My favorite veggie (making it tonight, actually!) and SUPER easy-- roasted Brussels sprouts.
Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 400 degrees. Take a bunch of whole Brussels sprouts and put in a 9x13 pan. (You can cut them in half if you want, but it's not necessary.) Pour in a glug or two of herbed olive oil, add some sea salt, stir to coat, and put in the oven. Stir every 15 minutes or so and roast
until browned and tender, about 30 minutes. MMMNOMNOMNOM
YES! – We eat this probably once a week at my house – Hubby who “hates Brussels sprouts” (and we live in Brussels sprout country) really likes them this way. I have shared this method with friends and family who all report a new love for Brussels spouts when prepared this way. Crispy, roasty, savory, and not bitter at all. Really really good.
Lots of your favorite veggies, cut to bite-sized pieces (I use frozen ones b/c I'm lazy)
BUTTER (1 tbs per 2 cups of veggies, approximately - too much is always better than too little)
Spices (at least salt and pepper)
Put the butter in a skillet and melt it slowly. Then add the veggies, lightly coat them in the butter, and spice them. I use salt, pepper, garlic salt, and pretty much everything else in my pantry. If you can find a greek spice named Cavender's, it's perfect for this. Otherwise, play with the spices. Cook the veggies, stirring every minute or so, until they have a bit of char on them and are all hot and delicious. Serve over pasta, as a side dish, or even as most of a meal.
I love making quiche, so here's my basic formula for one, even though it's not really cooking.
1 crust (find a good recipe or be lazy and buy the premade ones like I do)
3/4 cup or so half and half
1 cup or more cheese
Delicious filling (12 bacon strips, 1 cut up sausage, 1/2 pound taco meat, whatever)
Preheat your oven to about 400 F.
Put crust in pie plate. Put filling (if cool) in bottom of crust. Mix eggs and half and half. Spice (I use Tony Cachere's) as you wish. Put down about 1 cup of cheese over filling. Add egg/half and half mixture. If the crust isn't full, mix another egg and 1/4 cup of half and half and mix into the quiche. Brush the crust with the egg/half and half mixture so it won't burn. Bake for 30-45 minutes (until center is set, not jiggly).
I'm more of a baker than a cook, so most of my recipes include baking, but I can see what my boyfriend likes to cook and get you approximate recipes if you'd like (we tend to wing things, going based on smell and look when we can't taste them, but most of all tasting everything that's safe to eat when not fully cooked).
Pea Soup in crockpot
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups dried peas (I like a mixture of yellow and green), rinsed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 ham hock, smoked or cured (either from your farmer`s market, or found near cooked hams and bacon in the supermarket)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. herbs (your choice: terragon, thyme, oregano, mustard seeds, rosemary)
(optional) 1 potato, diced
(optional) 1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed
water (or broth)
Rinse peas. Chop onion and sautee in olive oil until clear. Put in crock pot. Add carrots, peas, ham hock, minced garlic, potato. Cover with water (or broth), roughly 4 cups, and bay leaf. Stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Check that liquid isn`t evaporating too much, if you don`t have a tight seal on the crock pot (if it is, add more liquid).
Remove ham hock to cutting board. Using fork & knife, pull meat off bone, discard gristle and fat. Chop meat into small pieces, add back to soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh bread.
Foil on oven-proof dish
drizzle the following on top:
approx. 2 tbsp. lemon juice
approx. 1 tbsp. soy sauce (optional)
approx. 2 tbsp maple syrup (or brown sugar)
Wrap fish in foil, bake at 400*F for approximately 15-20 minutes. To make sure it's cooked, check that fish is flaking off with fork (should be opaque pastel pink, not a clear jelly pink). Fish will easily separate from skin.
Serve with rice & vegetables. This is a very light and delicate flavoured dish.
You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng
Put into a skillet to cook for 10 minutes and stir ...
4c zuchinni (cut however you want, I prefer finely chopped or grated. You can also subsitute some yellow summer squash)
1c onions, finely chopped
Then add 1/4 tsp each of salt, pepper, basil, oregano, garlic powder and 1c finely chopped spinach (optional)
After that is mixed, add 2 eggs and stir. Turn off heat, then add 8 oz shredded mozzerella and stir
In an 8 x 13 baking dish, spread out a layer of Crescent Roll dough. Brush a coating of mustard (I used Honey Dijon) over dough.
Pour mixture over dough, spread evenly. You can add more shredded mozzerella if desired, then top with a good sprinkle of parmesan cheese(also optional)
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, then let stand to cool for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to cut. Cut into squares and serve.
This was my moms recipe and I doctored it a bit. There's very rarely any left (it's one of those eat til you're about to pop meals) but it makes awesome leftovers too!
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6 cups of water
2+ cups of carrots, diced
2 cups of split peas, dry
1 cup diced ham
1 bouillon cube (skip this if you're watching sodium, and/or use less ham)
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
Put it all in a big pot, covered, and bring to a quiet boil. Put the cover on the pot lightly so it lets the steam escape and cook for about an hour, or until the peas are as mushy as you like them. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on it, because it's possible to cook off all the water and scorch it if you're not paying attention. I will sometimes cook it for about 45 minutes then let it sit on the back of the stove for a while to finish thickening with its own internal heat. Don't try to make it in the pressure cooker!
Use a deep pie dish like you'd use for quiche, or a casserole dish.
Pat leftover rice into the dish to make a "crust" - about a cup.
Add vegetables of choice: broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, spinach. Smaller pieces work better. Frozen works just as well as fresh.
Beat 4-6 eggs and pour over the veggies.
Add cheese: depending on how healthy you want to make this, a half cup may be enough, or more if you want. Shredded cheese blends make it more interesting.
Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350 for about a half hour. I usually stab mine with a meat thermometer after a half hour to be sure it's cooking in the middle, and loosen the foil to finish cooking. If you use enough cheese, it will melt down through the veggies and keep the rice from sticking to the plate. If you make it healthier with less cheese, you may want to grease the pie plate before you start.
Serve the Egg Casserole with Roasted Fall Veggies:
Cut white potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, and any other similar veggies into chunks. Try to keep the chunks fairly uniform and in sizes relative to the "hardness" of the veggie: butternut squash goes into smaller chunks than sweet potatoes because it cooks more slowly. Toss in a bowl with some olive oil and Mrs Dash (or your seasoning blend of choice). Put on a cookie sheet and bake along with the Egg Casserole. Keep the light on in the oven so you can watch; after about 10 minutes you may want to start turning them. Depending on the size of the chunks and how full your cookie sheet is (cookie sheets with edges all the way around will make this MUCH easier) you may decide to just push all the pieces around, several times, rather than flipping each piece once.
As far as timing, I will usually cut up the veggies to be roasted, make the egg casserole and put it in the oven, then toss the veggies with olive oil and put them in a few minutes after the casserole. Veggies will usually be done around the same time, so you can take them out and set them aside to stay warm or just let them get very soft and wrinkled - yum! Neither of these dishes really suffers from a little overcooking.
1 package of enchilada seasoning mix
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 8-ounce package of shredded cheese
1 package of corn tortillas (you probably won't use all of them)
1 can corn
1 can refried beans
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained, or equivalent amount of chicken
(could substitute a can of black beans or pinto beans for the meat)
Make the enchilada sauce according to package directions. Put a few spoonfuls on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Make a layer of tortillas - maybe 6, they will overlap. Layer the ground beef, corn, and refried beans. Add another layer of tortillas. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the whole thing. Top with cheese. Bake until bubbly throughout, 30-45 minutes (I am a big fan of the meat thermometer to know what's happening in the middle). You can tweak this any number of ways based on what you have on hand and how flavorful you like things - add chilis, or black olives, or sour cream, or rice...
Also, just thought of one really handy skill to have - making a roux. Roux is the basis of lots of sauces, and it's really simple - just butter and flour.
To make your roux, measure equal parts butter and flour. Put the butter in a sauce pan and melt it over medium-low heat. Then whisk in the flour, until you have a uniform paste. Keep on stirring and cooking it until it's the color you want. You can add spices to the flour mixture - salt, chili powder, etc - to give it a nice flavor, as long as the spices used will roast nicely (most do). I'm told there's a lazy method for roux that involves the oven, but I like stirring the roux.
Parchment/foil Fish (originally given to me by a chef, and he used salmon)
Cleaned whole small salmon or trout
Butter in the amount needed to coat the inside
Lemon slices 1/4" thick
Butter the inside of the fish liberally, then, fill the cavity with dill and lemon slices, making a dill 'sandwich' with lemon filling. Wrap in parchment or foil and bake at 350°F until done.
I have modified it for assorted fish and have used whitefish (lots of lemon, a bit of onion), perch, pickeral, jackfish, in short anything that can be caught locally. The trick is to start with lemon and try it, then add other flavours according to your taste and to NOT overcook the fish. Cooking times vary with weight, type of fish, and fillets take less time per pound that whole fish. Unfortunately, I cannot give amounts of the dill and lemon, as it is dependant on one's taste (and I never measured).
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Some of these recipes look delicious. I am no longer "young" and I don't know how to cook. Seriously, I've never been in a kitchen in my life. I made microwave popcorn one time many years ago and sort of burned it.
Is there any hope or should I just skip the idea? What would be a good basic starter dinner? Just once, I want my DH to come home and I have cooked a meal.
I vote go with a crockpot recipe to start off with. It's nearly impossible to mess anything up in there. A very easy go to: toss frozen chicken breasts and a few packets of taco seasoning (if you use fresh chicken, add some water in too, just a couple inches and don't worry about measuring because you can't mess it up). Then turn it on. Low for 6-10 hours or high for 3-5 hours.
Come home. Shred it. Toss it back in the crock pot while you get all your favorite taco toppings out. If you want to be ultra fancy and have warm tortillas, just put a tortilla on a plate covered by a moist paper towel, another tortilla, another moist paper towel, etc. Microwave it for 30 seconds - 1 minute until warm. Voila! Homemade shredded chicken tacos with ZERO measuring (or chopping depending on your toppings).
But I agree with whomever said if you can follow directions you can cook. Start with the crock pot, then graduate to "beginner/easy" recipes from cookbooks or online. You'll make some mistakes, but it's part of the learning process.
I vote go with a crockpot recipe to start off with. It's nearly impossible to mess anything up in there ......... But I agree with whomever said if you can follow directions you can cook. Start with the crock pot, then graduate to "beginner/easy" recipes from cookbooks or online. You'll make some mistakes, but it's part of the learning process.
Just went to a store called Williams-Sonoma at the mall and bought a really cool crock pot! I'm excited about making a "meal."
Are you *sure*? He will start expecting it you know!
If I can learn to cook, anyone can. I actually had to go take lessons, since I never learned when I was younger. I recommend working one-on-one or in a small group with someone who knows what they're doing. They can save you if things start to go wrong and show you how to recover, vs. just tossing it all in the trash and starting to cry.
If that doesn't appeal to you, then there are any number of 'cooking school' type books available that will teach you the basics, and you can experiment from there. I mentioned 'Martha Stewart's Cooking School' above -- it takes you from broth to roast chicken, all sorts of meat and vegetables, pasta and soups.
I learned to cook back in the '70's from Julia Child's books and PBS shows. They are still my go to resource. She is very good about explaining the "Why" of a recipe or technique. Julia Child's Kitchen Wisdom is available on Kindle. Epiquerious on Kindle is also helpful especially if you grow to much of something in your garden....I'm currently inundated with chilies.
I rarely use recipies anymore, except my rare cookie or cake baking so I can't help you there. So my hint will be....buy good equipment. You need two good knives, a 6 inch paring knife and an 8 inch chef's knife. Forget the sets where you get a dozen knives you don't need. And IMHO "steak knife" is an oxymoron. If you need a sharp knife it's not steak.
Ditto with the sets of pans. Yeah I know this is EXPENSIVE but I use it several times a week http://www.copperpans.com/specials.html Scroll down to the paella pan. Because it doesn't have a long handle you can stick it in the oven and also serve from it. I was surprised to learn that good copper doesn't tarnish as badly as lesser copper.
For slow cooking in the oven (I don't own a slow cooker) I like Staub
The one pan I use that's not Falk is my Calphalon sauce pan and steamer