Best super easy recipe ideas for a new cooker

Hey guys, I have a friend who is incredibly cooking challenged. Now, I know she can get better because I started out like her and now feel I am a pretty confident amateur cook. Here's the thing: I want to give her a bunch of dinner recipes - say 10 - for really easy, quick meals that she can start practicing on and help her feel comfortable in the kitchen. I have a few in mind but was hoping to get some suggestions from you. Obviously I'm looking for recipes that although quick and easy are still good and preferably use fresh ingredients. I'm trying to help her learn how to cook - not just throw a couple of prepackaged foods together. So, any recipes you would suggest? Thanks!



Pegeen February 2, 2013
If she's willing to practice a little: omelets. With the basic technique down, she'll be set for so many different recipes: herbs, protein, veggies, etc.
Pegeen February 2, 2013
For an easy win for a beginner, if cooking for a group, the Silver Palate recipe for Chicken Marbella - a classic for good reasons. Easy ingredients, very forgiving, chicken is not costly. Can be made with any combination of chicken parts (all thighs, a cut-up whole chicken, just wings, etc.). And tastes great hot or cold, and even better the day after baking.
Pegeen February 2, 2013
Bevi February 2, 2013
Buy her one of Ina Garten's books. The new cookbook, Foolproof, is full of recipes that are easy. Once your friend builds up confidence, Ina's job is done!
nutcakes February 2, 2013
This is the first recipe my daughter made when she was in high school. It was a family favorite and she still makes it. Takes only 1/2 hour and is easy. Wonderful sticky chicken with sweet caramelized garlic. Serve with lightly sauteed pea pods.
Greenstuff February 1, 2013
I did something like this for my daughter when she was in high school. The important thing was to have not only the recipes for individual part of the meal but also a general guide for when to do what and make it all ready at the same time.
FutureChef February 1, 2013
Recommend giving her the 4hour chef book because it teaches the basics of cooking and does it in such a way that presents the essentials easily and creates confidence in the kitchen early on. Plus it has great, versatile recipes that cover a spectrum of flavor profiles and cooking techniques too!
prandial February 1, 2013
1. My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken -- Recipe on This is a delicious and very very easy recipe. Don't worry about the trussing. And when you're done, you can say you cooked one of Thomas Keller's recipes!
2. Roast Vegetables. Mark Bittman has great recipes for roast vegetables such as broccoli or asparagus. I'm a big fan of recipes with less than 5 ingredients and taking 10 minutes prep time. This is something she can start and then walk away from.
3. How about a simple bean soup? This would give your friend a chance to hone her knife skills with the onion/celery/carrot and produce something she could freeze as well. I love the "Warming Soup for the Freezer" they featured here --
4. One of the best things you may be able to do is take a Saturday and shop/cook/eat together. Sometimes the idea of taking something from start to finish is daunting. If you do it together, you're both learning by doing and you're (hopefully) having fun together. Wine helps this!
Let us know what you end up sharing!
Monita February 1, 2013
One way to help your friend is to give her a mix and match list of options that she can build multiple meals around:
Mains: Basic roast chicken;lasagne; salmon filets (sauteed stovetop or roasted in the oven); meat loaf; and steak or pork chops
sides: roasted winter vegetables; brown rice pilaf; mashed potatoes; steamed broccoli or cauliflower
salads; coleslaw; mixed green; kale or spinach; and range of dressings: basic vinaigrette; creamy ranch
desserts: chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies; brownies
You can find great recipes for all of these on the Food52 website
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