Assuming you already have spices, vinegars, oils and other basics (if not, there are plenty of lists online, and helpful books like “Urban Pantry”), consider making some go-to favorites to store in your refrigerator and freezer. Now is a good time to start whipping up your own stocks, dressings and sauces to have on hand for weekday meals.
Becky Selengut, author and cooking teacher, says making your own stocks is a surefire way to up your cooking game. For starters, label two gallon-size Ziploc bags “Veggie Stock” and “Chicken Stock.” During the week, as you cook, toss chicken bones or trimmings into the chicken-stock bag, and put any compost from onion, leek, parsnips, fennel, or celery ends into each bag. Leftover herbs can be divided and stored in both bags.