So you like cooking. Maybe you even like it enough to read about cooking tips (like this article) or at least don’t hate it enough to allot a medium-sized fortune into your UberEats budget. But after a year when going out to eat was nonexistent, sourdough bread recipes were a bigger part of your life than pants with a zipper, and to-do lists get longer and longer by the day, you might be battling a twinge of cooking fatigue. If “cooking fatigue” was in Webster’s Dictionary, it would likely be defined as “cooking so freaking often that you are bored, tired, and so over it.” While I can’t speak for Martha Stewart or Ina Garten, I can confidently say that we’ve all wanted to break up with our kitchens at one point or another.
But cooking does not have to be a chore. In fact, cooking should feel–dare I say–fun. This might be the most unrelatable thing about me, but I rarely get tired of cooking. Like I purposefully don’t meal prep so that I have to take a full lunch break to cook an entire meal because that is the happiest moment in my day #HumbleBrag. But I didn’t just pop out of the womb with a frying pan and a spatula excited to cook (yeah, I also hated that imagery); there are a few key strategies I use so that cooking always feels exciting, fun, and stress-free. How, you ask? Read on for five secrets that help me stay excited to cook.
1. Utilizing meal delivery kits
When you’re finding the recipes, making the grocery lists, going to the grocery store, and prepping the ingredients, of course you’re going to get exhausted. One of my secrets to keep cooking interesting is that I love to order from Blue Apron. That’s right: even people who love to cook can utilize a meal delivery service too. Not only does a Blue Apron box at the door give you a (much-needed) break from grocery shopping and meal prepping, but their delicious and inventive recipes serve as some major cooking inspo.
They offer recipes and cuisines that you might not ever think to make for yourself, and you will be shocked when you find out how easy they are to cook IRL. Bonus: Blue Apron offers wellness options like vegetarian, WW-approved, etc., so you’ll feel good about what you’re eating too. Trust me: order a box today, and you might find your new favorite go-to recipe (without the hassle and time-suck of cooking on your own).
2. Reading cookbooks
Maybe you get your meal inspo from screen-shotting Instagram accounts, or maybe you go off of TikTok trends to spice up your cooking (feta pasta, you have my heart). While I love social media for inspiration, I attribute my unwavering love for cooking to reading cookbooks. That’s right: those old-fashioned things your mom keeps on a shelf are not just meant to be gifted when you need a classy housewarming present; they can be a useful tool to make cooking more exciting. While other people are reading a thriller or romance novel, I’m devouring a cookbook (yes, that does mean reading front-to-back). Feeling immersed in a cuisine and learning everything the chef, author, or nutritionist offers about their meals makes me so much more excited to cook them. Bottom line: reading a cookbook turns cooking from a chore into a learning experience. Not sure where to begin? Here are my favorites.
3. Trying one new food every week
Stuck in a food rut? Get out of it by trying a new star ingredient. While we typically stick to the same grocery lists and the same sections of the store, getting out of your comfort zone at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods doesn’t have to be difficult and can spark creativity in the kitchen. When I go to the grocery store, I challenge myself to pick up one new fruit or vegetable that I’ve either never tried before (looking at you, Japanese sweet potatoes) or have never cooked before (example: I love a good beet salad at a restaurant, but have never cooked with beets). Sometimes this requires a little bit of research (googling “how to roast beets” or “Japanese sweet potato recipes” typically does the trick), but it is a little hack that has prevented cooking from ever feeling routine. Plus, I’m getting a wider variety of nutrients by exploring a wider variety of produce.
4. Experimenting with new tools
Since changing up what I’m cooking helps keep it exciting, I thought it might be time to update how I’m cooking. Whether it’s an air fryer, spiralizer, or poached egg maker, there’s a wide variety of affordable, easy appliances and tools that can transform lean proteins and healthy veggies into meals you could have never imagined to be as healthy as they are. Low key, the air fryer completely changed my life, and a salad chopper somehow turns boring salads into drool-worthy creations. The truth is that healthy cooking is easy when you have a kitchen full of tools to help you do it. Simultaneously make healthy cooking easier and challenge yourself to get creative by not only changing up what you cook, but the way you cook it. For some products to try, click here.
5. Perfecting a couple of easy recipes I love
Yes, getting excited about cooking is all about trying new things, but it’s also about knowing when to pull out your old-faithfuls. One of the main reasons I still love cooking so much (after doing it on a nightly basis) is because even my go-to recipes don’t feel boring or repetitive. For example, I will never get tired of cooking (or eating!) pasta. I love the experience of boiling water, chopping up garlic, and letting a simple tomato sauce cook on the stove while the spaghetti boils.
Plus, I can make it with any pasta shape or switch up the sauce with a few easy swaps. It’s simple and easy for the days where I don’t have time (and energy) to revert to my cookbooks or experiment with something new, but it feels comforting rather than boring. Don’t settle for mundane frozen food or a basic recipe you don’t even enjoy, even on your busiest days. Instead, perfect an easy recipe that feels fun to make, and cooking will become your escape instead of a chore.
This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.