Smoky Stuffed Chicken with Serrano Ham and Olives

New Year, New Skills

19 smarter ways to cook, cocktail, and celebrate (and clean up after) for an easier, breezier, and tastier 2022

1. Do Basic Better

Become a Breakfast Person

This is not the same morning-meal advice you've heard all your life. Instead, it's all about tweaking the way you think.

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More-Savory-Than-Sweet Granola
Credit: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Mary Clayton Carl
Fried Chicken Sandwich with Anchovy Garlic Dressing
Give Chicken Breasts an Upgrade

Four brilliant recipes that turn chicken breasts into winning weeknight dinners.

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Credit: Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Carrie Purcell / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox
Two-Ingredient Power Moves

Want to streamline your pantry? Embrace versatile, powerhouse ingredients that introduce dramatic contrast or add stabilizing balance. After polling dozens of chefs across the country, we found that three clear favorites emerged—soy sauce, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard. Paired with just one other ingredient, they bring the "power" to "power couple."

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illustrations of soy sauce, maple syrup, and dijon mustard
Credit: Peter Oumanski
illustration of a microwave
Cook Smarter Using Your Microwave

The microwave is still seen as a device for those who are incapable of preparing themselves a better meal or are solely on the hunt for convenience, a crutch for those who can't or don't want to cook. But chefs and other culinary pros know otherwise. There is no better tool in your kitchen for cutting down cooking time while still achieving the same results as other methods.

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Credit: Illustration by Ryuto Miyake
Build the Perfect Case of Wine

Most of us buy wine off the cuff. We grab a bottle or two at the store when we're buying groceries or on the way home from work; maybe we visit a winery on a weekend and bring home a few bottles we particularly loved. Totally fine. But here's a different approach: Create a case of wine (12 bottles) that lives in your home, is restocked as needed, and can cover any wine contingency you might have— weekday dinners, special occasions, friends coming over, you name it.

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illustration of a case of wine
Credit: Illustration by Raphaelle Macaron

2. Treat Yourself

Safran Serberti
Indulge in Real Spa Food

Learn a thing or two about self-care from the delicious and generous Turkish hammam experience.

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Credit: Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Carrie Purcell / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox

Salt Your Scotch

salting a glass of scotch
Credit: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Mary Clayton Carl

My favorite go-to summer drink is a Scotch and soda with a lemon twist. A light pour of blended Scotch (I like Johnnie Walker Black) into a highball glass of ice cubes topped with two splashes of just-opened Schweppes club soda yields an at-once super-flavorful and refreshing drink, perfect for when everyone else's Aperol Spritzes are not your thing.

Last winter, burnt out on the sweetness of Old-Fashioneds, I craved the qualities of my summer Scotch and soda but couldn't wrap my head around drinking something so cold and diluted. Blended Scotch can be a bit thin, dry, and hot on the palate; most of the pleasure of Scotch is in its aroma. Knowing that club soda offered not just bubbles and length to a drink, but also a fair amount of sodium, I reached for the Maldon salt and crushed a flake into a dram of neat Scotch. I swirled in a small splash of water to help it open up.

BAM! It was like a Scotch flavor explosion. The heat of the alcohol took a back seat while it seemed every taste bud in my mouth perked up. Caramel and smoke were no longer just aromas but rolled over my palate. The first sip finished cleanly, as did the next. After a few more, I could feel the appetite-inducing effects of a pre-dinner drink, not unlike a briny Martini with olives. (And, like a Martini, two was not better than one.) —Mary-Frances Heck

Freeze Your Martini

There's an ethereal elegance to a great Martini, like you're hovering above your body watching yourself drink. When I want to escape the world a bit, that's the cocktail I reach for. I just open my freezer and pour. Yep, like many other bartenders I know, I always keep a ripping-cold batch of Martinis in my home freezer. They're easy to make. There's no ice, no stirring or shaking. With a formula of two parts gin, one part vermouth, and one part water, the dilution is built into the batch. And the chill? That's what the freezer's for. Poured from an icy bottle, the alcohol in the drink pulls energy into the glass, and the martini goes from slushy to silky, boozy, and heavenly in a matter of seconds. Lush and dense, it's a frigid elixir that rolls over your palate in a way that a classically stirred cocktail never can. —Max Green

Get the Recipe: Frozen Martini
freezer martini
Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Coca Cola Bundt Cake with Amarena Cherries
Put Cola in (and on) Your Cakes

Cookbook author Vallery Lomas updates traditional Southern Coca-Cola cake with a brilliant technique.

Get the Recipe: Cocoa Cola Bundt Cake
Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Micah Morton / Prop Styling by Christine Keely
Shake It Up

These basic ratios for classic drinks are your gateway to a world of creative cocktail riffs.

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cocktails
Credit: Eva Kolenko

3. Supercharge Your Pantry

Cook with Brewer's Yeast

This umami-packed ingredient is a home cook's secret weapon.

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Umami-Mayo Roast Chicken
Credit: Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Carrie Purcell / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox
American-grown seaweeds
Kelp Yourself

Do your health, the oceans, and fishermen a favor and put sustainable seaweed on your plate in 2022.

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Credit: Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Carrie Purcell / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox
One-Can Wonder

Sweetened condensed milk lends its rich, creamy magic to everything from crispy carnitas to homemade yogurt.

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carnitas and milk rolls
Credit: Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Carrie Purcell / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox
Illustration of Top Chef “Fan Favorite” Shota Nakajima
Shop Like a Top Chef

Top Chef "Fan Favorite" Shota Nakajima shares the ingredients that most inspire him.

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Credit: Illustration by Peter Oumanski
Butter Better

Why one style of butter in your fridge is not enough.

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different types of butter
Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

4. Learn New Skills

Venison Meatballs with Cumberland Sauce
Get Your Game On

Venison, if you've never had it, is essentially lean, grass-fed beef with a finer texture. It's very low in fat, and because it is denser than beef, you can fill up on less. Hunter and cookbook author Hank Shaw prefers venison because, as a distance runner, he finds that eating beef feels fatty and coarse to him. "I can feel it slowing me down. Venison is like high-octane fuel for the body," he writes.

But for most people, when autumn turns to winter and hunting seasons fade, all the prime venison roasts and back-straps are gone, and what's left are packages upon packages of ground venison. Even if you're not a hunter, a friend might have offered to give you a pound or five. Don't fear the grind—though it helps to know exactly what you're dealing with.

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Credit: Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Smoked Mozzarella Mezzalune with Braised Onion Sauce
Pasta Like a Pro

The first step to making great pasta at home? Relax and have fun, says Pasta Social Club's Meryl Feinstein.

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Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Micah Morton / Prop Styling by Neville Crawford
Clean Machine

A longtime test kitchen pro spills the tea on cleaning stubborn cooking stains.

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kitchen illustration
Credit: Illustration by Pedro Nekoi
Pomegranate-Pistachio Salsa
How to Make Salsa Out of Anything

Chef Wes Avila, owner of Angry Egret Dinette in Los Angeles, shares his versatile approach to making bright, zippy salsas from whatever he has on hand.

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Credit: Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen