1. Read the whole recipe before you start cooking it.
How many times have you started cooking something just to realize you're either missing a key ingredient or you didn't preheat the oven to the right temperature? Read the entire recipe first so you have clear expectations.
2. Clean as you cook!
As much as I'd love to just pile everything into the sink it makes the whole cooking experience so much better not to have chaotic counters. Clean as you go and you'll thank yourself later!
3. Taste and adjust as you go.
This one is important! Taste as you go so you don't end up under-salting or adding too many spices to your dish. Nothing is worse than an under-salted dish.
4. Tweak it!
As long as you're cooking and NOT baking, feel free to adjust the recipe you're following to your own taste! If you don't like anchovies - don't add them! If you hate cilantro, substitute it with basil. Recipe's are just guidelines!
5. Drink while you cook.
Last and certainly not least, pour yourself a glass of wine while you cook. I swear cooking and drinking is the best therapy and it will get your creative juices flowing. Your dish might even taste better after a few glasses of wine ;-)
CHEERS and HAVE FUN!