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Try These 7 Home Cooking Challenges To Spice Up Your Week - Antsy Labs

Try These 7 Home Cooking Challenges To Spice Up Your Week

As home cooks, it’s easy to fall into a rut. 


We head to the grocery store, we go to the same aisles, we grab the same foods.


We cook what we know how to cook. Our family eats it. Unless there’s some sullen teenager involved, there’s usually not too much complaining.


But what if you want to take your skills to the next level? Growth comes when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones, and home cooking is no exception!


Speaking from experience, I once cooked my roommates a new type of egg dish every day for a month (yes, I did call it “I love you eggery day!” and no, they didn’t love the name). Since then, I’ve become a big fan of home cooking challenges as a great way to push myself to try new recipes, new techniques, and new skills.


To help you sharpen your own skills, we’re sharing seven home cooking challenges you can take on this week. Sharpen those knives, chefs, and get to it!

I DON'T WANNA GROW UP


No one throws parties for filing their taxes on time, but maybe they should. These IRLAs let you celebrate your grown-up moments as you make the big moves toward becoming a functional adult person. Taxes, cooking, bills. Saving for rainy days. The non-sexy steps to learning how to survive on your own may not be fun, but once you learn to boil your own water, nothing can stop you. 


Ready to sit at the grown-ups table?



One-Pan Masterpiece Challenge

The goal for this home cooking challenge is to master a one-pan or pot-recipe.


As is often the case with home cooking, we make a recipe once and we’re done with it. This week, you’ll keep at it until you’ve figured out how to perfectly balance flavors and cook multiple ingredients at once. 


To succeed, you'll need a large skillet or pot, along with ingredients such as protein (chicken, beef, or tofu), vegetables (such as broccoli or bell peppers), grains (rice or quinoa), and seasonings. Make sure to get the appropriate quantities for a week so you can see how you’re improving.


For the final day of this meal, make it a family event and challenge another passionate home cook to a one-pan showdown!

The 30-Minute Miracle Challenge

Home cooking gets a bad rap for the amount of time it takes to prep, cook, and then clean up.


This week’s home cooking challenge is about bucking that reputation and creating a complete meal in under 30 minutes. 


It's perfect for busy home chefs who want to make quick, healthy, and delicious meals. 


For added pressure, you can perform the last day of this challenge as a live stream with a ticking clock for friends and family (or all of your Instagram followers!).

The Mystery Basket Challenge

Get ready to use your creativity and resourcefulness to make a tasty meal with surprise ingredients in this reality cooking show-inspired challenge. 


You'll receive a basket of unexpected ingredients (such as canned tomatoes, chickpeas, and kale), and then use whatever other ingredients you have on hand (such as pasta or rice) to create a delicious dish. This home cooking challenge is ideal for home chefs who want to better use what they have available in the fridge and cupboard. 


The trick here is getting help with the mystery basket. Our recommendation: enlist a friend for the week, and then the two of you can prep the other’s mystery basket with plenty of challenging new ingredients.


For the final day, exchange the baskets and cook together for an audience in your living room.

The Leftovers Remix Challenge

Before they were leftovers, that food was a meal you were excited to eat. With this home cooking challenge, your leftovers will get more love than just being thrown in the microwave.


The goal here is to use leftovers from a previous meal to create a brand-new dish. It's a great way to reduce food waste and learn how to be creative in the kitchen.


The only problem with this challenge is if you keep using up all of your leftovers in this creative, delicious way, you’ll have fewer leftovers to cook with, so plan ahead. Invite a friend or family member over each night and say you’ll cook for them, on the condition that they bring their own leftover ingredients.

The Week-Straight Challenge

No rest for the weary! Anyone can cook up a meal once in a while. For the real iron chef home cooks out there, this week-straight home cooking challenge means no days off.


Since a week covers both your week at the office/on the job and a weekend at home, you’ll have to mix some of the above challenges – cooking in 30 minutes or less, using leftovers, one-pan recipes – to string together seven consecutive days of home cooking.


Plus, as this home cooking challenge is a part of our Adulting IRLA Pack, you’ll also unlock some beautiful, real-life medals for finishing

I DON'T WANNA GROW UP


No one throws parties for filing their taxes on time, but maybe they should. These IRLAs let you celebrate your grown-up moments as you make the big moves toward becoming a functional adult person. Taxes, cooking, bills. Saving for rainy days. The non-sexy steps to learning how to survive on your own may not be fun, but once you learn to boil your own water, nothing can stop you. 


Ready to sit at the grown-ups table?



The Budget-Friendly Challenge

While cooking at home is known to be a cheaper alternative to dining out, it’s not without its own costs. Individually packaged meat, fancy mushrooms, and new spices can all break the bank.


To compete in the budget-friendly home cooking challenge, set a budget and challenge a friend or family member to create a meal that costs less but still tastes great. 


Budget-friendly ingredients include rice, pasta, canned beans, frozen vegetables, eggs, and affordable cuts of meat or poultry.


Add another challenging element by decreasing the budget slightly each day to see just how creative you can get.

The Dessert Challenge

Too many home cooks spend all their energy on the meals and leave dessert to be brownie mixes or scoops of ice cream. That’s why we’re dedicating this home cooking challenge to the sweets.


This week, focus each day on creating a delicious dessert from scratch. Make sure to have plenty of dessert ingredient staples, including flour, sugar, butter, eggs, chocolate, fruit, and spices like cinnamon and vanilla extract.


Since these are often more photogenic, we’ll add a cherry on top of this sweet challenge and ask you to put up a picture on social media after each successful day.

I DON'T WANNA GROW UP


No one throws parties for filing their taxes on time, but maybe they should. These IRLAs let you celebrate your grown-up moments as you make the big moves toward becoming a functional adult person. Taxes, cooking, bills. Saving for rainy days. The non-sexy steps to learning how to survive on your own may not be fun, but once you learn to boil your own water, nothing can stop you. 


Ready to sit at the grown-ups table?



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