If you know how to cook at least some basic entrees and side dishes, then entertaining can actually be fun. I have an aunt who buys all her food for parties at the local deli. I’ve found it to not only be cheaper to make my own food for gatherings, but also to be a lot of fun. Here are 7 things you should know how to cook. They are all so easy to make too!
These are easiest to make when using flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas. I find the corn tortillas break a lot easier, even after I’ve soaked them in the hot sauce as suggested in a few different recipes. I take a stack of the flour tortillas and zap them for a minute in the microwave before filling them with the meat mixture. This makes them pliable enough so they don’t rip as I roll them. Just follow the instructions on the back of a can of enchilada sauce and you can’t go wrong! I usually cook the enchiladas for an extra 10 to 15 minutes, in order to make them crispier on top.
6. Potato Salad
I find that a tub of potato salad is the perfect side dish for most entrees, especially during the summer months. We are all so busy running around in the summertime that it’s easy to grab a bowl of potato salad for a quick snack too. I make up a big bowl of potato salad when company comes over for BBQ or hamburgers on the grill. It’s excellent for feeding large groups of people.
The best thing about hamburgers is that it doesn’t take much to make them taste great. Chop up some onions, sprinkle in some garlic powder right in the raw hamburger and mix thoroughly. I’ve even used a packet of onion soup mix and kneaded it into two pounds of hamburger. As the hamburgers are cooking in the skillet or on the grill, pour a little bit of Worcestershire sauce on them too. This keeps the burgers from drying out too much while they cook.
The directions on the rice package seem to make the rice a bit sticky and too wet for my liking. I take a cup of rice, add a cup and a half of water, and bring this to a boil for about a minute. I then turn the rice down to simmer for 15 minutes. If it seems a bit drier than usual, I’ll add a small amount of butter or margarine and fluff the rice a bit. Most of the time my family is putting stir fry veggies or buttered shrimp on top of the rice, so there is plenty of moisture from these to fix the rice if need be.
3. Fried Chicken
I know, I know, fried foods aren’t good for you. I try to only fry chicken once a month or ever two months. I peel the skin off and cut the extra bits of fat off of each piece of chicken, in order to cut down on the fat content. I also use canola oil to fry the chicken in, which is supposed to be better than vegetable oil. I have an electric skillet that I place the battered chicken pieces in which also has a lid and keeps the grease from getting all over the kitchen counter. I stir paprika, black pepper, garlic, and onion powder into flour. I then beat one egg in a separate bowl, roll the chicken in the egg and then the flour mixture. Place each piece gently in the skillet and cook for about 30 to 35 minutes. Flip them all over and cook for another 30 to 35 minutes. It’s important to make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
2. Grilled Cheese Sandwich
I think this is one of the first foods I learned to make. I wasn’t allowed to use a skillet when I was very small, so I would make a cheese sandwich and then put it on the rack in the toaster oven. I’d press the button down to toast once side then flip the sandwich over and do the same on the other. I do prefer the skillet method for grilled cheese sandwiches, since I like the way the butter adds more flavor. Having teenage boys, knowing how to make grilled cheese sandwiches comes in handing when I need to feed them and their friends. It’s also cheaper than running out and buying a bunch of pizzas, which seems to be the other food group teenage boys like.
It’s really hard to not be able to cook pasta correctly. It also goes with almost everything and can be topped with tomato sauce, pesto, Alfredo sauce, shredded cheese, butter and garlic powder, or a number of other things. Most pasta only takes 10 minutes to cook and some has an even shorter cook time than that. If you can cook pasta, then all you have to do is buy your favorite topping and heat it up for a great meal in no time at all.
These 7 things you should know how to cook have very few ingredients, plus all you have to do is set a timer for most of them. I find that most entrees and side dishes are a lot easier to prepare than fancy desserts. Do you have another food item that you feel everyone should know how to cook? Is there something special you tend to make for all gatherings or parties?