Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah….

It’s probably no shock that I love to be in the kitchen, cooking and creating delicious (and healthy!) meals.  For me, there is something therapeutic and fulfilling about the whole process of putting a meal on the table.  I love searching through recipes, gathering the ingredients, tying my apron around my waist and getting down to business.  I’ll be the first to tell you that I am not a gourmet chef by any means.  I wouldn’t even claim to be an amateur chef.  Just a gal who likes to cook and serve meals.

I’ve heard many times that people would love to be able to cook all their meals, but they aren’t good cooks or don’t have time, or (gasp!) hate to be in the kitchen.  All of these (except for that last one!), are legitimate problems when it comes to eating healthier.  One of the best ways to make sure you are getting proper nutrition, is to be the one in charge of all the food that goes into your body.  Easier said than done right? I understand that not everyone will share my love of all things kitchen/cooking.  I do however have a few tips that can help you navigate your way through the kitchen maze and start to take your health into your own very capable hands!

Have some confidence! My mom always told me that if you could read you could cook.  At it’s very minimum, cooking is being able to read a recipe and follow the instructions.  Of course there are some exceptions to this and cooking does have a lot more involved, but don’t second guess yourself.  You are at the top of the food chain! You are an intelligent being (I assume!). You are more than capable of tackling that chicken noodle soup recipe!

Keep it simple.  Going along with the first point, keep your cooking simple.  Don’t make your kitchen debut with a fancy schmancy recipe that has hard-to-find ingredients and will chain you to the oven all day using crazy techniques like braising or caramelizing.  Find simple, short recipes that have a few steps and common ingredients.  You will feel so much more calm and proud of yourself when you can place a complete meal on the table as opposed to a failure when your souffle deflates half way through cooking!  As you cook more and more you will get better and be able to “graduate” to more complicated meals.

Read the whole recipe BEFORE you start.  It’s a rookie mistake (one that I have made at least once…) to not read through the whole recipe before you dive right in.  There is nothing worse than being halfway through your cooking and realizing you need fresh basil and there is none to be found in your kitchen.  By making sure you read through all the ingredients and all the steps, you will be able to make sure you have everything and save yourself a big headache later on.

Schedule out your meal.  What I mean by this it make sure you time out your cooking.  If you are preparing a whole meal (entree and side dishes), you’ll want to make sure everything will finish generally around the same time.  I still struggle with this sometimes, and estimated cooking times aren’t always right.  Create a rough time table of when you need to start preparing the food, then when you need to start cooking.  I find it’s easiest to decide when you want to eat and work backwards from there.

Have fun! Yes. I know this is a cliche piece of advice.  But in all seriousness, you will enjoy your time in the kitchen a lot more if you have fun.  Don’t stress if something doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time you make it.  You’ll have to eat again in the very near future and have your second chance at getting it right!  Pick recipes with foods and ingredients you know you will like, involve your family or friends in the prep work, have music playing in the background, dance!  The more fun you have while in the kitchen the more motivated you will be to keep practicing and the better you will get!

I know this is just a short list and that it probably won’t be enough to convince some of you that cooking can be simple and fun.  Humor me though and give one meal a shot.  This would be a great way for those of you who made the resolution to eat better to take charge of your nutrition!  Trust me, I know you will feel super proud of yourself when put that plate of yummy food down on the table with the knowledge that YOU put in all the work and love it to took to create that dish.  So throw on your aprons, fire of the stove, and get cookin’!

If you need some ideas for quick and healthy recipes, follow me over on Pinterest! I pin recipes pretty much everyday and they are all fairly easy to follow!  Katie Buchanan

There might be a line crossed about how much fun I have in the kitchen.... Oh well!

There might be a line crossed about how much fun I have in the kitchen…. Oh well!

Baking + smiling = winning combo!

Baking + smiling = winning combo!

And of course the best part about cooking... EATING!!

And of course the best part about cooking… EATING!!