Cooking for yourself is rewarding and can help you save money. However, it can also be fun to learn how different ingredients can change the taste of something as simple as an egg for breakfast versus dinner. While you don’t have to cook for yourself every day, you should try to cook for yourself more often to see what you’re capable of. Learning how to cook is important for everyone, especially when ordering food costs so much money and delivery fees continue to rise. Looking for easy recipes you can try tonight? Check out these recipes for first-time cooks. 

Enchilada Casserole

Looking for an easy dinner you can share with the whole family and maybe have some leftovers for the next day? Try this enchilada casserole. This recipe entails a simple prep and leaves the oven to do the rest of the work, making it the perfect recipe for beginners.


  • Tortillas
  • Shredded chicken
  • 1 can of black olives
  • Mexican-blend cheese
  • Corn tortillas
  • Dried cilantro

Seasonal Fruit Salad

This simple, no-cooking required recipe takes advantage of seasonal local produce. We’ve included our favorite recommendations, however, feel free to mix and match with your favorite fruits and include those that are high in electrolytes and other vitamins. 


  • Orange, peeled and cut into wedges
  • ½ an avocado
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 sliced banana 
  • 3 strawberries, sliced
  • A handful of blueberries

How to Cook: 

  1. Prep and peel all of your fruit. 
  2. Mix your fruits, leaving the avocado for last. 
  3. Once you’ve mixed your fruits, squeeze lemon over the top and mix again. 
  4. Serve your fruit salad fresh. 
  5. Bonus Tip: For our spicy chefs at heart, you can also top it with Tajin for a little kick. 

Lentil Soup

Making a good soup is a basic premise all cooks should know how to make. Soups are relatively easy, but utilize some foundational cooking techniques, such as the ‘holy trinity of soup bases’. This recipe is packed with nutrients, is cheap to make, and is the perfect lunch or dinner for the colder seasons. 


  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 cups of dried lentils
  • Vegetable or chicken broth
  • Olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

How to Make: 

  1. In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. 
  2. Once your oil is glistening, add in your holy trinity (celery, carrots, and onions). Cook until onions are translucent, stirring frequently. 
  3. Then add in your dried spices and stir until the mixture is coated and smells fragrant, about a minute. 
  4. Add in your lentils, 4 cups of broth, and two cups of water, and season with your freshly ground black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, and once re-heated, reduce to a simmer.
  5. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. 
  6. Once lentils have cooked through, add in your lemon juice and salt to taste. 
  7. Serve while hot with a warmed bread roll or preferred pairings (we really like a side of potato chips!) 

Roast Vegetables

Roast vegetables aren’t necessarily a meal, but they’re a good side for most meals, like grilled chicken or steak. To make a delicious side like roast vegetables, all you have to do is toss them with olive oil and put them on a sheet pan. You can roast at 425 degrees or experiment with different temperatures and times to get the best results. 


Again, pasta alone isn’t technically a meal because you need protein, but once you know how to make chicken and beef, you can add it to pasta to make it a balanced meal with all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Unfortunately, there are so many pasta recipes out there, so it’s up to you to choose what’s best for you. What’s most important is learning how to cook pasta. It sounds easy; all you have to do is boil water and let the pasta cook for however long it says on the package. However, many people still fail to cook pasta and end up with undercooked or overcooked pasta that can ruin their meal. Whether you want to make a homemade sauce or buy it at the store, you should know how to cook the perfect pasta to ensure your meal tastes great. 

What About Baking?

Everyone should learn how to bake something in case they’re ever invited to a party and need to bring dessert. Of course, you can also learn to bake to spread the joy of cookies and other sweets and treats with family and friends. When you first learn how to bake, consider starting with regular chocolate chip cookies and changing the recipe to find the best mix of ingredients. 

Final Thoughts

Learning how to cook takes time, patience, and practice. If you’re not pleased with your first couple of meals, don’t give up! It takes talented chefs many years to learn how to properly cook simple dishes, and since it’s just you and your dream kitchen, you can practice as much as you want until you find your next favorite dish, or even try out a healthy and easy-to-make meal kit. When learning to cook, remember that what’s most important is you make nutritious meals and enjoy experimenting with different ingredients. 

Author Bio

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration and Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music. 


Just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations, according to a study published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases.

Studies have shown that supplementation with extracts from fruits and vegetables may improve age-related changes.

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