“Oh no!”, I shouted as the flames rose from my stove.
I was expecting my then-boyfriend (who turned into my husband) to be at my apartment any minute for dinner. The only problem was I didn’t know how to cook.
My idea of fixing dinner was opening a box of Hamburger Helper. The only problem was I almost caught my kitchen on fire trying to fix it.
Thankfully, I was able to put the fire out.
This was the stage of my life when I lived on yogurt and cereal. After I married and had a family, I knew it was time to learn to cook. We couldn’t afford to eat out every meal of the day, and you can’t raise kids on yogurt and cereal.
If you are at that point where you feel you should learn to adult, then I’m going to share basic beginner recipes which are a great place for new cooks to start.
These beginner recipes can help you learn to cook, and though they aren’t fancy, they’ll keep your family well-fed on a budget with minimal culinary skills.
Here are your options for beginner recipes:
1. Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
If you’re still finding your way around a kitchen, don’t be afraid to use your Instant Pot to get a meal on the table quickly and without much fuss.
This macaroni recipe will allow you to make a firmly established family favorite with little hands-on activity in a minimal amount of time.
2. Easy, Never Dry Stove Top Chicken
You’re feeling confident enough to put the veggies and desserts down in an effort to learn how to confidently cook meat.
Chicken is a great meat to start with, but it can be dry if you don’t know how to cook it. This recipe will help you fix chicken on your stove without it becoming tasteless and dry.
3. One-Pot Baked Ziti
When you’re learning how to cook, the simpler the meal, the greater your chances of hitting a home run. I learned early on, one-pot meals are a lifesaver.
Not only do they save you from having to wash more dishes, but they also make it to where you can cook one dish and feed the whole family. This baked ziti is one of those amazing dishes, and it only takes 30 minutes.
4. Crockpot Chicken Fajita Soup
If you want to do a better job at feeding your family at home for either financial or health reasons, but you find yourself low on time, pull out your crockpot.
You can make chicken fajita soup in the crockpot. It requires only a few basic ingredients but will do an excellent job of keeping your family warm and full during the colder months of the year.
5. Slow Cooker 3-Ingredient Rump Roast
Even when I really couldn’t cook, I could make a roast. Why? Because it requires little culinary skill (if any) to cook a roast in a crockpot.
This recipe uses only three basic ingredients. The ingredients are tossed in the crockpot where they’re left to cook on low for the greater part of the day.
6. Easy and Traditional Irish Soda Bread
Are you interested in making and cooking your food from scratch to save money? If this is your drive, you’ll love this bread recipe.
Irish soda bread is an easy recipe to start your breadmaking adventures. You’ll know what’s in the recipe, and it will shave money from your grocery bill.
7. Stovetop Mac and Cheese
I shared a recipe for an Instant Pot mac and cheese above, but what if you don’t have an Instant Pot and no money to buy one?
You don’t need to miss out on making mac and cheese. Instead, you should use this recipe and make it on your stovetop.
8. Slow Cooker Applesauce
Applesauce is an amazing staple to keep on hand. It can be used when baking, you can use it as a quick snack, or even as a simple dessert to a homemade meal.
Yet, what if you’d like to make your own applesauce? You can with this easy recipe and your crockpot.
9. Easy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
When I wrote my book, The Homestead Companion, I remember the editor making a note on the chapter when I shared how to make mashed potatoes. He said he hoped anyone could make them.
I laughed to myself because I knew there were people starting their homestead journey who couldn’t because I had been one of them! If you’re new to cooking, want mashed potatoes, and don’t have my book, you can use this recipe instead.
10. Four Ingredient Meatloaf
Meatloaf has been one of my favorite dishes since I was a child. My mom would make them ahead of time and freeze them. This allowed her to pull out a meatloaf when I asked for one (which was pretty frequent.)
If you love meatloaf too, you’ll be interested in this easy recipe. It takes only four ingredients and whips up a delicious main dish for your meal.
11. One-Pot Spaghetti
If you can boil water, you can make spaghetti. This is great news for the youngest or the cook with the least experience.
But this recipe takes it even further. You can make the sauce and pasta in one pot. It’s the main dish which could serve as a complete meal and have hardly any dishes to clean up.
12. Jiffy Cornbread Casserole
I’m a huge fan of corn pudding and my husband loves cornbread. This is a great match for our tastes, and it’s easy to make.
If you find yourself in need of an excellent side dish, pick this one. You’ll get two classics rolled into one casserole.
13. Easy Ultimate Baked Beans
When I was first married, we hosted many get-togethers at our home. The funny part was, I still couldn’t cook!
My husband did most of it, but I was allowed to make the baked beans. This recipe is similar to what I used. They were delicious and easy to make.
14. Baked Chicken Alfredo
As I was learning to cook, I made baked chicken alfredo on a regular basis. My family loved it, and I was becoming good at making it.
Over time, I’ve gotten away from make it quite as much. Yet, to this day my family still requests it. If you need a go-to recipe which won’t disappoint, reach for this one.
15. Easy Breakfast Casserole
Are you hosting a brunch and aren’t feeling confident in your own kitchen? Don’t panic! Instead, turn to the no-fail casserole.
Breakfast casseroles are a wonderful way to give people a savory brunch dish without doing a ton of cooking to make it happen.
16. Berry French Toast Casserole
If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a huge fan of casseroles. Right now, I’m in a tremendously busy season of life.
Instead of dining out and wasting money, I reach for a casserole to feed my family. Why? Because they’re super easy. If you’re craving French toast, reach for the casserole version to skip all the fuss.
17. Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
Are you craving your grandmother’s cooking? I miss Sunday afternoons as a little girl when we’d gather around my grandmother’s kitchen table. Her food was delicious!
When I feel nostalgic, I’ll make chicken and dressing because this was a common food when I grew up. This casserole version of chicken and stuffing makes the trip down memory lane all the easier to travel.
18. Easy Baked Burrito Casserole
Are you in the mood for a burrito, but you don’t feel like rolling one up and eating it because of how messy they can be?
Skip the mess and make this easy burrito casserole. It has all the familiar flavors you love in a fork and knife casserole.
19. Chicken Noodle Casserole
When I moved farther south after a few years of marriage, I was introduced to a few simple yet tasty beginner recipes which were more common in my new home.
My mother-in-law made chicken noodle casserole regularly. It was easy to make, tasted great, and was awesome for feeding a large group of people.
20. Lazy Cake Cookies
We’re moving on to dessert. When you’re in the mood for something sweet, skip the bakery on your way home.
Instead, pull out one of these beginner recipes for lazy cake cookies. You pour the dough in a cake pan, bake it, and slice it as you would cake. No-fuss, but tons of sweet flavor perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth.
21. Chocolate No-Bake Cookies
I’m currently teaching a Life Skills course for the kids in our community. Fitting, right? I wish they’d offered such a course when I was younger. I may not have almost burnt my home down trying to make Hamburger Helper!
But I digress, I’ll be teaching the kids how to make these cookies during our cooking portion because they’re a simple and frugal dessert perfect for a variety of occasions.
22. No-Bake Tiramisu Dessert
Tiramisu is an Italian dessert which is usually known for being more upscale than other desserts we commonly indulge in.
However, they’ve simplified this dessert and made it to where anyone can make it. It’s a layer of ladyfinger cookies, mascarpone cheese, whipped cream, and chocolate. Get ready to have your socks knocked off.
23. Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Every Thanksgiving I requested this dessert to be made when I was a little girl. As I grew older, I learned how easy it is to make.
Now, I make it whenever I decide to. If you’re looking for a simple dessert which will make you wish your throat was a mile long, you’ve found it!
I’ve tried to give you a variety of beginner recipes to cover each meal of the day. You have casseroles for breakfasts, meat and side dishes which work well for lunch and dinner, and even a few dessert beginner recipes.
Regardless of how little experience you have in the kitchen, thanks to the internet, you can become a self-taught chef in no time flat.