"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > General Cooking
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-24-2008, 09:38 PM   #1
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 34
Cooking Newbie. Where do I start?

I'm tired of spending money every single day eating out; I live in New York City. I want to learn to cook my own meals to save money and also feel more like the independent man that I am. How do I start?

rcald2000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2008, 09:45 PM   #2
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Katie H's Avatar
Site Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: I live in the Heartland of the United States - Western Kentucky
Posts: 16,308
Hi, recald. Welcome to DC.

Of course, you start with those of us at DC.

Let us begin with the kinds of foods you like and what cookware and tools you have available. Also, we need to know how much time you have to devote to cooking and buying your goodies.

You will not have to worry about answers. This site is filled with great members who will be more than glad to answer.
__________________
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
Katie H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2008, 10:16 PM   #3
Senior Cook
 
meshoo96's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: I am home at last in SC!!!
Posts: 426
Send a message via AIM to meshoo96
If my 11 year old son can do this, I'm sure you can too. You don't need anything top of the line at this point, but make sure what you do buy is quality that will last. As far as cooking itself goes, there are must haves in the kitchen - spices, knives, pots, pans, etc. Go to your local grocery store (in NYC, King Kullen, Pathmark, or Stop& Shop are decent) and walk around. Many have recipe cards all over the store that are free (in the produce meat and fish sections). Browse through them, see if something sounds good and get the ingredients and try it (just make sure you have the right tools). Keep in mind that if you are only cooking for yourself, you may want to invest in a food saver appliance (vacuum sealer) and put the 2nd piece of meat/fish/chicken, etc. away in the freezer. My dh (darling hubby) is going to be doing some basic recipes on video and posting them on you tube. If you want the link, pm me your email address and when they are ready, I'll send you the links.
__________________
No beans unless they are green or jelly...
meshoo96 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2008, 10:20 PM   #4
Senior Cook
 
SixSix210's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: NJ for the moment, heading south next spring to be with my family.
Posts: 421
AHEM! My MANAGER/AGENT over there... Gets a little...shall we say...excitable? I'm also going to have a series that focuses on basic techniques. From how to cut an onion, to creating and working with your own recipes to make them better, and every thing in between... PM one of us for the link.
__________________
Cookies = Love
SixSix210 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2008, 10:28 PM   #5
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 34
Hello Katie. Thanks for your post. In answer to your question, I have the following:

Cookware:
---------
Calphalon One 3 1/2 qt. sauce (anodized)
Calphalon One 2 qt 9" skillet (anodized)
Analon branded 8" skillet (anodized)
12" skillet (non-stick)
Paul Revere 10" skillet (stainless steel)
Paul Revere 12 qt. stock pot (steel, decades old hand-me-down)
Corningware 9" x 13" french white baking pan

Forschner (Victorinox) Fiborx 8" chef's knife
Forschner (Victorinox) Fiborx 3" paring knife

Foods I enjoy:
-------------
egg sandwich, consisting of 2 eggs, mozzarella & bacon on untoasted roll
honey turkey on a hero with lettuce & tomatoes
lasagna (I like all things pasta)
grilled chicken sandwich, consisting of chicken cutlet, swiss & bacon on toasted roll.
French Toast
Pancakes

Time available to cook: Several hours per day, because I'm currently on an extended vacation from my job.

Goals:
-----
(1) Stop eating out! I'd like to learn to cook & properly store foods that I enjoy eating while at the same time lowering my expenses from eating out.

(2) Cook foods that are healthier, and more specifically, lower in cholesterol. I know that cooking healthy should be my first priority but I'm already so overwhelmed with trying just to learn to cook the simplest dishes that I thought taking baby steps and just cooking simple meals would be a great start. If you disagree then I'll gladly accept your opinion.

(3) I recently saw the film No Reservations (featuring Katherine Zeta Jones) and was inspired by all the elaborate dishes that the patrons were ordering and eating in the fictitious 22 Bleeker restaurant. I'd like to expand my palette by finding great restaurants and experiencing meals beyond what I saw during my college days of burgers and french fries. And of course I'd like to some day make such meals, but I'm simply trying to get comfortable with learning the basics.

Thank you so much for any future suggestions that you might have.

Friendly Regards,

Rob (rcald2000)
rcald2000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2008, 10:59 PM   #6
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Katie H's Avatar
Site Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: I live in the Heartland of the United States - Western Kentucky
Posts: 16,308
Okay, now we have something to work with.

You might want to look into purchasing a couple of saucepans (with lids). Seems as though you are lacking in that department. Otherwise, you have workable equipment.

It's good that you like pasta dishes because there are countless dishes that can be based on pasta.

You can take you love of an egg sandwich and turn it into an omelet, with the addition of cheese and chopped veggies to turn it into a main course dish. Add a dish of mixed fresh fruit and you will have a satisfying meal.

You mention a grilled chicken sandwich. Change that into some grilled chicken strips into a tortilla with some salsa, cheese, green chilies, chopped green onions all wrapped together to create a Tex/Mex wrap. A filling meal.

If you have the advantage of being near a market that has a salad bar, it's easy to pick and choose portions to create a huge dinner salad. Then go to the deli section of the market, purchase some sliced ham/turkey/chicken and add to your salad. Top with your favorite bottled or homemade dressing and croutons. What a meal!

You can also take advantage of the same salad bar to buy small portions of veggies to make a great quick soup.

If you don't have the time or skills (yet) buy some canned stock, add some herbs, depending on the type of soup you wish to make, then go to the salad bar and pick up carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. to make your soup.

To make a "meatable" soup, purchase a deli-roasted chicken and cut it up to add the meat to create a chicken soup. Add some packaged noodles near the end of cooking. You'll have a nice chicken-noodle soup. Let your imagination be your guide.

Imagination and what you like will be your best guides.
__________________
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
Katie H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2008, 11:12 PM   #7
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: E. Pa.
Posts: 8,281
welcome to DC. There are lots of recipe websites, you can do a search for easy ones relating to your tastes, such as pasta, eggs anything else you prefer such as QUICK & EASY PASTA AND OTHER RECIPES

cooking for 2 recipes | cooking for one recipes |

hope this helps..
LadyCook61 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2008, 11:14 PM   #8
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cicero, IL
Posts: 5,093
Hello and welcome to CD!
Maverick2272 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2008, 11:35 PM   #9
Hospitality Queen
 
jkath's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Southern California
Posts: 11,448
ooooooooh, stick around here - you'll get countless answers to every question you have (and even some you don't even ask!)

I have found that one of the best ways to begin a healthier approach to cooking is to visit the local farmers markets. There is nothing more appetizing than to see all the colors, shapes and sizes of fresh produce. Once you've purchased, if you're not sure what exactly to do with your treasures, ask us!

Best of luck with your wonderful new goals, and welcome to the DC family :)
__________________
Come visit my foodie blog: www.SockmonkeysKitchen.com
This week's topic: Pinterest and Potatoes
jkath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 12:06 AM   #10
Head Chef
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Des Moines Iowa
Posts: 1,213
I started cooking when I was 14 yrs and my first was cheddar cheese sauce with my mother at my side, Now I am a retired Ex. Chef. Start small and branch out slowly. Get a copy of New Joy of Cooking. Most of there recipes are not to difficult and pretty basic
now get in the kitvhen and make something good to eat.
__________________
Cook with passion or don't cook at all
Dave Hutchins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 12:28 AM   #11
Master Chef
 
Michael in FtW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 6,592
Well, Rob - we've got a lot of forums that cover a lot of different foods - and they have a lot of recipes that are generally newbie friendly. You might want to look around in one that is dedicated to something you might be interested in and get some ideas. We try to keep recipes sorted by catagories ... beef, pork chicken, vegetables, pasta, rice. beans, breads, etc. - not just dumping a bunch of mixed topics into one thread. This makes it easier for people to find recipes by topic.

I, too suggest getting a copy of Joy of Cooking (although I prefer the older version before the New Joy) - I think it's a great beginner's book that will teach you a lot of the terms and techniques - and has more recipes than you will probably ever try.

It sounds like you have all of the basics you need to do some cooking ... now you just need to find a recipe for something you want to make ... make a trip to the store to pick up the ingredients ... and take a deep breath, get up off the chair in front of the computer, and spend some time in your kitchen!

If you can narrow down your questions to a specific dish or technique we can probably help you more.
__________________
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
Michael in FtW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 03:55 AM   #12
Executive Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 3,270
Welcome to DC!! Start with pasta dishes they are so simple and one dish can do a couple of meals without going to any extreme. There are some very simple sauces that are one pot cooking. One of my quick and easy standbys is smoked salmon and broccoli (or asparagus) pasta. Cook your choice of pasta (I prefer strands with this dish) by the packet instructions with the cut up pieces of broccoli or asparagus in (adding at the same time as the dry pasta) and drain, leaving a tiny bit of water in the pan. Then add ripped up pieces of smoked salmon (or use cooked fresh salmon or cooked prawns), a good blob of cream cheese, a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, a good splash of cream, some parsley and ground pepper and stir. Serve with some grated parmesan on top. Super quick and tasty. And very variable. Look into your fridge and choose something different - cooked and shredded chicken instead of fish, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, eggplant, olives, etc. Pasta allows you to think about the ingredients that go together and fling in. And there are lots of basic classic recipes too.

Good luck!
__________________
Too many restaurants, not enough time...
Bilby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 07:15 AM   #13
Chef Extraordinaire
 
suziquzie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MN
Posts: 11,488
Send a message via AIM to suziquzie
I've been cooking since I could sit on my Dad's countertop without falling off....

But I would say just look around in some cookbooks or online and find something you think sounds great. Not too many steps or ingredients to start if you are REALLY worried about it. Read the recipe 3 times to yourself first. Work it out step by step, if you still need help this place is great!
__________________
Not that there's anything wrong with that.....
suziquzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 09:06 AM   #14
Head Chef
 
Chopstix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,323
Agree with Katie that you should start with the food you like. I also suggest watching cooking shows on TV. Food network was what got me into serious cooking.
__________________
'Never eat more than you can lift.' - Miss Piggy
Chopstix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2008, 01:05 PM   #15
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3
Hi rcald:

I have a wonderful, simple dish for you if you like roast chicken and vegetables. It's super simple and really no clean up. Great for a newbie. I taught my college age son this and he loves it.

Line your Corningware 9x13 pan with tin foil (then you won't have any clean up. Especially if you use Heavy Duty foil.)

Place one whole chicken in the pan. (I stick a cut up lemon in the chicken for flavor). Surround with cut up potato wedges, celery, onions and carrots. Drizzle everything with some olive oil. Season the chicken and the vegetables with what you like (could be just salt and pepper or you could also add some fresh or dried rosemary and thyme. I love these.)

Place foil tightly over the whole thing. Roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Take off the foil. Roast for another 15 or 20 minutes, until the chicken is nice and golden brown. That's it! If you are watching your cholesterol, just take off the skin. Cooking the chicken with the skin on keeps it moist and juicy.

You'll love it when you peel off the tin foil from the casserole dish and there's nothing to clean up! Good luck.

Elaine - theitaliandish.blogspot.com
Elaine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2008, 01:10 PM   #16
Hospitality Queen
 
jkath's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Southern California
Posts: 11,448
Great idea, Elaine :) - even down to the lack of clean up!
Sounds similar to one of my favorites (a Martha recipe) that also adds some cut up root veggies as well.
__________________
Come visit my foodie blog: www.SockmonkeysKitchen.com
This week's topic: Pinterest and Potatoes
jkath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 04:05 PM   #17
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
I, too suggest getting a copy of Joy of Cooking (although I prefer the older version before the New Joy) - I think it's a great beginner's book that will teach you a lot of the terms and techniques - and has more recipes than you will probably ever try.
Thank you Michael. Question: Is it worth getting the latest Joy of Cooking despite the errata covering that text? According to several amazon.com reviews, there are many mistakes in the 75th anniversary edition. Thanks.

Rob
rcald2000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 09:22 PM   #18
Master Chef
 
Michael in FtW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 6,592
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcald2000 View Post
Thank you Michael. Question: Is it worth getting the latest Joy of Cooking despite the errata covering that text? According to several amazon.com reviews, there are many mistakes in the 75th anniversary edition. Thanks.

Rob
Rob, this is IMHO a perfect example of what happens when you don't follow the sage old advice, "if it ain't broke don't fix it!" I was excited when the NEW JOY was first published - but then as I flipped through it I felt as betrayed as I did as a child when I found out that the jolly old elf's lap that I sat on, and whispered my most intimate wishes into his ear at the department store, wasn't really Santa - he was just a pretend "helper" in disguise!

Personally, I would suggest picking up a copy of the 1975 Fifth Revision hardcover edition (published between 1975-1996) the last edition that had Irma's original style. On this amazon page just click on the "x number used and new for $x.xx" link and look at the list - there is one on there at this time that is new for $8.95 + $3.99 S&H. Just read the comments on the condition of the books ... I've never been dissapointed in the condition of the used books I've gotten thru the book sellers on amazon.

Now, I'm going to quickly run and take cover under my bed because there are those who actually like the post 1997 editions of Joy amd I'm sure there will be plenty of arrows headed my way.
__________________
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
Michael in FtW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 09:45 PM   #19
Senior Cook
 
PastaKing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: PA
Posts: 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcald2000 View Post
I'm tired of spending money every single day eating out; I live in New York City. I want to learn to cook my own meals to save money and also feel more like the independent man that I am. How do I start?
Nice job. Unless you eat at a 5 star restaurant each day, you eat crap. I HATE to eat out. I always come home thinking that I could have made whatever it was I ate better. Don't even get me started on fast food.

You are doing the right thing by cooking for yourself, and soon you won't want to eat anything else, at lest that's how I am lol.
I am the best cook I know on earth.

If you want a nice easy start, pasta is the way to go. I would share some Rc with you, but I cook by feel and eye shots.
PastaKing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 09:49 PM   #20
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
Personally, I would suggest picking up a copy of the 1975 Fifth Revision hardcover edition (published between 1975-1996) the last edition that had Irma's original style...
Done, I ordered the very copy that you mentioned, quoted for $8.95 on Amazon's used site. Thanks for the recommendation, I'm super-excited!
rcald2000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.