Another thing I've noticed with recipes are how complicated they are. I'll look at the picture, and think that I want to try making that dish sometime. Then, I look at the 20 ingredients, and I kinda back off. All I have at home are salt, sugar, and black pepper. I don't know if its worth the trobule of going out and buying all those things just to make one dish.
Unfortunately, going out and buying stuff is unavoidable if you're going to eat well. The first rule of making something good is to start with good ingredients. On your shopping trips, start buying some things that perhaps you might otherwise not purchase, like really good artisan cheese, good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and some spices. Buy fresh fruit, really good chocolate, rice that isn't "minute rice." Don't be afraid to bring your recipe book with you to the grocery store. If you see that rack of lamb is on sale, look up a good lamb recipe, and buy everything you need right then. I've done this on more than one occasion. Buy good knives. Get yourself a quality chef's knife and a quality paring knife. Wustoff, Henkels, and Sabatier are all good knife brands. Make sure you buy their top-end forged knives, and not their cheaper lower quality knives. Once you begin using a good knife, you will throw out all your crap knives. Begin to collect some decent pans. They tend to be expensive, but having good pans is worth it. Take the energy and time required to cook something really well. If you've used good ingredients, it will likely taste good, even if you don't get it exactly right. Last time I was experimenting with a chocolate cake with a melted chocolate center. It stuck to the pan badly, "fell" a bit, and the final cake looked a bit ugly. Nobody really cared, however, because it tasted great. That's because I was using lots of good ingredients like Valharona chocolate, real cream, butter, fresh raspberries, etc. It's hard to screw something up too bad with ingredients like that. I've found that the more I cook, the more I enjoy it. Although my wife cooks most of our regular family meals, I do almost all of the cooking for guests. Kai