We totally get you—you’re sick of fast food and takeout, but whipping up an edible dish is not the easiest thing in the world. Not everyone has killer kitchen instincts, or even just basic cooking knowledge. Constantly attempting difficult dishes and failing at the attempt can be very discouraging, but sometimes, all you need are the right recipes and just a little (or a lot of) practice. We’ve whipped up three basic, dummy-proof recipes that even the most clueless cook can pull off—all you need to know is how to turn on your stove (if you don’t, ask someone to teach you!). Pretty soon, you might just be on the road to being your own top home chef.


Steak

Believe it or not, steak is much easier to cook than some people realize. A good cut will require minimal seasoning (we’re talking just salt and pepper) and all you need is a watchful eye.

Ingredients:
  • 1 or 2 steaks (go for rib-eye or a porterhouse cut not more than an inch thick)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil or a non-stick pan
Preparation:
  1. To season the steak, “massage” both sides of defrosted steak with salt and pepper. Wing it by sprinkling each side with a pinch or two of each.
  2. Set a frying pan or skillet on the stove at high heat. You’ll want the pan very hot—to know when it’s ready, sprinkle water from your hands on to the pan. If the water sizzles and evaporates immediately, it’ll be hot enough.
  3. If you’re not using a non-stick pan, pour about 1 TBSP olive oil on the pan. Place one side of the steak on the pan and cook for three to five minutes. Flip to the other side and cook for another three to five minutes, until browned.
  4. Turn off the heat and set steak on a plate, leaving it to sit for five to ten minutes to let the juices sit. By the time you take a bite, the juices will be deliciously oozing from the meat.

Baked Chicken

The easiest way to make sure you cook your chicken thoroughly is to bake them well. Unlike steak, chicken can only be eaten when cooked all the way through or else you run the risk of salmonella. Luckily, you can buy chicken fillets to make your life much easier in terms of food prep.

Ingredients:
  • 2-4 chicken breast or thigh fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 stick butter
Preparation:
  1. Get breast or thigh fillet from the supermarket.
  2. Turn on the stove and set to 375 degrees Fahrenheit to preheat it. While waiting, wash each defrosted piece under running water. Pat dry with paper towels and rub both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Place on a baking dish, and put a slice of butter on top of each piece (butter is optional). To tell if the oven is hot enough, stick your hand in (without touching anything!) and if you can only keep it in for three seconds or less, it’s ready.
  4. Bake the chicken for 45 to 60 minutes until cooked all the way through. If you slice down the middle, you shouldn’t see any pink or reddish tinges. Pair with fresh greens as a side and you’re good to go!


Shrimp Pasta

You can’t go wrong with good, simple pasta. They key is cooking the noodles just right, and matching them with a sauce that’s easy to make and nutritious. Marinara sauce means it’s a tomato-based one made with different proteins. Ready-made tomato sauces are super easy to buy, and most come pre-flavored. Shrimp is easy to cook and prepare, so you won’t go wrong with this recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 1 small pack of regular pasta
  • 1 lb frozen or fresh shrimp, peeled
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • Parmesan cheese
Preparation:
  1. Cook noodles according to the packet instructions. Don’t forget to drain well when done!
  2. Buy about 1 pound of shrimp from the supermarket. You can go for the fresh, pre-peeled ones or the frozen variety.
  3. Add 1 TBSP olive oil to a pan. Saute 1 TBSP garlic and add shrimps. Cook until thoroughly pinkish orange, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Add a jar of store-bought flavored tomato sauce to the pan (go for the ones seasoned with basil and oregano or “Italian flavoring”) and bring to a boil (turn up the heat and wait for the sauce to start bubbling).
  5. Reduce heat and let the sauce simmer to thicken. Add chili flakes to sauce if you want some spice.
  6. Turn off the heat and toss the noodles with the sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese to enjoy.

Trisha Bautista is a freelance writer, food and product stylist, social media manager, and violin teacher. She was formerly editorial assistant and social media editor for Women’s Health Philippines, and the assistant lifestyle editor and social media editor for Cosmopolitan Philippines. She enjoys discovering easy recipe hacks, working out by herself and trying out DIY workout programs, traveling outdoors, and enjoying wine and whiskey.

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