Impressive Home Cooking for Beginners

Mar 06, 2023,23:31 PM

I'm well into my 5th decade of cooking for myself, after about 18 years with mom and sis providing direction. One thing I'm frequently asked is "How can I make a nice dinner when I can barely make a pot of spaghetti?"

Here's my typical response, should the question be arising in the minds of younger watch enthusiasts who need to whip something up. I prefer fresh, colorful food because if you can please the eyes you are half-way to pleasing the palate.

If you can lay your hands on some cherry tomatoes, great. I used asparagus here because it's in season, and you could substitute green beans, cut into pieces like this. Cut the tomatoes in half too.

Take a handful of spaghetti 2-3 ounces (60-80g) per person, and put it in a pot to boil for 8-10 minutes.

Put your vegetables in the skillet with some olive oil and cook until they begin to soften - 5-10 minutes. You can see I threw in some mushrooms (they needed to be used up). Add salt & pepper and garlic if you like. I'm very negatively influenced by onions so I never touch them... can't even have them in the house.

When the vegetables are nearly done, add the frozen pieces of seafood. Here I have a mix of shrimp, calamari (squid), small scallops and mussels in the shell (they are fully cooked). 
Put the lid on and let it go 3-4 minutes.

I had one piece of fresh red snapper from the previous day, so I cut it into pieces and added it to my pan. Flip over the shrimp so the pale side is down and pink side is up.

Take your pasta off the heat, drain the spaghetti noodles, and add them to the mix in your skillet. If it seems too dry add some water from the noodles, olive oil, and/or butter. You want just a little juice which will come from the seafood and the tomatoes. At this stage I remove the shells too, because it's easier to do in the kitchen than at the table.

I guarantee that you can put this in a large colorful bowl with a bit of parsley, salt & pepper and you will have happy diners. My example shown is good for two hungry people and you can scale it up as large as your pans will allow.

I usually stick in a slice of bread for soaking up the extra liquid, and have a small salad on the side. In this case it's avocade and orange sections with balsalmic vinegar on top. With a crisp white wine.


If you don't like noodles, you can boil and mash some potatoes instead, and get this alternative version, where I used peas instead of asparagus. I didn't have fish but I had some tiny shrimp, so I threw those in too.

More sauce, shrimp and scallops without the premixed assortment

With rice and spinach


For readers who have access to Costco, this is my favorite blend of seafood. Of course you can get this sort of thing locally or and in Asia with no problem. I can't speak for Europe.

I always add bread - I know many gluten-free folks but in our family it wasn't a meal if you didn't have a slice of something substantial to chew on (key word being chew; we never had WonderBread). 
I baked this but you can buy good bread almost anywhere nowadays.

Cheers, and happy cooking.


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 By: saabman1997 : March 6th, 2023-23:52
I will get some of the seafood medley on my next trip to Costco. I buy the shrimp but missed this package. Your cooking techniques parallel many of the things I prepare. Bon Appetit !!!!

Looks healthy and fresh, not too heavy. I'm hungry now even though I'm typically a meat person.

 By: Clueless_Collector : March 7th, 2023-00:35
These frozen packaged food from Costco and especially Trader's Joes are getting better and better...sometimes I even wonder if restaurants just bought them and heat them up to serve customers. I remember back in the days like before 2000s, we don't see a ... 

Mouth water.

 By: Bill : March 7th, 2023-00:57
I am halfway through my weekly 48hr fast. This looks like a great meal to break my fast.

That looks delicious.

 By: RabidManatee : March 7th, 2023-01:26
And simple. I need to try this. Thank you very much for sharing your recipe. So do you have a favorite “cooking watch?” There’s a possible WristScan theme there, just saying 😉.

What a presentation 👌🏽

 By: ArmisT : March 7th, 2023-02:47
Very helpful step by step. I’ll have to look for that medley at Costco too.

Who would've thought

 By: mhz vph : March 7th, 2023-03:45
I'd see the best culinary content on a watch forum... Keep sharing, it looks delicious!

Have you thought about hosting a YouTube cooking channel? Our maybe creating a cookbook?

 By: Uncle Chico : March 7th, 2023-08:10
That is a great looking set of variations on a theme.

This looks delicious!

 By: pw927 : March 7th, 2023-10:37
Thanks for sharing. Bon appetite!

Your dishes always look fresh...

 By: mdg : March 7th, 2023-16:14
...for want of a better word. There is a Japanese philosophy of colors in food dishes. As I understand it, it is aesthetic but also practical as different colors of food tend to have various nutrition benefits.

A Folder in my photos database:FOOD, COLORFUL -- DO NOT view this if hungry

 By: cazalea : March 7th, 2023-16:41
One afternoon in the 'hood picking up fruit Local tomato crop Morning light on the kitchen counter Jamie Oliver "Tomato Mother Salad" Playing with our food One afternoon's pickings during tomato season Orange juice healthy for living and ticking things Wa...  


 By: le_chef : March 12th, 2023-21:03
I think even if you’re a nervous or inexperienced cook, prep (mis en place) if you want to be fancy is the most critical step. Lay everything out, chopped and ready in order of use saves you a lot of angst. I learned this in my first job in hotel manageme... 

I agree - prep is key

 By: cazalea : March 12th, 2023-23:39
I like to have everything ready before I go to work! I did try that spaghetti trick a few months ago, cooking noodles slowly in broth from wild game birds. It was amazing! I can handle most cooking chores but I admit I remain in awe of people who can asse...  

Manufacturing Not Cooking

 By: le_chef : March 13th, 2023-21:30
You need a brigade of cooks and prep guys to work at this level. Banquet and restaurant level cooking require similar skills to manufacturing in that consistency of everything including timing is critical. It’s immensely stressful. If you can get to see i... 

My kind of food!

 By: le_chef : March 13th, 2023-13:53
And beautifully presented without be pretentious. Those cherry tomatoes are my go to across all four seasons to add color and acidity. Beautiful!