16 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Make Anyone A Better Cook

Resolutions are easier to keep when you’re constantly getting rewarded with delicious food.

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1. Master a couple of super easy desserts that are fancy enough to bring to a potluck or serve at a party.

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Just because you don’t love to bake, doesn’t mean you won’t be responsible for making dessert every once in a while.

2. Boil pasta perfectly every time.

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FOLLOW THESE SIX EASY STEPS

Boil water in a large pot
To make sure pasta doesn’t stick together, use at least 4 quarts of water for every pound of noodles.

Salt the water with at least a tablespoon—more is fine
The salty water adds flavor to the pasta.

Add pasta
Pour pasta into boiling water. Don’t break the pasta; it will soften up within 30 seconds and fit into the pot.

Stir the pasta
As the pasta starts to cook, stir it well with the tongs so the noodles don’t stick to each other (or the pot).

Test the pasta by tasting it
Follow the cooking time on the package, but always taste pasta before draining to make sure the texture is right. Pasta cooked properly should be al dente—a little chewy.

Drain the pasta
Drain cooked pasta well in a colander. If serving hot, add sauce right away; if you’re making a pasta salad, run noodles under cold water to stop the cooking.

3. Memorize the grain-to-water ratios of your favorite whole grains.

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Or, just print this out and hang it on the fridge so that you never have to deal with crunchy rice or soggy oatmeal ever again.

4. Take your grilled cheese game to the next level.

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The secret? Cooking it in mayonnaise! Go try it immediately, because even if you “hate mayo”, it works.

5. Get a knife that’s sharp, and learn how to keep it that way.

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Having a sharp knife will make it so much easier to chop things properly and efficiently—AND a sharp knife makes it LESS likely that you will cut yourself. Developing badass knife skills takes lots of practice — which you’ll get plenty of, the more you cook, YAY! — but a sharp knife is the first step.

6. Once your knife is sharp, learn how to chop an onion.

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It’s one of the most useful knife skills to have, and it pretty.

7. Pickle something.

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You can pickle pretty much any sturdy fruit or vegetable with not much effort, and it’s a great way to preserve and enhance produce when it’s in peak season — think green beans in the spring, corn in the summer, carrots in the fall.

8. Roast the most perfect chicken with nothing but a hot oven and plenty of salt and pepper.

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There are so many reasons why roast chicken is an all-time favorite dish. It’s fancy enough for company, but it also makes for great leftovers if you want to cook one just for yourself. And those leftovers? You can do pretty much anything with them, from salads to sandwiches to entirely new cooked meals (pastas, rice bowls, etc.). And learning to roast a chicken is actually SO EASY.

9. Jumpstart a whole week of meals in just a couple of hours.

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The trick is to cook big batches of one protein, one starch, and a bunch of vegetables, then remix them in whatever way you feel like each day.

10. Make your own chicken stock instead of buying it. You can even do it in a slow cooker!

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It’ll taste so much better than the mass produced stuff that comes in a carton or can. Doing it in a slow cooker means all you have to do is throw stuff in — no tricky ingredients necessary, just bones, vegetables, and maybe some aromatics like bay leaf or parsley stems, if you want — let it go all day, then strain.

11. Pack your own lunch instead of buying it, at least a couple of times a week.

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It can be as easy as making a sandwich or as involved as cooking your favorite grains, vegetables, and protein and throwing them together.

12. Bake granola from scratch, with whatever mix-ins you want.

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Basically you just toss a bunch of things together and bake them, so you can’t mess up. Plus, it’s cheaper (and more delicious) to make it yourself.

13. Sear the perfect steak

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Meat often tastes better when you get a good, brown (or DARK brown) crust on it. In order to do that without overcooking the meat, you need to get a pan really, really hot and add plenty of fat, then put the meat in the pan and leave it alone (NO TOUCHING, NO MOVING) so that it can brown.

14. Make homemade vinaigrette.

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All you need is oil, acid, salt, a bowl, and a whisk.

15. Boil eggs exactly the way you want them every time.

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If you put the eggs in the water at the right time, set a timer, and take the eggs out as soon as they’re done, it’s totally possible to get your yolks exactly the way you want them, every single time.

16. Bake a pie from scratch.

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You can. And, it’s worth it.

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