Back to Basics: 6 Recipes Anyone Can Cook

by Maris Callahan on January 3, 2010


Sometimes, the secret to being good at something is tricking people into thinking you’re good at it.

Now, I’m not suggesting you should tell lies, oh nothing like that. If you can’t cook but you want to feed someone a meal whether it’s your new boyfriend or your five year old daughter, there are plenty of ways to accomplish said goal. You can order takeout, you can enlist the expertise of a hobby-chef hubby or you can take a packaged frozen meal and pass it off as your own.

(I advise against the latter).

If you’re a novice home cook, starting off in your first apartment or trying to solidify an easy repertoire of fast meals, here are five quick ones that I love. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. You don’t really need to know how to cook in order to get them on the table.


1. Mixed Fruit & Nut Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette: This salad is a snap if you use prepared salad greens and store-bought dressing. Even though I like making sauces and dressings from scratch, that doesn’t mean you have to. Add beans or chicken for extra protein. Easy peasy.


2. Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese: Add a hunk of goat cheese to dress up a boring breakfast and serve with a toasted English muffin and some colorful fruit. The downside is that you’ll probably be stuck with breakfast duty indefinitely once your family or significant other tries these. I use about an ounce of cheese for every 3 eggs.

3. Classic Turkey Chili: (Pictured at the top) Even the most kitchen-phobic can brown lean ground turkey and toss it in a ban with crushed tomatoes and kidney beans. Add a little chili powder, a little cumin (and maybe even some hot pepper sauce if you’re feeling dangerous) and you’ll have dinner, and probably even leftovers.


4. Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Swiss Chard: Everyone can boil water, right? If you can boil water, acquaint yourself with Swiss chard. A little Parmesan cheese goes a long way in making this dish from Kalyn’s Kitchen a simple, weeknight-friendly dinner that’s healthy and hints at an advanced degree of culinary prowess.


5. Macaroni & Cheese with Peas: If this list seems pasta-heavy it’s because pasta is easy, cheap and well, find me someone who doesn’t like pasta and I’ll bake you cookies. Macaroni and cheese is practically a universal favorite dish and peas are a kid-friendly (and meat-and-potatoes-loving-boyfriend-friendly) veggie that add a colorful punch to the classic comfort food.

6. Welsh Rarebit: Please don’t confuse rarebit with rabbit. I’m not advocating consumption of the Easter bunny. Check out the Pioneer Woman Cooks for a gussied-up cheese sandwich that you can cook even if you can’t.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria January 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I love that salad! Great easy recipes!


The Food Hunter January 3, 2010 at 5:26 pm

MMM…they all look good especially that salad.


Shoshanah January 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm

I love adding fruit to my salad. Cranberries are a great choice, but my favorite is probably adding pear. And that chili does look deliciously good!


Daryl January 3, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I love how you can take a simple dish and make it special


mandy January 3, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I totally read that as rabbit. Thanks for pointing that out. The turkey chili is a favorite as is the mac and cheese.


kat January 4, 2010 at 10:13 am

I think we all have those recipes we pull out for an easy impress


em January 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Brilliant! Thank you so much for all those terrific ideas!


Jenny January 4, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Great post! As a college student I sure could use some quick and easy, yet still delicious recipes :)
Goat cheese in eggs sounds heavenly..two of my favorite things!


Kalyn January 4, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Great list! I am always surprised when I run into people who don’t even try to cook!


thatShortChick January 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm

thanks for linking to your turkey chili recipe – will be (attempting to, at least) making some this week!


Mrs. L January 7, 2010 at 12:16 am

Looks like some good recipes to have in ones repertoire!


Heather in SF January 7, 2010 at 4:28 am

I love the line about adding chile if you are feeling dangerous! You know, I read that kale and pasta post and didn’t bookmark it, thank you for helping me find it again!


PomJob January 20, 2010 at 10:06 am

Found you via Everyday Adventures and had to comment that my sister HATES pasta. Mac and cheese, spaghetti, lasagna? All dead to her. She also won’t eat Wendy’s burgers because square burgers just aren’t right. We think she’s weird.


Kelsi January 27, 2010 at 8:36 am

I search and recently came across your blog and have been reading along. It was wonderful blog.


Novice gourmand February 24, 2010 at 9:40 am

Successfully made and enjoyed recipes 1 through 3, though not at the same time. I still have two meals of the chili in freezer for future consumption. Thanks for the recipes and advice.


love the way you lie piano sheet November 5, 2010 at 7:01 am

I tried the Maccaroni cheese with peas, they are fantastic!


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