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Cooking for Beginners: 4 Quick and Easy Beginner Recipes

Want to start cooking and developing your own recipes? Start improving your cooking with these quick and easy beginner recipes today!
Written by Lauren Connally

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Cooking isn’t nearly as complicated (or expensive!) as it looks. Today, we’ve put together a list of quick and easy beginner recipes and techniques that make even the simplest foods taste amazing. While I can’t promise you’ll suddenly be a master chef, these beginner recipes are a great start.

Cooking Equipment

You’ll want to invest in good equipment. Nothing beats a good non-stick pan for frying up eggs by themselves, but sometimes you want extra food bits to stick around—particularly if you’re cooking meat. You can make delicious pan sauces and stir fry dishes with the bits of food and juices leftover in the pan, so sometimes cast iron or stainless steel is the way to go.

We’ll list our recommendations on equipment after each section in case you don’t have something on hand or need a recommendation on new pans.

Quick and Easy Beginner Recipes

You probably know someone who’s a master at whipping things up in the kitchen—your grandmother, who has everyone’s favorite recipes that (still) haven’t been written down, or the friend that always seems to have the perfect dish for every gathering. Here are some recipes that are easy to modify—the perfect foundation for creating your own recipes once you have these beginner recipes down!

Bangkok Peanut Chicken Stir Fry

While I generally enjoy making my own sauces, I fell in love with House of Tsang’s Bangkok Peanut Sauce. This dish is super easy to make and if you’re not big on Thai flavors, you can easily substitute different sauce and veggies.

Bangkok Peanut Chicken Stir Fry

Bangkok Peanut Chicken Stir Fry

Recipe by Lauren ConnallyCourse: MainCuisine: ThaiDifficulty: Easy
Servings

2

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Calorieskcal

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

  • 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

  • 1/2 cup of water chestnuts, drained

  • 1 sweet onion, chopped

  • 1/2 cup of Bangkok Peanut Sauce

  • ½ cup unsalted peanuts, crushed

  • Olive or peanut oil for sauteing veggies

Directions

  • Cover your pan (or wok) in olive oil (usually 2-3 tbsp) and heat to medium. Add chopped onion. Cook until it starts to look translucent (or just slightly soft if you like a little crunch), about 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken and stir occasionally. Cook until the inside is no longer pink and the juice is clear. (About another 5 minutes.) Smaller, more consistent pieces are easier to cook evenly without drying out. Remove chicken and onions and set aside in a bowl.
  • Add another 2 tbsp of oil to the pan, then add your veggies and water chestnuts. (8-10 minutes—broccoli can take a little longer to cook if you’re using a mix with lots of broccoli.)
  • Add chicken and onions back to the pan with your veggie mix, then stir in ½ cup of Bangkok Peanut Sauce. Cooking until heated through. Great on its own or with some steamed rice!
Yankee Traders Brand, Granulated Dry Roasted Peanuts, 1 Pound
Yankee Traders Brand, Dry Roasted Peanut, Granulated Topping - 1 Lb; These peanuts are dry roasted to enhance their natural flavor
Cuisinart 622-30G Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover, Black
Oven safe to 500 degrees F, with tapered drip free rim.Unsurpassed Heat Distribution
$49.83
Want to start cooking and developing your own recipes? Start improving your cooking with these quick and easy beginner recipes today!

Easy Beer & Beef Chili

It’s impossible to go wrong with a good chili, especially in the colder months. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can easily cook up your beef and throw that and the rest of your ingredients in the slow cooker before you leave for work.

Easy Beer & Beef Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground beef

  • 1 large yellow onion

  • 2 jalapenos (seeds in if you like extra heat!)

  • 2 tbsp sriracha

  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • 2 tbsp chili powder

  • 1 tbsp paprika

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz, recommend Muir Glen Crushed Tomatoes with Basil), undrained

  • 1 bottle Shiner Bock beer

  • Toppings (Optional)
  • Chives

  • Shredded cheddar cheese

  • Sour cream

Directions

  • In a large pot, cook beef, onion, and jalapenos over medium heat (about 10 minutes) until thoroughly browned, then drain.
  • Stir in everything else (except for toppings) and bring to high heat. Once it starts simmering, reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes.
  • Top with cheese, chives, and sour cream.
  • If you’re doing this in the slow cooker, just brown your meat and onions in a pot beforehand and don’t drain the meat. Stir everything together in the slow cooker and let cook over low heat all day (at least 6 hours).

If you’re not big on beer and want a healthier alternative, substituting bone broth is a great way to get an amazing flavor. (I’m a huge fan of Kettle & Fire’s Chipotle Beef Bone Broth, which you can get on Amazon.)

Nellie & Joe's, Key West Lime Juice, 16 oz
Great for pies and more
$6.97
McCormick Dark Chili Powder, 7.5 oz
Created from whole, ripe chili peppers; Packaged in the USA; Add deep color and rich flavor to Southwestern, Tex Mex or Mexican dishes
$4.48
365 Everyday Value, Paprika, 1.41 oz
Product of Spain.; Certified GMO-Free, Certified Kosher, Certified Vegan.
$2.99
365 Everyday Value, Organic Ground Cumin, 1.59 oz
Product of India.; Certified Organic, Certified Kosher.
$3.99
365 Everyday Value, Diced Tomatoes, 28 oz
Fat Free, No Sugar Added.; Certified Non-GMO, Certified Kosher, Certified Vegan.
Cuisinart 650-26CP Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 5-Quart Chili Pot with Cover,Black
5-Quart hard-anodized aluminum chili pot with durable Quantanium nonstick coating; Riveted stay-cool steel handles
Want to start cooking and developing your own recipes? Start improving your cooking with these quick and easy beginner recipes today!

Pan-Seared Steak

This is where your stainless steel pans get a chance to shine. You’ll get to make a delicious pan sauce that will have friends begging you to teach them to make it! All it takes is a few extra minutes and it makes it easier to clean your pan afterward. (We’ll talk about pan sauces in the section below.)

If you don’t already have these on hand, you’ll want to get a good stainless steel pan and rubber tongs. (Rubber tongs are a must-have for both searing and deglazing. You’ll be thankful you got a good pair!)

When choosing steak, you’ll want to get Choice cuts, which are fattier and more flavorful than Select and Standard cuts. Learn what to look for here. 1” to 1½” thick steaks are best.

Pan-Seared Boneless Ribeye

Ingredients

  • Steak

  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil

  • 1 tbsp of butter

  • Kosher salt and coarse pepper for seasoning

  • Red Wine Pan Sauce (recipe in the next section)

Directions

  • 30 minutes before cooking, pat the steak dry with paper towels and generously season your steak with kosher salt. This helps create a dry surface for searing. (Don’t let it sit too long, otherwise, you’ll wind up with too much moisture on the surface.) We’re not adding pepper yet—wait until after you cook it. Set out a tablespoon of butter to let it soften.
  • After 30 minutes, coat your pan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil and heat to high. The second you see wisps of smoke, your pan is ready.
  • Put the steak in the pan and sear for 1 minute—no peeking! Turn and sear for another minute. Continue flipping each minute until each side has had 4-5 minutes (8-10 minutes total) and add butter to the pan when it’s halfway done.
  • After it’s finished cooking, add the pepper to your steak for a little extra seasoning, if desired.
  • Once your steak is done, take it out of the pan, but leave the drippings and fond (bits of food) in for this next recipe. We’re going to be deglazing and making this awesome pan sauce to go with your steak!

Note: Basically, you want 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare, 5 for medium, 6 for well-done (8 minutes, 10 minutes, and 12 minutes total). So you’ll want to turn your steak every minute, adding butter to your steak halfway into cooking. If you prefer rare, you can do 3 minutes on each side and just add the butter during the last two minutes.

Want to start cooking and developing your own recipes? Start improving your cooking with these quick and easy beginner recipes today!

Pan Sauce

My favorite section of our beginner recipes—pan sauces. They’re super easy, taste amazing, and save you some time trying to clean your pan. (And your friends will be left wondering how you made this wonderful sauce.)

We’re going to continue the steak recipe from above, so you can have a sauce to serve over steak and whatever sides you decide to serve with it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of red or white wine (I love merlot for this)

  • 1 cup of broth (Kettle & Fire beef broth works wonderfully)

  • 2 tbsp of butter

  • ¼ cup of chives

Directions

  • After you’ve removed the steak, reduce heat to medium-high and add wine to the pan. Use rubber tongs or a wooden spoon to get the food bits off the bottom of the pan—you’ll want to keep these in the sauce, but they need to be loose.
  • Simmer until reduced by half (about 2-3 minutes), then add broth and mix thoroughly.
  • Add 2 tbsp of butter to your pan sauce, shaking or tilting the pan to mix it in as it melts. Mix thoroughly and cook until your sauce has thickened. It should have a syrupy consistency that coats your tongs or spoon.
  • Serve over steak and sides—enjoy!

These are just a few recipes to help you get started, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy modifying these recipes and putting your own twist on them! As you get more comfortable with these and figure out your favorite flavor combinations, you can branch out into slightly more advanced dishes.

Like what you’re reading? You might also enjoy learning about brewing your own kombucha.

About the author

Lauren Connally

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