Guest Author: Marné Amoguis
Some people seem born with a natural gift for cooking. However, many of the best chefs in the world had to learn everything they know from the ground up. While your goal probably isn’t to become the next famous chef, you might want to learn how to cook a good, healthy meal for yourself and your family.
Cooking doesn’t have to take hours, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether you love to cook or you just love to eat, you can cook for yourself easily at home and save some money while you do it. Here are easy home recipes for first-time cooks.
Meat Pasta Skillet
If you want a quick and easy way to make comfort food at home, try a meat and pasta skillet. This simple recipe offers creamy, pasta using tomatoes and mushrooms. This pasta is made using wholesome ingredients your home family will love, and it only takes an hour and a half to make.
- 3 cups of diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil
- Sliced mushrooms
- 1 lb of ground meat of choice
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- ½ cup mascarpone
- Pasta noodles
- Parmesan cheese
How to Make It
- Roast the tomatoes at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Before putting them into the oven, lightly drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper.
- Use a spoon to remove the tomatoes from the oven and let them cool down. Once they’ve cooled, place them in a blender and liquify them.
- Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms seasoned with salt and pepper and cook for 7 minutes. Mushrooms should be slightly browned. Take the mushrooms out of the skillet and set them aside.
- Using the same skillet, add another tablespoon of olive oil and cook the meat. Season to your preferences, then grind the meat up into small pieces.
- Once the meat is brown, add onions to the skillet. Once the onions are cooked, stir in the liquified tomatoes and tomato paste. Let simmer on reduced heat for two minutes.
- Add the mascarpone. Once the mascarpone is melted, add pasta and the cooked mushrooms to the skillet.
- Stir and serve with parmesan cheese.
Cheddar Mac and Cheese
This one won’t be on your list of healthy dinners, but it can be on your list of easy, delicious, and hearty family meals. You can add a little protein to your meal by adding in cooked chicken once your mac and cheese is done.
This cheddar mac and cheese only differs from your classic mac and cheese because it is topped with panko crumbs to make it taste and feel oven-baked. Not only will it taste great, but it can be made in less than 30 minutes. This is a quick and easy meal you can prepare if you are on a time crunch and is also great for coating your stomach before taking medication.
- Pasta noodles
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Sharp cheddar
- Black pepper
- Dry mustard
You’ll notice here that we didn’t give you measurements. That’s because everything needed to create this kitchen classic can be done using your preferences and a little bit of experimentation. If you prefer to use a lot of butter in your mac and cheese, go ahead!
How to Make It
- Boil salted water and add pasta noodles once boiling.
- Toast breadcrumbs by adding butter to a small pan over medium heat and stirring in the breadcrumbs. Continue to stir until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, then remove from heat.
- Prepare your sauce by melting butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it is melted, mix in a little bit of flour until the mixture is a golden color. Next, whisk in as much or as little milk as you like.
- Add as much cheddar cheese as you want until it melts in your pan.
- Season your sauce with salt, pepper, dry mustard, and paprika.
- Add the sauce to the pasta.
Whether you’re trying to cut sugar out of your diet or you just want your family to start eating healthier, you should always start simple with a recipe everyone will love. If you enjoy mustard and mushrooms, keep reading! This recipe takes under 30 minutes from start to finish and offers your family an easy, healthy meal.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup milk
- 4 tablespoons of mustard
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Sliced mushrooms
- Yellow onions
- 2 pounds of chicken breasts
- Flour, salt, and pepper
How to Make It
- Heat your oven to 300 degrees.
- Prepare chicken by cutting the chicken breasts in half and pounding it with a mallet until thin and even.
- Prep the sauce by melting butter in a medium saucepan and stirring in garlic. Next, stir in the flour until the consistency of the sauce is even. Slowly add the chicken stock and whisk in milk until completely incorporated. Finally, bring to a slow boil and boil for one minute. Once the sauce has thickened, add mustard. Set sauce aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat before adding mushrooms. Sprinkle mushrooms with salt and pepper while sauteing them until slightly darker. Add the onions and saute until completely cooked. Add mushrooms and onions to the sauce.
- Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Heat your skillet back up with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, put the chicken in flour and cover it completely. Place it in the skillet until the chicken browns. Once cooked, take the chicken off heat and place it in a dish.
- Once the chicken is cooked and placed in a dish, cover it with sauce.
Decadent Pasta Salad
If you are craving something light and healthy, a pasta salad is an excellent choice! Luckily, with a pasta salad, you can customize it to whatever you like and make extras for leftovers. In addition to leftovers to eat during the week, pasta salad is a more economical choice for dinner, making it a cheap and easy meal. Pasta salads are also a great option for meal prep. You can also choose to make it vegan or vegetarian depending on your dietary needs. Here’s how you can start your quick 25-minute meal.
- 1 box of pasta noodles (preferably rotini)
- 1 tbsp of oil
- 1 head of asparagus
- 1 small can of olives
- ½ sweet yellow onion
- ¾ cup of grape tomatoes (cut in half)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp chili lime powder (optional: if you prefer some spice)
- Oregano for garnishing
How to Make
- Fill a pot ¾ of the way with water and set it on the stovetop. Turn heat to medium-high and let sit until the water comes to a boil.
- While the water is boiling, you can prepare your veggies by cutting your tomatoes in half, draining your olive can, or cutting the tips of the asparagus head.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add the desired amount of pasta noodles into your pot with a pinch of salt and reduce heat to medium for 5 minutes
- It’s important to keep your pasta noodles cooking until they are just al dente.
- Drain and add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pot so the noodles do not stick together.
- Combine all vegetables and spices and stir until it is evenly mixed.
- You can either top this off with oil and vinegar or your choice of Italian dressing from the grocery store.
Easy Recipes: Final Thoughts
Once you’ve mastered these four easy recipes and dishes, you can start learning how to cook more complicated meals, that are both healthy and delicious for your family. Remember, cooking is easy and fun but it takes a few practice rounds to get comfortable in the kitchen. If you’re not having fun while cooking, you might not be cooking the right meals. It never hurts to make cooking more enjoyable by asking a family member to help you in the kitchen so you can make it a family activity.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.