1. Do not be afraid to try cooking something new, even if it involves a technique you have never tried before. Be brave and follow the recipe. Most things sound way more intimidating than they really are. Bechamel is one of those French Mother sauces but if you follow a recipe to make Macaroni and Cheese from scratch, then you have made a Bechamel sauce. Braising is the fancy word for what you are often doing to meat in a crockpot. Consider the potato: baked, steamed, boiled, fried. Practice cooking potatoes and you'll have a bunch of cooking techniques under your belt including knife skills if you want them.
2. Seemingly simple foods are elevated to the sublime by using quality ingredients (many of which are quality just because you grew them yourself) and knowing the cooking techniques that brings out the best in them. When you read the ingredients on a package of artisan sourdough bread it'll often be flour,salt, and water. Isn't that amazing, but you can do it too! Amongst many other things salad dressings fall into this category too.
3. Cook what you like. Ate at a restaurant and had a dish that was amazing? Try to recreate it at home! Find a recipe online for something like it, make it as written the first time, then start modifying it to your tastes. Ask your parents/grandparents for the family recipe for your childhood favorites. If you use ingredients you know you like, then even if you don't quite succeed at making it just how you wanted it, it is probably still tasty! If not then you probably have a good idea what to do differently next time. Tonight we used a grocery store gluten free pizza crust that turned out better on the stoneware than it did on the metal cookie sheet. Next time I will move the oven rack to give each pie more space too (And honestly make a pizza dough from scratch. It was okay but kind of dried out on the surface.)
4. Substitute! In the mood for a lemon goat cheese asparagus pasta recipe but asparagus season is over, substitute whatever green veggie you have on hand. Green beans or broccoli will work great. I recently used cilantro in my meatballs because I didn't have any parsley. This probably fits under Know You Ingredients so you'll know what will sub for each other well.
5. Learn ratios. Salad dressings start with a certain ratio of oil and vinegar. Crepes are a ratio between flour, milk, and eggs. My favorite ratio for quiche is 6 eggs to 1 cup cream but that ratio (and the one for salad dressing) can vary by preference. Ratios for baking are more firm due to the chemical reactions between ingredients being more sensitive.