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Recipes for those just learning how to cook.

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
We have a lot of people who have mentioned wanting to learn how to cook better in recent threads. I thought I'd start a thread with recipes for beginning (or intermediate) to learn how to cook that we've tried and had great results with.

That's the only requirement. It has to be a recipe you've actually made several times enough to know that if the recipe is followed faithfully the results are good. If you deviate from the recipe, please specify deviations.

I strongly feel that every couple should be able to cook one "company" meal. Here's the meal I recommend to beginners. Watch the video as many time as you need to.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/perfect-roast-chicken-recipe.html

If you don't like fennel, make a very simple substitution of 6-10 (depending on size) of new potatoes (red or gold), sliced in half (or if the potatoes are on the larger side then in quarters, instead of the fennel. That's all. You can also just ADD the potatoes (keeping the fennel if you like it) to make this a one dish meal.

Why this recipe? I've tried all kinds of roast chicken recipes. This is the best and easiest recipe. It is a complete meal in ONE dish (especially if you use the potatoes).

It has a wonderful easy to follow video. ( I melt my butter in the microwave though) and I don't use my metal roasting pan, I use this: https://www.amazon.com/Cornigware-French-Oblong-Casserole-3-Quart/dp/B009CVV4QC/ref=sr_1_sc_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1472354235&sr=8-9-spell&keywords=coringware+dish+baking+white A basic 3 quart size casserole dish works too. Like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019FHD0FK?psc=1

It's pretty idiot proof. And everyone (who eats meat) loves it. Serve with a salad and you are good to go.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Oct 11, 2011
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5,495
Ah, this isn't a single recipe, but when I moved into my first apartment, an online acquaintance recommended this cookbook, and I have made numerous recipes from this successfully (high praise since I am a nearly hopeless cook):

https://www.amazon.com/Going-Solo-Kitchen-Jane-Doerfer/dp/0375703934/

It's really good because not only does it not assume you know a lot of things that most cookbooks seem to assume you know, but it ALSO tells you what to do with the leftovers, and gives little recipe add-ons for second night, third night, etc, if the recipe is too big to eat all at once.

I make this cucumber salad (or similar) fairly regularly:

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/cucumber-salad/aff7166e-e3f7-4d87-9dc3-22368cf04332

You can do exactly the same one with a number of fruits and vegetables. We did it with plum the other night and it was really good. I don't actually use sugar in it. Sometimes I add olive oil. Sometimes different herbs instead of dill. I use whatever vinegar is on the counter and don't particularly fuss about the type. You don't reaaalllly need the recipe, you can just kind of throw it together with whatever you've got on hand and it usually tastes good. I am really alarmed by deviations from the recipe but I'm fine with this. It's nice to do this with cucumbers, a chopped fruit salad, and a basic sandwich, and you feel like you've got a pretty fancy meal (plus you can easily have enough to last several days).
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Jul 7, 2013
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5,634
Hmmm, difficult for me as I tend not to follow recipes. I would read up on recipes that inspire me, and then add my own variations to suit my taste.

Similar to how I approach designing jewellery for myself! :naughty: :bigsmile:

Looking forward to read about everyone's contributions to this thread.

And I love the Food Network/channel.

DK :))
 

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Mar 2, 2013
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6,043
Another recipe everyone should have in their food wheelhouse - a good bread loaf! And who doesn't love the smell of fresh bread baking? :naughty: I make the no-knead bread a few times a month. It is easy, consistent, and requires only four ingredients and 5mins of prep, but a little advance planning to allow for the proofing period. It really is perfect for any beginner or experienced cook.

This video outlines the no-knead and an almost no-knead recipe & process side by side, and is really good for a beginner to watch as it goes slowly, step by step.

https://youtu.be/_1CKVcXe06A

I have made it in a Dutch oven, as well as just in a cast iron skillet, reducing the cooking time slightly since the skillet is not covered, but also keeping the rack in the lower part of the oven. I have sprinkled Rosemary or roasted garlic to the top prior to baking for a savory flavor as well as more artisan look when serving. But it's just fabulous as-is.

I had bought a high-end bread machine, and it has sat unused for almost two years now thanks to this recipe & method, as it is FARRRR tastier than any bread machine loaf I ever made.

Enjoy! :wavey:
 

Elizabeth35

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
366
Great idea Gypsy, and a roast chicken with potatoes or fennel is a great choice for either company or family dinner!

For those who are uncertain about testing for doneness, I recommend pop-up timers.
Use 160 degree for chicken, placed in thickest part of the breast. Super inexpensive on eBay---we use them all the time and found them very reliable.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pop-Up-Disposable-Cooking-Thermometers-18pcs-per-pack-/140561997471?var=&hash=item20ba25de9f:m:mtNp-GL3BQ6H9WMdCqSWISA

I recommend Ina's Herb-marinated loin of Pork---a great weeknight meal for those who work because you marinate in AM and it only takes 15-20 minutes on the grill. I cut the lemon juice in half (to 1 T.). You can use the 138 degree pop up timer.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/herb-marinated-pork-tenderloins-recipe.html
I serve with wild/brown rice mix and salad--everyone loves this and I would be comfortable serving this to company.

For another make ahead meal---Ina's baked shrimp scampi is fabulous and also company worthy.
I make in the AM and it needs only 10-15 minutes to heat up.
Serve with crusty bread (for sopping up pan juices :D ) and a salad.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/baked-shrimp-scampi-recipe.html
 

momhappy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
4,660
Here's a fairly easy recipe for chicken & jasmine rice:
One bag jasmine tea
One chicken bouillon cube
One TBLSP butter
1/2 cup onion (chopped)
3/4 cup jasmine rice (uncooked)
Approx. 2 1/2 lbs of skinless chicken
Pepper and/or salt to taste

Add jasmine tea bag to 1 1/2 cup hot water and let it steep for a couple of minutes. Remove tea bag and add bouillon cube to tea & dissolve. Heat large frying pan over high heat and add butter. Add chicken (I use skinless breasts and thighs) in a single layer and cook about 4 min. on each side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add chopped onion to frying pan (the same one you just used to brown chicken) and sauté it for about a minute. Mix in uncooked rice, salt/pepper if desired, and tea/bouillon mixture. Arrange chicken (again in a single layer) on top and bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about a half hour. Remove from heat and let stand covered for about 10 min before serving.
*sometimes I steep two tea bags to bump up the flavor a little bit
 

redwood66

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
7,008
Thanks for this Gypsy and everyone! I am one of "those" people. :lol:
 

boerumbiddy

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2013
Messages
529
There's a terrific book by Craig Claiborne, "Kitchen Primer," that a friend of mine used to become a really good cook, almost professional, in easy stages: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009MARYOE/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
As you can see, use copies are available for almost nothing. She just worked her way through it, recipe by recipe. Her husband, needless to say, was delighted! It doesn't actually start with boiling water, but its first real recipe is how to boil an egg. (You don't, you simmer it!)
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
dk168|1472377855|4070820 said:
Hmmm, difficult for me as I tend not to follow recipes. I would read up on recipes that inspire me, and then add my own variations to suit my taste.

Similar to how I approach designing jewellery for myself! :naughty: :bigsmile:

Looking forward to read about everyone's contributions to this thread.

And I love the Food Network/channel.

DK :))
I am the aame way. I cook from recipe maybe 10℅ of the time. Although I bake with recipes.90℅ of the time.

But I do like Ina Garten's recipes so I follow hers closely.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
On the funny side of things, there is this (I would not actually make ANY of these recipes and several of them are frankly FRIGHTENING like the cream cheese spaghetti bake that would literally have me running from anyone who put this in front of me).

http://distractify.com/food/2016/09/01/basic-cookbook-ftw


Again, do NOT try those recipes. They are missing several key components-- none of the recipes mention how much salt or pepper to add, which is a VERY important thing for beginning cooks-- and/or have questionable ingredients, period.
 

ksinger

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Messages
5,078
I learned to cook gradually while growing up, which means I am a good cook with cooking techniques learned early and just…there. My husband is also a better than average cook. But trust me when I say this was not always the case. He decided to do a teach-yourself adult crash course of sorts, and learned in his early to mid 30s. While he has since graduated to things like whipping siphons, sous vide, and Chef’s Steps (which annoys the crap out of me because all recipes there weigh EVERYTHING, including water) and Serious Eats sites, these are the books he swears by, that helped him along the way and which he still drags out on occasion. He now gifts them to anyone who expresses interest in cooking. The first one is for the total greenhorn, the second is a good general reference with cooking times, substitutions, fixes, etc.

How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart
https://www.amazon.com/How-Cook-Without-Book-Techniques/dp/0767902793/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473078391&sr=8-1&keywords=cooking+without+a+cookbook

The Kitchen Companion: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking and the Kitchen
https://www.amazon.com/Kitchen-Companion-Ultimate-Guide-Cooking/dp/0942320441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473078496&sr=8-1&keywords=kitchen+companion

I’m pondering on a recipe to contribute. Since I don’t follow recipes closely, except for baking, like some others here, I’m having a bit of a struggle to think of a recipe.

I’ll get back to this thread…
 

Asscherhalo_lover

Ideal_Rock
Trade
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Aug 16, 2007
Messages
4,624

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
10,226
I don't have a specific recipe, but a cookbook recommendation. The physical kind, with real paper and all. I know, totally old school - and what's more, you'd have to search for it because it's long out of print. The upside is that it should be easy to find an inexpensive copy online.

The cookbook is "Easy Basics for Good Cooking" by Sunset Magazine, 1982. It has lots of great basic recipes, and lots of illustrations to help you learn basic techniques. One of my brothers learned to cook from this cookbook. I keep it around for both recipes and techniques. Look for the hard-cover, spiral-bound version.

ETA - I know there are lots of detailed, illustrated recipes available online, and I've used a lot of them. But sometimes it's nice to be able to leaf through a book, and find yourself tempted to make something that would never have occurred to you to look for...
 
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