There are plenty of home cooking blogs that can help you get creative and inventive with your dinner dishes, but what happens if the meal turns out to be a failure? This not only wastes precious time and money, but you could end up spending more on ordering takeout when your meal goes up in flames.

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Here are a few tips for making your home cooking memorable, delicious and stress-free:

Be Realistic About Your Skill Level

Don’t dive right into a recipe that calls for bacon-wrapped chicken when you barely know how to cook a microwavable pizza. Although it is great to have high expectations with your cooking, be realistic about what your strengths and weaknesses are.

“I know that taking on a fondant layer cake is just not going to happen,” says Jessica Merritt of, “I’ll gladly let someone else do it for me! But I can try new cake pops, stovetop dinners, or simple baking ideas.”

Explore Different Recipes

You aren’t the first person interested in cooking a pineapple casserole, so browse the web, get lost on Pinterest and compare recipes until you find the one that appeals to you.

“Usually you can find multiple variations,” says Nathan Engels, founder of He says, “Look at the ingredient list, process and instructions. Trust, but verify the recipe you found is good and similar to others.”

Read Those Reviews

Get advice and reviews on that intricate dish you’re thinking about making from friends or online. You can check a variety of sites such as to find out if a particular recipe was a winner or a loser for the dinner table.

This can help you gauge if you really think it’s worth spending an hour on a dish that may turn out to be mediocre.

Focus on The Little Details

Until you become an expert in the kitchen, it may be best to leave the culinary creativeness to the pros. Follow the recipe as written and take careful considerations when it comes to substitutions that may result in an undesirable taste.

“Don’t take short cuts with food,” says Engels. “If it needs to sit overnight, let it. Fails happen when you don’t follow instructions!”

Do a Taste Test Run

Don’t stress yourself out by blindly preparing a new recipe for your best friend’s birthday party. Make yourself feel more comfortable by doing a taste test run about a week before the rendezvous. Grab your friends and get their honest opinion on what they absolutely loved or hated about the dish. That way, you’ll have insight on how to tweak before the big day.

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Health coach Anne Lawton agrees that giving a dish a taste test run is the ideal way to determine what items you’ll need to make the recipe a success. “I’ve tried a few recipes that looked absolutely delicious, only to find that the picture looked much better than the dish tasted,” she says.