Quick, easy recipes for first-time cook

terry29September 24, 2007

No one ever taught me how to cook. I would like anyone who could send some quick, easy recipes that are sure to please my family. Also, if anyone has some good broiled and/or baked fish recipes.

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You can't get too much easier than this one:

Stove Top Meatloaf Muffins

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 box Stove Top stuffing mix
1 cup water
2 egg whites
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced

Mix together and divide into 12 muffin cups that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 4:21PM
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You can always bake salmon on 350 for 15- 30 min depending on your oven and the thickness of the filet. Rinse the fish, pat dry with paper towel. Season with lots of olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano. Lots...this is what "crusted" means in fancy recipes and restaurants.Loosly wrap in foil. After 15 min check it, if you see it almost done leave it uncovered for 10 more min. Serve with lemon wedges and some steamed veggies. Simple and perfect.
something different? Add breadcrumbs, dill (optional), a spoon full of dijon mustard, a splash of vinegar to your crust.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 4:46PM
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Terry, I would suggest that you get a couple of cookbooks (from the library if you prefer to try before you buy). One of the books should be a general "how to cook" type of book that will explain processes like saute or braise or mince. Once you learn how to do the basic things you will find they apply to lots of recipes. The other book should be one aimed at the beginning cook - sometimes they have names like "Even Dad Can Make Dinner" or some such sexist title. Books like these often offer tips about timing - most meals consist of more than one food and their preparation needs to be simultaneous if everything is to reach the table at once. These "simple" books also often give you good ideas about what foods go well together and usually have recipes for some basics that you will turn to again and again.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 9:15AM
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Terry, sometimes your Rec. programs through school offer adult cooking/baking classes or cookbooks from organizations or churches have pretty simple recipes that are really good eating. Let me know if you find any of those and I'll see what I can scrounge up.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 12:30PM
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What types of food does your family like/dislike? It's easier to share some recipes when we know what to look for and avoid.

If you're new to cooking, my advice is don't try to do too much. Start simple and work up. For instance you can make a hearty meal from a Stouffer's pan of lasagna, a bag salad, bottle of dressing, perhaps some canned/frozen corn, and garlic bread. Maybe start with frozen garlic bread. Then start making your own? Then maybe doctor up the bagged salad with a tomato and cucumber. etc. A dish of sherbet is a refreshing and easy dessert too.

Maybe take one day a week to try a more "major" project? Make a meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Or a pot roast. Turkey?

Learn from convenience foods. I did. I looked at Hamburger helper and decided it was easy enough to boil macaroni, which you have to do anyway, then add cooked ground beef, which you have to do anyway, and some tomatoes or tomato sauce and a little seasoning. Work your way up. Things like macaroni hotdish, tater tot hotdish, spaghetti (with frozen meatballs simmered in canned sauce) is easy too.

You'll find a dish or two that you find easy to make, that you like to make and is your "specialty". Learn as you go. Enjoy the trip. Learning is a continuous thing. And don't be afraid to make mistakes. Worst case? Burn the roast? OK, so you order pizza! Or make a frozen one. You learned for next time.

BTW, the Meatloaf Muffins sound easy and good. Gotta try that sometime soon.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 2:25AM
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Much as I hate to admit it because she annoys me greatly, the Rachael Ray cookbooks are good for beginners. Try out some recipes from her website or go to the library and get the books.
It's better to try simple recipes, gain some confidence, and learn more than to doctor up prepared foods or canned foods that have little or no nutritional value. And get the kids to help.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 4:48PM
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Another place to look at are the convience food's websites. For instance, as a single person, I do not want to eat the same thing day in and out. So take an 8 count package of Pillsbury cresant rolls. There are several recipes out there on the pillsbury website I can try to use the others. Same with a package of Grands, etc. Believe me, it is easier to use a small package of biscuits instead of making 3-4 dozen from a scratch recipe.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 2:33PM
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Hi - I watch each episode of Robin miller , of food network.
She has some tasty, really easy recipes. Also, she cooks one batch of a meat and uses it for 3 different meals. I love her recipes, saves me lots of time in the kitchen! More time for family. Also, on the weekend I just pull a meal from the freezer, no cooking! Goodluck - tina_2

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 3:55PM
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DJ's favorite Casserole:

Brown 1 lb hamburger w/1 diced onion
Drain off grease (I drain it into an empty can, then go back and wipe the fry pan with a paper towel to get rid of the majority of grease).
Add 1 can of low sodium chicken broth or same amount of chicken bouillion (don't have to be too precise)
add 1 diced green pepper
1 cup of uncooked rice

Put lid on pan and simmer at lowest heat for approximately a half hour til liquid decreases and rice is softened.

Sometimes instead of rice I will dice potatoes (fairly small). Depends if I have potatoes that are going bad or if I am lazy rice is easier. Salt & pepper to taste, naturally! If you like a little garlic flavor you could also add a little garlic powder while browning the burger.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 5:59PM
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DJ's favorite casserole:

I usually add a stalk or two of sliced celery to the ground burger and onion.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 11:36AM
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here is a chicken recipe that is so very easy. you will need a crockpot.
3 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (run under cold water to rinse)
1 regular can of cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
1 package of italian salad dressing dry mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can of mushrooms drained (optional)
put chicken in bottom of crockpot,add soup and dressing dry mix. cover and cook on high for about 6 hours or untill chicken pulls apart easily with a fork.
turn off crockpot add sour cream and drained mushrooms, stir.
serve over cooked rice or egg noodles
hope this helps
and good luck

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 1:50PM
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I also like some of the recipe's on the back of Campbell's soup cans. There are a lot of them on their link, you can list what you have on hand and get the recipe that fits your family.

Good luck, let us know what you try.

Here is a link that might be useful: Campbell soup recipes

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 7:53PM
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I call this "World's Easiest Recipe."

2-4 thick pork chops -- I use boneless loin chops. Sprinkle them with pepper and a little sugar. Brown them well in a skillet and then put them in a casserole. I use a fairly deep Corningware one with a lid. The sugar helps make nice "brownings" in the bottom of the skillet . . .

1 c. white or rose wine
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Whisk these two together till smooth, then pour into the skillet and heat and whisk till it's brown. Pour over the chops, cover and bake at 350 for 2 hours. Ideally the chops will be covered by the gravy and will be very tender and not dried out at all. Serve with rice.

For company, I use my electric knife to slice the chops in thin diagonal slices, then fan them out on a platter and top with some of the gravy. Dress up by topping with sauted fresh mushrooms or those cute little whole button mushrooms. Looks elegant and tastes wonderful!

When I find thick loin chops on sale, I buy a lot and multiply this recipe and make a large batch, then freeze in "meals-for-two" amounts of sliced meat with gravy.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 12:06AM
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Terry, you remind me of myself when I was first married. My mother did not want anyone in her kitchen except to clean up or to make an occasional batch of cookies, so I didn't know much. Poor DH ate so many flops!

Looking back, I would give you several pieces of advice. The first is that you invest in some tools. A portable mixer, a food processor, a nice marble rolling pin, some silicone mats, some nice heavy cookware (I use cast iron skillets and a dutch oven. For my saucepans, I use nice heavy ones that I bought at a flea market. For bakeware, I like those insulated pans.), measuring cups and spoons, and a good set of knives. The mixer can be an inexpensive one. It needs to be lightweight enough that you can bring it to the stove and use it to mash potatoes and make 7-minute frosting, if you want to someday. I had a big MixMaster for years, but I found it too cumbersome and heavy. The food processor can be an inexpensive one, too, but get one that has a big bowl if you can. I use a Cuisinart. It was killer expensive and if I had it to do over again I would've bought something else, due to the fact that once in awhile the blade gets jammed down onto the bowl and it has to be shipped to get it repaired, and they take their sweet time. I have Cutco knives, simply because I was suckered in when I was 18 and not very consumer-savvy (something ELSE I had to learn on my own!). They have served me well for 40 years, but I've broken a couple things and the manufacturer will not make good on the "Lifetime Guarantee" because I lost the certificate somewhere along life's way. There are lots of brands of knives that are still good that don't cost as much. They should feel balanced in your hand when you grip the handle in a cutting position.

I use my food processor a lot. I make my own chopped and shredded vegetables, "Shake'n'Bake, graham cracker crumbs,and lots of other things. When a recipe calls for the sugar, eggs and fat to be creamed together, I just drop them all in and turn on the motor. So also when the flour and fat needs to be "mixed till the mixture resembles corn meal". I find I hardly ever use my blender unless I'm making smoothies, and I bet I could make them in the food processor, too. I like wire whisks for when I make gravy, puddings, pie fillings. Christmas is coming up, maybe you can put in a request to Santa. I almost forgot, I use my crockpot a lot, too, and it's one I bought at a thrift shop. I have a microwave I bought at WMT on sale, but mostly I use it for heating up things, melting butter and thawing frozen things, and baking potatoes. I think I could probably do without it easier than some of the other tools I have listed here.

The second piece of advice is that you learn certain skills, such as how to cut up a chicken and how to roll out a pie crust. Yes, you can buy cut up chicken and rolled-out pie crust. If you want to cook for your family in order to cut your grocery bills, you'll notice these things are more expensive.

The third piece of advice is that you start with casseroles. There are lots of variations, each calling for a pasta, rice or potato ingredient, a meat ingredient, one or more vegetable ingredients, and usually something that binds them together, like tomato sauce or canned soup. Men and kids usually love a good casserole. If you go to Allrecipes.com and do a search on "casseroles", it will return any number of dishes. These are all rated and critiqued, and these are worth reading. No, I'm not connected to Allrecipes in any way, and there are other sites where you can do the same thing, it's just that it's my "Go to" site usually. They even have a section of "How-To Videos".

Here's something I make and use a lot. I think I got it off Allrecipes.com. You can use it on chicken, fish, pork cutlets. Pop these in the oven, make a nice salad and bake some potatoes in the microwave:

Shake n Bake
an 18 oz box of cornflakes yields about 5 cups of fine crumbs. I mix this recipe up and keep it in a quart canning jar in the refrigerator. When I'm ready to use it, I put only about 1/4 cup on a plate and dredge the meat in it. You can always add a little more to the plate if you need to, but this way you don't waste, because you need to throw out whatever comes in contact with raw meat that doesn't get baked.

3-1/2 cups corn flake crumbs
1/4 C all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Prepare chicken following the same technique as described on the box of the original mix using 2 1/2 lb. of bone-in chicken (6 to 8 pieces, with or without skin) or 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves Preheat your oven to 400º, then moisten the chicken with water. Use a large plastic bag for the coating and use the same steps as described on the original package:

"Shake moistened chicken, 1 to 2 pieces at a time, in shaker bag with coating mixture. Discard any remaining mixture and bag. Bake at 400º in ungreased or foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan until cooked through --BONE-IN: 45 minutes/BONELESS: 20 minutes"

Sorry this is so long! --Ilene

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 1:40PM
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Here is one that I make and we really like. It makes 3 8X8 pans ...there's just two of us and I make one for dinner and two go in the freezer. It's a lasagna type dish but no ricotta filling to deal with and we really like it.


1 lb. lean hamburger

1 lb. ground pork

1 medium onion

1 T minced garlic

12/15 Sweet Basil leaves

Italian seasoning ( I just dump it in)



1 can Hunts Traditional Spaghetti sauce

1 can Diced Tomatoes

1 ½ lbs Mushrooms

1 lb Provolone Cheese (sliced on 2)

Large package grated Mozzarella

16 oz lasagna noodles

Brown meat, onions, and seasonings; add tomatoes & sauce let simmer 20 minutes; add mushrooms. Let mixture set while cooking noodles.

Layer: noodles, sauce mixture, cheese (alternate Provolone and Mozzarella).

When ready to serve, heat until bubbly and cheese has melted. I usually do it with foil on top for a little while and then remove the foil till the cheese is nice and melted.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 11:16AM
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Before I was married and left my parents home all I ever cooked or baked were, hamburgers, fried potatoes, hot dogs and baked cakes from scratch. Now this was over 55 years ago. When I got married we were given two cook books and I practiced and practiced the recipes in them I thought I would like. It took many, many attemps for my pies to come out like I wanted and the perfect yeast rolls. I am still looking for good recipes after all these years and the internet is full of them. Today, I baked two pies, a black raspberry and a cherry, a batch of red velvet cup cakes with cream cheese icing and a cherry with a stem on top. I also made a sweet potato casserole and a lime jello cottage cheese salad. These are to take to our church dinner tomorrow. Can you tell I love to cook! I think you will find things you like to fix and just keep trying and you will learn.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 7:15PM
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Civeche extreamly delichious and really easy.

You will need:
2 small tomatos diced
1 1/2 onion diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 can of baby clams (small can)
2 lemons
salt (however much you'd like)

Mix everything up. While you are mixing everything up sqeeze the lemons into the bowl and add salt at your own liking.
When it's all mixed you can evenly lay it on the tostada or use it as dip with the tostadas.

Some people like avocado with it. Hot sauce is really good with it. Tapatio goes very well with it (you can get Tapatio at any walmart and I'm sure any grocery store) or a better known hot sauce is Tabasco.

This is enough for two or three people but beware it is extreamly delicious and once you start eating this you can not stop.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 5:19AM
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I forgot to mention that the water needs to be drained out of the baby clams before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients.
I also cut the baby clams a little not to much but just enough to get the taste mixed around.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 5:36AM
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Easy "toaster oven" pork chops (bone in or not) or lesser expensive cut, pork blade. 4 to 6 chops. Salt, pepper, garlic powder or whatever spices you prefer and of course, your favorite BBQ sauce.

Rinse chops, pat dry, add spices to each piece. Layer in teflon brownie pan made for toaster ovens, pouring Q sauce over each layer. Ok to have a layer on top of each other. Cover with tin foil and bake @ 325 for one hour or until meat is very tender. Great dorm meal or for anyone. Can substitute cream of mushroom soup or regular beef broth for Q sauce. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 7:32PM
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Normally I hang out on the Cooking Forum but ventured over here earlier this week and saw your Meatloaf Muffins recipe. I made it tonight and although we haven't eaten yet they smell great. A lot of nice looking recipes here. Thank you.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 8:09PM
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