During this time where everyone is at home and practicing social distancing, it is a good opportunity to hone your skills in the kitchen. It will keep you entertained, and hopefully, once this global pandemic is over, you can impress your friends and family with new dishes.
You can always start with essential recipes that you can improve and modify to your liking. If you’re someone who is just beginning to enjoy cooking, here are 10 basic must-know recipes that you can quickly learn to make home quarantine a tad easier by satisfying your tummies.
Some of our favorite restaurants have to temporarily halt their operations for the safety of their staff and patrons. However, this doesn’t mean that you also have to wait for months and months to taste your favorite meals. Meals like a good burger, whether you want to put it in buns or eat with potatoes, is actually easy to do at home. Not to mention, you can make a healthier and more budget-friendly version with some imagination.
Every cook has to have their own go-to burger patty recipe. You can start with essential ingredients such as ground beef, bread crumbs, an egg, and salt and pepper. It really is as simple as that. However, you can start experimenting with ingredients to add, such as vegetables, to make it healthier and more affordable. You can replace beef with ground tofu or add cheese directly in the patty mixture for a more delicious result.
Make your patties at least an inch wider than the bun and add an indentation in their centers since you don’t want them to plump in the center when they shrink at the grill. And when you’re browning each side, avoid pressing down on the patty.
According to DiligentChef, using something as simple as a vacuum sealer for sous vide will give you perfectly cooked protein such as steak and chicken breast. It might sound fancy, but sous vide is just as simple as clipping protein in a vacuum-sealed bag to the side of a pot. This pot is filled with water at a controlled temperature, and the cooking duration depends on your ideal result. What this process does is it will allow you to cook your meat just right without drying and destroying its structure.
But to level up the texture of your proteins a bit more, try practice searing them. Searing any protein, whether it’s seafood like scallops and salmon or meats like steaks and chicken, leaves a slightly crispy and flavorful crust. Salivating yet? And the good news is it’s as simple as heating oil in your skillet. When it gets very hot, put the fatty side first of the protein in the pan. Leave the protein in the pan until it pulls itself away, and then you can flip it to the other side.
If you’re someone who isn’t a fan of constantly monitoring your dish or washing a lot of cooking utensils afterward, take a look at one-pot recipes. From the name itself, one-pot meals are as simple as throwing your ingredients in a pot and leaving them to cook on their own.
You can use a pot, a baking sheet, or a slow cooker, and the ingredients that you can experiment with can even include some of your leftovers. You can prepare your ingredients in your free time and then let them do the cooking on their own in a pot or slow cooker. But more than stews, you can even make one-pot mac and cheese and soups to lessen your trips to the sink when you’re craving those dishes.
If you have a burger or freshly seared chicken breast, making it more satisfying by serving them with roasted vegetables. Roasted vegetables are one of the best side dishes that can easily compliment any dish. If you also happen to roast other proteins like beef and chicken, you can add some of their drippings in the pan and create a sauce for vegetables like bell peppers and potatoes before roasting them in the oven.
Roasting gives you tender and caramelized vegetables that aren’t soggy and bland. It even enhances the flavor profile of ingredients like turnips and tomatoes. Roasting is as simple as using your oven for 15 minutes or longer until your vegetables reached your desired texture.
Rice and Quinoa
Another staple of your cooking knowledge is how to cook rice. And if you are trying to be healthier, you can also use quinoa since cooking them is the same. It is as easy as filling a pot with water to a boil before putting your rice or quinoa in.
Stir the mix and then lower the heat to simmer the contents. Cover your pot for up to 18 minutes or shorter for quinoa. You’ll notice that the grains will absorb the liquid, and they will turn fluffy and delicious. Note that the more grains you’re cooking, the more water you should use. At the same time, some varieties of grains will take a longer cooking time.
Since we’re talking about carbs, why not make a humble baked potato at home. Sometimes, it’s nice to indulge in carbs and delicious guilty pleasures as a reward. As long as you monitor your consumption, there’s no harm in indulging yourself.
A simple baked potato is as easy as oiling and seasoning your potatoes, piercing them, and putting them in the oven for an hour or more. At this point, your baked potatoes are basically a blank canvas for you to modify their flavors by adding cheese or herbs and even bacon.
Home Baked Bread
Let’s face it; baking is not everyone’s cup of tea. You need to carefully measure and mix your ingredients or else they will affect the quality of your pastry or bread. However, this doesn’t mean that you should let go of the idea of making homemade bread.
Warm water, active dry yeast, salt, sugar, vegetable shortening, milk, and flour are going to be your basics for making bread. Dissolve the yeast in the water before adding the salt, sugar, shortening, and milk. Then, add the flour and the dough on a floured board. Kneading takes some practice, so don’t be too harsh on yourself.
After kneading, put the dough in a greased bowl. Turn it over, which means you’ll get the greased side at the top. You can then cover and let the dough rise for about an hour. And before baking, you also need to knead the dough once more before forming it into a loaf in a baking pan.
Another basic recipe from DiligentChef.com that you can modify to your liking is cookies. The base is made of flour, butter, sugar, and your choice of chocolate chips or raisins. You can add fruits or candies that you like or even make healthier versions without too much sugar. You can also try oatmeal cookies as an alternative.
Salad dressings are another staple in any household. They can enhance the flavor of your ingredients, and there are so many options and combinations to keep you excited. To give you some ideas, try mixing mustard, honey, lemon and olive oil or soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, lime, and chili flakes.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Lastly, another recipe that you can quickly learn is chicken noodle soup. It’s a hearty meal that can soothe anyone, especially on a nice rainy day. But regardless of the weather, knowing a basic soup recipe is a must for every home cook.
Saute veggies like onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Then you can add the stock. You can use your leftover stock or made broths from scratch using bones, shells, or vegetable peels. Bring the mixture to a boil and then add the noodles until they are cooked. Then, you can add your chicken.