We all have to start somewhere. That’s the inspiration behind this small but powerful collection of recipes for absolute beginners. We’re talking about beginners who can barely boil water. Maybe you’ve just graduated from college and are alone for the first time, or maybe you’ve never really gotten the hang of cooking. Don’t worry! These dishes — ranging from a bowl of rice with tuna mayonnaise to oven-roasted chicken thighs with potatoes and lemons — are a fantastic place to start. Because nobody wakes up one day and can suddenly, say, run a marathon or, in this case, cook.
But anyone can make something good to eat. With a little help from our food columnists Melissa Clark, Genevieve Ko and Eric Kim, you will become the cook you always wanted to be: a confident cook. Start with the recipes below, which are ordered from easiest to hardest. With practice, repetition, and patience, you’ll not only develop a skill set that you can apply to other New York Times cooking recipes, but you’ll also have 10 delicious dishes worth cooking over and over again.
You’d be surprised how well you can cook without ever turning on the stove. Get This Tuna Mayonnaise Rice Bowl: All you need is canned tuna, your favorite mayonnaise, leftover rice, and whatever you want to sprinkle on top. Sesame seeds add a little nutty crunch; roasted seaweed, such as nori or furikake, offers a crispy saltiness; and chives bring a delicious freshness. Think of it as a blank canvas and get creative.
Revenue: Tuna May Rice Bowl
Here’s your chance to prove (and share) your culinary talent. All you need to make this guacamole is a sturdy bowl, a fork, and some elbow grease. Mash your avocados et al. until smooth – or thick if you like contrasting textures. Then, take the opportunity to learn how to taste as you go, adding salt along the way, deciding whether to toss in jalapeño seeds for tangy heat, and squeezing more lime juice if you like your guacamole spicy. Just be sure to wash your hands after handling the jalapeños! (The capsaicin that makes them spicy can also irritate the eyes and skin.)
Alright, it’s time to put the stove in the mix. Grab a nonstick skillet because it will really take you places, starting with cheese heaven when you make this quesadilla. Here, you’ll want to lean in to make a mess, sprinkling cheese not only inside your tortilla but also around the edges for a halo of crunchy crisps.
Revenue: Crunchy Quesadilla
If you’re having a rough day, start strong: few dishes can do this better than a good French toast. In this case, you’re using standard sandwich bread, which becomes especially creamy because it’s thin, fluffy, and cooks quickly, but sour dough, milk bread, and brioche work, too. Just give the slices a little time to soak up all that rich egg milk before hitting the pan.
Revenue: french toast
Cereal, take the day off because it’s time for roasted eggs. Here’s your chance to practice your egg-cracking skills – be confident – and really unravel the beauty of scrambled eggs in butter. It’s also a lesson in temperature control, keeping the heat low to keep the eggs from overcooking. If you’re vegan, a tofu mix is just as viable, and cooking with olive oil in place of butter will taste just as good.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the glories of cooking in pots. For those who are busy, have limited means or time, or have picky eaters to feed, pot cooking can be a lifesaver. You’ll be amazed at the tasty and satisfying meals you can make with nothing but a baking sheet, including these simple roasted veggies that you can mix and match to your taste.
Open the pot, the last of the kitchen items you’ll need to complete this cooking marathon. When it comes to one-pot meals, this tofu curry is simple to make, with a fragrant coconut sauce that lends its flavor to broccoli, tofu and onions. And with all the fat and liquid coming from full-bodied coconut milk, vegan cooks will rejoice.
Revenue: Vegetable Tofu Curry
What better way to feed a large group than this healthy turkey chili? (It’s also a great way to make lots of meals for you: leftovers will last for days in the fridge or a month in the freezer.) The recipe starts with fried onions and canned tomatoes in olive oil before adding chili powder and chipotle to the mix for seasoning and seasoning. heat. You’ll have to let things boil for a good 20 minutes, but trust that, like these 10 recipes, the process is working.
OK, time to roast a whole chicken! Just kidding: let’s start with just the thighs and work from there. When you’re looking for comfort and a complete dinner, this lemon chicken will deliver and leave you feeling very fulfilled in the process. The result will warm the soul, with just a touch of zip and zing from a generous helping of lemon juice.
Revenue: Lemon chicken with potatoes and oregano
This isn’t the end of the kitchen marathon – it’s just the beginning. We hope you come out of cooking these 10 recipes feeling capable enough to feed not just yourself, but those closest and dearest to you as well. Even at the beginning of this journey, you will find the joy of cooking. And it only gets better.
And to drink …
Many wine lovers recognize salmon as a fish to eat with red wine, particularly Burgundy or pinot noir. While this can be a wonderful pairing, the pungent flavors of mustard and lemon in this grilled salmon recipe pair best with a white wine. My first choice would be dry riesling, whether from Germany, Alsace or Austria. A modest one would be fine, but this dish would complement an excellent bottle as well. If not riesling, how about a Chablis? The same is true: a young village wine would be fine, a premier or grand cru with a little age even better. Other options? A chardonnay from Oregon, a Savennières from the Loire Valley or a good assyrtiko from Santorini would be delicious. If you like red, try a good Beaujolais cru. ERIC ASIMOV