Don’t really enjoy cooking? Creating big meals aside, let’s say it’s late in the evening and you’re hungry. There’s no bread for a sandwich but you’ve got some eggs, but plain old eggs alone doesn’t sound satisfying. Honing some skills in the kitchen will make it easier for you turn even a simple midnight snack of eggs into a delicious morsel.

It’s not just eggs. Most of us have random ingredients in the kitchen that just needs some inspiration to create something really satisfying.

Cutting Onions 

Onions are one of the holy trinity of cooking; typically onions, celery, and carrots. Onions add a great flavor to almost any meal; I generally use 10/15 sweet onions in my meals. Dicing those onions can be a miserable experience, but it doesn’t have to be. The onion itself will help you. First, cut the onion in half through the root to bottom. Lay the flat of the half on your cutting board. Take a sharp knife and slice vertical cuts  from to the top on the onion down to the cutting board. Keep the root in tact. Next slice horizontal cuts from the bottom of the onion toward the root. I usually will make three cuts, one at the top, the middle, and the bottom close to the cutting board. Now, simply chop down across the onion. The root holds the pieces together until you make the downward chops. The onion will dice beautifully from your cuts, as well as the natural segments of the onion itself.  

Preparing Steak 

Steak is one of those meats that seems difficult to cook because everyone likes their steak a certain way. This means that if you have four people for dinner one night, you could have to prepare their meats in four different ways. There is a rule of thumb for the amount of time it takes to cook a steak to the doneness people crave. For a 1″ steak, cook on medium-high heat 2-3 minutes each side for rare. Cooking 3-4 minutes each side will get the steak to medium rare, 4-6 minutes for medium. A well-done steak should be cooked 2-4 minutes on medium high heat, then lower the temperature and cook for another 4-6 minutes. Let you steak rest for 5 minutes before cutting. 

Timing is only one aspect of preparing a delicious steak. To me, beef is just about perfect with just salt and pepper, but a marinade can boost that flavor up to another level. A simple marinade of olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and a bit of garlic creates a beautiful flavored steak. Drop steaks in a zip lock bag and pour marinade over the top Refrigerate at least 30 minutes up to four hours.

Hard Boil Eggs

Making hard boiled eggs seems like the easiest thing ever right? Eggs, boiling water… boom! Keep this little tidit in mind when boiling eggs; always choose the oldest eggs you have in your refrigerator to boil. The fresher the eggs, the more difficult they will be to peel.

Most people think that boiling eggs is just that. Put eggs in water and boil, boil.  This will likely create over cooked boiled eggs which, in turn, ends up putting off an awful sulfur smell. Those eggs generally will have cracked shells and an unpleasant texture. 

When you lean how to hard boil eggs, the right way, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to create the perfect hard boiled egg. It’s really about bringing your eggs up to boil in an uncovered pan, then at the point they start to boil, cover the pan, and turn off the heat. Generally 12 minutes sitting in the pan will create the perfect egg. Cool them immediately after and when you peel them, always peel under running water. This will help the shell to come off more easily.

Preparing Gravy

Gravy is my nemesis. I always feel like I’m gearing up for war when I decide to make it. It’s silly really, making gravy is not that difficult, I just hate working out lumps that can occur. Usually you’ll make gravy from the drippings of some sort of meat you’ve prepared in a pan. Truly, gravy is just taking those juices and bits and adding flour or cornstarch as a thickener. A general rule of thumb is for each cup of gravy you want to make you’ll need two tablespoons of drippings (fat) to two tablespoons of flour or cornstarch. I prefer a cornstarch slurry, which is a mixture of cornstarch and water.

Take the drippings from the meat you’ve prepared and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Then start adding in your liquid, this can be stock, milk, cream, or a combination. Whisk often to be sure no lumps form. Simmer the gravy and it will begin to thicken. You can add more liquid if you prefer to thin it out. Cook for about five minutes. And you’ll have perfect creamy gravy.

The Perfect Scrambled Egg

Now, back to those eggs. To make the perfect scrambled eggs, crack three eggs into a bowl. Whisk in about three tablespoons of milk, a pinch of salt and crack of black pepper. Chop some onion, green pepper, and tomatoes in to small dices. Heat a 10-12″ skillet and add some olive oil. Drop onions and peppers into the pan and cook until the onions are soft. Pour in egg mixture and once the eggs start to curd, fold them over and over on themselves mixing in the veggies. Add shredded cheese and tomatoes near the end of cooking. As soon as there is no more liquid parts of the eggs, take off of the heat and transfer your beautiful meal to a warmed plate.

No more excuses. Cook simple.

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