my recs are as follows...
1. Learn how to use a single ingredient in many different ways. Eg start with eggs. Try fried, scrambled, omelets, boiled, then go to -> fritadas, quiches, batters, crepes, hollaindaise, fresh pasta, etc...
So find some very versatile ingredients and google recipes (allrecipes.com) and see what you can do. The idea is to not buy one thing for one recipe and then have no idea what else to do with it.
2. Start paying attention... read every food label at the supermarket. When I make something from scratch, I first go read the ingredients on the ready made version and see what's in there. I also constantly watch the food network and have found some shows very educational. avoid 'entertaining' shows. watch top chef, iron chef, good eats, etc. ***lookup a show called "cook like a chef", it was fantastic and I learned a ton from it. sparked my passion for this stuff.
3. Look for flavor profiles, understand the basic combinations. So whenever you're cooking, read like 5-10 recipes and see what are the core ingredients, and what are the sort of variations on it. Also pay attention to the general proportions and combinations of ingredients. This it really how I learned to cook because I got a good basic sense for what things go together, in what proportions. It's the rules, and then the little interesting twists.
4. Whenever you're cooking, think through the following aspects - flavor balance (salt, sweet, sour, bitter), texture (soft, crunch, mushy, chewy), color (have green, red, yellow instead of just beige and brown), hell even the way you cut the ingredients changes the way they cook and taste. Also consider the size relative to each other and how it will affect the eating.
5. Learn some types of recipes that are used as 'fridge cleanup's. I believe that ever ethnic culture has these, you learn the base and then throw in whatever's available. Eg a Quiche or Omelet, stir fry, etc
6. taste taste taste, constantly pick at what you're doing raw, partly cooked, done, overcooked, just keep tasting and see how it changes. Added some salt? taste it again. protip, if you're adding something to the whole dish taht will drastically change the flavor, take a bit out and add it to that to test.