First things first: Ashley’s kitchen was a little understocked, so Real Simple food director Allie Lewis Clapp and associate food editor Emily McKenna took her shopping for gear. Then they showed Ashley a go-to technique for cooking her beloved chicken and gave her a few quick flavoring tricks. But the greatest lesson? Remembering to slow down. “Emily taught me that when I’m in the middle of a recipe and things get overwhelming, I can just turn off the heat and step away from the stove,” says Ashley. Words of wisdom indeed.