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5 Easy Cooking and Baking Resolutions [+2 Bonus Cleaning Tips]

by Ann Ferguson

It’s a new year, and a new year is your opportunity to shake things up in the kitchen by committing to a few small cooking and baking resolutions.

Let’s face it: Last year was tough! We don’t need to add drama to the start of 2021, so we’ve collected 5 low-commitment cooking and baking resolutions for you.

These are minor baking and cooking resolutions, but they can really spice up your cooking game this year. Keep reading for bonus cleaning resolutions!

1. Mix and Match with New Recipes

Young woman cooks using a recipe management app

When you’re trying out a new recipe, don’t play it by the book. Find bits you like from various recipes and toss them together like a New Year salad.

If keeping track of multiple parts of multiple recipes sounds like a nightmare, use a recipe management app like Copy Me That and save recipes with notes in the titles, such as “[Use this filling] Buckeye Brownies” and “[Use this batter] Millionaire Brownies.”

Bringing it back to salad—don’t limit yourself to the ingredients in one salad recipe! If you like the sound of the golden beets from one salad recipe and your mouth is watering at the idea of the shaved brussels sprouts from yet another recipe, combine them into your own salad recipe!

Once you open yourself to the option of mixing and matching tasty recipes you find, your possibilities are endless.

2. Experiment with Your Favorite Recipes

close-up of a woman’s hands removing garlic skin over a plate

Is your favorite comfort food chicken breast with penne and pink sauce? Can your roommates count on you to regularly feed them your go-to chicken, pasta, and tomato-cream sauce? Awesome! You sound lovely.

But what if you shook up your go-to dinner? It doesn’t take too much daring or too many extra ingredients!

Start small: Try diverting from one part of your recipe first.

For example, instead of the polite amount of garlic you’d normally toss in, try using way more garlic than you typically would. Unless you don’t like garlic, you can’t go wrong with extra garlic. If you have access to fresh basil, throw in a handful of julienned basil and see what happens.

You can also experiment with textures: Skip your familiar dice of an onion for your sauce and instead, slice thin strips to caramelize. This change in onion shape will shake up your usual bite of onion.

By making a cooking resolution to tweak just one ingredient in your favorite recipes, you might discover new flavor profiles and textures you didn’t expect to.

3. Bake Cookies Every Way You Can

Baking resolutions might seem trite after a year of quarantine sourdoughs, but hear us out: Baking trends take off for good reasons! We’d like to suggest continuing this ride on the baking-trend bandwagon.

By experimenting with your appliances on hand, you can bake cookies like you’ve never made before. Have you ever air-fried a batch of cookies? Ever used convection to bake cookies?

Experimenting with how you bake cookies is almost as fun as eating them, but don’t experiment with cookies you intend to show at a family cookie swap or to send to a loved one. Definitely try out these alternative baking options on cookies you can feed to your household.

If you’re baking with an air-fry setting on your range, keep a close eye on those cookies and don’t let them stay in there too long. If you’re using convection to bake your cookies, you can either dial back the temperature or reduce the cook time of the batch and leave the temperature the same as the recipe calls for.

Take notes on which methods produced the perfect cookies and let that become your new go-to cookie technique.

4. Experiment with Leftovers

a plate of tacos made with leftovers

Let your favorite diner’s zany menu options inspire how you use leftovers.

If you like breakfast for dinner, turn your leftovers into an omelet or a scramble. If you have a stack of tortillas in the cabinet, just about any kind of leftovers can become tacos. With bread, cheese, and butter, you can transform leftovers into a savory melt.  

By making a cooking resolution to get creative with your leftovers, you’ll not only reduce the food waste you produce, but you’ll also keep your fridge organized better by not cluttering your refrigerator shelves with 900 abandoned containers of old food.

5. Quick Pickle Everything

a small glass jar of pickled radishes sits on a cutting board near cloves and garlic

We’ve all seen cooking competition shows. We’ve all heard so many flippant references to “quick-pickled” foods that it’s almost background noise. Well, it’s time to make like the TV contestants and quick pickle everything.

If you’re barbecuing or making meat sandwiches and want a zing, cut up a radish, slice a clove of garlic, string some onions and toss it all in a jar or bowl with some salt, vinegar, and honey. Leave it in the fridge while you cook everything else and before you know it, the food is ready and so are your quick-pickled veggies!

You can try out different types of vinegar (a mix of apple cider vinegar and white vinegar is pretty reliable to start with) and which veggies you pickle, but once you’ve committed to experimenting with quick-pickled sides, you’ll find which combination is to your liking.

You can even combine this cooking resolution with the one above. Next time you turn leftover chicken into chicken salad, quick pickle some onions and radishes while you chop, then toss them into your finished chicken salad. It will add a delightful crunch and a lovely acidity to the leftovers.

Bonus Resolutions

Do One Easy Chore Over Your WFH Lunch Break

If you’re working from home these days or distance-learning, chores are probably the last thing on your mind in the middle of the day. However, if you’re able to, knocking out one kitchen-related chore over your lunch break leaves you with fewer chores to do later.

If you threw together a grilled cheese for yourself, instead of leaving the cutting board and butter knife in the kitchen for when you’re off work, you can load them into your dishwasher while your sandwich grills to a crispy golden finish on the cooktop.

Make sure to keep an eye on your cooking food, of course, but if your sink or dishwasher aren’t all that far from your range, you can load the dishwasher while you wait for lunch. If your dishwasher is full of clean dishes, you know what to do: Unload it, and there you have it—you’ve knocked out one chore over your lunch break!

Wash as Much as You Can While You Bake or Cook

a very messy kitchen table that’s been cooked at

If you task yourself with washing bowls, spoons, and measuring cups or wiping down the counter while you bake, you will experience a world of difference when it comes time to clean your workstation.

Take the opportunity to tidy up while your stand mixer mixes dough for two minutes. Or, if you’ve got onions caramelizing in a pan on your cooktop and you aren’t going to touch them for a few minutes, wash the cutting board you used to cut them.

By taking on bits and pieces of all the cleaning you’ll need to do when you’re completely done with cooking (or eating), you’ll lessen your workload in a dramatic way.

These cooking and baking resolutions are easy, simple, and don’t require much emotional investment from you. We are definitely invested in your cooking and baking game, however, and if you have any questions at all about ranges with convection or air-fry settings, refrigerator organization, or other kitchen appliances, please give us a call or stop by our location nearest to you.