Post # 1
Any tips for beginning to cook? I do know how to cook a little, a few recipes, that are easy. I am not really the bake entirely from scratch type of person though, unless it’s easy/simple. I just feel overwhelmed when I look at even the easiest recipes online. I also don’t know how to create side dishes etc. Any advice on where/how to start? I don’t even really have a cookbook. I have a couple but never used them. No one gave me a cookbook for my showers either.
I was thinking of trying to cook at least twice a week at first. We can’t keep eating out/frozen food all the time. My other problem is that we go through food so fast because my DH has a big appetite. I feel like we always need to run to the grocery store.
Anyways, I am looking for any easy, healthy recipes that I could cook easily and gather ingredients easily in a grocery store. Any suggestions, sites, recipes, you would like to share?
I just feel guilty that I am a non-cooking wife right now.
Post # 3
foodnetwork.com has so many recipes. Sandra Lee has a show called Semi Homemade on foodnework which, like the name states, has you use items that are semi made or made but then add other things to it to create a home cooked meal. Most of those recipes are based on the episode so they will have complementary recipes for sides or other items to go with it.
My one advice when using recipes, make sure you read it over at least once before cooking. I’ve cooked before fully reading the recipe and I’ve missed something here and there and the recipe didn’t turn out the right way. Once I tried it again though, it would come out great.
Also, don’t get discouraged. If it’s something you really want to do you can do it. I also recommend the movie Ratatouille. The motto in it is “Anyone can cook!” (It’s also a really cute movie lol)
Post # 4
allrecipes.com is an excellant resource for recipes. It has a ton of recipes that you can try in many different skill levels.
Post # 5
skinnytaste.com has some great, easy, healthy recipes.
I don’t really cook either- luckily, DH loves to cook, so he does the majority of it. My cooking skills are non-existent unless I have a recipe to follow- I can’t make anything up on my own.
If you haven’t already, invest in a crockpot. They’re only like, $30. There are a lot of recipes for crockpots that just include, “Open cans. Pour into crockpot. Turn on low for 6 hours.” Then voila- dinner!
Post # 6
Real Simple has a ton of really easy to follow recipes. They have a section for easy weeknight meals and recipes that use 5 or less ingredients.
Post # 7
Start by buying a cookbook. Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (it has a red & white cover) is a good starter cookbook.
Try to make a goal to make 1 new recipe a week. You’ll mess up sometimes, that’s fine, EVERYONE MESSES UP WHILE LEARNING! Like learning any new skill, practice makes perfect.
Also, watch Food TV. Some things a cookbook doesn’t describe well in writing, but watching someone doing you’ll be like “oh, that’s what they mean!”
Post # 8
I 2nd the Home and Gardens cookbook. I also purchased How to Cook Everything for my FI. It’s helped him in understanding the basics.
Some recipes fail to include simple instruction like “grease the pan” but after you’ve forgotten to do that once, you’ll likely never do it again.
It takes practice so just get in there and you’ll figure it out.
Post # 9
Don’t be afraid to alter the recipe. I think a lot of people get hung up on them not having all the same ingredients that the recipe calls for. But spices you can switch around, veggies you can switch around, mostly everything can be altered depending on what you have. I’d start with some easy all-in-one meals, where you don’t have to worry about side dishes. Cook up some pasta and then in a frying pan start grilling up some garlic and onions (in oil on medium heat), then throw in whatever other cut up veggies. Once the veggies are cooked up stir is some tomato sauce and spices and you’ve got a bit nicer pasta dish (especially covered in cheese).
Couscous is also super simple to cook up with grilled veggies and meat. Alot of times we’ll just make a simple soy/peanut butter sauce or something along those lines to make it flavorful.
I think I’d try to learn sauces – those are usually the most finicky yet flavorful parts of a meal, so once you learn those everything else is pretty easy to switch around.
Post # 10
First – I think the biggest problem that people have is overcoming the fear of being a “bad cook” or someone who “can’t cook”. You CAN cook – 90% of cooking techniques are not difficult and do not require special equipment – but like anything else, you get better as you do it. Most people are not great cooks until they actually start cooking.
“The Joy of Cooking” is old school, but its great for real basic stuff. It has almost everything in it – from super basic stuff like how to bake a potato and cook meat properly, has tons of side dish options, has lots of different salad dressings, sauces, etc. Its great for building a basic cooking foundation.
Real food will fill up your DH better than processed foods or fast foods will. There will be an adjustment period for your palates if you eat mostly processed/prepared foods now because those typically use much more sodium and fat than you will use in cooking.
One of the easiest ways to prepare veggies (especially winter veggies) is roasting them. Oven at around 400, peel and chop white potatoes and sweet potatoes up into bite size pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl, then put them onto a baking pan and bake them until they are crispy on the edges, and cooked in the middle. Other veggies this method works well for: parsnips (similar flavor to a potato, but a little sweeter), asparagus, brussel sprouts, winter squash, etc. If you like things like roasted butternut squash soup – roast the squash like above, then puree it in a blender or food processor with a little chicken stock. Warm in a pot on the stovetop (don’t boil, just warm over low heat), add a little milk/cream and chicken stock until its at the consistency you like, and season to taste. Easy!
Post # 11
I agree with the crockpot suggestion. You can’t go wrong with a crockpot! Just dump all the stuff in and let it do all the work. Perhaps you could start with that? There are so many delicious meals you can make using a crockpot.
My favorite recipe website is allrecipes.com Lots of great tips and recipes. I think the best way to learn to cook is just to keep doing it. After lots of practice (and mistakes! They will happen!) it’ll get easier and you’ll become more comfortable in the kitchen. 🙂
Post # 12
I agree with allrecipes.com and skinnytaste.com. Both are a wealth of information. I find the recipes on skinnytaste are quick, simple and DELICIOUS.
For a favourite cookbook, I highly recommend the Everyday Food series from Martha Stewart. There are two of them (I prefer the first, Great Food Fast) and the food is really delicious and easy to do. She has tips at the front for how to cook basic items, techniques etc. There’s also an Everyday Food magazine which I get that’s awesome. It has shopping lists, etc in it. It’s all based on people without a lot of time on their hands, so it’s not something complicated that will take you all day.
Post # 13
Just a suggestion if you use a website like allrecipes.com – LOOK AT THE REVIEWS! I rarely make anything with few reviews, and always check to see what they say. Once I made a potato dish from there without looking, only to look after and see that they said it took over twice as long to bake it.
The thing you will probably have the most issues with at first is timing. Does your husband cook? Often we make meals together so that timing is never an issue (that way if something I’m making is labour intensive, my husband can jump in and start a side dish etc). And don’t worry about elaborate side dishes; even steaming some veggies is great (and healthy).
Post # 14
@abbyful: I couldn’t agree with you more!
Definitely start off by getting yourself either the Better Home & Garden’s cookbook, or a Betty Crocker cookbook! In the front of those, it will explain all of the different methods of cooking and measuring so that you can familiarize yourself with cooking terminology.
And definitely don’t be afraid if you make a mistake! I’ve been cooking for YEARS, and just the other day, I made something that just plain sucked. If that’s the case, try something different!
Also, since you said that your FI eats a ton, try cooking so that it serves more than just the two of you – as long as you’re ok with leftovers. I often cook on a Sunday and cook larger meals so that we have them for the week.
Start off with simple recipes that just sound yummy! And break them apart. Read up on the recipe before you begin to make things. Read each step carefully, and look back to it often when you’re first starting. Make sure you have all of the ingredients on hand, and sometimes it helps to have them pre-measured and out in bowls in front of you so that you can quickly add them if the recipe calls for that. The key is the preparation beforehand. As you get better and faster at cooking, you can always skip part of the preparation when you get comfortable later.
Post # 15
I also agree with crockpot recips! Try 365crockpot.blogspot.com – all you do is throw in some ingredients, set a timer and a few hours later you have a delicious meal!
Post # 16
Oh the crockpot is so easy! You don’t even have to do much, just throw everything in for a half day/full day and you have food ready for you later on!
I really like Tasty Kitchen. There is so much on there. Sometimes it gets overwhelming though!
At first it’s hard because you have to go out and buy all the spices since you don’t have any, but after a while you will build up enough to stock up your kitchen so the only things you will have to get are meats and dairy and things when they run out.