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)
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
This is a dish that my family has been making for a while as the breakfast for christmas morning. It’s an easy enough dish to do when you need it or, as I like, to do the night before then bake the next morning. Whichever you prefer I promise you that this is dish which will make everyone happy. It serves 8-10 and is hearty enough that you shouldn’t need more than a cup of coffee to rip through the gifts under the tree after.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- One large rectangular casserole dish (8″x12″ish)
- 2lbs of hash browns (thawed) or potatoes (grated)
- (1) 10.5oz can of cream of chicken soup
- 1/2 C. [1 stick] of Butter (melted)
- 2 C. of sour cream
- 2 C. of Ham (cubed)
- 1/2 t. of Black Pepper (crushed)
- 1/2 C. of green onion (chopped)
- 1.5 C. of cheddar cheese (grated)
- 2 C. of ‘corn flake’ cereal (crushed)
Well, summer’s here, and the time is right for fighting in the street boy. The question is posed as to what a poor boy can do. I postulate that instead of fighting he could make some decent spareribs with naught more than an oven and 4-24 hours. Remember, always read the entire recipe before starting and come up with a plan of attack.
What you’ll need:
- Pork Spareribs
- Enough Dr. Pepper to cover them (2 Liters should be good)
- 1C. Water
- 1/4 C. Salt
- 1/2 C. & 1 t. Chili powder (May need more depending on the amount of spareribs.)
- 1 T. Oil (Vegetable, Canola, Peanut, etc.)
- 1/2 C. Sweet Onion (Finely Chopped)
- 5 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
- 1/2 C. Ketchup
- 1/4 C. Molasses
- 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
To start out put your spareribs in the baking dish you have. Then add the salt and pour Dr. Pepper in until you’ve covered the ribs. Don’t worry about being to precise about covering them because it is likely that they will float. Just ensure that the Dr. Pepper is at a level higher than they were before you started pouring and that you have at least 1/2 C. left for the sauce. Then, cover, and place in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. I would suggest overnight though.