Making the Most of Your Kitchen

Justin and I love to cook and experiment with recipes as well. Most are original recipes, or our own variations of recipes we’ve researched. I tend to combine multiple recipes into my own (or go by feel and taste sometimes), and my husband doesn’t believe in measuring when he cooks. (Sometimes this is hard for us to write recipes withe measurements!) But, there is no way I’d call myself a food blogger or a home cook, although I’d absolutely love to! 
Some of my favorite shows are MasterChef, Kitchen Nightmares, and Food Fighters. I am inspired by these home cooks or local restaurants owners and their fares. Coming up with recipes in thin air and cooking without instruction. I’d love to be able to do that someday. I keep telling my husband that someday (in my fantasy world where I can have a billion careers at once) I’d like to go to culinary school. And he has a dream to open a food truck. (We’d tell you with what, but we’ve discovered when my husband puts his ideas out, they’re always stolen. But, I will say this food truck would be a success!)
So, although I have no real budget for culinary masterpieces, no real experience, and no quality equipment for artistic pictures, I still indulge in my kitchen dreams and pretend to be a home cook. And here is how you can, too!
1) Keep you kitchen clean and organized! This is the most important thing! You don’t have to have a beautiful, huge, dream kitchen like these:
All you have to do is have a place for all your cooking equipment and have an organized fridge and pantry. Our first apartment was tiny. We had a “one-butt” kitchen with hardly any counter space. But, 90% of our recipes were created in that kitchen! We have since moved and have an actual kitchen! Although I haven’t used it to its full extent (I had a baby a month ago and have barely gotten back to cooking), I keep it clean–I do dishes after every meal, and clean as I cook.
2) Decorate your kitchen and make it a happy atmosphere. The kitchen should be the center of the house. It should be open and inviting and fun to be in. We have a color scheme of red, orange, white, and black. We definitely chose red because psychologically, it invites energy and hunger! I love how I’ve decorated my new kitchen and you should enjoy decorating yours, as well!
3) Find 3-4 dishes that you can make very easily to become a staple in your family’s menu. These dishes can also very easily be changed, like with the type of grain or spices you use. For example, some staples in our house are:
Chicken Casserole–variations include spices and herbs, crusting, cheeses, soup bases, veggies
Pasta–variations include include spices and herbs, pasta types, veggies, sauces
 Fish–variations include types of fish, sauces, spices and herbs, sides, styles of cooking it
Smoothies–variations include bases, fruits, and mix-ins (sometimes it’s even a green smoothie!)
This way, you can have plenty of variation in a comfort zone and you’ll always have groceries and ingredients to make them!
4) Make a weekly dinner menu. Not only will this help expand your cooking repetoire, as you’ll only have 1-2 staples a week, but it will save you money. By have a weekly dinner menu, you’ll know what ingredients you have and what groceries you need to get, allowing you to make a shopping list. It’ll also help you to use your produce before it spoils. For instance, I have some week old zucchini, spinach, and bell pepper still, so I know I’ll be making a Veggie Primavera this week to use it all up.
5) Take note of how you cook it. Like I mentioned previously, sometimes Justin and I don’t use exact measurements. But, we make note of what ingredients we use and a guestimate of how much we used. We begin writing our recipe post as soon as we are done eating dinner (or even while it’s cooking) so we don’t forget. That way, we can make it quicker next time and have the option to experiment with it.
6) Take pictures and post to social media! You don’t have to have an expensive DSLR or a premium package of an online editor or your own editing program. I don’t. I have a 6 year old, $200 Cannon point and shoot and use the free version of picmonkey.com to edit my photos. What has really improved my food photo was Elizabeth’s post on editing them. I still have work to do, but the point is to have a picture to entice readers. (Or just to have and glory in pride that you made that!)
7) Follow blogs that post recipes and have a “want to try” recipe board on Pinterest. This way you can get ideas and variations. A few of my favorites are: 
So, follow these 7 simple steps, and in your own right, you’ll be a “home cook”, too!
How do you make the most of your kitchen?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.