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How YouTube Taught Me to Cook More (and Order Out Less)

I'll admit it: I'm kinda lazy when it comes to cooking. While a meager three dishes make up my repertoire (a mean guac, excellent Chinese sesame noodles and the cheesiest grilled cheese), I would make them rather sporadically, relying on Seamless far more than I should.

Credit: Munchies/Vice via YouTube

(Image credit: Munchies/Vice via YouTube)

Then, I saw that my friend Brian posted video clips of a shocking reinvention of a classic: a bacon, egg and cheese quesadilla. But while his Instagram story post was interesting, it didn't give me enough information about how to actually make the dish, information I found via YouTube.

Yes, YouTube isn't just for gamers, movie trailers and … well, problematic individuals. The cooking content on the video-sharing site is an ultimate resource for aspiring chefs. I discovered this because Brian admitted he was inspired by an episode of Munchies' "The Cooking Show" in which Farideh Sadeghin makes a sausage, egg and cheese quesadilla.

In the video, Sadeghin presents her recipe with a laid-back attitude, making cooking feel more approachable. The clip even linked to a website with the recipe written out, so I could grab the ingredient rundown for a shopping list I made in the productivity app Things.

And unlike cooking shows on cable, YouTube's app makes it supereasy to rewind and make sure you don't miss a step. With my iPhone propped up in the kitchen and the ingredients spread out in front of me, I was soon cracking eggs and marveling at Sadeghin's supersoft scrambled eggs recipe, which calls for folding cubed cream cheese into the eggs as they cook.

When I finished cooking the quesadillas and chowed down, I thought about why it took me so long to get the itch to prep in the kitchen. I've been watching food-related YouTube videos for years, but my favorite, the "Binging With Babish" series, never seemed to imbue me with any creativity, as his TV and movie-inspired dishes were often too outlandish.

Inspired to continue by the satisfaction of making the meal myself , I looked for something less rich, buttery and artery-clogging than the butter-, cheese- and cream cheese-filled dish I'd just made After clicking around a bit, I discovered that "Binging With Babish" has its own spinoff show, "Basics With Babish," in which the chef tackles entry-level dishes, stuff like burgers, which I've somehow never been happy with when I tried in past years.

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In that playlist, though, I found my next YouTube-in-the-kitchen project: chicken breasts. The cook is practically appealing to my own experience, with a video titled "Chicken Breasts That Don't Suck." And looking at its list of ingredients, I'm confident that I've found a recipe I can craft repeatedly without having to worry about my health (though, seriously, that quesadilla was amazing).

If this sounds like a path you'd like to travel, I'd say check out both the "Basics With Babish" channel plus his website for more details in a more traditional, relaxed environment. And if you're looking for something with a sense of humor, here's the Munchies "Cooking Show" channel.

Also, you might want to check out our Best Tablets page for good touch-screen displays to bring into the kitchen. My iPhone XS Max's 6.5-inch screen may be big enough to suffice, but if your phone isn't that huge, an iPad might be your best bet.