This is a pretty simple and straightforward entry. But here are my picks for tools that any cook should own and that which will make all your meals easier and better prepared. I’d consider them the first step to leveling up your cooking beyond boxed meals.
This you can use to precisely manage temperatures of things in the oven. When cooking a steak in the oven you can make sure it comes out exactly when it’s ready.
Digital/Analog. Whatever. Just having a scale allows you to more precisely manage your ingredients and your food. The minimal amount of math required to manage flavor is made easier with the metric system.
Finally. You can whip together the ideal scrambled eggs. That homemade dressing will never stop being a colloid.
There’s nothing more annoying than putting an egg in a pan and realizing the pan isn’t hot enough. Now you have to wait and your perfect yolk is not to be. This stops that. This allows you to take easy spot temperatures. This doubles as a toy for the cat.
This is probably one of the easiest recipes ever. So let’s get to it. 10 minutes of prep and about 1 hour of waiting. It’s a good candidate for making ahead and reheating to eat.
Here’s what you need –
- A stock pot
- A colander
- A potato masher or fork
- (Optional) A knife
- (Optional) An immersion blender
Sourdough is criminally easy and when you break down the cost it’s too cheap not to make yourself. For me, using the best materials, each loaf with time and money factored in costs around $1.27.
You’ll need a sourdough starter to make this recipe and if you don’t have one you can use my method to easily make your own!
Here’s what you’ll need-
I haven’t purchased a loaf of bread in years and I have been making my own with a sourdough starter that I decided to create and maintain. Overall it’s criminally easy and the products that you can make from a sourdough starter are infinitely better in taste and health.
But first you must cultivate a starter (which is much easier than it sounds). Just mix water and flour. Seriously. To take from Sandor Ellix Katz and his book “The Art of Fermentation”
“…mix a small amount of flour and water in a bowl, a little more flour than water, and stir until smooth. Add a little more water or flour as necessary to obtain a batter that is liquid and pourable, yet thick enough to cling to the spoon.”
Today you’ll get two recipes that make an amazing meal and will leave some good leftovers for those of you in the meal-prep crowd.
We’re going to make my recipe for Spanish rice first then add some ingredients and make stuffed peppers.
So here’s what you’ll need in two parts:
- Spanish Rice
- 1 1/2 C. Rice (Uncooked, White)
- 2 C. Chicken Broth
- 3 T. of Olive Oil
- 1/2 C. Onion (Chopped)
- 1/2 C. Yellow Pepper (Chopped)
- 1/2 C. Cactus (Chopped) [It looks like this in the store]
- 1/2 C. Tomatos (Chopped, in sauce, you can use salsa as a proxy)
If baked ziti is a bastardization of lasagna then this is what happens when I try to summon lasagna through dark magics and the blood of the innocent.
With that being said this dish is a delicious and hearty meal for all.
You’ll need a pan and a large greased baking dish to get this one done.
Otherwise here’s the ingredients:
This recipe is pretty easy but it makes a delightfully balanced dish that pairs well with greens and ham. Serves about six and takes about an hour.
Preferably you will make this dish in a 2 qt. dutch oven but you can do it in a 7″x11″ baking dish.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 C. uncooked macaroni noodles
- 1 1/4 C. Milk
- 1/2 C. Butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 Yellow onion (medium, chopped, about 1/2 C.)
- 4 oz. Fontina (shredded)
- 4 oz. Medium Cheddar (shredded)
- 2 T. Green Onion (chopped)
- 2 T. Parsley (chopped)
- 1 T. Salt
- 1 T. Flour
- 1 t. Paprika
- 1 t. Chives (chopped)
- 1/2 t. Fresh ground pepper
Making your own dressing is super easy and I find it to be much tastier plus more rewarding. Especially when your friends or family compliment it and you get to tell them that you made it.
This one is very simple. Perfect for a chicken salad with some chow mein noodles or a stir fry.
Alternately you can use it as the dressing for an asian-style coleslaw (see also: coming soon)
What you’ll need:
- 1/4 C. Rice or white wine Vinegar
- 1/3 C. Vegetable Oil
- 2 t. Soy Sauce
- 1 t. Garlic (minced)
- 1 t. Ginger (grated)
A whisk or stick blender
Add the ingredients together and blend until the mixture has emulsified.
A stick blender (or immersion blender) makes this immensely easier. But if all you have is a whisk I would suggest rolling it between your two palms as if you were making snakes out of clay to get the most whisk for your energy.
These chicken enchiladas are something that my mother has made for years and I’ve only slightly changed to align with my adult tastes. But they are easy enough and tame enough that even the most picky eaters will be pleased with your effort and you’ll not break a sweat.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A large casserole dish (8″ x 12″-ish)
- A skillet and butter
- 1 package of at least ten ‘burrito’ sized tortillas
- 1 10oz. can of chicken breast
- 1 10.5oz. can of cream of chicken soup
- 18oz sour cream
- 1 7oz. can of green diced green chiles (get the smaller can if your brood is ultra sensitive to the slightest spice)
- 1/2 C. green onions [sliced]
- 1/2 C. Pico De Gallo
- 3/4 C. cheddar or colby jack cheese [grated]
- 1/2 C. milk
- 1/2 t. salt