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Ok I'm a crap cook .. Help me out

(15 Posts)
Hellonewworld Sat 22-Jun-13 16:07:48

I can not cook and I'm worried that I'm going to end up feeding my children rubbish food so any inspiration or easy recipes and tricks are most welcome smile

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 22-Jun-13 16:09:33

That's quite a wide brief!

What do you feed them now?

Why do you say you can't cook?

Hellonewworld Sat 22-Jun-13 16:12:29

We mostly eat pasta, jacket potatoes , chicken breast burgers etc. I would like to cook more fresh food containing home made sauces and cook more meals from scratch sad

I think you need to start with a good, basic cookbook - one that explains things well, and takes you through the recipes in clear steps.

It is worth learning a basic tomato sauce: finely chop a big onion, and fry it gently in a bit of olive oil. Add some garlic, some chopped celery (if you like celery), and a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes. Carry on cooking, and add a good squirt of tomato paste and some dried oregano. You can serve that sauce as is, over pasta, with some grated cheese; or add mince that you have fried beforehand to brown it (then you have bolognese sauce); or add chopped, grilled bacon for another pasta sauce, or cook the sauce until it is a bit thicker, then use as the tomato sauce for pizza - buy bases or use a packet mix to make your own, top with the tomato sauce, then add whatever toppings you like, grated cheese, then cook in oven (gas mark 5/180 degrees c) until bubbling and lightly browned.

Get a griddle pan (the ones with the ridges), and you can make lovely char grilled chicken breast - flatten it with a rolling pin, smear a bit of olive oil on, and put straight on the hot pan. Turn when you have got dark stripes on the first side. Check it is cooked by cutting into it - if still pink in the middle, put it back on the grill for a little while. Serve with salad and crusty bread.

Stir fries are easy and tasty.

I can come back with more if you want.

Sorry - forgot this one - leave the herbs out of the tomato sauce, and put in Schwartz Mexican spice mix. Add browned cubes of chicken or lamb, and some sliced red and yellow peppers, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, then serve with couscous. Ignore packet instructions for couscous. Just put however much you need in a bowl (about 100g of the dried couscous per adult), pour over boiling water with a bit of liquid chicken stock or boiling stock made with a cube or stock melt, to a level about 1cm above the top of the dry couscous. Cover with cling film and leave for 5 minutes, uncover, fluff with fork and serve. You can put all sorts in couscous to add flavour - chopped peppers, almonds and pine nuts you have browned in a dry pan, olive oil - just a drizzle.

Ooh - I should have said that you can make a big batch of the basic tomato sauce, use some and freeze the rest, to be the basis of another meal.

Soups can be pretty easy too, and casseroles.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 22-Jun-13 16:38:22

The BBC recipes website is very good. You can use Advanced Search and choose "Quick and Easy" and "Main course" and get a huge number of options.

Maybe try something from scratch following a recipe just once or twice a week.

Hellonewworld Sat 22-Jun-13 16:38:43

Thanks for that it's very helpful x

Vibbe Sat 22-Jun-13 17:53:17

I love - I use it for inspiration. I also get inspiration from blogs, such as

You only get better in the kitchen by cooking - and even if the food sometimes turn out to be awful, then you've learnt something smile

I would also find a classic cookbook with basic recipes. For instance, learning to make a roux will help you make sauces and soups. I would also make sure that the cooking temperatures for roasts (if you make that) are listed.

Make sure to learn good kitchen hygiene, taste the food while you make it (keeping in mind not to taste uncooked pork and chicken), and to remember to season the food well.

I would say not to buy any new kitchen stuff unless you really need it. If you have a frying pan, a couple of sauce pans, oven-proof dishes, knives and chopping boards, then you should be perfectly fine - at least until there's something you just have to have.
We use our griddle a couple of times a year - the rest of the time, it's just in the way, so don't run out to get one yet.

If I were you, I'd start with a bolognese or a stew. The reason for that is that timing can be hard in the beginning, and as stews and bolognese are quite forgiving (it does take some time for it to be overcooked), you can finish cooking pasta or making mash, and then serve.

BornToFolk Sat 22-Jun-13 18:00:12

Fajitas are stupidly easy. Chop a load of veg (I like peppers, butternut squash, onions, courgette, carrot) into strips, fry in a wok until cooked, add seasoning. Serve with warm tortillas and whatever condiments you fancy (sour cream, guacamole etc).

DS loves them and they are relatively healthy due to all the veg (though I would have been a bit wary when he was younger due to the high levels of salt in the seasoning and condiments)

We're veggie so I either do just veggies or add some Quorn chunks, or chickpeas.

mrspink27 Sat 22-Jun-13 22:31:20

Jamies Ministry of Food might be a good starting point?

Amazinggg Sat 22-Jun-13 22:42:55

If you eat pasta and baked potatoes you're off to a healthy start smile

A tomato sauce is a great skill and really versatile. Great on pasta with veggies or meat as detailed above. It's also worth mastering a white sauce or cheese sauce. My cheat's version:

Melt a big wodge of butter in a little pan - maybe 40g or so

Add 500ml of whole milk, heat til it's about to start bubbling

While you're waiting for it to heat, mix 3 teaspoons of cornflour with a tiny bit of cold water, just enough to make a paste.

When pan is about to bubble, pour in the cornflour/water mix and let it start bubbling. Stir as it bubbles and you will like magic see it thicken up.

Such a useful recipe.

For Carbonara (yum) - add 4 slices of chopped up bacon and 2 chopped up garlic cloves while the butter is melting and let them cook til the bacon looks done. Then add milk as before, grate about 20g of Parmigiano Reggiano into it, stir as it comes to bubbling point, add cornflour mix as before. Then reduce heat so gently simmering. Crack an egg into a glass, and carefully let the white drain into the glass but keeping the yolk in the shell. Chuck the yolk into the pan and stir like mad so it dissipates throughout the bubbling mix. Repeat for another egg.

Voila, the tastiest Carbonara sauce. Mix with pasta and serve with garlic bread and salad. And wine wine

sashh Sun 23-Jun-13 08:40:42

Passatta is your friend. It is basically sieved tomatoes and comes in packets or jars, the supermarkets hide it away from the pasta so you will buy expensive pasta sauce.

I do this in the slow cooker, but would work in a pan on the hob or in the oven.

Port ribs
tin of canellini / kidney / pinto beans
1 sliced pepper
small piece of chorizo chopped
1 packet passata

Put it all in a pan, season and cook until the meat falls off the ribs.

Can be frozen once cooked.

I only really learned to cook by watching ready steady cook.

I also think cooking is a process so if you have no confidence or don't want things too complicated then go half way so maybe you don't have the confidence to do your own chicken in red wine, start with a tin or red wine sauce and follow the instructions.

It won't take long until you are making your own.

multitaskmama Sun 23-Jun-13 11:59:52

@Hellooneworld, you're not a crap cook, you just need a pinch of confidence, a handful of practice and a cup of willpower! We all started somewhere! smile

Follow some mega simple recipes and you'll be fine. I started by using children's cookbooks which always have basic and simple store cupboard ingredients. Now I cook quickly and healthy for my family. If I can do it so can you x

UptoapointLordCopper Sun 23-Jun-13 19:51:29

I posted this on another thread so might as well post here too:

The perfect no-brain chicken dinner.

Have a go!

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