Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Learn the Way Young Jedi

Well, I have to admit, it's been a while since Yahoo! inspired a post for me, but I came across this article "Cooking for Dummies: What to Cook if You Never Cook" and I thought this was a worthy article to appear on such a prestigious blog (I kid).

But I realize that everyone who reads may not be an experienced chef ... I am far from professional but I have been honing in on my skills for some time now. Below are some tips that the article offers up for new wannabe cooks and then I decided to throw in my two cents at the end as well.

Reason 1: You don’t like to cook.
Solution: Make Smoky Ham & Corn Salad. If you want to start off really slowly, try a recipe that doesn’t actually involve any cooking at all. You’re just pulling a few ingredients together in bowl and wham! There’s a mouthwatering dinner on the table without even turning on your stove.
Cuisine Queen: My recommendation here is to think back to dishes you absolutely LOVED when you were growing up. Wouldn't you want to have that again? That alone is enough to get me cooking. But if you can't think of anything, this is definitely a good tip. Things like Israeli salad, three bean salads, and other no-cook recipes are definitely a great way to get that first foot in the kitchen.

Reason 2: You’re intimidated.
Solution: Make Whole-Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken on a Bed of Vegetables. Roasting a whole bird for beginners??? Yup. Try this one if you’re stuck entertaining a few folks and you’re feeling intimidated. This recipe doesn’t involve anything fancy. Just cut up some vegetables, make a rub for the chicken, and throw it all in the pan as is. No fancy tucking or tying the wings or legs. And the flavor is phenomenal.
Cuisine Queen: This is definitely an easy solution. It is easy to cook a whole chicken - just give it a nice rub and your done. Other super easy ideas that don't require too much skill are meat loafs, pork chops, or 1 dish bakes like a chicken potato bake. The less ingredients/dishes, the better when you are feeling a little cooking-fright.

Reason 3: It’s too complicated.
Solution: 5-Spice Tilapia. If you never cook, maybe you’re afraid of the never-ending pile of ingredients on your kitchen counter. If that’s the case, try a 5-ingredient dinner like this one. Full-flavored, with only 5 ingredients. How simple is that?
Cuisine Queen: Agreed! This relates to the above reason as well. Good solutions here are foil packets - just take some foul, throw in whatever it is your cooking (protein,veggies, potatoes and all) and put it in the over or the grill and viola! Done.

Reason 4: You’re afraid of ruining the meal.
Solution: Are you afraid of overcooking something? Or actually burning something because you left it in the oven or on the stove and forgot it was there? Invest in a slow cooker. It’s a fool proof way to whip up delicious meals like BBQ Pulled Chicken with little effort. Many slow cookers have a mechanism that switches to a warm setting, so even if you do get distracted dinner will make it to the table unscathed.
Cuisine Queen: Slow cookers are amazing and definitely prevent the ruining of the meal. But you can't slow cook things all the time, so in my opinion, face your fear. Get together with a friend (they can either be experienced or inexperienced) and cook together, that way if the meal is ruined, you and your friend can laugh about it later, clean up the dishes while you wait for delivery and give it a shot another time.

Reason 5: You don’t have enough time.
Solution: If you never cook because you don’t think you have enough time, try this delicious Black Bean Quesadilla . Yes, it is possible to have an ooey-gooey dinner in only 15 minutes—about the same amount of time it would take you to order a sandwich or pizza at the local takeout place.
Cuisine Queen: Even as someone who cooks regularly, I still use quesdillas as a go-to when I am pressed for time. I also make quesadillas when I have some stuff in the fridge that i need to get rid of before going bad. They are sort of an anything-goes meal because let's be honest - what doesn't taste good in a tortilla surrounded by melted cheese. Another quick and easy meal is to make a pan-pizza. Simply take a tortilla, cover it with sauce, cheese and whatever toppings, plop it in a sprayed pan and cook until the cheese melts.
Simple and easy, eh?

To read to the full article (with recipes), go to:


Margie said...

Definitley some great suggestions for the new cook or one who is not confident.

Anonymous said...

That's a good article. I actually know quite a few peeps who are "afraid" to cook. I can't imagine it. I plow headfirst into cooking like its my job. :p

Jill said...

Me too - put me in a kitchen with fresh ingredients and pots/pans and I could keep myself busy for HOURS!

Sam the G said...

When I was in the 3rd grade, I belonged to a cooking club. The first thing we made was a english muffin pizza. Back then there weren't microwaves or slow cookers - all we had was fire.

Good work Queen. Once again you have addressed the key issue. So for all of you on the sidelines, take a deep breath, pick up a pan or awhatever and get to work.