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“Abs are made in the kitchen”. How many times have you heard that phrase? Well, it’s because it’s true! Good health starts at the grocery store not at the gym and to maintain that good health, a strong sense of culinary skills are essential.

I love the idea of having my own cooking resolutions each year because it gives me the motivation to try new adventures in the culinary world. We get so stuck when it comes to making meals that having a couple of resolutions to kick off the New Year is a wonderful way to lighten up your plate and take away some fantastic techniques.

1. Learn the art of properly cooking eggs
I know this sounds remedial but learning how to cook an egg properly can be a daunting task. Just ask any cook trying to get a job. It’s one of the first things a chef will ask you to make because cooking an egg to perfection is a mastered technique. It only took me 4 years of culinary school followed by 20 some years in the restaurant business to succeed and I still learn new ways all the time.

2. Make use of every spice in your pantry
I’m sure you’ve been wondering how to incorporate that full bottle of poultry seasoning into other dishes besides the notorious turkey dinner, right? There are endless possibilities when it comes to using the spice – including adding it to soups and stews. I love finding spices that I would not normally use in dishes to really brighten the flavor and keep them at a healthy level instead of a sodium-filled meal. Some of my favorites to add to dishes are Chinese Five Spice, Garam Masala, and Furikake.

3. Take a knife skills class
The art of chopping, slicing, and dicing isn’t such a walk in the park if you don’t know how to julienne a carrot or small dice a potato. Neither is cutting food with dull knives or using bad knife handling skills. I highly recommend checking out your local cooking schools or online for a local home cooking school for a great way to learn all about knife 101. It saves you tons of time in the kitchen and then when your friends come over you can show off your brunoise or paysanne like a pro!

4. Master homemade pasta sauces
It’s time to toss out those jars of over-processed tomato sauces and marinaras. There’s nothing quite like the taste of a homemade sauce that feels like a little Italian grandmother was guiding you along the whole time. When you learn the techniques and taste the differences, I promise, you may never go back to the bottled stuff again. Get a little more saucy by adding a medley of fresh herbs and spices to your classic red sauce for a lovely twist.

5. Try a new cuisine from around the world once a week
We all get stuck in a rut with the same old staples so why not get a little creative and take a trip around the world? Trying new dishes from far away lands can not only help you to tip the creative scale but get fresh ideas with healthier cooking options. I love to cook up some spicy Thai dishes or flavorful Greek dinners to really tap into my wanderlust. Check out my Vietnamese Chicken Pho recipe for some worldly inspiration!

For more recipes and cooking ideas head over to Cookmore.

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