It's almost a new year, and that means that you're gearing up to eat green vegetables with every meal, to work out three times a day, and to be the best person ever. Wait... that sounds really hard? Almost impossible? Well, that's because it is.
We've all tried to keep New Year's resolutions and realized that within a few days or weeks of the new year, we were back to our old selves. And honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. Resolutions can be tough and tricky to follow and can put too much pressure on us. But there's one way that we can actually keep our resolutions for a shiny new year, and that's making some culinary promises to ourselves.
Everyone wants to become a better cook (or just cook more often). But it doesn't have to be super crazy. We can cook once or twice a week and still consider that an awesome accomplishment. And we can also resolve to learn some new things in the kitchen without stressing out.
Here are our food-related resolutions for an awesome 2019: 10 dishes that we can totally master and 15 bad cooking habits that we should get rid of. Happy New Year!
25 Master: Perfect Roast Chicken Recipe
Roast chicken seems like a really intimidating thing to make, but it's not really that complicated. It's a great dish to master in the new year because it's a great source of protein, it's something that everyone likes, and it can give us leftovers for a few meals. We can also use the chicken on salads or sandwiches, and lunches will be totally taken care of.
This Perfect Roast Chicken recipe from Jamie Oliver is where it's at. It's got lemon, garlic, herbs, olive oil, carrots, celery, onions, and, of course, a chicken. We'll be proud of ourselves... and if we make it for our partner or roommates, they'll be happy.
24 Break: Not Letting Pans Preheat
Eating Well says that not letting pans preheat is another bad cooking habit, and we can say that we've all done this.
It's a familiar scene: you're just so excited to start cooking that you don't want to wait a few minutes for your pan to be totally hot and ready for the food. Or you're rushed for time and starving, so you don't let the pan preheat. But you really do have to because the food is going to cook so much better
23 Break: Overcooking Beef
Some people grow up eating beef that's super well-done and think that's the only way to cook it. Overcooking beef is another bad cooking habit that we should definitely let go of.
We don't have to cook or eat rare beef if we're not big on that, but steak is honestly the best when it's medium or medium-well. This might take some getting used to, but it's good to remember that steak doesn't need to be rock hard in order to be delicious.
22 Master: Tomato Sauce With Fresh Tomatoes
Making our own tomato sauce will be an amazing dish to master in 2019. We're going to feel amazing. This recipe from The Kitchn is awesome. It's got only a few ingredients: tomatoes, salt, and red wine vinegar or lemon juice. There are also really useful instructions and tips. Of course, this also means that 2019 will be the year that we eat our weight in pasta once we can master a tomato sauce. We're okay with that.
21 Break: Not Making Interesting Vegetable Recipes
We get it—vegetables can be confusing. Sure, you love eating crispy and fried Brussel sprouts in a restaurant, and you get that roasted cauliflower is pretty good. But what do you do to make these things taste good in your very own kitchen?
The truth is that steamed or boiled vegetables are gross and boring. Let's just be real here. As we say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019, let's all agree right here and right now to make more interesting vegetable recipes. The world is our oyster (or kale).
20 Master: Harissa And Maple Roasted Carrots
At this point, it's fairly obvious that eating vegetables is a good thing. Man (or woman) can't dine on pizza and pasta and bread and cheese alone despite how delicious that sounds. But what do you do when you really don't know how to make any vegetables and you want them to... you know... actually taste amazing?
This recipe from Bon Appetit will save us. These Harissa and Maple Roasted Carrots are easy since all we have to do is coat carrots in harissa paste, olive oil, maple syrup, garlic, and cumin seeds, put some salt and pepper on them, and put them in the oven. Done and done (and delicious).
19 Break: Using Margarine Instead Of Butter
Can we please agree once and for all that butter is so much better than margarine?! It's honestly a crime that people are still eating, let alone cooking with, margarine.
Margarine is super fake and gross. Butter is a beautiful ingredient. It's a real food and so much healthier than you might be thinking. You actually need to eat healthy fats (they're great for your brain), and butter is a totally fine thing to eat on a regular basis. Anything cooked with butter is almost automatically delicious.
18 Break: Overcooking Pasta
Cooking pasta too much means that it's going to get gummy and stick together. We've all had this happen before, and it's super sad. After all, pasta is a glorious thing, and we don't need to waste it or make it taste gross. We should be going for a pasta masterpiece, and that means that we need to stop overcooking it.
This might take some getting used to, and it might mean not cooking it enough the first few times, but we can definitely give it a shot, and we'll eventually get the hang of it. Pasta is very important to us, so we're committed.
17 Master: Classic Spaghetti And Meatballs
Spaghetti and meatballs is a delightful dinner. It's something that we all grow up eating and probably assume is way too complicated and time-consuming and difficult to make ourselves. We beg our moms to make it for us everytime we visit, all the while wishing that we could figure it out.
Well, that attitude won't fly anymore because it's almost a new year, and that means it's finally time to master this dish. Jo Cooks has a recipe for Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs that we need to follow for sure.
16 Break: Not Sharpening Your Knives
The Spruce Eats also suggests sharpening your knives. Thinking that it's totally fine not to and that it's not necessary isn't the best idea, and it's another kitchen habit to break.
Sure, it can be a bit much to imagine doing this ourselves, but maybe our roommate or boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife wants to take over this important kitchen duty. We'll do the dishes. It sounds like a fair trade.
15 Master: Turkey Chili
Chili is a super popular dish, and it's satisfying like few meals are. Plus, you can put so many toppings on chili, it's almost too enjoyable to dream them up. And when it's socially acceptable to eat chips and guac alongside your dinner (or at least top your chili with avocado), that's very good news.
While beef chili is amazing, making this dish with turkey is a good idea since it's a bit healthier, and this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen is perfect. The recipe title is "The Best Turkey Chili You'll Ever Eat," and we think it really does sound and look that way.
14 Break: Running Water Over Meat And Fish
Do we think that we have to run water over whatever meat or fish that we're about to cook?
According to Eating Well, this isn't something that we should be doing. As the publication says, "Rinsing meat off in your sink may get rid of the slime factor, but it contaminates your sink with bacteria that could potentially cause foodborne illness. Pat your meat with a paper towel instead to remove any unwanted residue." This is an easy cooking habit to break since it's gross to rinse off protein, right? Right.
13 Break: Cooking With Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
We might not think that there's anything wrong with cooking with extra-virgin olive oil. That's what it's for, right?
Actually, wrong. Extra-virgin olive oil isn't supposed to be used in a pan, so this is another cooking habit that we should break. It's an oil that's meant for salad dressing or drizzling on cooked food. Thankfully, there are other forms of fat that we can cook with in a pan, such as butter, grapeseed oil, and coconut oil (or bacon fat if we want things to be extra good).
12 Master: Risotto Recipe For Beginners
In 2019, risotto will no longer be a dish that we can only order in fancy restaurants, all while crying about how hard and intimidating it seems to make this in our very own kitchen. That changes immediately because we're going to learn how to make homemade risotto.
Or at least we will if we follow this recipe from The Spruce Eats. It's got chicken stock, arborio rice, vegetable oil, butter, parsley, cheese, and a shallot. We're about to become culinary superstars.
11 Break: Not Seasoning Enough
When it comes to bad cooking habits to break in the new year, not seasoning food enough is a pretty common one. No matter what you're making, you definitely need to add enough salt and pepper for it to taste good, along with other spices.
Some people are too afraid of salt and think that it's unhealthy, but it's honestly fine to season dishes and ingredients with salt. It's basically what makes food taste amazing. We've all eaten something that's super dry and thought, "Why does this taste so bad?" It's usually because it was under-seasoned.
10 Break: Forgetting About Acid
Do we think about acid when we're cooking? Maybe some of us do, but many more of us just don't.
According to Buzzfeed, we shouldn't forget about acid when we're cooking: "Most people know that salt helps flavors shine and food taste better—but not everyone knows the importance of acid. Acid helps brighten flavors—and just like salt, it's an important step in balancing a dish." This is awesome to know, and we're definitely going to keep this in mind as we start cooking more in 2019.
9 Master: Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
It's only fitting that in 2019, we finally start eating cauliflower rice (and actually find a recipe that we can master). This substitute for rice may be super trendy, but it's really good and also filling.
Fed and Fit has a fun recipe for Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice that should definitely go on our to-make list for the new year. Once we master it, we can try our hand at different variations and fall in love with this white vegetable. No, really—it's possible.
8 Break: Making A Recipe Without Reading It All
According to The Spruce Eats, it's important to read every single word and line of a recipe before starting to cook. Making a recipe when we haven't read it all is definitely another bad cooking habit.
We get it—people can be nervous about cooking something and want to just get moving already, but taking ten minutes to really be careful about the recipe can help us out so much. Otherwise, you might have everything all ready to put in the oven and then realize that you were supposed to do something yesterday. Oops.
7 Master: Bacon Potato Sausage Frittata
Frittatas are a great thing to make since they're good for breakfast or breakfast for dinner. And everyone knows that breakfast for dinner is perfection.
PaleOMG has a great recipe for a Bacon Potato Sausage Frittata that's on our list for what meals to master in the new year. What's so cool about frittatas is that they can be made with basically any random things that we have in our fridge, so once we make one, we can make hundreds. And we'll want to do that since frittatas (and any egg dish) are amazing.
6 Break: Constantly Opening The Oven Door
It's super tempting to open the oven door all the time when you're making something. Whether you're roasting a chicken or vegetables, you want to make sure that the food is actually cooking, right? This is especially true if someone isn't the most confident chef around. It can be nerve-racking and hard to trust that the oven is doing its job.
Opening the oven door a lot is another bad cooking habit to break in 2019. It's not a good idea because then, the food doesn't cook properly or evenly. Let's all agree to stop doing this, okay?!
5 Master: Pizza Dough
If your New Year's Resolution is to stop ordering so much pizza, you're probably not thinking that means that you're going to stop eating so much pizza. That would be crazy talk.
Why not make it your game plan to master your own homemade pizza dough? Making food at home always saves money, and this will also be a fun kitchen project. The Kitchn has an awesome recipe for pizza dough that just happens to be gluten-free. It's got Cup-4-Cup Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour, active dry yeast, salt, warm water, and baking powder.
4 Break: Not Meal Prepping Or Freezing Food
We know, meal prepping is annoying and boring, and we don't want to do it. We can think of 100 other things to do on Sunday.
And yet, not meal prepping or freezing food is perhaps the worst cooking habit of all. Why? Because we all know the feeling of being hungry on a Tuesday night and realizing that we have zero food in our fridge and wondering what to do. If we can meal prep a bit and freeze extra portions of sauce or chili and the like, we're going to be so much happier. And we'll actually cook more, which is the best habit of all.
3 Master: Oven-Baked Salmon
The Food Network is here to save us from overcooked or just plain bad salmon. That's right—2019 will be the year that we master salmon that we can easily bake in the oven, and this recipe will help us out.
If we're scared to make salmon, that fear needs to go away ASAP. We can seriously maser this because all we have to do is season the salmon and then bake it. No, really... that's it. What were we so worried about? We have no idea, but we're glad to be able to make salmon a few times a week for dinner. Look at us, getting so healthy in the new year.
2 Break: Overcrowding Your Pan
Lots of people do this, and it might even seem like something that you're supposed to do: putting tons of food in one pan. According to Buzzfeed, this isn't a good kitchen habit to have, and it can make it really hard to actually cook the food that you're trying to cook.
Let's take a deep breath and agree to stop doing this. If we can put less food in one pan or put the food in two pans and spread it out, our meals will be so much more delicious. And that's what we want, don't we?
1 Break: Stirring A Lot
Many people stir their food a lot (like a lot...) when cooking. This could be pasta sauce, this could be chili, this could be sautéed vegetables, or this could be meat or chicken or fish.
Yup, this is another bad cooking habit to break. Stirring a lot doesn't actually do anything good. It doesn't cook the food faster, which is probably why people do it. We honestly have to sit back and relax more when we're cooking because letting food do its own thing and not micromanaging it is going to be better (hey, that's a life lesson, too).