With the exception of take out options, you are more than likely cut off from your favorite restaurants. Now is a better time than ever to learn how to cook a few easy meals at home. Here is a handy list of 5 easy meals that will make you feel like a pro chef!
Of all of the easy meals on this list, pizza is probably the easiest to make. Making pizza really is only as complicated as you make it. The dough is fairly easy to make. If you are capable of mixing and kneading flour, yeast, salt, and olive oil, then you can make your own dough. If you are feeling a little lazy, you can always buy a pre-made dough at a grocery store. Similarly, you can put together a pizza sauce using tomato paste, olive oil, and Italian spices. You can also take the easy way out and buy a pre-made sauce. Either way, you are assembling and baking the pizza. Although, making your pie from scratch will be infinitely more satisfying. The real fun comes with being able to choose your toppings. You can choose more traditional toppings, like pepperoni and mushrooms, or you can get more creative. Try using different styles of cured sausage, like a spicy soppressata, or maybe some different vegetables and spices.
2. Pulled Pork
If you have the time, making pulled pork is incredibly easy. Pulled pork may require a long cook time, either in a slow cooker or in an oven, but it is worth the extra effort. You can use the tender pork for variety of easy meals, but making pulled pork sandwiches should be the most popularSimply put a pork shoulder roast down in your marinade of choice and let it cook slowly over several hours. Most pulled pork marinades call for chicken stock, vegetable oil, brown sugar, chili powder or hot sauce, chopped onion, and apple cider vinegar. After about five hours, remove your pork shoulder from the slow cooker and start shredding. You can serve the pulled pork on its own or make a sandwich with it. Just grab your favorite type of bread or your favorite bun, toast it and start building your sandwich.
For extra points, feel free to try to make your own coleslaw, which is essentially shredded cabbage, carrots, vinegar, and mayonnaise. Find your favorite recipe and have a classic pulled pork sandwich.
3. Soup (of the day)
Knowing how to make a good soup is an essential skill for any burgeoning home cook. Most soup recipes will call for chicken or beef stock, vegetables, and some sort of meat. You could make chicken noodle soup, for instance. All you need is some chicken stock, your choice of vegetables, egg noodles, and some sliced chicken breast. Simply season and cook your chicken breast, and add it to the other chopped contents in a pot. Your cooking time should be fairly minimal. Similarly, minestrone soup requires very little cooking time. You may have to chop more vegetables and prepare more ingredients, but minestrone soup is still a fairly easy recipe to follow. Letting this vegetable medley come together with your Italian spices over the course of the cooking time will create a soup with rich flavor and a great texture.
If you wanted to try to make a more difficult recipe, you could attempt to cook French onion soup. You will start by slicing red and white onions as thin as possible. These will end up reducing in the soup. French onion soup is essentially beef broth, chicken broth, red wine, butter, and some herbs and spices. The complicated part of making French onion soup is its topping – two layers of Gruyere cheese encasing a piece of French bread. As with any of the recipes on this list, cooking requires a sense of balance. Season as you cook and you should do just fine!
4. Stir Fry
Stir Fry has a more involved cooking process, but it is still an easy meal. You will need to prepare some white rice to accompany your stir fry. While you are doing that, throw some chicken breasts in a marinade of minced garlic, minced ginger, red pepper flake, brown sugar, and soy sauce. You can leave the chicken in the marinade for anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour, either way the flavors should come through. While you are waiting, throw some chopped carrots, onions, and whatever other vegetables you want into a skillet and cook them until soft. Once your vegetables are done, remove them from the pan and then throw the chicken in. Once your chicken is cooked until it is slightly pink, throw the vegetables and marinade back in the pan and cook until completion.
You can always replace the chicken with beef, salmon, tofu, or whatever else you want. As with the other recipes on this list, you can always change up your recipe to your liking and make it your own!
5. Chicken Parmesan
Of all of the easy meals on this list, chicken parmesan is undoubtedly the most labor intensive, but it is still very approachable for beginners. The most difficult part of your cooking process is going to be breading your chicken breasts properly. You will begin by breading your chicken using flour, beaten eggs, and a bread crumb and parmesan cheese mixture. After that, you’ll pan fry the breaded chicken in olive oil until golden and then transfer them to a baking dish to finish your cooking process. In order to build your chicken parmesan, you will cover the chicken breasts in basil, mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce.
The beauty of this dish is that it allows you to expand your skillset in the kitchen and make a number of interesting substitutions. Say, for instance, that you want to make the dish vegetarian, then you can replace the chicken with eggplant. If you are looking for an extra challenge, then you can replace the chicken with veal. Your preparation time should be fairly minimal, especially if you are using fresh chicken breasts instead of frozen ones.