I have always admired people who can cook well because I was never one of them. Since I had a lot of time during quarantine so I wanted to take this opportunity to improve my cooking skills. I have been enjoying the process so far. While I’m far from being an amazing cook, I have improved considerably. Baby steps, right?
I wanted to find a few go-to recipes. Something I can easily whip up for when I’m feeling like home-cooked food. As much as I love eating at restaurants, you never fully know exactly all the ingredients they use to make the food. Eating at home is healthier and cheaper.
I lost count of how many recipes I’ve tried but at least a few dozen. I start by thinking of dishes I love to eat on a regular basis. Once I get going on my research, there are usually way too many options for one dish. I use process by elimination by looking at the number of reviews. When a recipe has zero or few reviews, I would pass on it. Needless to say, I also look at how high a recipe is ranked. If there are many ratings but low ratings, I would also pass.
The process doesn’t end there. I look at the ingredients to see what is needed to create this recipe. I don’t pick ones that require exotic ingredients. My kitchen is relatively simple. I don’t have jars of sauces or spices laying around. There is no point in buying ingredients for one dish.
Once I make the dish, you might wonder how I determine a recipe is considered ‘good.’ Easy. I ask myself whether or not I like it enough to make it again. I move on if the answer is no. There are too many recipes on the Internet to settle for ones that you only think are okay.
Now that you understand my process of thinking better, these are my favourite online recipes. I have made each dish several times so you can trust my judgment. Even my friends and family approve of these. Without further ado, here they are:
I was looking for an Asian noodle recipe when I stumbled across this. These garlic noodles are one of my favourite noodle recipes of all time. I was addicted after the first time. My friends and family would agree with me because they thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, my family likes this recipe so much that they requested me to make it a second time for them. I obliged, of course.
If you look at the author’s notes section, some of her readers prefer to double the sauce. Personally, doubling the sauce is too overwhelming (my family can attest to this) so my perfect amount is 1.5 tablespoons of oyster sauce, 1.5 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1.5 teaspoons of soy sauce.
There is an option to use soy sauce or fish sauce. I always go for dark soy sauce because I like my noodles to look darker. This is a simple, delicious and quick dish. I like that I’ll always have all these ingredients on hand so it’s not something I have to plan for the times I do crave it. I can make magic happen in 15 minutes.
Truffle pasta is the best type of pasta out there. Okay, I might be slightly biased because I love truffle on my food. Truffle fries, truffle mac and cheese, truffle pasta, truffle pizza, etc, just to name a few. So far, this is my favourite pasta recipe. I’ve tried making pesto pasta, alfredo, creamy sauce pasta and none of them can beat this one. I’ve made this dish more than 10 times already to give you an idea of how often I eat this.
I was at Eataly (an Italian marketplace chain) and saw that truffle paste jars were on sale. Since I love truffle so much, I bought myself one. At the time, I had no idea how I was going to use it but I didn’t want to miss out on the sale. That’s how companies get you, huh? Making you feel like you don’t want to pass on a good deal? Anyway, I’m so glad I bought some black truffle paste or else I would have missed out on making this lovely dish!
I do have to buy mascarpone cheese especially for this but it’s okay because it’s only one ingredient I have to buy that’s out of my way. Mascarpone cheese is also not hard to find at grocery stores.
An ingredient you need to buy is Parmesan cheese. A tip I would give is to not buy the grocery pre-packaged, pre-shredded cheese. It takes way longer to melt. I usually grate the parmesan when I’m boiling the pasta.
This recipe is the bomb. I like eating garlic bread with my pasta but I mean, who doesn’t? After my first time eating garlic bread with the above truffle pasta, I now feel incomplete if I make one without the other. If you’re a cheese lover like me, adding cheese on top is a nice touch so I recommend you to do the same.
If you like your garlic bread on the crispier side, I would suggest putting the bread in the oven for 10 minutes. I like my bread chewier so 8 minutes is usually good. My family and I love this spread. When I had leftover spread, my aunt decided to keep it so she can use it on her bread slices for breakfast. I can never finish all the bread at once so I put the spread on the bread and keep it in the freezer for future use. It tastes the same, don’t worry.
If you don’t want to add cheese on your bread, then 8-10 minutes in the oven and it’s good to go. If you’re like me and want some sprinkled cheese on top, you will need to use the broiler for about a minute. Watch it carefully because it feels like the second you take your eyes off of it, the bread will get burned. If 1 minute isn’t enough to melt the cheese, I would put the bread back in for 20-second intervals. Again, I would recommend you not to use pre-shredded cheese but if you must, I would suggest using pre-shredded cheese on your bread rather than the pasta. The cheese melts easier in a broiler than in the pan.
There’s only 3 recipes here but the post is already getting so long. There will definitely be a part 2. It’s something I’m still working on and will be posted when it’s done. I look forward to trying more recipes and sharing with you guys.