True inspiration comes from within, we’ve all been told at some point or another. The “within” probably didn’t refer to the confines of your studio apartment or toy-cluttered living room, but here we are. And for those of you who have waited for “the right time” to really learn how to cook, this is your inspiration. Restaurants around the country are being forced to close as communities attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, which means more Americans are turning to their kitchens to feed themselves and their families.

If preparing good meals for the next few days or weeks is an intimidating proposition, we’re here to help. When we launched Voraciously two years ago, it was precisely this type of home cook that we had in mind. So if you’re ready to boost your skills in the kitchen, learn a few new techniques or just want to put something on your plate that didn’t go straight from a box in the freezer to the microwave, here’s where to begin:

Starting simple

It’s incredibly satisfying to cook a delicious meal for yourself, but without basic kitchen skills, it can seem like a daunting task.

Our Zero to Dinner Party newsletter, written by cookbook author and food blogger Jennifer Farley, gives you the resources you need to prepare a delicious meal, one step at a time. Every Wednesday, you’ll learn an essential kitchen skill — including cutting an onion and roasting veggies — and get a recipe to help you practice. By week 12, even if you aren’t quite ready for visitors yet, you’ll have the makings for a multicourse menu and all the tools you need to confidently cook for yourself and others. Sign up here.

Here are a few helpful how-to guides to get you going:

And these are a few of our favorite essential recipes for new cooks:

Find more simple recipes here.

One-pan meals

There’s a reason all-in-one cookbooks are so popular, and minimizing cleanup is only part of the answer. Preparing a full meal in one pot or a single pan allows you to make a lot of food at once, which means there will often be leftovers for future meals. And with a single cooking vessel, you can typically minimize the hands-on time while your dish cooks. Whether you’re using a Dutch oven on the stovetop or a sheet pan in the oven, flavors will meld for a cohesive meal. When you’re done, there’s only one pan to clean.

These guides highlight two key components of many great one-pan/pot meals: your sheet pan and pasta.

Recipes to get you started:

Check out our Dinner in Minutes recipes here.

Meal planning

When we talk about meal planning, neatly arranged food storage containers stacked up for office and school lunches often come to mind. But no matter your routine (or lack thereof), a little menu planning can help us eat well without standing in front of the stove for long periods every day.

Sign up for our Meal Plan of Action newsletter, written by Post newsletter editor Tanya Sichynsky, and you’ll get a three-meal menu (with leftovers), a meal prep task that will set you up for the week and won’t take more than one hour of your time, a shopping list for the budget-conscious (a.k.a. all of us right now) and more. You’ll get a new Meal Plan of Action in your inbox every Thursday for 12 weeks. Sign up here.

These guides will help with your meal prepping plans:

These are the kinds of recipes you’ll get with Meal Plan of Action:

Baking basics

For many of us, baking can be a soothing, contemplative exercise with a delicious payoff at the end. We’ve published dozens of simple recipes for baking novices, along with a number of helpful guides to specific techniques and ingredients.

Start by signing up for our aptly titled Baking Basics newsletter, with self-taught baker turned professional, food photographer and cookbook author Joy “The Baker” Wilson. Every Friday for eight weeks, you’ll get detailed instruction, clever tips and a recipe for one of eight classic recipes, including Dutch oven bread, biscuits, pecan sticky rolls and pound cake. Sign up here.

Here are a few of our most essential baking guides for you to explore:

One-bowl baking recipes to get you started:

Find more one-bowl baking recipes here.

Vegetables in focus

Many of us are trying to eat more vegetables these days — whether for health reasons, environmental concerns or simply because we can’t get enough of them. And sometimes, we need fresh ideas for what to do with those leafy greens or assorted squash and potatoes.

Our Plant Powered newsletter is designed to help you put more vegetables on your plate. Sonja and Alex Overhiser, cookbook authors and bloggers at the recipe website A Couple Cooks, cover the fundamentals of cooking with plants and smart ways to get the most out of your produce. Every Tuesday for 12 weeks you’ll receive two plant-based main-dish dinner recipes — one entirely plant-based (no animal products) and the other vegetarian (includes dairy and eggs), plus a budget-friendly shopping list and back pocket tips. Sign up here.

These guides answer a few common questions about cooking more plant-forward meals:

Here are some veg-heavy recipes to get you started:

Find more plant-forward recipes from our Weeknight Vegetarian column here.

Video series

For the visual learners out there, Post food video host Mary Beth Albright has your back. In a five-part series called “Teach Dave to Cook,” she led colleague Dave Jorgenson on a journey through elementary cooking techniques that took a guy with a self-described “12-year old’s education in cooking” and transformed him into a confident home cook. Watch Episode 1 below.

Mary Beth has also started a “Quarantine Cooking Show” from her home kitchen to share simple, pantry-focused recipes during this time of self distancing. Check that out here.

Learn to cook a restaurant-quality steak with Dave in the everyman’s guide to beef. Episode one shows what you need--and don’t--in the kitchen. (The Washington Post)