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Old 09-08-2012, 05:47 PM   #11
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

my hands down favorite cook book is my joy of cooking... its such a mess, because i use it all the time, lol... it has sections on different kinds of foods, then details the foods, and how to cook them


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Old 09-08-2012, 06:05 PM   #12
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

Two things I highly recommend getting your hands on.

A red Betty Crocker cookbook like thisNot for the recipes, though it does have plenty of basic stuff, like pancakes, biscuits, roast chicken, etc etc. But mostly because it's really great about the really basic information. Like what cuts of meat are what. Or the basics of scrambled eggs.

I also recommend Quick Cooking from Taste of HomeThat's one of the books, full of recipes and pics to go with them, but they put one out every year for several years. It was actually a cooking magazine (it's still published it's just called simple and delicious now) and I have like 3 or 4 years worth of the mags. There are all sorts of super simple and fast recipes, like stuff that uses 5 ingredients or less, stuff to be done in under 30 minutes, etc. That's the magazine that really taught me how to cook once I was out on my own and got tired of the few things that I learned at home (not that my mom didn't try to teach me to cook...I just didn't pay attention.)
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Hungry Caterpillar
I would probably recommend Martha Stewart's Cooking School if you need to purchase just one book to reference. It has all basics, explanations of every herb, vegetable, and meat cut, and tells you step by step with photos how to do anything you would need to follow every recipe.

As for meal planning and cooking while learning, start with really really simple things and then once a week attempt something new. The easiest dish that I think is the hardest to mess up is roasted whole chicken:

Take chicken out of packaging and remove whatever giblets are in cavity
Put in roasting pan or large pyrex or casserole dish
Salt exposed top (no fat or anything else, just trust me)

For veggies - I like root veggies because they roast nicely and are easy, plus very kid friendly.
Cut potatoes into around 2 inch cubes (just wing it, no need to be exact)
Cut carrots into 2 inch slices
Cut onions into quarters
Toss veggies in olive oil and salt and pepper lightly
Scatter veggies around the sides of the chicken in the pan
Put in oven at 425 for around 70 minutes.
Test chicken with thermometer until it's 180 degrees
(Test chicken between drumstick and body)

I posted in another thread once that was titled something like "I hate cooking" about how I do five meals in an hour and a half or so on a Sunday when my husband is home and then just have to pop them in the oven throughout the week. I actually really love to cook but we do this when someone is really sick or we are crazy busy and there is no time but we still need a good meal. If you want it reposted I will search back and find it. Let me know. It's really, really easy recipes.
I would love to see that thread too, if you get a chance. thanks!
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:23 PM   #14
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I'm not sure what kinda phone you have? But I got an app called AllRecipes, it's great. Also I like to get clear noodles aka mung bean or rice noodles ect. there great to flash cook and add sesame oil, soy sauce, crushed peanuts, cilantro

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Old 09-11-2012, 09:17 AM   #15
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

We love America's Test Kitchen as well, and I think it's perfect for a beginning book. Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything is also great--comprehensive and straight-forward.

I'm not sure how you would go about this without any cooking classes nearby (youTube videos? Hire a private chef for a session?), but I highly recommend learning proper knife skills. It improves the food immensely and also cuts down significantly on prep time.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:14 AM   #16
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!! has some good recepes. Some are paleo, sugar free, gluten free, it all depends what you are looking for. If you make an account you can add the recepes to your cart for the week/two weeks it will make a shopping list for your. Love that it creates a shopping list!
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:14 PM   #17
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Re: Help me get started PLEASE!!

You asked about spices.

Basics (stuff you *should* have) - herbs can be fresh or dried; dried would be more convenient, esp for herbs you don't use regularly

allspice, ground
bay leaves, whole dried
cayenne pepper, ground
chili powder (mild, medium or hot, your choice or get em all)
cilantro (optional, used in Asian cooking and things like salsa but some people hate the taste of it)
cinnamon, ground
cloves, ground
cloves, whole
cocoa, regular and dutched (high fat if possible, but you can use Hershey's, Nestle, and Ghiradelli)
coriander, ground
cumin, ground
curry powder, sweet (you may consider this optional, but we like it)
ginger, ground
herbs de provence (I don't like the taste of thyme and rosemary that much, so I sub this in instead)
mace, ground
mustard powder, regular (aka Coleman's or equivalent)
nutmeg, whole or ground (if whole you need to grate it for recipes that require ground)
oregano, Greek (for spaghetti sauce and tomato dishes)
oregano, Mexican (for chili and similar dishes)
paprika, Hungarian sweet (not the spicy sharp stuff, unless you like that)
pepper, ground black
pepper, whole black peppercorns
red pepper flakes
salt (I have both kosher flake for cooking and regular table salt for baking)

Baking extracts you should have:

arrowroot (if you can get it)
Wondra flour

My go-to spice mixes from the Spice House:
Chicago Steak Seasoning
English Prime Rib Rub
Lake Shore Drive Seasoning
Sunny Paris Seasoning
Tuscan Bread Dipping Sauce (cut up potatoes, toss with olive oil, sprinkle with this, and bake till done)

I found that buying my spices all at once through a place like Penzey's or the Spice House (prefer the Spice House) is kinda expensive up front but cheaper overall. The cost of baking spices like ground clove and allspice is crazy expensive at the grocery store for what you're getting. If ordered, you get more spice and it costs less, esp if it's part of a larger order.

I know you can get bulk spices at many places locally, I just prefer the places above. The Spice House grinds spices weekly, so I always know my stuff is fresh when I get it. And you'd be surprised how much of a difference fresh spices can make in the taste of your dish - spices lose potency gradually, so you might not realize that your food doesn't taste as vibrant as it used to until you buy new spices.

Last edited by lilymama; 09-12-2012 at 08:20 PM. Reason: edit list
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