Sound the trumpet! You made it through The Kitchn's 4-week Cooking Cure! Due to unforeseen circumstances, I missed Dinner Week, but I still feel I've come away from this experience with new plans and habits to hone. Here are five things I'll continue to focus on in the weeks and months to come:
- Clean the kitchen every night. As I discovered back in Breakfast Week, a messy kitchen is the enemy of cooking. Starting the day with a clean kitchen is totally energizing, like a big ol' cup of motivation! If there's one thing that'll keep me cooking 21 meals a week (or close to it!) it's making sure that I clean up after each meal and end the day with a full dishwasher, empty sink, and clear countertops.
- Make a meal plan on Friday. I used to try to make meal plans and do the shopping and do prep cooking all in one day, but I've found that doesn't really work for me. It's too much at once, and I like to have time for other things on the weekend. Fridays feel like a good time to start thinking ahead to next week's meals. Work week craziness is mostly over, and dinner that night is likely not to be anything too complicated or time-consuming. (I'm a fan of easy Friday night pizza!)
- Go grocery shopping on Saturday. Truth be told, I'd prefer to grocery shop in the middle of the day on a Wednesday just to avoid the crowds, but if I meal plan on Friday, then Saturday is the day to shop! Plus, I do like starting the week knowing I have everything I need for my meal plan all ready to go in the fridge or pantry.
- Prep ingredients on Sunday. During Lunch Week, I wrote about wanting to prep ingredients on the weekend, and this remains a top priority. Throwing together a salad for lunch is much easier when I've already washed and chopped the greens, roasted some chicken, and made a pot of beans or grains.
- Cook one new recipe every week. I'd already planned to cook something new and special on the weekend, but to expand my cooking repertoire, I'm planning to cook one new recipe every week for any meal. I have a deep recipe archive in Evernote to get through, not to mention a ton of cookbooks on my bookshelf. I can't believe I've yet to make Emma's Moroccan Chicken Tagine or Faith's Chicken Tikka Masala. It's time for me to step it up, people.
What were your biggest takeaways from the 2014 Cooking Cure?