cooking bucket list

My 2018 Cooking Bucket List

sheet pan chicken and vegetables

I took a solid break after my Top Posts of 2017 roundup and it felt so great to relax, recharge and just be inspired by what I was reading as opposed to writing. I hope you all had a great holiday season and feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle a new year and some new goals, whatever that might look like. 

To kick things off in this new year, I wanted to share a list I've been putting together for the last few weeks. As someone who's always aspiring to be a more skilled home cook, I realize that means getting outside of my comfort zone and trying new things, regardless of how time-consuming or intimidating something may be. One way I'm doing that is through my January Plant-Based Cooking Challenge (click to read more and/or join in). Another is by creating a bucket list of notoriously time intensive (or just really amazing) things that I want to work my way through as the year progresses. 

I'm kind of envisioning Amy Adams in Julie & Julia dropping the whole chicken on the floor and sobbing with a lap full of stuffing but it also energizes me to think about all of the delicious food that will come out of this too so I'm going with it! And in case you didn't notice, this is also filed under the "adulting" category because how much more adult can you get than learning how to make homemade bread? 

Here are ten things I want to tackle by the end of 2018:

Brisket. Not only will this make my husband a happy man, I'm also really intrigued by perfecting this for a crowd as a summertime entertaining meal. We're planning on getting a smoker this year so this might have to be the first thing we try. 

Sourdough bread. Bread is one of those things that scares the heck out of me, but I know the effort is so worth it. Because really, is there anything better than fresh bread? Sourdough is my favorite so I think I'll go with that one first. 

Pasta Carbonara. This is like one of those meals you make your SO if you want him or her to propose right? Well I don't need to worry about that anymore but I would still like to have this one in my back pocket and just throw it together like it's no big deal when friends come over for dinner. Like, "oh I guess I'll just whip up some carbonara real quick!". How fun would that be?

A Whole Fish. Those creepy fish that stare me down every time I go to the grocery store. I keep telling myself that someone actually buys these, but I'm baffled about why. This will be the year I become one of the those people. 

Shakshuka (eggs in tomato sauce). I don't know what it is about this dish but I have seen it pop up just about everywhere on the interwebs this year. It looks delicious and also like it could be an easy weeknight meal and I'm always in the market for those so I'll give it a whirl. 

Chicken Pot Pie. Whenever I think of chicken pot pie I can't help but remember a roommate that I once had (who was a chef, btw) and made an insane homemade chicken pot pie with puff pastry. It was the ultimate comfort food in the winter and the presentation was so fun. 

Monkey bread. I listened to a holiday podcast about monkey bread and then I couldn't stop thinking about monkey bread. If you're unfamiliar, it's like a sticky buttery caramel pull-apart deliciousness. My mom makes a variation on Christmas morning every year and it is to die for. It doesn't seem that hard but is definitely more of a special occasion type dish so I'll have to think about when this makes sense. Easter? Mother's Day? 

Pickles and/or Pickled Vegetables. I'm one of those people who loves pickled anything (I think it's a love/hate situation) but I've never actually done it myself. I'm hoping 2018 is the year I start a garden so maybe I'll be able to use some homegrown vegetables while I'm at it? 

Ravioli. I love fresh pasta when at Italian restaurants and want to learn how to make a few variations of it myself. When I was younger, my piano teacher made ravioli every year and it's something I'll never forget about her. The question is: keep it simple with cheese, or go adventurous?

Summer Rolls. You know those amazingly fresh and bright rolls wrapped in rice paper that you dip in peanut sauce? They are pretty much the best and every time I see those cute little wrappers I think "I should really make those" but never do. Maybe this will be a first day of Spring meal.

What is something you've always wanted to cook but never have?