Quick Recipes and Easy

The Single Person’s Guide to Basic Cooking Skills

Ok, so now you’re divorced and the responsibility of cooking lies squarely on your shoulders. Are you sick of the quick food life and saturated with take out as much as I am? Prepared food gets dull after awhile. Been there, done that.

Having grown up eating most of my meals away from home, in restaurants or school, cooking was never on my to-do list. Baking was ok, because my mom taught me how to do it, but making dinner, that was left to Stouffers, Hungry Man or a local restaurant. When we got married, my ex and I spent most evenings eating out, which made life very simple. Unfortunately, living with him wasn’t worth this, so when my divorce was finalized, it was time to learn how to (shudder) cook. Here’s some tried and right favorites that worked for me, until I got more cooking-savvy with time and practise.

1) Buy a few items to make cooking simpler

A excellent set of cookware (pots and pans)
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
Sturdy mixing bowls (I like stainless steel)
Measuring cups and spoons
A basic set of kitchen knives

2) Simple meals for the beginning cook

chicken salad (mayo, cooked chicken-chopped, celery, onion, pecans and seedless grapes)
pizza (buy frozen bread dough, thaw, brush with oil then top with tomato sauce, cheese and toppings)
stir fry (chop up whatever you want, and cook it on high heat, quickly, in a small bit of oil)
baked chicken (season with salt, pepper and butter before baking or use seasoning for extra flavor)
Kraft macaroni and cheese
Shake-n-Bake pork chops or chicken

3) No cookbook? No problem.

Go to Recipezaar.com and print out whatever recipe looks excellent to you. There are thousands of excellent ones. I choose the ones that have high ratings. This is an brilliant site that should have just about any recipe that you need on it.

4) Notes on spices and seasonings

Be careful with peppers, and anything very hot and spicy. A excellent way to cool some pepper dishes down is with lime juice. Never rub your eyes or skin after touching hot peppers. If you do, trust me, you’ll be very sorry that you did. Use very hot peppers as accents, but don’t overload the recipe with them or you’ll be breathing fire for a few days.

I like curry powder, but if you use it, just know it’ll stain anything you wear, so keep it off of your clothes. And, the smell will permeate everything around you for a small while. I don’t mind the smell, but some people do. Use curry in moderation and carefully. Curry is fantastic when cooked with chicken and served in buttered, warm pita breads.

Carolyn McFann is a scientific and nature illustrator, who owns Two Purring Cats Design Studio, which can be seen at: cafepress.com/twopurringcats cafepress.com/twopurringcats . Educated at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, Carolyn is a seasoned, well-traveled artist, writer and photographer. Besides handling numerous assignments in the US, she has lived and worked in Cancun, Mexico. Clients include nature parks, museums, scientists, corporations and private owners. She has been the subject of tv interviews, articles for newspapers and other well loved media venues.

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