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.