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The Beginners’ Guide to Making Unmissable Meals

By Yann, published on 19/07/2018 We Love Prof - AU > Arts and Hobbies > Cooking > Easy Recipes for Beginners!

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” – Sophia Loren

Over the years, people have started spending less and less time cooking. With busier lives (between work, family, and leisure), we spend less time cooking and more time focusing on other things.

However, you don’t need to spend 3 hours in the kitchen making a complicated dish in order to eat well and enjoy your meals.

People generally think that simple meals can’t be tasty. If you’re sick of jacket potatoes, cheesy beans on toast, instant noodles, or prepackaged sandwiches, here are a few examples of quick and easy dinner recipes that beginners can make.

Cooking Lessons: Easy Starters

Starters often seem complicated but they needn’t be. There are quick and easy recipes that can impress your guests. They don’t require a lot of ingredients or time.

Which are the easiest meals to make? It might be time to eat less pizza and start cooking your own food. (Source: joshuemd)

Are you ready to impress the in-laws this weekend or do you just need something you can quickly make on a weeknight after work for the whole family?

Basil and Lemon Sardine Tartines

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Cooking time: 5 minutes.

Budget per person: £1.50

Ingredients:

  • 4 large slices of farmhouse bread
  • 16 sardines in oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil or a few leaves of fresh basil
  • 1 shallot
  • 100g of butter
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Remove the skin and bones from the sardines.
  • Work the butter into a paste in a salad bowl.
  • Add the sardines, lemon juice, crushed shallot, salt, and basil.
  • Toast the bread for a few minutes in the oven.
  • Spread and you’re ready to go!

Surimi Taboulé

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Cooking time: 5 minutes. 2 hours standing time.

Budget per person: £2

Ingredients:

  • 180g of bulgur
  • 8 rolls of surimi
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Cook the bulgur in 750ml of salted boiling water for 5 minutes.
  • Take off the heat and let it swell in the water for 5 minutes.
  • Drain
  • Dice the tomato, cucumber, and pepper
  • Mix with the warm bulgur.
  • Add 50ml of olive oil, juice from the lemon, crushed mint leaves, salt, and minced surimi.
  • Leave to stand for 2 hours.

For a vegetarian alternative, you can replace the surimi with feta or tofu. Of course, if you prefer mushroom, carrot, spinach, or other veggies, you could always add them instead.

Tomato Noodle Soup

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Cooking time: 25 minutes.

Budget per person: £1

Ingredients:

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 50g of tomato concentrate
  • 100g of vermicelli
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cube of chicken stock
  • Olive oil

Recipe for serving four people:

  • In a pot, brown the onion, garlic, and crushed tomatoes in 50ml of olive oil.
  • Add the tomato concentrate, 800ml of water, the stock cube (you can replace this with vegetable stock if vegetarian)
  • Bring to the boil
  • Simmer for 25 minutes
  • Add the vermicelli
  • Cook for 3 minutes before taking off the heat

This filling and hearty meal can be can be served as a starter or as a main dish on a cold winter’s day. In fact, most soups are pretty quick and easy to make.

Easy Recipes for Main Courses

For original pasta dishes, stuffed vegetables, and quick meals, follow this guide. You don’t need to spend several hours preparing them nor do you need a chef’s qualification. These recipes are affordable, easy, and quick.

They also make a change from mac and cheese, a burger from McDonald’s, or meatballs out of a tin.

Which are the best cooking blogs? Cooking blogs are great for ideas on what to make. (Source: RitaE)

Ready to go?

Shirred Eggs with Ham

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 10 minutes.

Budget per person: £1.50

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 soup spoons of thick creme fraiche
  • A slice of ham
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 demi baguette
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Baste 4 ramekins with olive oil.
  • Cut the ham into strips.
  • Spread the crushed tomato, ham, and creme fraiche into the bottom of the ramekin.
  • Break an egg into each ramekin.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 180°C in a water bath (bain-marie).
  • Serve with bread cut into soldiers.

Salmon Tagliatelle

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 10 minutes.

Budget per person: £1.50

Ingredients:

  • 400g of fresh tagliatelle
  • 2 skinned salmon steaks
  • 100ml of cooking cream
  • Cooking white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Cut the salmon and sauté it in a pan with olive oil for 5 minutes.
  • Add 50ml of white wine and reduce.
  • Add the cream and reduce.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the pasta with the salmon sauce.

Quiche Lorraine/Vegetable Quiche

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 35 minutes.

Budget per person: £2

Ingredients:

  • Pie dough
  • 3 eggs
  • 400g of heavy cream
  • 200g of lardon strips
  • 125g of grated cheese
  • Nutmeg, salt, pepper

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Place the dough in a cake tin and pierce it with a fork.
  • Cook the lardons in a pan without adding anything to them
  • Whip the eggs, cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a salad bowl.
  • Place the lardons onto the dough
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese.
  • Bake for 25 minutes at 200°C.

For a vegetarian option, you can replace the lardons with vegetables like courgette, peppers, broccoli, carrots, etc.

How do you cook for guests? Impress your friends with your cooking. (Source: rawpixel)

Stuffed Goat’s Cheese Tomatoes

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 20 minutes.

Budget per person: £1.50

Ingredients:

  • 8 tomatoes
  • 350g of fresh goat’s cheese
  • 50g of walnut kernels
  • 200g of wheat semolina
  • 30g of breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides
  • Mix the goat’s cheese, honey, the insides of the tomatoes, a tablespoon of olive oil, nuts, breadcrumbs, and salt in a salad bowl.
  • Insert into the tomatoes
  • Place the tops back on the tomatoes and add tablespoon of olive oil
  • Cook for 20 minutes at 180°C
  • Serve with semolina prepared in advance.

If you don’t like goat’s cheese, you can always replace it with ricotta or cream cheese with herbs.

Buckwheat Pancakes with Ham

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Cooking time: 15 minutes.

Budget per person: £1.50

Ingredients:

  • 4 buckwheat pancakes
  • 4 slices of ham
  • 4 eggs
  • Lettuce
  • 80g of grated cheese
  • 4 tablespoons of thick creme fraiche
  • Olive oil
  • Vinaigrette
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Fry the 4 eggs with a bit of olive oil and salt.
  • Put to one side
  • Reheat the buckwheat pancakes with a bit of oil
  • Place a slice of ham into the middle with the crème fraîche, egg, and grated cheese
  • Fold the pancake into a square
  • Repeat for the over pancakes
  • Serve with lettuce and vinaigrette

For a vegetarian option, you can always replace the ham with mushrooms or sliced avocado.

Sautéd Pineapple Pork

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Cooking time: 10 minutes.

Budget per person: £1.50

Ingredients:

  • 400g of pork tenderloin
  • 1 jar of sliced pineapple
  • 200g of rice
  • 1/2 a red pepper
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Dice the pork and sauté it in oil in a frying pan or skillet
  • Put to one side
  • In the hot pan, sauté the crushed shallot and diced pepper.
  • Dilute the cornstarch in 3 tablespoons of pineapple juice and salt.
  • Add this pineapple sauce to diced pineapple.
  • Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Serve with rice.

If you’re a big fan of pork, you could replace the pork tenderloin with tender pork chops, too.

Desserts for Beginners

Desserts are far from a hassle!

There are easy recipes.

Feel like a homemade chocolate cake but you’re on your own or can’t be bothered with baking?

Mugcake it is!

Forget complicated crumble, clafouti, rice pudding, or crème patissière. Let’s make things simple.

When are strawberries in season? You should only really get strawberries when they’re in season. (Source: Engin_Akyurt)

Chocolate Mugcake

Preparation time: 5 minutes.

Cooking time: 3 minutes.

Budget per person: £1

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 20g of flour
  • 20g of sugar
  • 30g of butter
  • 40g of dark chocolate

Recipe for one person:

  • Place the butter and chocolate into a mug and microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Smoothly mix and then add flour and sugar.
  • Mix again.
  • Add the egg and mix it in.
  • Put in the microwave for 1 minute.

I bet you didn’t think that a cake could be baked in less than ten minutes, but there you have it! There definitely won’t be any leftovers.

Orange Blossom French Toast

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 5 minutes.

Budget per person: £2.50

Ingredients:

  • 1 stale baguette (usually leftover from another meal)
  • Orange blossom
  • 3 eggs
  • 140g of unsweetened condensed milk
  • 2 sachets of vanilla sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  • Rapeseed oil

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Whip the eggs with the condensed milk, vanilla sugar, and sugar.
  • Add a tablespoon of orange blossom and mix it all together.
  • Cut the bread into slices.
  • Quickly plunge the bread into the mix and take it straight back out and put it onto a plate.
  • Heat the oil
  • Brown the bread on both sides
  • Serve warm

The orange blossom adds a refreshing zesty and tangy addition to a traditional recipe and while we’ve put it down as a dessert, it’s also great for brunch on the weekend.

Speculaas and Strawberry Dessert

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Budget per person: £1.80

Ingredients:

  • 300g of strawberries
  • 8 speculaas
  • 2 pots of vanilla pudding
  • Whipped cream

Recipe for serving four people:

  • Wash the strawberries, keep four to one side and place the rest into a blender.
  • Place the mix into ramekins and cover with half a pot of vanilla pudding.
  • Sprinkle speculaas crumbs on top.
  • Serve with whipped cream, a bit more speculaas on top, and half a strawberry.

As you can see, you can get most of these on the table in 30 minutes or less and for those that take longer, it’s just because you have to cook them for a little longer.

If you’re out of dinner ideas, don’t forget there are books and websites with plenty of easy dinners you can make. Some websites even organise their recipes by ingredient so you can see what you have in your cupboards and make it.

Whether you’re looking for hearty casserole recipes, how to make a satisfying stir-fry, making some chilli con carne in a slow cooker, there are a number of great websites as well as books to get you started.

Or you can search for a cooking course London and learn how to make more elaborate dishes.

If you’re willing to spend more time, there are also plenty of great resources on how to make a roasted chicken dinner. If you’ve got chicken in the fridge or freezer, there are easy chicken recipes for your weeknight dinners or suppers, too!

Vocabulary

If a few terms were Greek to you, here’s a couple definitions. We’ve got a few definitions in our other articles on cooking, so make sure to read them, too!

Kneaded Butter

This is butter at room temperature that has been worked with a spatula until it has a creamy consistency.

Dilute

This means adding a substance to a liquid to weaken it. It’s similar to dissolving.

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