Not everyone grew up learning to cook from their parents. In fact, there are many people out there who never learned some of the basics of meal preparation. Don’t feel bad. I didn’t learn much about cooking either and spent a lot of my early adult years playing a game of trial and error to figure it out. I have put together some resources to help you with the basics of cooking. You are not alone and you can cook delicious meals.
Basics of Cooking
Before I share this I want to tell you a story to make you laugh. You see, I struggled with cooking big time when I was younger. I had a crush on this guy and decided I was going to cook him enchiladas from scratch. It was a great theory. Here’s the thing. The recipe called for 2 cups of chicken stock. Now, I didn’t realize that the bullion cubes were meant to be mixed with water. So I added 2 cups of those cubes! To say that those enchiladas were salty would be an understatement. It was a train wreck of a meal for sure! After that I vowed to learn to cook food people could actually eat.
Cooking chicken on a stovetop:
1. Cutting the chicken into smaller pieces can help if you are nervous about cook time.
2. Set your temperature to medium instead of high. (when on high you are more likely to burn the outside and have the inside raw.)
3. Cover your pan. When you trap the moisture in the pan it is less common to burn.
4. When in doubt, use a meat thermometer. – If you are unsure if the cook is right, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. You will want to put your meat thermometer into the thickest portion of your meat. Ideally, you will want 165°
How to Cook a Chicken Breast in a pan:
How to bake chicken oven:
How to cook chicken in the crock pot:
How to cook chicken in the instant pot:
When you are cooking beef a lot will depend on the type, cut, and thickness of your beef. For instance, ground beef will have very different cook times than a pot roast might. Here are a few tips for cooking with beef.
- With ground beef, you want it cooked until there is no pink left.
- With items like steak, roasts, and thicker beef cuts, you may want to marinate them before cooking.
- Using a meat thermometer on thicker meat cuts can help you to verify that the meat is adequately cooked.
How to brown ground beef:
How to cook steak in a pan:
How to cook a pot roast on the stove top:
How to cook a pot roast in the crock pot:
How to cook a pot roast in the instant pot:
Pork will depend on the cut of meat, whether it has a bone, and the type of pork you are hoping for. Here are a few tips for cooking pork.
- Bone-in portions of pork will cook for longer and leave you with less actual meat. Make sure to look at the overall weight and know it will shrink when cooking.
- Cooking pork in oil or in a container with a lid can help a great deal.
- Use your meat thermometer to verify the proper cook.
How to cook boneless pork chops on the stovetop:
How to cook bone-in pork chops on the stovetop:
How to cook pork chops in the oven:
How to cook pork roast on the stovetop:
How to cook a pork roast in the instant pot:
Rice is one of the easiest things to cook but if you don’t know how to cook it, it is also one of the easiest things to mess up! Don’t worry. I have some simple tips to help you start cooking rice and skip the stress.
- Skip the ratios written on the back. Use the old fingertip trick. What’s the trick? Pour your rice in the pot you plan to use. Then add enough water that when you put your finger tip in to touch the rice, the water comes up to your first knuckle. It’ll save you some stress.
- Always cook rice covered.
- Cook on medium heat. High heat cooks away the water and leaves you with crunchy rice.
- Use a small amount of coconut or canola oil so that the rice doesn’t stick to the pan.
How to cook rice on the stovetop:
How to cook rice in the instant pot:
Do you enjoy pasta? I’ve had many friends say that they can’t cook pasta the right way. It either comes out too hard, too slimy, or just plain wrong. Guess what. It’s super simple to make pasta the right way and you won’t even have to throw it at the wall.
- Boil your water first before adding pasta.
- Add your pasta and then turn your temperature down.
- To check your pasta, don’t throw it at the wall. Take a piece out and taste it.
How to cook pasta on the stovetop:
Potatoes can be such an easy food item to cook and yet it leaves many people confused. Here are some simple tips to help you cook your potatoes.
- Boil them until fork tender.
- Bake them until stabbed with a fork and are soft.
How to cook fried potato hash:
How to boil potatoes:
Eggs can be so hard to cook the right way. I know before I was allergic to eggs, my husband would cook scrambled eggs and I refused to eat them because they were wet. However, there are some simple ways to cook eggs.
- Cook on medium heat and stir consistently for scrambled eggs.
- When boiling eggs, don’t mess with them a lot. Let them cook.
- It’s ok to start with scrambled eggs to learn how to cook them the right way.
Grilled cheese is a favorite for many people but they aren’t always easy to make if you don’t know a few simple tips. Here are some easy ways to make grilled cheese without burning either side.
- Always butter the outsides of your bread.
- Cook on a medium temperature.
- Don’t turn it too many times.
How to make a grilled cheese:
A few bonus cooking tips:
- Use two different types of cutting boards. If you are cutting up meat, you will want to do that on a glass or plastic cutting board. You will want to cut all produce on a wood cutting board. This will help you to avoid cross-contamination. Wooden cutting boards are absorbant and are not a good tool for cutting meat on.
- Use the right knife for the project at hand. The knife you use for cutting bread will be different than what you use for meat.
- Wash all produce before cutting or cooking it.
- For pancakes, don’t flip them until you start to see the tops bubbling.
- Know how to safely put out a fire. Different types of fire can be put out in different ways.
- Don’t oversalt your food.
- YouTube can be your best friend. There are some incredible YouTubers who took the time to teach basic cooking skills. Take advantage of their help. (If someone’s video looks too hard, switch out for someone simpler. It’s ok to say someone is too complex for where you are.)