Seven percent of Americans say they never cook and 30% say they only cook three times a week. One thing is certain: we don’t cook as much as we could. Why? Cooking is intimidating and time consuming! Learning how to cook, takes a bit of time and patience — two things that working moms and dads may not have a whole lot of. That’s why it’s important to pick quick easy recipes for dinner to practice cooking. Quick and easy recipes give you the perfect opportunity to practice the basics of cooking. Here are some quick easy recipes for dinner that can help you basic cooking techniques.
If you’re cooking dinner several nights a week and you want to add some healthy side dishes to your dinner, you gotta learn how to blanch like a pro. Blanching is a tactic used to preserve color and texture of the vegetable or prepare veggies for freezing and it’s often said to be the healthiest way to cook vegetables because they don’t lose too many nutrients when blanched. It’s important to know how to blanch if you’re making healthy kitchen sides like broccoli salad. To blanch, make sure you cut your broccoli into uniform pieces so that they evenly cook. Add salt to a pan of boiling water and make sure that your using ample amounts of water (you may need a deep pot if you’re blanching a large number of veggies). After about 30 seconds, test for doneness and after about 1-2 minutes the blanching should be complete. Dunk your blanched veggies in ice water to stop cooking. To complete your broccoli salad, toss with crumbled bacon, onion, craisins, and a bit of cheddar cheese. Stir well so that cheese melts. Broccoli salad is a great green side and pairs well with grilled chicken for a complete easy dinner that only takes about 20 minutes to prepare. You can use the blanching technique for other salads, crudite, sushi, stir fries, spring rolls, or simply eat blanched veggies on their own, making for an easy side that’s ready in an instant.
Cooking rice may be a breeze, but few people know that cooking brown rice requires different techniques. Brown rice takes a little more water and time than regular rice. However, if you want to serve the healthier option of brown rice with some lemon shrimp, you have to learn how to cook this versatile side to perfection. To make brown rice, first measure out a cup and keep in mind that long-grain may need a little extra water. Rinse rice until water runs clear, add 2 1/4 cups of water, then bring the water to a simmer. Cover tightly and turn the heat to low until the rice has cooked for about 45 minutes. Make sure there’s no more water in the pot, and serve! All you have to do to make a complete meal is sauté some shrimp with lemon, butter, and garlic, then mix the sauté in with your brown rice. Now, that’s an easy dinner.
Sautéed mushrooms make great additions to your burger or frittata, but they’re especially handy if you want to make a creamy, wild mushroom sauce with browned mushrooms. However, you have to know how to sauté before you make this easy dish. Though mushrooms are easy to make after you have the technique down, many people end up boiling their mushrooms instead of sautéing them. Mushrooms aren’t supposed to be slimy. To make perfectly sautéed mushrooms, first get your pan hot and don’t be shy with the oil. You have to have heat to get your browning. Layer all of your mushrooms evenly on the pan and let them cook without provocation. When they look a bit brown on the cooking side, flip them over until the other side is completely brown. Most importantly, don’t salt until the end–it draws water out of the mushrooms. Just sauté minced garlic and onion (with your newly found sautéing techniques) and add mushroom stock, cream, and a bit of cheese to make an undeniably delicious wild mushroom sauce that can be served over pasta. This whole dish only takes about 30 minutes to make.
Next time you feel a little bit intimidated by the kitchen, just keep these key tips in mind to make dinners with sautéed mushrooms, brown rice, or blanched vegetables. You can use these techniques for countless ingredients, so feel free to show off your new culinary skills.