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Easiest recipe you cook and love

I thought today how easy it was to cook apples, and I do it all the time. I simply slice quarters of apples width wise, and place in a pot of part apple juice and wine, and simmer for few minutes--maybe 15 or 20. Season with freshly grated nutmeg and pepper. Add a few caraway seeds. This is so easy and so good. What easy recipes do you cook and love?

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  1. spaghetti squash, especially this time of year

    1. Rroasted vegetables - brussel sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, whatever - olive oil, salt, pepper, in the oven til done - delicious.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cookie monster

        I roasted butternut squash, broccoli spears and 1/4 of a giant onion, cut in half. The squash was so good. The broccoli went over quite well. I didn't let the onion cook quite long enough, but still the flavor was sweet. Roasting veggies is so easy, and I think it is so good. Thanks for reminding me of this technique.

      2. Chicken in beer. A saucepan, one cut up chicken, a can of beer, soy sauce and pineapple juice at a low boil until the liquid is nearly evaporated to form a syrup in the saucepan; serve. It' a "go to" formula for those nights when a fresh chicken is available, energy is short and time is shorter.

        1 Reply
        1. re: todao

          Intriguing!! Brown off the chicken first? How much soy sauce & pj approximately? Thanks!

        2. I would have to say, my easiest thing in the kitchen is not a specific food but a method---baking in the oven. It is easiest because the meal prepares itself while you a) do other work b) take a nap c) soak in the tub d) attend to other people. Chicken, pork loin, shepherd's pie, salmon filet , meatloaf, or any other meat that bakes alone or in sauce; baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, sweet potatoes, acorn squash on the half-shell, a casserole of cabbage or cauliflower or onions in cheese sauce; green bean casserole; corn pudding;' a casserole of chicken and rice and whatever; macaroni and cheese; a pan of gingerbread or brownies or a fruit cobbler---the entire dinner cooks by itself and you don't have to stand there and watch it. Plus, when you eat it you've been away from it for an hour and it's sort of like dinner was made for you by somebody else: it's a gift.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Querencia

            Love how you think Querencia!- I feel the same way about my slow cooker. I run home from work at lunch time and throw my ingredients in, by the time I come home from work, the place smells wonderful and I have dinner ready. I'm absurdly proud of myself on those days (probably more so than when I put together the whole meal after work). On those days when I come home and it smells so good I always ask my puppy if she's been cooking for me!

            1. re: mjhals

              I agree, the slow cooker is my friend; yesterday it was seasoned short ribs with salt, pepper, and flour and browned on the stove top— then into the slow cooker with a can of beer, thyme from the garden, chopped onion and garlic, a bay leaf and a dollop of tomato paste for five hours until fork tender. Cold Weather/Rainy Day eats.

              1. re: Cynsa

                Hey, me too!! My recipe sounds almost exactly the same. I made them yesterday... I seasoned short ribs with salt and pepper, browned for a few minutes in a little olive oil, put into the slow cooker with chopped onions, garlic and carrots, canned crushed tomatoes, red wine, balsamic vinegar and bay leaf. 8 hours on low in the crock pot. Delicious! Tender and falling-apart goodness! Also, sometimes I make something in the crockpot overnight, specifically so I can put it into the refrigerator for the day and then warm it up in the evening. Some things taste even better when they've sat for a day and are warmed up. This is one of those recipes.

            2. re: Querencia

              Can't agree more!

              Couldn't say it better.

              1. re: Querencia

                I love long slow cooking in my dutch oven, then it has to cook for 4 or 5 hours, and it really is like someone else made it: if I put it in at lunchtime I'd forget about it except for the delicious smell. But I guess the easiest is leftovers, I really enjoy them, it's like I'm on vacation those nights.

              2. Flounder With Leeks And Tomatoes

                Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.
                6 tablespoons olive oil
                1 3/4 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; from 2 medium)
                2 large garlic cloves, chopped
                2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
                1 bay leaf
                1 cup canned vegetable broth
                1/2 cup dry white wine
                1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
                4 5- to 6-ounce Flounder (can use Sole) fillets

                1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.
                2. Add leeks, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Sauté until leeks are tender, about 5 minutes.
                3. Add vegetable broth and wine; boil 5 minutes.
                4. Add tomatoes with juices. Boil until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
                5. Meanwhile, sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Fold each fillet in half; secure with toothpick.
                6. Add fish to pan and cover with sauce.
                7. Cover pan and simmer for 6 minutes
                8. Transfer fish to plates; remove toothpicks. Top fish with sauce.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jfood

                  sounds delicious! as in i think i want that now... can i ask, does the folding change something with the fish?

                  1. re: kubasd

                    It turns the shape of the filet into a wedge and with a 10-12" pan you can get them all to fit at one time, pointed side in. It also adds some integrity to the fish and makes it easier to plate. The jfoods absolutely adore this dish.

                    Other than that it is the old discussion on the colors of M&Ms having different flavors.

                2. Roast Fresh Ham or Pork Shoulder.....seasoned with Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper......toss in the oven @ 225* until it done......I usually put it in the oven before turning in for bed.....so there's really no waiting on my part. Two or three meals easily....not counting the soup made with the bone or the meat slices for Cubano sandwiches.

                  The same for method goes for Turkey and Prime Rib of Beef...only cooked on the same day and not overnight.

                  1. saute a medley of veggies (include cabbage) quick in oil and braggs liq amino, then dump this on some nice brown rice, top with grated cheddar (or jack, or motz) and sprinkle with cayenne, spike seasoning and garlic pwder.

                    fav mix is broccoli, cauliflour, cabbage (white and red), mushrms, carrots, red onions - but really anything will work well.

                    1. Bacon and eggs
                      Chicken adobo
                      Cilbir (poached eggs in yogurt)
                      Chicken in ginger-scallion sauce

                      1. There is a Pan-Roasted Broccoli recipe from The Wednesday Chef that I absolutely love.
                        It's the only way I eat broccoli now!

                        Take a heavy-bottomed pan and pour a couple of spoons of olive oil in it. Set it over high heat until the oil starts to smoke and then dump the broccoli into the smoking pan all at once and cover it quickly with a lid. Cook for 2 minutes with no peeking. Take the lid off, season the broccoli with salt and pepper, put on oven mitts and grab the handles of the pot to shake the broccoli around a little bit, add a lump of butter and then put the pot back over the flame, covered, for 2 more minutes. At this point, you can test the broccoli and see if it's cooked enough for your liking. If it's not, put the top back on and cook for a final 2 minutes. It should be scorched in spots and still quite green in others.

                        1. I do love baking things in the oven, esp. during the cooler months. I do love baking potatoes and I also like roasting veggies, but don't do the latter very often. So, I need to think of doing this more often. I love Jfood's recipe for flounder, and it reminds me of a quick faux puttanesca sauce i sometimes make for baked fish. I like this recipe though. I might try it. And, pamd, how do you fix your spaghetti squash? I presume you bake it, and then what?

                          An easy variation of baked potatoes, is to halve them, rub them with oil and bake the halves as you would do for whole baked potatoes. Bake them until they are blistered on the tops. If you have really large potatoes, 1/2 might be a better serving size, esp. if you are watchng your carbs.

                          I am hoping we will get even more ideas of easy recipes you cook and love.

                          1. Scalloped potatoes. The only real work is slicing the potatoes real thinly, but anyone with a mandoline can do this rather quickly.

                            Layer slices in a buttered baking dish. Mix a small container of light cream with LOTs of garlic, salt, pepper paprika, and the herb or your choice, and pour over potatoes. Cover with grated cheese -- any cheese you like, but Edamer works really well. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Eat. Great as a side dish to pretty much anything.

                            1. Short ribs. Dredged in s&p and flour, browned in hot oil/bacon fat/lard/whatever-feels-right at the moment, then pour in about a cup of red wine, beef stock or broth (reduced sodium boxed is fine) a quartered onion and a couple of bay leaves. Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and stir occasionally over a few hours, until the broth has cooked down into a gravy and you can't stand the aroma one second longer.

                              Serve with your starch of choice (we like new potatoes lightly "smashed" with havarti and chives). I make it about once a month during the fall and winter. It has that slow-cooked comfort food taste with minimal babysitting or fuss.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: shanagain

                                I made almost this same exact thing tonight with a few exceptions. Used a bottom roast instead of ribs, a bottle of dark beer instead of wine and added some carrots to the pot. The meat fell apart and was so tasty. Served over spaghetti squash. Cooked at a low temperature while watching a football game - so easy!

                                1. re: nmurawsk

                                  The best kind of Sunday dinner food - the entire house smells amazing, but you're able to watch your team. I can't believe I never cooked short ribs that way until about two years ago - I always just used them for soup before that. (Which is also excellent, but requires a little more attention.)

                              2. The VERY easiest thing that I cook and love is a piece of buttered sourdough sautee'd. The perfect sour, crunchy and soft, buttery, bit of lightness. Even the smell just as you bite in is wonderful.

                                Even better if it is served with pasta that has been tossed with garlic butter or pesto.

                                1. lately, I'm having a blast with a huge rect. pyrex and roasting massive amounts of veggies for35-40 min on 400. Each time is different, different veggies, different herbs/seasonings. Tonight was sweet onion, brussle spouts and white cabbage. Other day was eggplant, red onion, celery, chick peas, red/yellow peppers - lots of cumin and chili pwder.

                                  1. The absolute easiest is probably frijoles en olla. I don't cook every day in our monastery, but what I cook most often is sourdough bread, and in the no-knead version it couldn't be easier. But the entre that is probably easiest is braised chicken parts. In fact, I use braising more often than any other technique. (Roasting a whole chicken is even easier, I know, but carving and cleaning the roasting pan are a little more work.) As for what kind of braise, it mostly depend on what we have on hand. Usually it involves onions and garlic. Sometimes it involves tomatoes. Often it involves wine and broth. I especially like to braise thighs with onions and garlic, Penzey's herbes de Provence, broth and white wine, and strips of ham and chopped dried apricots or cherries. I do it often. I have not yet braised breasts in milk with juniper berries --the recipe is in "Every Night Italian," but that looks like another winner. In short, for me, the easiest recipe is the one for which I have ingredients at hand that doesn't take a lot of prep time. But it has to be interesting.

                                      1. When I want to cook something fast and tasty, to quell a hunger, a favorite that I never tire of is hash browns and eggs (sometimes poached, sometimes scrambled or "sunny-side-up" fried). I always have potatoes on hand and there are always eggs in the fridge.

                                        1. among my candidate specific answers is pasta carbonara. easy, quick, and tasty.

                                          on the matter of preferred method--yes, the oven. we rearranged our kitchen several years ago to accommodate a four-oven, cast iron cooker so we could bake and roast and simmer and bake and roast and simmer some more.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: silverhawk

                                            My quickest pasta is aglio e olio, even with toasting the breadcrumbs, it takes no longer than boiling the pasta. I always say when I'm done, it takes longer to clean up than to make it. So good for getting the food on the table, but not so good afterwards.

                                          2. Same as cookie monster -- roasted vegetables, exactly as s/he described in the oven at 425 - 450. I'll eat any vegetable cooked this way.

                                            Slow roasted tomatoes -- tomatoes halved, brushed with olive, salt and pepper, roasted at 250 for 5 hours or so. So sweet and bursting with flavour. Smaller tomatoes are great for use in appetizers or tossed with pasta (or in mac and cheese!), larger ones make a wicked soup or pasta sauce.

                                            Pasta aglio e olio. 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, minced and sauteed on low in lots of olive oil with some red pepper flakes (low is important so you don't burn the garlic). Toss with pasta of your choice (I like spaghetti or linguine). I leave pasta in the frying pan for a while and let some of it get crisped up. Grate some parmigiano reggiano over it and you have one of my favorite fast meals.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: TorontoJo

                                              I love slow roasted tomatoes too! Have you tried Nigella Lawson's technique: preheat oven to 250, put in pan of halved grape tomatoes or sliced romas tossed in olive oil, s&p and dried oregano or thyme, and then turn the oven off when it comes to temperature and leave overnight/12 hours. The flavor is so concentrated and delicious!

                                              1. re: yamalam

                                                No, I haven't tried that, but I will, thank you! I used to sprinkle some dried basil on them, but I find the tomatoes are so intensely flavorful that I don't think they need the embellishment.

                                            2. Here's a simple, delicious way to prepare whole trout (or your favorite whole fish):

                                              1) salt and pepper inside and out
                                              2) brush fish inside and out with 2 tsp. melted butter mixed with juice of half a lemon and a few pinches herbs de provence
                                              3) shove 1 sprig rosemary and a few lemon rounds inside the cavity
                                              4) sprinkle outside with more herbs de provence and roast at 375/400F until the skin is crispy and the flesh is done (about 8-10 min?).

                                              I've had fancier preparations, but this is still my favorite. The flavors are fresh and bright, and it makes a pretty presentation with some fresh lemon slices on top.

                                              1. Roasted chicken. Oven on. Lemon in the cavity. Chicken in the oven. Dinner in an hour. Easy peasey.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: mattwarner

                                                  I love this too. Lemon in the cavity is good. Bay leavs under the skin and also in the cavity. Rosemary and salt rubbed onto the lightly oiled skin. Love, love, love it! It is sublime right after roasting. You are so right.

                                                  1. re: mattwarner

                                                    Roast Chicken for me, too! I use the Zuni Cafe recipe almost all the time:

                                                    1. re: mattwarner

                                                      Me too, the easiest. Wash rub with olive oil salt and pepper, the juice of about 3 lemons (or limes) and throw the lemons/limes in the cavity. Roast at 425 or so for 15 mins reduce to 350 and call it dinner. Delicious, and the house smells divine. Serve with mashed, roasted potatoes or rice. With the drippings and some chicken broth I make a wonderful sauce. Yum.

                                                    2. Mussels when in season: heat oil, lots of minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes. Dump in a bottle of white win, can of diced tomatoes (can is actually better than fresh for this) and a few pounds of mussels. Serve with lots of broth and toasted bread that I rub with a clove of raw garlic. In the summer, capellini with raw tomato sauce: cook some garlic in olive oil until it just starts to brown, remove from heat, throw in some chopped basil and then diced tomatoes and toss with the pasta, add parmigiano or pecorino romano taste (I've also stirred in a bit of fresh ricotta and tried a bit of ricotta salata - both great).

                                                      1. My favorite lazy night dinner food is egg and bean tacos. Refried beans, scrambled eggs, shredded cheese, tomatillo salsa, and hunks of avocado. Wrap in warm corn tortillas. Yum.

                                                        I'm also a big fan of pot roast and mashed potatoes.

                                                        1. This recipe from Mark Bittman: http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/...

                                                          Scrambled eggs with shrimp and soy sauce. So easy and so good!

                                                          1. Chicken Asparagus Pasta -- loved by my entire family and everyone I share the recipe with.

                                                            To a pot of salted boiling water, add a package of cut up chicken breasts or tenders, a bunch of asparagus cut into bite size pieces and a couple handfuls of penne pasta. (Yes, some people have a problem cooking everything together. In that case, cook it separately.) (I also cut the chicken into pieces according to the size of the asparagus and may use mini penne and thin asparagus together with smaller chunks of chicken.)

                                                            In a small saucepan warm about 1/2 cup olive oil and the juice from a lemon (or two if one isn't juicy enough or you like lemon) and some minced garlic.

                                                            Drain pasta mix and toss with olive oil mix. Sprinkle about 1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs on top, season with salt and pepper and serve, if desired, with parmesan cheese.

                                                            1. I'm prone to a fried egg, or two, on top of steamed white rice -- a tiny splash of soy, sometimes a squirt of Sriracha, and I've got breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Of course, it helps that I'm only cooking for one...

                                                              1. Quesadillas. Typically just cheese, but if I have sweet potato and baby spinach, or some chicken or caramelized onions, I might add that. Then I serve it with either a quick homemade salsa, some yogurt or sour cream. It's nearly guaranteed I'll have sharp cheddar in the house, but many other cheeses can be used. This is my laziest, don't want to take too long, I'm starving recipe. You can make them in under 10 minutes. And who doesn't love melty cheese?

                                                                1. Shrimp Scampi over linguine. This is a favorite dish and I make it weekly. I didn't add amount of shrimp or size. When I am making it for myself, I use 6 extra large shrimp. So, adjust the amount of shrimp you will need. And the same with the spaghetti. I use a half of box of Barilla, and it gives me enough for leftovers.

                                                                  Shrimp, extra large
                                                                  Barilla Spaghetti
                                                                  2 cloves of garlic, minced
                                                                  1 lemon zested and juiced
                                                                  1/2 cup white wine
                                                                  1/2 cup shredded parmigiano regiano cheese
                                                                  1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley
                                                                  pinch, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes

                                                                  Boil water for spaghetti, add kosher salt.. Place oil and butter into a hot skillet, toss in shrimp. Cook on medium for 1 minute each side. Toss in garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, let cook another 30 seconds, add wine. Toss in lemon zest. Cover and remove from heat.

                                                                  Drain spaghetti, save 1 cup of pasta water. Put pasta on top of shrimp in skillet, add cheese, toss. Add lemon juice and parsley, toss. If needed, add 1/2 cup of pasta water, toss and serve on a platter. If you serving guests, garnish with more cheese and parsley.

                                                                  1. I have lots of children and need to feed a crowd - every meal!

                                                                    This is one of my standbys , we call it "Saturday chicken" as I tend to do it for Saturday lunch and then the kids eat the leftovers in the evening!

                                                                    One large roasting chicken, prepare as for roasting - herbes de provence/olive oil/lemon inside/salt and pepper. Wash and cut lengthways leeks and/or carrots or cherry tomatoes. Use roasting or pyrex dish just larger than chicken. Place about four cms of rice (usually risotto or shortgrain but other will be ok, even wholegrain if feeling healthy or have nothing else) in the dish and then pour boiling water or stock to cover by about a cm over the rice. Place veg on the rice and then chicken on the veg. I sometimes roast a head of garlic in a corner or a couple of onions. Put in hot oven for fifteen mins and then turn down to moderate for around an hour or so, depending on size of bird. Turn oven off when ready but chicken and rice will wait happily in oven whilst kids argue over who laid the table last. Easy and a whole meal in a single dish. Voila!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: nolbombol

                                                                      This does sound likd a good dish to feed a crowd. I actually do something similar using chicken thights. I skin and oil them, placing over a bed of rice. Sometimes I add veggies to the rice: onion, mushrooms, green pepper. I pour in chicken stock, and bake at 400 till done. This is best with wild and white, but I've used quicker cooking brown and all white. Its all good. Lately I've been seasoning the chicken with curry powder, which has become a taste I love.

                                                                    2. such a comfort food...
                                                                      pizza dough from any supermarket, fresh mozzarella and ricotta (trader joes), splash of whatever tomato sauce I have on hand, sliced red onions. Throw in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and enjoy hot, cheesy bliss. I top mine with fresh picked basil.

                                                                      1. Roast Chicken with a Garlic Butter under the skin and S & P on outside. Roast over halved new potatoes or whole smaller fingerlings or similar. The potatoes bake in the Chickens Juices. Then you could make a quick pan gravy. But I make a Chili my family loves about 2 times a month or more. Brown off ground beef or turkey in my dutch oven. toss in chili powder, garlic, and paprika add in good jarred spaghetti sauce, fill the empty jar with chicken or beef(shake and pour in) stock 2 cans of beans, 1 can of diced tomatoes, frozen corn sometimes and let simmer at least a half hour or more.

                                                                        1. Microwave Polenta with cheese inspired from the Cook's Illustrated microwave polenta recipe.

                                                                          1. I use my beloved slow cooker to make a three ingredient chicken dish. Take boneless skinless chicken breasts straight out of the freezer. Don't defrost or they'll be overdone. Throw in a bag of frozen southwestern vegetables, the usual black bean/corn/jalapeno/onion combination. Add a 12-ounce bottle of La Victoria green taco sauce. Stir to combine all ingredients. Cook at low temperature for eight hours. It becomes a rich southwestern stew.

                                                                            Other taco sauces would probably do but I like La Victoria green so much that I stock up three or four bottles at a time when I can find it.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: mandycat

                                                                              Buffalo chicken lasagna in crockpot
                                                                              French dips (in crockpot)
                                                                              homemade lasagna (everything from scratch (noodles done the day before tho- put together and in the oven in 25 mins)
                                                                              And something called "kay's sloppy beef" We used to eat it growing up when we didn't have much money. It's basically extra extra lean beef ground up (like for tacos), along with diced celery and onion, you add in sherry cooking wine, a smidge of sugar, fresh grated ginger, minced garlic, and soy sauce. You put it over rice and put chow mein noodles on top. Not my fanciest recipe-but cheap, ez and filling.

                                                                              1. re: snoboardbabe77

                                                                                What is buffalo chicken lasagna in a crockpot? That sounds very interesting --- would love the recipe if you have time!

                                                                            2. Mark Bittman's curry cauliflower flatbread.
                                                                              1 medium cauliflower (1 1/2 pounds), trimmed and finely chopped
                                                                              4 tablespoons peanut oil, or grapeseed, corn or olive oil
                                                                              Salt and ground black pepper
                                                                              1 cup whole wheat flour
                                                                              1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
                                                                              1 tablespoon curry powder, or more to taste.
                                                                              1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put cauliflower in a roasting pan, drizzle with a tablespoon of oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss. Spread into a single layer and roast until tender and nicely browned, tossing with a spatula halfway through, for a total of 15 to 20 minutes.
                                                                              2. While cauliflower roasts, put flour into a bowl. Add one teaspoon of salt and coconut milk, whisking to eliminate lumps. Batter should be about the consistency of pancake batter. Set aside.
                                                                              3. When cauliflower is finished roasting, sprinkle it with curry powder and toss; fold cauliflower into batter.
                                                                              4. Pour remaining oil into a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet and put in oven. Wait a couple of minutes for oil to get hot, then carefully remove pan, pour in batter, spread it into an even layer and return skillet to oven. Bake for about an hour, or until flatbread is well browned, firm and crisp around edges. (It will release easily from pan when it is done.) Let it rest for a couple of minutes before turning it out and cutting it into wedges.
                                                                              Yield: 4 to 8 appetizer servings.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. Salmon with Old Bay. I drizzle on a little olive oil and a little white wine, then I shake Old Bay all over it & sprinkle with chives. I bake at 300 for about 30 minutes (depending on thickness of fillet). It's delicious with rice!