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Author Topic: Recipes for someone who has never cooked  (Read 21917 times)

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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2012, 09:04:14 PM »
Here's something really easy:

1 jar your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 bag your favorite pasta (spaghetti, tri colored rotini, shells, whatever)
(basically enough for your family, however much that is)
Per jar of sauce:
1 cucumber
1 regular tomato or three roma tomatoes
1 bell pepper (green, red, orange, yellow, whatever you like)
1 small onion

Chop up all the vegetables.

Then you have two options.

1.  Put the vegetables into a skillet with a little of your favorite oil (olive, corn, whatever).  Heat and brown the vegetables just a little bit. Pour the sauce onto them and stir it all up and let it all get hot.

2.  Put the sauce into a deeper, regular pan and put the vegetables in the pan with it.  Heat it to a boil then turn the heat down and let it simmer until all the vegetables cook down into the sauce, about 20 minutes, or about as long as it takes to prepare and cook the pasta and get it ready for sauce.

Option two works well in a slow cooker as well, on the high setting for about an hour.

Either way, prepare the pasta according to the package directions or to your taste, then pour the jazzed up sauce over the pasta and serve, with parmasan cheese if desired.

The vegetable combination can be varied according to your taste, and basically, as long as you don't let the stuff burn, it will taste good, just different, and you might like it more or less depending on how cooked you like your vegetables in the sauce.

But if I can make it, anybody can.


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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2012, 09:12:26 PM »
My SO has never cooked, was never taugh.  I've gotten him to start cooking and he was good with tacos, a pizza kit and salad, and heating things up in the oven.  He has made some other things and he is constantly checking YouTube for videos, which he always seems to find. (How to brown meat, How to cook a lobster tail, etc.)  Maybe you could make at least one or 2 casseroles for him to heat up with some salad or a vegetable on the side?


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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2012, 09:46:51 PM »
A couple other recipes. I warn you, my family does not produce stellar cooks--we like things pretty simple and bland. So you might need to adjust to jazz them up a little. Also, I'm not sure if you'll consider them healthy enough--I don't think of them as UNhealthy...

Spaghetti can be super-easy. Boil water, add spaghetti, stir occasionally, taste occasionally to make sure it's done the way you want. At the same time, brown some ground beef in a pot. This is pretty easy, too, you just keep chopping it into bits with your spatula and make sure all the pink goes away (obviously you know this, I'm just saying, even as a non-cook I can handle this). Once the hamburger is browned, turn the temp down and pour a jar of spaghetti sauce over it. This can be left simmering as long as it takes the pasta to cook. You can also add other stuff to the sauce/meat mixture--we like to add canned mushrooms for whatever reason. Then you just put some spaghetti on a plate and top with sauce + meat.

Our chili is a rather similar thing, but with more ingredients. Brown the meat, then start adding stuff like seasoned chili beans, tomato paste, tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, mushrooms--all from cans, one can of each. Add more tomato paste if it's too runny. Let it simmer. It really doesn't take that long to make.

The great thing with these recipes is you can make a lot at once, and the leftovers are really good. If anything it gets even better later. And, it's flexible, so you can throw in extra herbs and spices and veggies as desired (which I bet most people probably would!).


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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2012, 09:50:02 PM »
For a really novice cook, I'd stick with things that didn't involve a lot of steps or finicky timing, and that doesn't involve multiple dishes. So the suggestions below tend to rely heavily on salads and microwaved vegetables for sides. Pre-washing and peeling the vegetables at the beginning of the week will save time there. The microwaved vegetables can be served with

Some ideas for really simple, healthy meals:

Baked chicken legs, skin on, and sprinkled with cumin and salt (or chili powder, or curry powder) is something I find much easier than boneless skinless, as it doesn't dry out as easily, and the skin gives more flavour.  You could do baked potatoes in the same oven, and serve with a salad, and microwaved broccoli for a healthy and easy meal. You'd need to give him times and temperatures for the potatoes and chicken, and for microwaving the broccoli.

For another night, pasta with ground beef and jarred tomato sauce, salad, and microwaved green beans on the side.

Another really easy pasta dish, good in hot weather - boil pasta, something small and chunky by preference.  While the pasta cooks, chop up some fresh tomatoes, feta cheese, black olives, canned artichoke hearts, some white mushrooms, green onions, cucumber, and  fresh basil or parsley. Drain a can of chickpeas and juice a lemon. Drain the pasta, rinse briefly with cold water, and toss with all the other ingredients, plus some olive oil, salt and pepper, and a small bit of fresh garlic if you want. This is basically a meal in itself, but you could make up a can of soup as a starter. There are lots of ingredients, but the preparation is basically just chopping stuff.

If your budget stretches to it, steak is pretty easy to grill (give him a time/side) and it doesn't matter if it's under-done (unlike chicken and pork). Serve with salad, some microwaved vegetables, and a loaf of bread.

One easy but fun meal - cut up boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bit sized pieces.  Sautee in a frying pan with olive oil on medium heat until well browned.  Cut up a bunch of vegetables into sticks.  Buy some pitas, and cut them up.  Serve the above with various dipping sauces, preferably eaten in front of the TV with a favourite DVD. For dipping sauces - mix Dijon mustard and honey for a honey mustard sauce, use creamy Caesar dressing, or jarred salsa, or mayonaise, or ketchup, or buy some hummus, or some hot sauce. [I came up with this meal when I realized that what I really liked about chicken nuggets was the dipping sauces, not the unidentifiable breaded chicken bits]


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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2012, 10:06:42 PM »
You mentioned that you don't like fish, but other family members do.  So, agreeing with a PP that baked fish is an easy and good way to go.  For many fish fillets, your DH could use some yogurt (unflavored) mix in desired seasoning - or just some salt and lemon juice, dip fish fillets in yogurt mixture then roll in breadcrumbs and bake in 350F oven for 30 minutes (might need more time for really thick fillets).

Coating the fillets in yogurt (or yogurt mixed with mayo) lessens the likelihood the fillets dry out, and can let him include some seasoning or herb.
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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2012, 10:25:35 PM »
Here's something else I just remembered.  Chicken (whole chicken, boneless breasts, parts of your choosing) cooked in a crock pot with various kinds of soups (don't dilute the soups) is really good.

For example, two cans of broccoli cheese soup (or one can cream of broccoli soup and one can of cheese soup) cooked with some chicken.  Just before serving, cook a bag of frozen broccoli and put on top of it.  Garnish with shredded cheese of your choice if desired.

Here's another, and yes, it came out of looking for what a meal could be made out of according to what was in the cabinet already.  I tried this and it worked really well.  Two cans cream of celery soup on the chicken, with a can of sliced carrots (heated and drained) before serving.

I bet there are all kinds of interesting combinations there.


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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2012, 10:29:26 PM »
South of the Border Oven-Fried Chicken

Chicken parts (breasts, thighs, drumsticks)
1 jar Goya Recaito
1 jar Goya Salsa Verde (medium)
Plain bread crumbs
Adobo seasoning
olive oil

Marinate chicken in equal parts recaito and salsa for 1-2 hours (the two jars will take care of about a dozen assorted pieces).  Preheat oven to 400 degrees, lightly coat bottom of oven pans with olive oil, and place in oven.  Mix dry ingredients together in bowl.

When removing chicken from marinade, be sure pieces are well-coated.  Coat with bread crumb and adobo mixture and place in oven pans.  Turn pieces carefully after 15-20 minutes to brown on all sides.  Breast pieces may take a little longer than drumsticks. 

Serve with any Goya rice side dish (just follow instructions on box) and a green salad.


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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2012, 10:33:08 PM »
Does he know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich? There are ways to jazz that up also.  I like to get a package of sliced american cheese and a package of sliced swiss cheese and use one of each.  If you're careful, you can put a single slice of ham in there also, and even a thin slice of tomato (though depending on how "cooked" you like your tomatoes, you might want to pull the sandwich apart and put the tomato in after cooking instead).   Ranch dressing is a good side, if you like ranch dressing.


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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2012, 11:26:31 PM »
Lasagna, easy-button style:
One box lasagna noodles
One pound of italian blend cheese
One big jar of spaghetti sauce
Optional: 1/2 pound of ground beef

Follow package directions on box of lasagna noodles.
Turn the oven on to preheat at 350.
Lay a layer of noodles on the bottom of 9x13 pan.
Pour 1/3 of the jar of sauce onto the noodles.
Dump 1/3 of the cheese on top of that.
Put another layer of noodles on top of that.
Repeat until you run out of stuff.
Put the pan in the oven and leave it there for 20 minutes. 

With meat:
Brown ground beef while cooking noodles.  Mix with sauce in a bowl.  Go back to the other directions.

Peanut Butter Pie, stupidly easy:

1 16 Jar of Peanut Butter - not chunky!
2 16 oz containers of cool whip (store brand works for this.)  MOVE THEM FROM THE FREEZER TO THE FRIDGE IN THE MORNING AND MAKE THIS RECIPE AT NIGHT.
1 graham cracker or oreo pie crust.

Mix the jar of peanut butter and one of the two containers of cool whip.  Put the mixture in the pie crust.  Put the other container of cool whip on top of the pie filling.

Baked chicken nuggets:

Panko bread crumbs

Turn the oven to 400.
Cut up chicken into small pieces.
Put flour, salt, and pepper into a ziploc.  Wet the chicken pieces with water and then put them in the ziploc and shake.
Take the pieces out of the ziploc.  They should be covered in flour now.
Fill another ziploc with the breadcrumbs. 
Pour a little milk into a plate.  Put the chicken pieces individually onto the plate so they're wet with milk.  Make sure they're completely wet and then throw them into the baggie with the breadcrumbs and shake.  Take the pieces out of the baggie and put them on a cookie sheet or in a shallow pan or something.  This recipe isn't particularly cookware-specific.
When all the pieces are breaded, the oven should be preheated.  Bake the chicken for 10-12 minutes.  Nugget-sized pieces of chicken cook quickly :)

Weirdly good sauce for fish, chicken, and pork:
1 part mayonnaise
1 part apricot preserves
1/4 part green (Jalapeno) Tabasco sauce
Mix :)  That's it.


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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2012, 03:38:36 AM »
What about some stirfy? Quick and easy. Just buy a bag of stirfry veggies, some meat,  and maybe cans of water chestnuts or whatever else they like, cook it up and enjoy. he can even use bottled sauces ready to go.


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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2012, 04:40:04 AM »
This is the super-easy first date meal I teach girlfriends who can't cook, but want to feed the guy they've invited over. :)

Creme fraiche
Plum tomatoes
pine nuts

Boil the penne until done. Drain and toss back into pot (superlow heat). Pour a cup of creme fraiche, and half a cup of pesto into the pot with the penne and stir until evenly mixed and warm. Slice the tomatoes finely. Put the pasta on a plate, decorate with the tomatoes, drizzle some pinenuts over it, and put the prosciutto on top.

It depends on the kids, but most adults like it, it's fast, and not spicy or anything.
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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2012, 08:36:46 AM »
Another one that is good, if you have a rice cooker (with a steamer):

Throw appropriate amount of rice & water (or broth) into rice cooker. Put on steamer pan. Toss on a couple of salt & peppered chicken breasts. Top with mixed, larger frozen veggies (like broccoli, zucchini, etc.). Put on lid, turn on rice cooker. Get distracted for 20 minutes. Return to a cooked meal that just needs some teriyaki sauce drizzled on it. Can be jazzed up with unlimited spices and sauces.
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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2012, 09:19:50 AM »
This is my go-to quick ez meal.

Spread a box of stove-top stuffing in a baking dish. Top with cut up chicken pieces (I always use breasts but whatever pieces the family likes will work). Pour a whole bottle of beer (minus a sip or two for the cook if desired) on top. Season chicken as desired -- can be as simple as S&P or add garlic powder or whatever spices sound good. Bake one hour. Serve with salad or any quick easy side veggie.

This takes about five minutes to throw together and it tastes delicious. The hardest part is making a salad!


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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2012, 09:33:27 AM »
To avoid the hassle of boiled fingers and torn, sticky-together lasagna noodles, you can assemble it with uncooked noodles. Add a little extra water to the sauce, and the noodles cook in the pan.
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Re: Recipes for someone who has never cooked
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2012, 09:49:02 AM »
POD the idea of baked chicken legs.  I do baked chicken thighs.  Just sprinke salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and whatever other seasonings you like.  Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.  Done.  Serve with microwaved string beans or some pasta with butter and cheese.