A close friend of mine recently moved in with her fiancé and texted me the week prior for emergency recipes that "even the least culinary skilled and talented could make." Ouch. Or maybe she was talking about herself. Either way, after licking my wounds and a sassy reply, I put together a Google doc for her to access in her time of need.
A quick Google search will yield hundreds of simple meals that anyone can whip up as long as you can read instructions. But I guess she really needed some tested, fool-proof recipes that even I, someone who admittedly didn't even know how to cook pasta until last year, could successfully make.
I don't come from a long line of chefs. My parents never cooked, my grandparents never cooked, and I'd bet my great-grandparents never cooked either. To be fair, they have a few dishes up their sleeves, so they can cook, if need be. Growing up, we would go out for dinner or get takeout. Once in a blue moon, we would have a home-cooked meal. It wasn't that they didn't like to cook, it was the preparation and the clean-up that was so daunting that they avoided the task all together. I know this because whenever we were in Hong Kong, my mom would play around in the kitchen, attempting soufflés or noodle dishes. Our helpers would prepare all the ingredients and clean up any and all messes. So it's no surprised that I was never taught how to make anything because I never needed to.
I want to stress that I'm not writing this so you'll feel sorry for me. I wasn't deprived of anything and was very well fed. My family just operated like this for generations, and I'm finally breaking the mold.
I didn't take an interesting in cooking until college. Actually, I got into baking first, and then slowly started to explore savory dishes. The more I experimented, the easier it became. I now enjoy whipping up dinner more than crafting a batch of brownies. I actually find it more simple than baking and I can take more creative liberty with spices.
Now my mom has taken on some baking and occasionally makes dinner when she's feeling ambitious. I'm such a proud daughter!
Let's begin with Samuel's favorite dishes, since most of you have a diet that's more in line with his. Samuel loves chicken. With a passion. He eats it for every single meal and never gets tired of it. Because of this, I have a dozen or so recipes ingrained in my mind to keep things fresh and delicious for him. Just a quick disclaimer: I've since modified the ingredients and cooking methods to better suit me, but I wanted to share the original recipes with y'all and give credit to the owners.
Since I keep an extremely strict pescatarian diet (7 years and counting!) and we are land-locked, I struggle with cooking meals for myself. Most of my meals end up being vegetarian or vegan, so if you're in need of some plant-based recipes, you've come to the right place! It certainly doesn't help that by the time I've cooked everything for Samuel, the last thing I want to do is cook another dish for myself. Funny how that works, huh?
I usually just tend up tossing random ingredients together and call it a day. If I'm in a hurry or to save time, I prepare my proteins the quickest way possible (boiling or baking). I've found prepared sauces at the grocery store to be a real game-changer when it comes to preparing flavorless proteins like tofu or fishy dishes. 20 minutes later, I've got myself a decent, healthy dish.
I also like to put together a medley of vegetables and carbs that complement each dish. It sounds like a lot of work, but since I basically roast everything, I just have to toss it all on a pan and into the oven it goes. Roasted seasonal veggies and potatoes (especially sweet potatoes!) are super easy to make and always a hit. When I find myself with a little more time on my hands, I like to make more inventive pairings.
Here are several fancier sides that we can't get enough of: