I've always enjoyed cooking and been fairly good at it when I wanted to be. What I have been working on the since the boys were born was planning. Before them I would call DH at 10am and say "What do you want for dinner?" and search up recipes on the web & buy the stuff I needed on the way home from work. And if I didn't feel like cooking it was no big deal because the other person in my house was a grown adult who could find himself something to eat on his own (and was a short order cook in college). Now I have other people to feed & dinner by Tyson every night is just not my style. I end up feeling bad for eating all the processed foods. Don't get me wrong, I *like* processed foods, especially breakfast cereal, but apart from that I think it should be kept to a minimum. But lack of sleep & 2 babies pushed me into lots of boxes of meals for a couple years & I lost interest in food really. I have been slowly getting back to where I was, which makes me feel more like me again. But I have had to get a handle on planning. I make long range goals. My goal in 2004 was just to make 4 meals a week. From scratch mostly, no Hamburger Helper (HH was for the other 3 nights). I also got my recipe collection organized & went through my several dozen cookbooks and did up cards on any recipe I found interesting. For 2005 it was 5 meals a week with one new or rarely made recipe a week. Plus start keeping a log of how they turned out and changes I made. This year it was planning for 2 weeks of dinners, using the leftovers from a couple of meals creatively in other meals in the period. And baking at least a couple loaves of bread a month. My 2007 goals are to get a handle on side dishes (right now I just nuke whatever frozen veggie I have on hand or make a spinach salad. I don't like veggies but I can't let the boys know that so I need to make interesting veggie dishes to interest all of us) and to prep ahead, like when I make crock pot beef stew - prep 2 or 3 times as many veggies and freeze them so next time all I have to do is open a bag. And since my bread machine finally died on me yesterday while kneading a loaf of Pepperoni Pecarino Bread, I am going to trying making bread without it for at least 4 months. I *can* make bread without it but it is just so much easier with it - no keep tracking of how long things have been rising, punching to down, movig it around. It requires so much attention. A bread machine though - toss everything in and walk away. Leave the house! 3 hours later you have bread.
Apart from bread I don't bake. Baking requires an attention to detail I don't have. DH bakes. He has spent the past year perfecting his chocolate chip cookies. Now he is branching out into mousse! :)