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MetroGnome217's avatar

What is a good recipe for a beginner?

Asked by MetroGnome217 (311points) June 2nd, 2010

Hey guys!
I have never cooked/baked/made food before in my entire young life. I want to shock everyone and make food for my family. can anyone suggest a good recipe for me?? THANKS! (links to recipe would be really cool)

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36 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Can you do anything, like boil or scramble eggs? Make coffee, toast, buy quality jam, strawberries and other fresh fruit? Squeeze oranges for juice?

Breakfast is the easiest meal. How old are you? How many people will you be cooking for? What are their standards?

jazmina88's avatar

spaghetti with bread and salad
b ut breakfast sounds yummy

MetroGnome217's avatar

im a teen and a relaxed family of 4

gailcalled's avatar

Then I vote for breakfast. Fresh everything. Do you have a juicer? There is nothing like freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee from quality ground beans. Or tea brewed from tea leaves.

Do you need to be walked through making scrambled eggs? You begin with really fresh organic eggs.

WestRiverrat's avatar

This one is relatively simple

1 pound turkey, cut into thin strips about 1½ to 2-inches long
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 cups sliced onions
3 tablespoons lime juice
8 flour tortillas
½ cup sour cream
1 avocado, mashed
½ cup tomato-based salsa
1. In a medium bowl combine sliced turkey, chopped cilantro, crushed garlic clove, cumin, chili powder, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. In a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, stir-fry the turkey mixture in oil for 4 minutes or until the turkey is no longer pink. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Add oil to the skillet. Stir-fry sliced red bell pepper and sliced green bell pepper for 2 minutes or until slightly softened. Add thinly sliced onion; cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Return the turkey strips to the skillet. Pour lime juice over the mixture and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and serve in flour tortillas. Garnish with sour cream, mashed avocado, and salsa.
Makes 8 servings.

gailcalled's avatar

@WestRiverrat: I’ve been cooking since before the flood, and that recipe seems pretty complicated for a beginner.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Here is another easy recipe.

Sloppy Joes

1 pound lean ground beef
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
¾ cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids.
Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

jaytkay's avatar

Caprese salad

For each serving, place on a salad plate:
Thin tomato slices (2 or 3)
Thin mozzarella slices (2 or 3)
Fresh basil leaves (shred by hand and sprinkle on top)
Drizzle with olive oil

Extra credit: Add diced avocado

arpinum's avatar

potato peanut curry
Baked Salmon in foil is also very easy, you can cook potato wedges and broccoli on the same cookie sheet as well

gailcalled's avatar

I have to repeat that the cooking is only as good as the quality of the food. Caprese salad is wonderful as long as it is made with local vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil and the best Italian olive oil.

Baked salmon is also delicious, but stay away from farmed salmon and use only wild.

Vunessuh's avatar

This is the first thing I learned how to cook and so far the only thing. I’m like “I Love Lucy” in the kitchen so if I can do it, you can definitely do it.
Does your family like salmon? Yes? Awesome. Here’s what you do:
Go out and buy some fresh Atlantic or Alaskan salmon. Have someone in the seafood department skin them for you if they’re not already. Just makes it easier for you once you start cooking.
Drive home from the grocery store.
Unload your groceries. lol, kidding – but you really do have to do that first. XD
Get a frying pan and put some olive oil and margarine in it. Then, put your salmon in it. Turn on the stove. Careful because it might start spitting at you. If so, just pour a little water inside to get it to simma down nah.
Sprinkle black pepper, lemon pepper and a little garlic salt on your salmon. Flip it every once in a while. Use a spatula of course. Spatulas are awesome.
What I personally like to do is cut each piece in half to be sure it’s cooked inside. You’ll know once the bright pink turns into a lightish pink.

Make a vegetable to go along with it. Asparagus goes great with salmon. I usually chop up some squash or zucchini to go with the asparagus and throw it all in a pan along with some olive oil and garlic salt.

You’re family will love it. Good luck!

Silhouette's avatar

Beginner Lasagna

1 pound Italian sausage
1 (26-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce with onions and roasted garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon black pepper
6 no-cook lasagna noodles
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Crumble sausage into a frying pan, brown and drain
Stir together sausage, spaghetti sauce, basil, and pepper in large bowl.
Layer of noodles in bottom of a lightly greased 11— x 7-inch microwave-safe baking dish; top with sasuage mixture, 1 cup ricotta cheese, and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers top with grated parmesa cheese.
Cover with double-thickness plastic wrap, and microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 30 to 35 minutes or you can cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Using an oven mitt, carefully lift one corner of plastic wrap or foil to allow steam to escape, and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Add a nice salad, a loaf of french bread and wala!

AmWiser's avatar

@arpinum has the right idea, start off with as few ingredients as you can. I would suggest you Google search 5 ingredients or less. There some great sites with recipes and pictures.

jaytkay's avatar

If you have a fairly recent microwave it might have a “Fresh vegetable” button

—Cut fresh asparagus, broccoli or green beans down to whatever size looks tasty.
—Microwave, loosely covered with plastic wrap in a glass dish with ¼ cup water.
—Careful when it’s done, that bowl is full of really hot steam
—Server with butter, salt & pepper

WestRiverrat's avatar

There are some great recipes in this link. My mother and Aunt between them have over 80 years of Girl Scouting. I learned my first few recipes from the girl scout campfire cookbook.

SamIAm's avatar

I think breakfast is good idea… what about some scrambled eggs (i’d suggest an omelet but sometimes it’s hard to make them look pretty) with mushrooms, onions, and chives sauteed in butter then added? oh, and cheese of course! any kind you’d like, i’d suggest some smoked gouda. serve with ketchup, salt, pepper and hot sauce on the table. the mushrooms and chives make it sophisticated but so simple to make

JLeslie's avatar

Stuffed shells maybe?

1 container ricotta (Polly-o if you can find it, I need to get you the ounces if you are nterested in the recipe)
2 cups shredded Kraft mozerella
1 egg
1 box large pasta shells
1 jar Spaghetti sauce
garlic salt

You boil the pasta until it is ready, follow the box instructions, strain and rinse in cold water.

While the pasta is cooking you can put together in a large bowl the cheeses and a couple dashes of garlic salt. Taste and see if the salt seems right. If its good add the egg. and mix.

Preheat oven (I think it is 350 I have to check, again if youare interested)

Thin layer of sauce in a 9 X 13 pan. Once the pasta is cool enough to handle, us a spoon to scoop the cheese into each sell and place in rows in the pan. Once the pan is full cover pasta with the remaining sauce, cover with aluminum foil and bake.

Or, I have a simple chicken recipe that is yummy made with Campbells cream of mushroom soup. I serve it with rice and green beans. Does that interest you?

1 cup sliced mushrooms
¼ orange juice
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Cooks up in a pan on top of the stove.

Or, do you like Meat Loaf? That is very simple also. The recipe of the Beefy Onion Liptons soup that comes dry in the envelope is very good. I just add some of my own chopped onions.

JLeslie's avatar

I was thinking Bisquick usually has some easy recipes if you think your family would like something like that. Here is a taco one I have made some of their hamburger pies. They usually have recpes on the box, but you can also further search the Betty Crocker Bisquick website. These are very easy generally.

jaytkay's avatar

Sorry if I’m chiming in too much, I have another. I could do this all night.

Here’s something that always makes you look like a kitchen wizard. The proportions are unimportant, it’s hard to get wrong. All you have to remember is “mix oil and vinegar, more oil than vinegar”.

Salad Dressing from Whatever is On Hand
¾ cup oil
Corn oil, Wesson, peanut, olive, canola, whatever, they all work great

¼ cup vinegar
If you don’t have vinegar, then lemon juice, lime juice, red wine, white wine whatever, they all work great


Extra credit, add it if you got it: mustard, garlic, basil, oregano

lillycoyote's avatar

Here’s a tasty, very simple recipe for sausage and peppers. Get some sweet Italian sausage, cut it into maybe 1 inch or smaller sections, saute/brown it in a skillet, add chopped onions and green pepper cut in half in sections lengthwise, saute until slighty browned, then dump in a couple of cans of diced tomatoes, you can use the oregano and garlic flavored canned tomatoes, and simmer for about a half an hour. It’s very simple and it’s almost cooking. :)

WestRiverrat's avatar

@jaytkay no worries. sharing recipes is almost as fun as cooking for someone.

Here is one that we do with the little kids when we give demonstrations on a hot day.

a 1 pound coffee can
a 3 pound coffee can
2 quarts whole milk
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 package (4 oz) instant pudding
1 cup sugar
a handfull of Fresh or frozen fruit or nuts (optional)
3 cups rock salt
10 pounds ice

How to make it:

Mix pudding with milk.
Add sugar and condensed milk.
Add Nuts and/or fruit.
Makes 3 quarts.
Place in smaller can leaving a one inch space. One recipe fills three one-pound cans.
Put ice and rock salt around smaller can [in larger can].
Place lids tightly on cans.
You may want to seal the lids with duct tape.
Take turns kicking can around for about 20–30 minutes, not too hard.

jaytkay's avatar

Mashed potatoes!!

If you like the skins, scrub some potatoes. If not, peel some potatoes.

Boil the potatoes until they are soft when you poke them with a fork (typically 20 to 45 minutes)

Mash them. Add a little milk. Just a little, you don’t want runny potatoes.

jaytkay's avatar

And check this out! Especially ”@Cruiser My new fry is baked sweet potato fries. Thin slice and bake at 475 with seasoned salt”

JLeslie's avatar

Stir fry is easy also, but can be a lot of prep. You would make the rice first. Then pick veggies you like. I like zuchini, bok choy, mushrooms, and corn. To make things very simple you could use frozen cooked shrimp as the “meat.” or, if you prefer, pork, chicken, or steak.

Set cooked rice aside.
In a frying pan heat some oil and then add the chopped veggies and cubed meat. Cook until just short of done. Add the rice and some soy sauce to taste, stir, cook for a couple of more minutes and you are done.

If you use the Shrimp, defrost the frozen shrimp in room temp water just before you are ready to cook. Add the shrimp the same time you add the rice to the veggies.

I was wondering, you say you have not cooked before, but do you help your parents cook? Have you watched them in the kitchen and have a basic idea about how to cook?

lillycoyote's avatar

Also, you might want to check out this book, How to Cook Everything I just bought it recently and am really liking it. The recipes are good, simple and basic, and it is a great reference for how to do basic cooking techniques. A great book if you want to learn how to cook.

Cat4thCB's avatar

RICE is one of the easiest things to cook with just 3 STEPS

1) in a large pot, put together:

2 cups rice
4 cups water

2) bring to a boil (probably 8 min)
3) when it boils, turn it off

that’s it! the hot water and steam will finish cooking the rice, about 20 minutes. leave the cover on and no peeking; you’ll let out the steam. however much uncooked rice you use, always double the water. for a different taste throw in some chopped onion and a couple tablespoons of chicken bouillon.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Buy yourself a copy of “The Joy of Cooking”. It’s the gold standard for basic recipes and has detailed descriptions of all cooking techniques.

Bread flour bags usually have recipes printed on them that are the simplest possible. Baking bread is not as difficult as it seems.

JLeslie's avatar

I think the Joy of Cooking is overwhelming for a young person. There are many easy cookbooks with nice photographs and explanations. When I was young I had a cookbook for kids that was great. It had recipes for beef stroganoff, apple cobbler, and more. I asked my mom if she still had it a few years ago, and she didn’t. Go to the book store, there are so many cookbooks.

lillycoyote's avatar

@JLeslie But there are very few cookbooks that can show you how to skin a squirrel or how to skin and cook a muskrat, should you want or need to. And if you have forgotten how to do some of the most basic things, it is invaluable in it’s breadth and depth. Have you seen the book I mention in my post above” How To Cook Everything? It’s pretty good too, along the same lines as the Joy of Cooking.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I second The Joy of Cooking.

Here’s a really easy first recipe. I recommend using chopped ham the first time you make it, rather than cooking bacon or sausage. It needs to sit in the refrigerator for several hours, so if you serve it for breakfast, you need to put it in the refrigerator the night before. You can make it in the morning and cook it for dinner; it’s delicious served with a salad.

Breakfast Casserole
8 slices bread, crusts removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 lb. ground breakfast sausage, cooked, drained and crumbled (or 2 cups diced ham)
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups half and half (no-fat creamer works well in this recipe)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Grease a 13×9 glass casserole dish. Place the torn bread in the casserole dish and top with sausage or ham. Sprinkle with cheese.

Combine, eggs, half and half, and salt, then pour over bread mixture in casserole dish. Cover dish and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.

I’ve made a great vegetarian version of this, substituting 1 can chopped green chiles and 1 cup diced tomatoes for the sausage.

Cooking terms: Diced means chopped into little bits or cubes. Set means that when you touch the center of the dish with a finger, it’s firm like a mattress. If it feels gooey, cook it a little longer.

Meblah's avatar

If you like fish id say lemon pepper tilapia. Im a horrible cook and it was easy and delicious when i made it :).

jazmina88's avatar

BTW, rice is not easy…it can be mushy, hard.

Man, have we overwhelmed you??

For meat, use a skillet.
Veggies, you can boil.
Salads easy.
Add some fruit to jello and you are fancy, oranges – blueberries

JLeslie's avatar

@lillycoyote I don’t mean to say The Joy of Cooking is not a worthwhile book, but I don’t think it is appealing to a young person who is looking for a simple recipe. Of course I could be wrong, it would depend on the young person. Certainly the OP can look at it if she does go to the bookstore and skim through some cookbooks. It is a good book to have as a staple in one’s home; that I agree. No, I have never seen How To Cook Everything, that interests me.

gailcalled's avatar

As a new bride, I could boil water and make tuna fish salad. I started on day one with the Joy of Cooking and used it as a bible until I decided that I loathed cooking.

I have turned a pot of rice into wallpaper paste, and I have also turned a pot of barley into the east that ate my kitchen.

Personally I would shy away from packaged or canned soup mixes and stuff like Bisquik.

Last night I had a huge salad with greens freshly picked from my sister’s gardens, including dill, cilantro and some weeny radishes. Dressing was EVOO, balsamic vinegar and stone-ground Dijon mustard. Additions were sunflower seeds and diced walnuts. Delicious and allowed me to have 1/ c. ice cream.

JLeslie's avatar

I think the big problem is we have no idea what type of foods this family eats in general. It should be a dish that the OP is accustomed to if it is her first try. Part of cooking is having a feel for the dish to begin with, how it should wind up, and flavors and seasoning the people are accustomed to, as opposed to baking a cake or cookies which generally is exact measurements.

Maybe if we knew if OP leans towards, Italian, Chinese, American, or Indian food? If we knew if the family generally eats a lot of fresh veggies and salads, are more meat and potatoes oriented. We need a little guidance on the type of dish the OP is inclined to favor.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@arpinum – oooh! I’ve been looking for recipes to use up my tahini, and here i find your potato peanut curry. :D

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