I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions, mainly because I make (probably far too many) goals and plans all throughout the year.  However, I know many people do enjoy making them, and I totally get it.  It’s a fresh start, a time to regroup and set your sights on a new goal.  In case you are still considering yours, I thought I’d offer up a few suggestions of kitchen-related resolutions.

It’s not a resolution of mine but more like a lifestyle change we’ve been working on over time, making as much from scratch as possible and relying less on pre-made, processed items.  To me, this is a excellent goal for many reasons (health, cost, the environment) as well as a very satisfying accomplishment.  Last year I made a lot of progress in that department, adding homemade yogurt complete with fruit mix-ins, cooking with dried beans, frozen chopped spinach, croutons, veggie stock, chicken stock, and canned tomatoes to my list.  Any staples you would like to see added to that list this year?

If you struggle with getting dinner on the table and resort to takeout or PB&J too often, maybe resolve to make a weekly menu plan and stick to it.  I really believe that planning is more than half the battle.  (Also, I really think that posting the menu on a chalkboard or something similar makes you stick to it more.  It definitely does for me.)  With that in hand, maybe start with some quick weeknight meals to get you started

If you’re a beginning baker looking to expand your skills in the kitchen, try to step out of your comfort zone.  If you normally bake from boxed mixes, try baking a cake from scratch.  I promise, it is not hard at all (and the more times you do it, it’s nearly as fast as a box – really!), not to mention it definitely tastes better.  If you have made mainly cookies, consider trying some recipes that involve techniques you haven’t tried yet.  Perhaps decorate with royal icing, play around with filled cupcakes, make pastry cream (always a good idea), or conquer pie crust.

Are you scared of baking with yeast?  Kick that fear to the curb!  Too many people are afraid of baking with yeast, or think you need a special bread maker to do it.  Forget that!  Make some bread this year, and get good at it.  Homemade bread will take you to new levels of awesome in the kitchen, and it is truly one of my favorite things to make!

Maybe you’re already a good baker and looking for more of a challenge.  Have you tried your hand at croissants?  French macarons? Cream puffs?  Worked with fondant?  Homemade puff pastry?

I hope whatever stage you are at in your culinary journey, this list might inspire you to push yourself a little bit further this year.  There is always room for improvement in the kitchen, and the results are so worth the effort.  If you have any specific goals you are looking to achieve that aren’t covered elsewhere on the site, please send me suggestions in a comment or an email so I might be able to post recipes or tips to help you along the way.