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Topic: Tasty meals for beginners?  (Read 1817 times)
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Bakaness
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2010 05:17:45 PM »

Check out taste.com.au - they have some great howto videos, as well as lots of recipes.

My favourite "I'm too tired to cook" recipe is gnocchi in burnt butter and sage sauce. While you can make your own gnocchi (it's actually fairly easy), it's time-consuming. You can use the vacuum-sealed stuff you find at woolies, or some of the nicer frozen ones.

First, you get some butter, 250g will make you enough sauce for 6 people and leftovers. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat, and put a pot of water on to boil (it's usually quicker to use a kettle to help). When it's melted, add chopped or minced garlic - I'm a garlic fiend, so I use a lot. Give it a stir - the garlic should start to turn golden. While this is happening, wash some fresh sage, and dry it off. When the butter starts to turn golden-brown, toss in the sage. Keep it on the heat until the butter is a nutty brown colour - if someone leans over your shoulder and says that you've burnt the butter, excellent - that's the point. The idea is a *gentle* burn, though.

At this point, put the gnocchi in the water, and cook it like the packet says - usually you scoop it out when it starts to float.

Serve the gnocchi with a drizzle of the butter - you don't need much. Any leftover keeps for ages in a jar in the fridge.  While I've given you long-winded instructions, this is really simple to make, as long as you keep the butter on a low heat.

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nachturnal
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2011 07:38:53 AM »

I'm not a bad cook, but I am a very lazy one.  My favourite minimal-effort meal is pan-seared sausages/steak with butter mushrooms and instant gravy (mainly because I can't make gravy without setting off the smoke alarm, hur hur).  If you have a rice cooker, you can also whip up a little rice to go with this.

Just pick up some decent meat from the market (at least three stars).  As someone up-thread says, brown some onions in a pan with butter this adds extra flavour and put in the steaks when the pan is hot and your stove is on about medium-high.  Experiment to find out how you like your steak and how to cook it to that point.  Take the meat out and let it rest.  This is important to stop your meat from getting too tough.  Cover with a piece of foil to keep it warm while you prepare the next bit.

In the same pan, add some chopped mushrooms (I like button mushrooms), a little more butter if your pan is getting dry, and turn the heat down.  Let it sit for a while, stirring occasionally to stop the mushrooms from sticking to the pan or browning too much.  They're ready when you can bite all the way through one and the inside is a uniform colour.  If you do what I do and wash your mushrooms, they will release a LOT of water don't worry about this, it helps them cook evenly.
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Lionne
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« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2011 04:11:06 AM »

I learned how to prepare meals when I moved into my own appartement. I learned how to cook good meals a couple of years later. At that time my partner and I had an agreement. I had to cook during the week and he on the weekends. Every day I picked a recipe thant sounded good from a website and tried it. That way I learned how to make sauces from scratch, lasagna, marinating and my boss showed me to make awesome cakes.

Here are two very simple and tasty recipes I love.

Veggie Soup:
You need vegetables. Whatever you like. I prefer potatoes, hokkaido and carrots, but, as I said, you can use anything. And you need onions.
Chop the veggies into little pieces, cover with water and a bit of milk and let it boil for about 20min. Meanwhile roast the onions. Puree the soup, add onions and season it with salt, pepper and wahtever else you want.

Pan-fried rice or noodles:
This is a good way to use leftover rice or noodles. Heat it up in a pan and add eggs, peas, onions, meat, corn... It's like the soup, you can add whatever you want.
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annoyinglittlegirl
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2011 09:20:03 AM »

People have already given some great suggestions but here are some of my own:

1. Tomato meat sauce - as Funky Moover said, this can be used to make a million different meals, so is a great place to start. I make it by chopping up and onion and some garlic (generally the rule is one clove per person per portion) and softening it a little in some oil over a medium heat, then adding your meat to brown a little (I use Quorn because I'm a vegetarian but I think it'd be the same for beef or whatever!), tinned tomatoes, and whatever herbs you have lying around (experiment - basil goes really well with tomatoes but you could equally just use a tub of mixed herbs hehe). Then just simmer it for a while until it tastes good and the meat is cooked! You can vary this in any way you want - try adding some other vegetables with your onion and garlic, e.g. chopped up red/yellow pepper, courgette, sweetcorn, mushrooms etc.
This sauce can be used for spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne, pasta bake, even Mexican dishes like chilli with rice (just add a can of kidney beans and a bit of chilli powder too).

2. Soup - soup is the EASIEST thing to make, but always makes you feel like you've accomplished something good Smiley It basically just involves cooking your basic ingredients with some stock, sometimes some cream, and then blitzing it all up - what could be easier? Smiley As a very basic place to start, cook some onion and garlic in a little oil and add loads of mushrooms, then some veg stock, and simmer for a while before blending. Herbs are always a good addition - thyme or parsley go well with mushrooms. Another classic soup is carrot and coriander - boil the carrots (chopped up!) in the stock and then add the coriander before blitzing. You can add a dash of cream too if you want a creamier soup.

3. You could also try risotto - it always sounds daunting, but is actually really really easy. You just cook off some onion and garlic (as you can see I begin most recipes with some onion and garlic haha) and lots of mushrooms, then add your raw risotto rice for a minute or two until it's all coated in the oil. Then add a dash of white wine, and gradually add in some hot veg stock a ladleful at a time (I have mine in a pan at the side so it stays hot and I can just spoon it in when I need it). Wait for most of the stock to be absorbed by the rice before you add more. Finish with lots of parmesan and chopped fresh parsley - YUM!

Sorry I've babbled on for ages, I like to feel useful occasionally haha. Hope some of these suggestions sound good to you, let us know what you create Smiley it gets easier and easier the more you cook. I'd also recommend watching lots of cookery shows on TV, as they've taught me a lot of what I know about flavour combinations etc.
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Please visit my vegetarian cookery blog Smiley views, comments and FB likes are ALWAYS appreciated!

www.amuse-your-bouche.blogspot.com
annoyinglittlegirl
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2011 09:25:24 AM »

I know I've already said too much but I thought of another easy recipe Smiley

4. Spicy bean stew - sounds uninspiring but can be SO tasty and there is pretty much no recipe, it just involves sticking in whatever you have in the cupboard! The basis is a can or two of beans (any type, I often use kidney beans but sometimes a can of baked beans in tomato sauce is a nice addition!), some veg (mushrooms, onion, peppers, courgette, sweetcorn etc), some tinned tomatoes, veg stock, ocasionally a little bit of mince (again, I use Quorn, but I guess you could use beef mince or even lumps of chicken or beef). Then comes the fun bit - I just shove in whatever I have in the cupboards, e.g. lots of chilli powder, any dried herbs I have, soy sauce, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, etc. Just go mad, it always turns out delicious haha

If you want any more details about anything I've said please just send me a PM Smiley
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Please visit my vegetarian cookery blog Smiley views, comments and FB likes are ALWAYS appreciated!

www.amuse-your-bouche.blogspot.com
dancedupapillon
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2011 10:25:05 PM »

My fianc makes the BEST taco filling.  He starts by browning the beef (you can use ground chicken or veggie ground if you like) in a frying pan then adding in salsa, green chilies, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.  I know salsa is technically a prepared food, but if you read the label you'll surely find a brand that has nice simple pronounceable ingredients. It makes the meat nice and saucy and lovely Smiley  It goes nicely with guacamole (basically mashed avocado with lime juice and salsa mixed in), some nice chopped fresh tomatoes, some lettuce and a little bit of cheese in a soft tortilla.
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