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  1. #1
    Nighttime Rider
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    Please help me cook.

    I need to learn how to cook. My 'cooking' presently consist of pasta, baked chicken and
    steamed veggies. It keeps me fed, but I think I can do better to at least improve the
    quality a bit.

    Problems:
    1. I cook for 1. (sometimes 2)
    2. I'm a simple (and picky) eater.
    3. Limited time and resources. I don't have the time, ambition and patients to make a meal
    requiring 3 hours and 35 steps. Quick cleanup is also a plus.
    4. I prefer healthy meals.
    5. I'm stupid (when it comes to food). What may seem obvious to most people is new to me.
    For instance, a rice steamer is an "easy" solution but there are several steps to make good
    rice. (I still suck at it)

    Hopes:
    Quick, healthy, easy, with flavor and some variance using chicken or fish.
    Vegetarian meals are fine too.
    I'll take suggestion for books or websites.

    Thanks

    CE

  2. #2
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Try roasting your vegetables. This works for asparagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes, potatoes, winter squash, carrots, cabbage, and many other vegetables. The roasting process gives them a nice sweet flavor.

    Peel them, if necessary, and cut them into roughly bite-sized pieces. Put them in a mixing bowl. Pour on a little olive oil or vegetable oil--maybe one teaspoon per cup of vegetables. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper to taste. Then mix it up real good (with bare hands or a spoon) until the veggies are coated on all sides with the oil, salt and pepper. Spread it on a baking sheet, with the veggies in a single layer, if possible. Put it in the oven, which has been preheated to 400 degrees or even 425. It will take from 20 to 30 minutes to cook. Stir it at least once while it's cooking. Ideally, the veggies will be browned a little when you take them out--it's the browning that gives them additional flavor.

    (CE--I love explaining something to you, since you're usually explaining stuff to me! )


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  3. #3
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    http://www.runnersworld.com/article/...1184-0,00.html

    This is a recipe for Tortilla Pie. Its easy and delicious. Vegetarian too.
    Last edited by Hobartlemagne; 03-31-08 at 03:29 PM.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  4. #4
    Look 555 fledgling catherine96821's Avatar
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    Costco has wild Alaskan salmon that is pre-seasoned in the frozen section and they are individually wrapped.

    Bake sweet potatoes.

    Saute spinach for just a half minute with some olive oil and garlic.

    To hard boil the perfect egg: place in water. bring to a boil. turn off and let sit five minutes or so. Rinse with cold water.
    from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.

  5. #5
    Senior Member sounddevisor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
    For instance, a rice steamer is an "easy" solution but there are several steps to make good
    rice. (I still suck at it)
    CE
    To make rice:

    1) Put rice in a pot.
    2) Add cold water 2:1 - that is, 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. For one person, one cup of rice is a good starting place.
    3) Bring to a boil. Let it continue to boil until the water level is just at the level of the rice.
    4) Cover, reduce heat to med. lo, and cook for about five more minutes.

    I guess that's several steps.

    Seriously, a lot of cooking is no more complicated than that. I think the hardest thing is often having the right ingredients around to work with - if you find a few recipes you like to make, you'll learn what ingredients you shoulod always stock to be able to make those things.

    It all gets easier with practice, too. I have a lot of recipes which probably take me half as long to make, or less, than the first time I tried them out.

    Finally, most recipes in cookbooks will tend to be sized for several people. Sometimes it's easy to divide all the amounts by 2 to make a single meal, but often it's just as easy or easier to make hte recipe as written, and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers for another day, or sometime when you're in a hurry.

  6. #6
    this one's optimistic... feethanddooth's Avatar
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    my GF found a great cook book we use. every recipe we have made in it has been wonderful and is easy and healthy. it is called "healthy in a hurry"

    here is a link for it on amazon...

    link
    2002 cannondale r400, 2006 kona smoke, 2005 scott speedster s30

  7. #7
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    All you need is a heat source, salt and pepper, and something to cook.

    Take 1 whole chicken. Salt and pepper the inside and out. Stick in oven until done. Toss a few potatoes in there at the same time. If you don't want to make a mess, use an oven bag.

  8. #8
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    Cooking doesn't have to be hard. You just start with a few basic techniques and then do variations.

    To start with a SHARP knife is an important starting point. Trying to prepare food with a blunt knife makes it more difficult and dangerous than it should be. With a blunt knife you will put more force into the cut which can lead to injuries.

    Also its very important to know that fat IS healthy and an important part of healthy, tasty cooking. Also stock is an important part of healthy, tasty cooking and if you aren't up to making it then buy quality liquid stocks from the supermarket.

    I start a lot of dishes the same way with the same base which is to gently saute some onions with ginger or garlic in just a little fat until soft with some salt and pepper to taste. I use coconut oil of beef fat predominantly. I recommend that you use butter or extra virgin olive oil but stay away from cheap vegetable oils. Your cooking for health and taste.

    At this point you can go many ways. I usually add a little stock at this point and then chopped up vegetables or meat. With meat dishes the stock will reduce down as the meat cooks leaving you with a very tasty sauce at the end. Same with vegetables realy.

    When cooking a vegetable dish I tend to add just a little more stock and then at the end I crack a whole fresh egg in and stir which makes a wonderful dish.

    You can do long cooked meat stews starting out pretty much the same way. Add enough stock to cover the meat and leave it on low for a long slow cook. The stock will reduce in that time leaving a wonderful sauce for the meat.

    You can also experiment with all kinds of herbs, spices and sauces but the basics are pretty much the same.

    Regards, Anthony

  9. #9
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    1) Buy this book (NOT the newer versions)
    http://www.amazon.com/Joy-Cooking-St...7009306&sr=1-7

    2) Read the 'Know your ingredients' sections before you start something new.
    Millions of housewives learned how to cook with nothing more than this book.
    Not to mention a few bachelors like me.

    3) Be patient
    Old Man Maine

  10. #10
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    This tomato sauce recipe changed my life. It is so easy and can be used with pretty much anything from pasta, vegetables with rice, as a soup, over baked potatoes whatever you like really.

    Rice - i have found a very simple method that works really well. Rins a cup of rice with cold water (using a seive) to remove the starch. Place into a pyrex dish and cover with boiling water from a kettle. You need to have about 2-3 cm of water above the rice. Then i simply put it in the microwave for 12 mins (850W microwave, you may need a bit more if your microwave is less powerful). In the 12 minutes you can easily make the tomato sauce recipe mentioned above.

  11. #11
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    foodnetwork

    Lots and lots of recipes there.

  12. #12
    mateo for short mateo44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
    I need to learn how to cook. My 'cooking' presently consist of pasta, baked chicken and
    steamed veggies. It keeps me fed, but I think I can do better to at least improve the
    quality a bit.

    Problems:
    1. I cook for 1. (sometimes 2)
    2. I'm a simple (and picky) eater.
    3. Limited time and resources. I don't have the time, ambition and patients to make a meal
    requiring 3 hours and 35 steps. Quick cleanup is also a plus.
    4. I prefer healthy meals.
    5. I'm stupid (when it comes to food). What may seem obvious to most people is new to me.
    For instance, a rice steamer is an "easy" solution but there are several steps to make good
    rice. (I still suck at it)

    Hopes:
    Quick, healthy, easy, with flavor and some variance using chicken or fish.
    Vegetarian meals are fine too.
    I'll take suggestion for books or websites.

    Thanks

    CE
    Lots of recipes can be made in one pot. Fast, and easy clean up. I do lots of cooking that way -- start with a nice, heavy pot (it's a good investment that you'll use for a lifetime). I have one of these, by Le Creuset:



    Kind of pricey, but worth every penny. You'll never have to replace it. It's also nice to have one that can also go in the oven. Lots of great recipes call for starting something on the stove top, then putting it right in the oven to finish cooking. Still, it's just one pot.

    Heat some olive oil on the stove, in your pot. Add garlic and onions, and any other veggies you like. Let them soften up. Now, at this point, your options are endless. Add some nice fresh or canned tomatoes to make a tomato sauce for pasta. Add fresh basil and oregano as it simmers. You could also add chicken before the tomatoes -- stir once in a while until the chicken is nearly cooked. Then let it finish cooking by simmering in the sauce.

    Or, forget the tomatoes. Cook the chicken and veggies in the pot, then buy some nice curry paste and a can of lite coconut milk. Add them to the pot, let simmer. You now have a Thai-inspired meal. Serve with some rice (see post above). Or buy some Indian-style curry sauce in a jar (Trader Joe's sells some nice ones). Pour it over cooked veggies and chicken (or tofu or whatever). Let simmer.

    Or, forget the curry paste. Find some nice stir fry sauce and now you've got an Asian-inspired meal.

    Or, after the veggies soften add some ground beef (or turkey or chicken), let it brown, then add some chili powder and a can of diced tomatoes (with juice). Stir and let simmer. You now have chili. If you like, forget the meat and add extra veggies. It's your chili. Serve with some just-add-water cornbread. Couldn't be easier. Still, one pot.

    The point is that a lot can be done in one single pot. Start simple and experiment. You'll discover what works for you. Look at recipes (www.foodtv.com is one place to start), but don't be afraid to alter them. If you have simple recipes that rely on good, fresh ingredients that you like, it's very hard to wind up with something that you won't enjoy.
    << no sig at this time >>

  13. #13
    c'mon up front and work jamesstout's Avatar
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    ill dig out some stuff for you tomorrow im just subbing to the thread!

  14. #14
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/index.php

    The best, most helpful, non aggro site.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Most of the comments are way too complicated. Buy a George Foreman Grill. The end.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  16. #16
    mateo for short mateo44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terex View Post
    Most of the comments are way too complicated. Buy a George Foreman Grill. The end.
    Seriously?

    You're sure plugging it in isn't too complicated for you?
    << no sig at this time >>

  17. #17
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mateo44 View Post
    Seriously?

    You're sure plugging it in isn't too complicated for you?
    I can see the personal ad now....

    Must love burgers
    Old Man Maine

  18. #18
    c'mon up front and work jamesstout's Avatar
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  19. #19
    mateo for short mateo44's Avatar
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    << no sig at this time >>

  20. #20
    Not safe for work cyclokitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terex View Post
    Most of the comments are way too complicated. Buy a George Foreman Grill. The end.
    +1 for the grill. I use it several times a week. I make a marinade from lemon juice, salt, pepper, crushed garlic clove (or use powdered), chopped parsley. Stir. Add chicken breast. Let sit in fridge until you're ready to eat. Plug in grill to heat up. Put chicken on grill. It cooks in a few minutes.

    Great with rice and veggies. Also great on a salad. Make two and save one for lunch.


  21. #21
    Neovelophyte shark2000br's Avatar
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    Agreed that cooking doesn't have to be complicated to be amazing. If you like getting complicated, more power to you, but I don't think it's what the OP had in mind.

    1. Fresh Ingredients taste best, and often need little to no prep. Get any cut of fish filet--salmon, tilapia, tuna etc--from your grocery deli. Put some salt and pepper on it, and stick it in your oven on broil until cooked how you like it.

    2. I tend to stick anything and everything into a sautee pan with a bit of olive oil. You can't go wrong. Fresh spinach, portobello mushrooms, onions all work.

    3. Roasted red bell peppers are unbelievable. How do you make them? Cut whole red bell peppers in half (discard seeds and innards). Place on cookie sheet. Broil. Take them out when they smell delicious. You can remove the skin if you want to when they are cool. Then I slice them up, stick em in the fridge and use them on everything throughout the week.

    4. Make your own tuna salad, its not hard. Start with tuna in a pouch, add fresh ingredients. I add fresh diced tomato, diced onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lemon and lime juice, and mayo. Mix them up--no cooking required. It's surprisingly easy to make your own mayo if you want to go beyond miracle whip, it took me about 5 minutes from an internet recipe.

    5. Salt and Pepper grinders work wonders for flavor.

    Hope these help.

  22. #22
    c'mon up front and work jamesstout's Avatar
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    www.susanjanemurray.com is awesome really good healthy stuff
    Last edited by jamesstout; 04-09-08 at 10:39 AM.

  23. #23
    Giggidy Giggidy GlenQuagmire's Avatar
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    Try www.allrecipes.com. They have an amazing list of easy and simple cooking. The instructions are dead simple, and you can search by a lot of different food types.
    Victory belongs to the most persevering.
    Napoleon Bonaparte
    French general & politician (1769 - 1821)

  24. #24
    Junior Member benjamin_s's Avatar
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    Turkey Burger, cook in frying pan season with garlic/ginger/pepper
    String Beans, boil in water, squirt some lemon juice on it when done
    Peas or Corn, boil in water
    Sweet Potato, 5 minutes in microwave on paper towel, flip it, then another five minutes
    Two pieces of toasted whole wheat bread.

    it's kept me alive fora little while

  25. #25
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Stuffed peppers:
    125 grams of rice. Wash it, put it in a pot and cover with water about an inch over rice. Boil for 5 minutes.
    Mix with about 365 grams of ground turkey. Costco sells those. Add salt, grounded black pepper. It's enough to
    Cut the top from five medium size peppers remove seeds, and put the mixture in to the peppers. Put one shrimp on top of each pepper.
    Put the peppers in a bit pot and add water about 2/3rds the height of peppers. Add salt and whole black peppers to the water. Put on the stove and cook for about 45 minutes. Bring to a boil, then reduce hit until it simmers.

    Goes great with sour cream and Magi seasoning.

    I bought a Wok recently, and it's best cooking investment I ever made. Great for cooking. You can stir fry pretty much everything.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

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