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Old 11-15-2004, 09:06 AM   #1
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Andrew29 HB User
Need a recommendation

I really need to make some changes to my diet. I'm looking for a recommendation for a good recipe/cook book. The main thing is that it has to be suitable for a 20yr college student living on his own. What do I mean by that. I'd like a book that is:

1)Not advanced b/c I have close to ZERO cooking experience. So, recipes with lots of ingredients would definetly be too advanced for me.
2)Detailed, detailed, detailed instructions b/c I don't know anything about cooking. When I was living with my parents, the only cooking I did was using the microwave.
2)Has recipes that serve only 1.

Anyone have any ideas. Thanks.

Last edited by Andrew29; 11-15-2004 at 09:16 AM.

 
Old 11-18-2004, 09:34 AM   #2
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Britt130 HB User
Re: Need a recommendation

Hey.. I don't know of any suggestions, but would also be really interested if anybody did.. I'm in a similar situation... college student, live alone, terrible cook (I mean TERRIBLE.. I almost burnt the apartment down making microwave popcorn! )

 
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Old 11-18-2004, 09:50 AM   #3
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modert HB User
Re: Need a recommendation

Actually, you would be better off without a cookbook. You just need to learn how to make some simple meals with fresh ingredients.

For example, you don't need to learn how to broil meat or fish. Just throw in on the broiler pan and stick it in the oven. If you buy quality fresh cuts of meat you don't need to do anything to it. I recommend broiling fish, pork chops, ground beef, and poultry. If you live in a warm climate use your barbeque grill instead. You can also panfry chicken breasts, pork chops, and ground beef. You do not need any sauce. For chicken just use a little olive oil in the pan, but the beef and pork have enough of their own fat. Most meats will cook throughly in about 7-15 minutes per side (depending on thickness).

Next, there are two starches that will work well with any meal. Instant rice (preferably brown, but white will do) or a baked potato. For the rice, just follow the instructions on the box. 5-10 minutes and NO FUSS. For a baked potato, just pierce it 3X on each side with a fork and microwave it for about 6-8 minutes. Don't worry about it being done too early - it will retain its heat until your meal is ready if you don't cut it open.

Now all you need to do is add veggies. You can use salad in a bag and add some toppings like red onion, cukes, slivered almonds, grape or cherry tomatoes etc. And then have a modest amount of dressing. Or you can use frozen bagged veggies - these are often just as good as fresh and cook up VERY easy. Just place 1/2 bag in a covered dish and microwave for 4-8 minutes (depending on the type).

That's it - you have just created a wholesome, healthy, fresh, balanced meal. You can make variations of this every night - switching meats and veggies, etc.

Once you get used to the basics you can start to experiment by adding spices to your food. If you really do want to get into cooking more complex recipes I recommend that you check out Rachael Ray's 30-minute meals - most of her meals are quite healthy and can all be prepared in 30 minutes or less. You can buy her books or watch her on TV.

Last edited by modert; 11-19-2004 at 11:50 AM.

 
Old 11-19-2004, 07:21 AM   #4
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Britt130 HB User
Re: Need a recommendation

Thank you for the great suggestions! They all sound like something I might be capable of doing.. thanks again

 
Old 11-20-2004, 02:23 PM   #5
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veggie girl HB User
Re: Need a recommendation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew29
I really need to make some changes to my diet. I'm looking for a recommendation for a good recipe/cook book. The main thing is that it has to be suitable for a 20yr college student living on his own. What do I mean by that. I'd like a book that is:

1)Not advanced b/c I have close to ZERO cooking experience. So, recipes with lots of ingredients would definetly be too advanced for me.
2)Detailed, detailed, detailed instructions b/c I don't know anything about cooking. When I was living with my parents, the only cooking I did was using the microwave.
2)Has recipes that serve only 1.

Anyone have any ideas. Thanks.
You should do what I do instead, look for recipes online. Cookbooks don't allow those who've tried the recipes to comment whereas website do. Fellow cooks often give advice, suggest alterations etc that are helpful. There are two site I like; epicurious and vegweb

 
Old 11-20-2004, 03:00 PM   #6
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veggie girl HB User
Re: Need a recommendation

Basics of cooking:
1. Don't have heat on too high or you'll have burnt outside and uncooked insides. Best way is to bring to a boil and then turn down and check it often.
2. Taste often and adjust
3. Store leftovers so that you can reuse them for the next meal. ie When you cook rice make too much and store it in the fridge and make friied rice with it.
4. Experiment, experiment, experiment!!

Here are some basic ways to cook stuff.

Veggies: Use a TINY bit of water (1-2 tbsp) in pan, add veggies, bring to boil, add lid and turn down heat. Average cooking time for veggies: broccoli-5 minutes, asparagus-1-2minutes, cauliflower-10 minutes, cabbage-10 minutes, string beans-8 minutes, spinach-1minute (don't add water, just rinse and add wet spinach to pan) To see if veggies are done, stick a really sharp knife in them, the knife should go in but not too easily. After a couple of tried you'll know exactly how a cooked veggie feels like. Also remember that food continues cooking after you turn the heat on because its still hot itself so to SECOND it feels al dente (italian for 'to the teeth' meaning it has bite to it) either serve it or rinse in cold water to stop it from cooking further.

Carbs
Rice:
Sticky Rice: Put equal parts of water and rice (short grain) in a pan (1 cup is good for one person), bring to boil and then turn heat down and put on lid. Takes about 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it and stir it now and then. If it starts sticking add a tiny bit of water (1 tablespoon) and stir.
'Separate' grain Rice: Put 1 cup (long grain) rice in pan with couple tablespoon of oil, saute for about a minute stirring to coat rice. Add 1 cup water and boil until you can stand a spoon up in the rice (ie meaning the water has evaporated). turn head way down, add lid and cook for about 20 minutes. Check every 5 minutes and stir. If it starts sticking to bottom of pan add a couple tablespoons of water
Coconut Rice: Put 1 cup long grain rice, 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup broth to pan. Bring to boil, then turn down heat and add lid. should be done in about 20 minutes. As with all rice, check every 5 mins and add a little water if it starts to stick.
Fried Rice: chop onion, garlic (don't grate, it'll burn) courgette, carrot and peppers and saute in oil for about 8 minutes. If you cook it on really low heat and really slow the onions will sweat and get really nice and soft, tasty and almost sweet. At this point you can either add an egg and scramble it before adding rice or just add some cooked rice (leftover rice from previous day) Once its heated through, sprinkle on a little soy sauce (will add color as well as flavor) and salt/pepper to taste. Serve with some protein such as fish, seitan or chicken.


Soups:
Green Split Pea:Saute chopped carrot, onion and garlic in oil til soft and translucent. Add about 1 parts of dried green split peas to 5 parts of broth. Bring to boil, turn heat down and simmer for about 1-1 1/2 hours. This is about the cheapest meal you could eat!! A bag of dried green split peas cost about 70 cents!! Carrots are about 30-40 cents per bag and onions about 50 cents per bag. Stock cubes (to make broth) will cost about a dollar for about 6 of them!!
Veggie Tomato: Saute chopped onion, carrot, garlic and courgette in oil til soft (also add tsp each of dried basil, parsley and oregano). Add about 4 cups of broth, a 1/4 cup (or more) of small pasta shells OR rice, and a can of chopped tomatoes. Bring to boil and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Taste will become more pronounced as you cook it. If its too tangy add a little soy sauce, if its a little too savory add a splash of vinegar.
Spring Vegetable: In pan add 4 cups broth and add big chunks of celery, ccarrot, & cabbage, a handful of pasta (spirals, penne anything you want), Bbring to boil. Cook for about 15 minutes. At end add some peas, bean sprouts or snow peas if you like and cook for a minute or two longer. Couldn't be simpler!!
If you eat meat you could also throw in some chunks or strips of chicken - I THINK you don't need to precook but can just add to the boiling water but please check with a meat eater how long to cook chicken as I'm a veggie and don't know long it needs to cook (wouldn't want you to get salmonella!!!)

Its okay to burn stuff or mess stuff up - its pretty much all trial and error. Start asking friends or relatives if they cook and if so, ask "whats your specialty?" - EVERYONE has one!! Ask them to either show you how to cook it or ask for the instructions. People are usually really happy to share their culinary successes with others. Good luck.

Last edited by veggie girl; 11-20-2004 at 03:11 PM.

 
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