Do you eat food? Yes? Ok. In that case, you should probably know how to cook. You don’t have to give up your career and go to culinary school, but there are at least 10 dishes that all guys need to know. We’ll walk you through them.
Pasta dishes are typically easy to cook. They are tasty and filling. Almost everyone learns a pasta dish as their first “grown-up” meal to cook. You should have at least one in your repertoire. Since seafood is lacking on the rest of this list, we’ll recommend a shrimp pasta recipe. Really, you should learn to cook what you like to eat. So if you don’t like shrimp, you can sub out for chicken or steak.
It might be a stereotype, but guys are expected to be able to grill a good steak. There are a million arguments over the best way to prepare a steak. Learn the one you like the most. Until then, we’ll show you how to grill a ribeye in a simple, traditional manner.
First, season the steak with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper. These spices are a must in your spice arsenal. Dust each side of the steak with each seasoning. It’s hard to add too much of any of them, other than the black pepper. Lightly salt the steak (large granule salts are best).
Heat the grill. If it has a thermometer, let it get to at least 400℉ before adding the steak. Use a paper towel or cloth to spread a little cooking oil on the grill bars (it prevents the steak from sticking). Add the steak to the grill. Cook for around 2 minutes and 30 seconds before flipping the steak. Flip the steak a total of three times so that each side of the steak is facing the flames twice. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. For a perfect medium rare steak, pull it at 130℉.
You need to be able to feed people in your life who don’t eat meat (especially if you are one of them). There are countless amazing vegan recipes. Explore at your leisure. Vegan pasta is a great place to get started because it is easy, tasty and filling. However, we’re going to help you up your game with a good vegan curry recipe, no trip to India required.
You need to be able to make a salad. You can pursue fancy stuff if you want, but a simple salad is still valuable. First, pick your leaves. Spinach, romaine and iceberg are classics and work in any combination. You can even get a mixed leaf bag at the grocery store. It’s fine, and no one will be able to tell, unless you spill the beans (or leaves).
Infuse the salad with things you like. Tomatoes and croutons are classics. Thin carrot slices are always good. Olives, nuts, dried fruits, or fresh fruits can work well too. Salads require so little effort that you should play around with them and figure out exactly what you like.
If you want to get fancy, make your own dressing. Take two tablespoons of olive oil (per serving). Add lemon juice to taste. A few drops is usually enough. That’s it. Top your salad with a dry cheese, and if you really want to get snazzy, pick up a nice balsamic vinaigrette from a local winery.
If you can’t make a good breakfast dish, how are you supposed to back up your sly innuendos about spending the night? Also, breakfast for dinner is amazing. For a seemingly fancy breakfast that is actually easy, conquer the frittata. It’s like an omelet but requires less skill.
Like pasta, stir fries can be simple, delicious and filling. They will seem more impressive than the effort they require. This stir fry dish will teach you the basics. You can always back it up with jasmine rice (get a rice cooker and make your life easy). From here, evolve to other proteins and vegetables. You’ll find that stir fries supply endless possibilities.
A simple cookie or brownie recipe works every time, so we’re going to give you an extra special recipe for chocolate lovers that will make you look super cool. This is one of the countless variations on the death by chocolate.
Get a bag of regular Oreos, your preferred vanilla ice cream and the chocolate magic shell from the grocery store (learn to make it from scratch for extra points). Mash up the Oreos in a bowl and mix them as thoroughly as you can. It should be messy. Once done, lay them out in a baking pan about a half-inch thick. Bake at 350℉ for 10 minutes.
Let the Oreo pan cool, then cover and refrigerate it. Keep it chilled until you're ready to serve. Scoop ice cream on top of the oreo layer as evenly as you can. Top it with the magic shell. Then cut and serve it like an ice cream cake.
If you ever plan on entertaining guests, hors d'oeuvres are a must. Jalapeño poppers are a classic and pretty easy. Get yourself some fresh jalapeños. Cut them in half and scoop out everything (leave a few seeds if you like it spicy). Fill to the ridge with cream cheese. Wrap with bacon (usually half a strip per popper). Bake at 350℉ for 10-15 minutes depending on how you like your bacon. It should be darkened and firm but not crunchy. We’re getting hungry already.
There are a million different ways to fry. This fried chicken recipe will get you started. Once you're comfortable with it, explore the differences between wet and dry batter as well as flour, tempura, and panko. Look into different washes as well.
You don’t need to be a chef, but you do need one high-effort, ultra-fancy dish for special occasions. Duck a l’orange is a great starter. Lamb dishes are also worth exploring. This duck dish is by far the hardest thing on this list. Practice it before you stake your romantic evening on it.
If you get comfortable with all of these dishes, you’ll have a decent kitchen repertoire. It should be enough to get you more comfortable with cooking, and from there, you can learn to make anything you want to eat. So let’s get cooking!