Learning to be cook can be a daunting task. You probably have microwaving down, but what are these other terms? Roasting? Frying? Slow cooking? There are so many things you can do with an oven and stove top and they don’t need to be complex to help you learn the cooking fundamentals you’ll use for the rest of your life. These simple, quick recipes will help you learn as you go.
Roasting with bacon-wrapped asparagus
This is perhaps the simplest, tastiest recipe of all time. Plus, it tastes like you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen for hours. In reality, this will take about 30 minutes total. Roasting is the main kitchen concept we’re applying here. Roasting is basically cooking meat or veggies in high, dry heat like a conventional oven.
How to do it:
Set the oven to 450 degrees F, then chop about half an inch off the non-spear end of the asparagus, as it doesn’t tend to cook well. Wrap one to two slices of bacon around the asparagus, making sure it sticks to the asparagus as much as possible. Finally, drizzle the spear end with olive oil (adding oil gives a nice crisp to the food you’re cooking) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the high heat for around 30 minutes or until asparagus is soft and bacon is brown and crispy.
Now that you’ve mastered roasting, try these three recipes:
Frying with a basic steak
Most homemade steaks are made on the grill, but if you want that restaurant flavor, you have to fry it (cook it in oil). It sounds super intimidating, but it really isn’t that hard.
How to do it:
Start with a room-temperature fresh steak, then put a cast iron skillet on the burner and adjust the heat to medium. Add about 1/4 cup oil into the skillet (or just enough to coat the bottom) and let the oil heat up. Season each side of the steak with salt and pepper.
Before frying, toss a teeny tiny amount of flour into the oil and see if it bubbles up. If it does, you’re ready to fry. Crank the heat up to high, then drop the steak into the skillet, pressing down on the top to make sure the entire side is flat on the pan. Time the side for 2 minutes, then flip to the uncooked side and do the same. Once both sides are cooked, tilt the pan toward you and cook the fatty side of the steak for about 1 minute. As you’re cooking off the fat, use a spoon to drizzle the oil in the pan (a technique known as basting) onto the top of the steak. Finally, set the steak on a plate and cover it with foil to let it “rest,” or cool down and cook a bit further. This technique should make you the perfect quick steak.
Now that a pro at frying, try these recipes:
Slow cooking with salsa chicken
This yummy chicken is as easy and delicious as chicken comes! If you’re a salsa fan, this one is for you. If you’re an inexperienced cook, a slow cooker is your new best friend, as it requires only one step and next to no effort.
How to do it:
For this recipe, you’ll need 2 pounds of chicken breast and 1 jar of salsa. You can add lime juice and extra seasonings if you wish, but this chicken tastes great with just salsa.
Trim the chicken’s fat, then add it into the slow cooker with the jar of salsa and crank that puppy to high. Leave the chicken in the slow cooker for 4 hours, then check. The chicken should easily pull apart with two forks. If the mixture is watery, cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken into some soft tortillas for simple weeknight tacos.
Now that you know your way around a slow cooker, give these recipes a try:
- Creamy Italian-style tortellini in the slow cooker
- Slow cooker barbecue chicken
- Overnight slow cooker apple pie oatmeal