With food prices remaining high or even increasing, everyone has had to rethink their food strategy. While eating out is more convenient, it’s also more expensive than ever. Of course, eating at home only makes sense if you can actually cook for yourself. If your culinary genius is limited to microwaving a burrito, keep reading for 6 easy recipes you can learn to make at home.
Spaghetti and Red Sauce
When it comes to easy-to-cook foods, few things are easier than pasta. You literally only need boiling water and salt. The trick to good pasta is to avoid overcooking it, as that’s what gives it that mushy texture. Wait until the water comes to a full boil before you add the pasta. Also, pay close attention to the cooking time listed on the box. Once you get to that time, drain the pasta immediately.
As for the red sauce, you can a can or jar of pasta sauce that’s basically ready-to-go. All it needs is for you to warm it up. Just put it in a pot over low heat and stir it occasionally until the pasta is ready.
Stew is a little trickier, but it’s still pretty basic as cooking goes. More experienced cooks will often sear the beef ahead of time, but it’s not absolutely necessary. After that, all you really do is put all the ingredients in a pot, bring it up to a boil, then reduce it to a gentle simmer. Let the stew simmer for an hour or two, or until the vegetables are soft. You can even find beef stew seasoning mixes to make the job easier. You can thicken the stew with either cornstarch or flour mixed up in water.
If you like Chinese food and having people over, hot pot is a relatively simple meal that will feed a lot of people. Hot pot is essentially a broth that you keep at a simmer on the table. You prepare thinly sliced pieces of meat, seafood, or vegetables that are cooked in broth and traditionally eaten with a dipping sauce. Of course, there are many varieties of hot pot. Check out this hot pot guide to get a sense of what you can do with it.
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Another very simple meal is the old standby of grilled cheese and tomato soup. There is a bit of an art to getting a perfectly browned grilled cheese sandwich, but it’s also not a crisis if you don’t get it exactly right. You can get a can of condensed tomato soup at any grocery store. You literally just add water and add heat. Stir it occasionally to keep it heating evenly. For chunky tomato soup, add some drained diced tomatoes.
Ramen noodles may sound like college food, but they’re also very easy to make. It’s just a pot, some water, and the noodles. Here’s the thing, though, you can spruce up your ramen noodles by adding more ingredients. A few things to consider are cabbage, onions, mushrooms, and shredded carrots. If you have a bit of leftover beef or chicken, you can toss that in too.
French Bread Pizza
This is another classic that only requires a few ingredients. All you need is a loaf of French bread or Italian bread, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Split the loaf lengthwise so you can fold it open, add the sauce, top with cheese, and then bake. If you want, you can add other things like veggies or pepperoni.
You Can Cook at Home
Cooking is one of those skills that cooking shows make seem almost magical. Yet, there are a lot of easy recipes out there that almost anyone can make. Just as importantly, mastering easy recipes is often a good way for you to build up a little confidence in your cooking skills. That confidence will often translate into experimenting with more complicated recipes or trying to master new cooking skills that will expand your weekly menu. After all, if you can make grilled cheese, it’s a pretty short step to frying eggs. If you can make beef stew, minestrone isn’t that far away.
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