We all have to start somewhere. That’s the inspiration behind this small but mighty collection of recipes for absolute beginners. We are talking about beginners who can barely boil water. Maybe you’ve just graduated and are on your own for the first time, or you’ve never quite mastered cooking. No worries! Ranging from a no-cook tuna mayo rice bowl to oven-roasted chicken thighs with potatoes and lemons, these dishes are a fantastic place to start. Because no one wakes up one day and can suddenly, for example, run a marathon or, in this case, cook.
But anyone can make something delicious to eat. With a little help from our cooking columnists Melissa Clark, Genevieve Ko and Eric Kim, you’ll become the chef you’ve always wanted to be: a confident person. Start with the recipes below, which are listed from easy to difficult. With practice, repetition, and patience, you not only develop a set of skills that you can apply other New York Times cooking recipesbut you have 10 delicious dishes under your belt that are worth repeating.
You’d be amazed at how much great cooking you can do without ever turning on the stove. Take this tuna mayonnaise rice bowl: all you need is canned tuna, your favorite mayonnaise, leftover rice, and whatever else you want to sprinkle on top. Sesame seeds add a nutty crunch; roasted seaweed, such as nori or furikake, provide crunchy saltiness; and spring onions provide a wonderful freshness. Think of it as a blank canvas and get creative.
Recipe: Tuna Mayo Rice Bowl
This is your chance to prove (and share) your culinary skills. All you need to make this guacamole is a heavy bowl, a fork, and some elbow grease. Puree your avocados et al. until smooth — or coarse if you’re big on contrasting textures. Then, take the opportunity to learn to taste as you go, adding salt along the way, decide whether to add jalapeño seeds for spicy heat, and squeeze more lime juice if you like spicy guacamole. Make sure to wash your hands after handling the jalapeños! (The capsaicin that makes them spicy can also irritate your eyes and skin.)
Okay, it’s time to get the stove in the mix. Grab a non-stick skillet because it will really take you anywhere, starting with cheese-pull heaven when you make this quesadilla. Here, you’ll want to lean on mess-making, sprinkling cheese not only in your tortilla but also around the edges for a lattice-like halo of crunchy crunchies.
Recipe: Crispy Quesadilla
If you’re in for a rough day, start it strong: few dishes can do that better than really good French toast. In this case, you’ll be using standard sandwich bread, which gets particularly custardy because it’s thin, soft, and cooks quickly, but sourdough bread, milk bread, and brioche all work just as well. Just give the slices some time to absorb all that rich, eggy milk before they reach the pan.
Recipe: French toast
Cereal, take a day off, ’cause it’s time to roast. This is your chance to practice your egg cracking skills – be confident – and to truly discover the beauty of scrambled eggs and butter. It’s also a lesson in temperature control, keeping the heat low to avoid overcooking your eggs. If you are vegan, a tofu scramble is just as doable, and cooking with olive oil instead of butter will taste just as good.
You may have heard of the glory of cooking on flat pans. For those who are busy, have limited resources or time, or have picky eaters to feed, cooking in a casserole dish can be a life saver. You’ll be amazed at the flavorful, satisfying meals you can prepare using nothing but a griddle, including these easy roasted veggies that you can mix and match to your liking.
Get out the pan, the last utensil you’ll need to complete this cooking marathon. When it comes to one-pot meals, this tofu curry is simple to prepare, with a fragrant coconut sauce that gives its flavor to broccoli, tofu, and onions. And with all the fat and liquid that comes out of full-fat coconut milk, vegan cooks will rejoice.
Recipe: Vegetable Tofu Curry
What better way to feed a large group than these hearty turkey chili? (It’s also a great way to make many meals for yourself: leftovers will keep for days in the fridge or a month in the freezer.) The recipe starts by frying onions and canned tomatoes in olive oil before adding chili powder and chipotles to the pan. the mix for spices and heat. You’ll definitely have to let things ripple for 20 minutes, but rest assured that, like these 10 recipes, the process will work.
Okay, time to roast whole chicken† Just kidding: let’s start with just the thighs and work our way up from there. If you’re looking for comfort and an all-in-one dinner, this lemony chicken will live up to and leave you feeling very satisfied in the process. The result will warm the soul, with just a hint of zest and zing from a generous helping of lemon juice.
Recipe: Lemon Chicken With Potatoes And Oregano
This isn’t the end of the kitchen marathon – it’s just the beginning. We hope that after cooking these 10 recipes, you will feel capable enough to feed not only yourself, but the people you love most. Even at the beginning of this journey you will find the joy in cooking. And it only gets better.
And to drink…
Many wine enthusiasts recognize salmon as a fish to eat with red wine, especially burgundy or pinot noir. While that can be a wonderful combination, the tart mustard-and-lemon flavors in this roasted salmon recipe pair best with a white wine. My first choice would be dry riesling be it from Germany, Alsace or Austria. A modest dish would be fine, but this dish would also make an excellent accompaniment to an excellent bottle. If it’s not Riesling, how about a Chablis? The same goes: a young village wine would be good, a premier or grand cru with a bit of age even better. Other options? An Oregon chardonnay, a Savennières from the Loire Valley or a good assyrtiko from Santorini would all be delicious. If you’re into red, try a good Beaujolais cru. ERIC ASIMOV