How to Cook for Beginners

Today’s inflation is forcing people to find ways to save money. Eating out at restaurants is becoming very expensive and is not always healthy. A hamburger and fries and a drink at most drive-thrus will cost one person at least $10 if not more. For $10 you can make three or four burgers and fries at home. A whole pot of macaroni and cheese that feeds several people might cost you about $5 to make, depending on the type of pasta and cheese you use, versus $15-20 per peson at a restaurant. You can make your own hearty breakfast at home for a few bucks compared to anything from $8 for a couple of tacos or $15 for basic eggs, toast and bacon at some diners. But some people have never cooked a meal in their life.

Do you wish you knew how to cook your own food at home? You can do it! Let me share a few basics so you can start eating healthier and save money.

What is cooking anyway? It’s not heating up a can of soup or microwaving a frozen dinner. Cooking means that you take some raw ingredients and heat them up and something delicious comes out. You should also eat plenty of healthy RAW foods, such as salads and nuts and raw vegetables. But today we are going to talk about cooked foods.

Basics of Cooking

Before you can cook, you will need something to HEAT the ingredients. If you don’t have access to a traditional stove and oven, you can use other appliances such as a toaster oven and a counter top electric burner, also known as a hot plate. Instapots, Crockpots, Airfryers, electric pots and skillets, and other appliances make cooking much easier, faster, and don’t heat up the house as much. These are widely available on Amazon or in major stores such as Walmart,or at thrift stores and yard sales. Or ask an older woman if she has some extra kitchen stuff, we always do! You can use these in addition to or instead of your regular stove and oven. You can also use a camp stove or wood fire or solar cooker or whatever source of heat you have.

induction stove on white countertop
Photo by Rachel Claire on

And most cooking, except for throwing meat on a grill, will also require some basic cooking tools. If you are going shopping I would purchase at minimum a small set of pots and pans, a 10 or 12 inch skillet, a knife set for cutting vegetable and meat, a spatula or two, large spoon, measuring cup, measuring spoons, colander/strainer, mixing bowls, storage containers, and serving dishes and utensils. And a meat thermometer.

Step one. Decide what you want to eat. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be tasty. Here are some ideas for a beginner.

Step two. Use the links above to search for a recipe or go to Google and type in the name of the food you want to cook. Seriously. The internet has made cooking so easy! There is a recipe online for everything. No need to guess or buy a cookbook, unless you want to. You can either read the recipe or watch a video or both.

Step three. Go shopping and buy basic ingredients, plus whatever you need for your recipe. Here are some suggestions to stock your kitchen.

  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings such as oregano, basil, garlic, paprika, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, red pepper flakes, parsley, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, seasoning blends.
  • Flour, sugar, cooking oil, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch
  • Rice, Pasta, other grains (quinoa, oatmeal)
  • Fresh and frozen and canned vegetables, potatoes, fruit, peppers, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Bread, buns, tortillas
  • Cheese such as grated cheddar, sliced cheese, Parmesan
  • Condiments
  • Prepared sauces like Alfredo Sauce and Spaghetti sauce
  • Canned meats such as chicken, tuna, corned beef

Once you have your cooking utensils and ingredients and recipe, all you have to do is carefully follow the directions of the recipe!

  • Be sure to measure your ingredients and don’t leave anything out.
  • Double check before you cook it.
  • Make sure you check how long the recipe will take to cook before you start.
  • Some steps or ingredients may be optional, but if you’re a beginner go ahead and do everything. Once you get some practice, you can start improvising.
  • Use a timer to make sure you cook it long enough and use a thermometer to make sure meat is done properly.
  • A meat thermometer is not a luxury item!
  • Don’t forget to turn off the stove and oven when the food is done.

Congratulations! You are going to save money and most likely eat healthier. Happy cooking!

asparagus barbecue cuisine delicious
Photo by Pixabay on


  1. I think a lot of people have already been forced into this culinary boot camp during the lockdowns. But it doesn’t hurt to have a refresher course now and then if you’re used to eating out… Not that I am … πŸ™„

    • We don’t eat out much either. Especially now! I mostly wrote this one for the people who might be searching Google for ‘how to cook’. πŸ˜€

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