple Recipes

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Not sure where to find good recipes? Start by scavenging the internet! Social media sites like Pinterest, Food Gawker, and Yummly are some great sources of thousands of recipes for all your favorite foods. You can easily bookmark a ton of recipes during the day so that by the time you come home for dinner you have plenty of ideas.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

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Cooking doesn’t need to be a rigid thing you do after work every night—it’s supposed to be fun! Don’t be afraid to try new ingredients and different cuisines from time to time to get out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons!

If you’re new to cooking, remember that starting small is best and that you can gradually work your way up to bigger and more complicated meals. What were some of your favorite dishes to make when you first started cooking?

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