healthy living

8 Ways To Actually Enjoy Cooking (From Someone Who Used to Hate Cooking)

This spring, I blogged about how I hated cooking.  I talked about how I hated spending my evenings in the kitchen instead of doing things I wanted to do.

But, over the last several months, I’ve started to grow fonder of cooking (especially since we returned from our honeymoon).  I’m not sure what happened – maybe that post forced me to look for the good in cooking.  And there is definitely plenty of good in cooking – it’s healthier and it’s cheaper and, as I’m finding, it can be fun and enjoyable if you let it.

Here are some things I’ve been doing to make cooking more enjoyable:

1. Get more night-time tasks done during the day.

For me, this is blog and freelance work (even though I’m writing this blog post in the evening).  Today, I finished about 90% of a freelance post over lunch, so I don’t have to worry as much about that tonight.  Other things include running errands or making calls – both of which I do over lunch quite a bit.


2. Have at least one glass of wine while cooking.

This makes cooking much more enjoyable. 😉 That’s my crappy apartment oven (I can’t wait to have a nice oven in our new house) and one of our stemless wine glasses that we received as a wedding present (LOVE!).  And that stemless wine glass is filled with Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s.  Thank you for coming to KC, Trader Joe’s.

3. Make things that you want to make.

I don’t want to make linguini in clam sauce or whatever The Pioneer Woman made for Marlboro Man for their first at-home dinner (totally reading that book right now).  I want to make simple, healthy dishes.  So, I do.  Making things you want to make does make cooking much more enjoyable.

IMG_0946 chicken parmesan, twice-baked goat cheese sweet potatoes, & roasted Brussels sprouts (I’m obsessed with these)

4. Have your husband clean after you cook (or clean as you go).

My husband is gracious enough to clean up if I cook.  It’s a good system, but I still try to clean as much as I can as I go.  It’s a huge help after dinner and really doesn’t take much time.  It makes post-feasting clean-up less dreadful.

5. Appreciate the physical movement – especially if you’re a desk-dweller.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because sitting at a desk all day kinda freaks me out.  The habits I listed in this link do help if you sit at your desk all day, but being active after work is important, too.  And since I’ve been working out in the morning, my after work activity is mostly cooking and cleaning up.

6. Make it a group affair.

Sometimes, instead of splitting duties between cooking (me) and cleaning (him), we’ll do everything together.  It’s totally like a date and so cute and romantic. 🙂  Plus, G is a good cook – but he didn’t get that way by just cleaning the dishes.  He became a good cook by participating in the action.


7. Turn on music.

Make it a party!  This probably makes cooking most enjoyable for me (well, music and wine, anyway).  I love, love, love music so I just set up my iPod on my dock and I’m all set.  It really doesn’t make it feel like a Friday night dance party.  Well, a Friday night dance party with grilled chicken and asparagus….

8. Act like you like it.

Maybe I just finished reading The Happiness Project, but the author is so right on when she says to “act the way you want to feel”.  If you dread cooking and complain to yourself every minute of chopping, cleaning, and sautéing, then you WILL hate cooking.  Act like you like cooking and be careful to take note of the times that you’re actually enjoying yourself and, before you know it, you might actually start to enjoy cooking.  🙂

Do you like to cook?  What are you best tips to enjoy cooking?


  • I was never a fan of cooking because I wasn’t good at it (hence my blog) but once I got better and practiced it’s become a lot more fun. I pretty much do all of the above (especially the wine part!) and I agree, it definitely makes it a more pleasant experience! I still have those days when I get home and the LAST thing I want to do is cook, so I keep a few really easy go to things around to throw together. And still drink wine 🙂

    • Ugh, I hate it when the last thing I want to do is cook! That’s when I do something REALLY simple like egg/ham/cheese sandwiches or something. 🙂

  • I have always loved to bake, but it’s only in the last few years that I’ve really learned how to cook (they are very different tasks, actually – most bakers tend to be very precise in their measurements while cooks are more free-form).

    Following cooking blogs has been extremely helpful and inspiring. I had always found it daunting to sift through an entire cookbook to find something I wanted to make. This way, I get a few recipes to look at daily. I recommend Annie’s Eats, Pioneer Woman, Bakergirl, and Amy’s Cooking Adventures, but there are loads of blogs from healthy eating to low-budget eating and more.

    Wishing you continued success and fun in the kitchen!

    • I love cooking blogs, too! I tend to lean towards the healthy eating ones. I love Pioneer Woman, but if I cooked like she does every day, I’d be about 50+ pounds heavier.

  • I love listening to music while I cook, it makes it so much more fun; not to mention it’s a great post-work de-stresser! I also love that I get to be creative and try new foods, while saving money by not eating out (that may be my favorite part)! It’s a total win-win-win!

    • YES! Agree. 🙂 When you look at it as fun and make it a de-stresser instead of a stress creator, it actually is quite enjoyable. 🙂

  • Great tips! I do like to cook, but now that I have two small children and a career, it has gotten more hectic and stressful. One of the things I do is try to make things that will double as tomorrow’s lunch so I get more “bang for my buck”. Homemade chili and homemade pizza are two that work well for this. We don’t eat a ton of meat, but when we do, I always try to cook up twice as much and then use the extra the following night. So we’ll have chili one night and when I brown the meat I’ll double it, store half in the fridge and then add it to our spagetti sauce for the next night. Same with veggies and anything else I can think of.

    • Yes, awesome tip! I love having leftovers for lunch the next day, although we rarely make enough to do that. We should really start doing that. I also love to freeze chilli, lasagna, and other dishes to eat for months and months! 🙂

  • Totally agree that cooking isn’t worth my time if what I make isn’t healthy. Gotta offset the calories in that 2 buck chuck anyways. 🙂 I also love healthy, quick, and cheap.

    Here are some of my favs that fall into at least 2 of the three categories:

    And not to add to the difficulty or anything but if you buy farmer’s market or locally grown tomatoes while they are in season, you will never cook with a grocery store bought tomato again.

  • I try to make dinner the night before, or a couple of hours before work starts, because I can’t stand cooking after work. I bought a grill, a steamer and a crock pot and I cook a lot of stuff on them, not everything but a lot. I love how you can just throw pretty much anything on those kitchen gadgets and they’ll cook for you.

    Is it really called cooking if machines do it for you? lol 😉

      • Yes!! I love it. We mostly use ours for veggies, but you can use it to steam crab legs, lobsters, clams, artichokes, I think even fish, etc. I bought mine on Amazon, mine is by Oster. I’m pretty happy with it. 🙂

  • I think my favorite would have to be have AT LEAST one glass of wine while you cook! I love cooking, but wine does make it that much better =)
    On another note, did you find the Happiness Project a good read?
    – J

    • I actually have like 20 pages left and I’ve been on those 20 pages for months. 🙂 Overall, it was a good read. I think she has a lot of good little one-liners that you can take away from the book and really get a lot of use from them. I would recommend it to anyone who loves personal development.

  • I totally agree with #2. I also use wine in a lot of my cooking. It usually goes like this – oh, I need 1/4 cup of white for this sauce. I’ll open it. Oh, I can’t let it go to waste so let me drink it. 🙂 I also try to make more than what I can eat and freeze it.

  • Awesome tips!

    Cooking has become one of my biggest challenges over the last few months and I wrote about just giving up on it last week. No matter what I do, I haven’t been able to get into it. I just want to get it done quickly so that I can move on with my evening.

    I tried putting on some good music while I made dinner last night and it totally made a difference… not something I had thought about in the past (I don’t know why).

    Who knows, I might even start enjoying it… eventually 🙂

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