The one thing you can do to make your food photos look better is to use natural light. Don't use the overhead lighting, which casts a yellow greasy-spoon look to a plated dish, and definitely don't use an on-camera flash. Set your dish near a window and turn off any artificial lights that might be on nearby. The indirect light from a window will illuminate your food just right. Try to photograph with the light at your back or to the side of a dish, so that the shadows are to the side or behind it.
If you have a window that lets in loads of direct sunlight, you can cover it with a white sheet to soften the light. You can also use a white sheet or white poster board facing the window to bounce light back on the shadowed side of the food, filling in those shadows with a little bit of extra light.
Sure, you can take the time to build a light box and set up flashes and everything. But you can have beautiful lighting for your meals by simply using sunlight, and if needed, a few household props.