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How to cook an impressive meal

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...without even using a stove.

Make this colorful meal with a microwave oven and a counter-top electric grill. Impress and flatter the vegetarian in your life, with a hearty grilled mushroom, alongside steamed asparagus and saffron rice. Or substitute a chicken breast, for a more conventional meal.

These instructions are suitable for those who don't cook at all, but would like to make a nice meal for someone. This meal would be good for a first at-home date. It is not gourmet food, but it will impress a new girlfriend, especially if you make the mushroom option for a vegetarian. This meal will NOT impress corporate executives, foreign dignitaries, or your mother in-law.

As a vegetarian for health reasons, I have often found that non-vegetarians are confused and befuddled when it comes to cooking without meat. This recipe works great with giant mushrooms or with regular old chicken, and anybody can cook it, even if you've never cooked anything before in your life

Note: Most of the people I know who call themselves vegetarians will eat eggs and dairy products, but some won't. Vegan usually refers to a more strict diet, where the person will not eat anything even remotely animal-related, which means no milk, no cheese, no whey, no eggs, sometimes even no honey. Also, many vegetarians and vegans will not eat vegetables prepared in a pan that was used to cook meat.

Before you cook for someone who says they are a vegetarian or a vegan, make sure of that individual person's rules. Don't be embarrassed to ask. They will be flattered that you took the time to ask, and if you successfully cook for them, they will definitely be impressed at your effort. Trust me, you don't want to work hard on a meal and find out that the person you made it for can't eat it.
 
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Mr. Geek6 years ago
i wish i new about this 2 years ago! Im 12, and an expert cook for my age. its great for young kids who cant use a stove! Some improvement ideas. you need some sauce, perhaps a can of chicken broth, thickened with baking flour. a great thing to do with that pepper would be to cut it in half, and put the rice in it for stuffed peppers. Through some garlic on that chicken. grated cheddar and mozzarella on that mushroom would be great! other then that great instructable +1!
Never use caned broth. It's never as good as fresh homemade broth. also, if you cook the rice in the broth It turns out wonderfully.
Eirinn texabyte4 years ago
Homemade broth takes a long time to make and all the ingredients required aren't exactly cheap either :) the instructable seems to be made for the inexperienced and making a broth is probably too much in one go. I'm not disputing your claim about the taste though ;)
Spike63 Eirinn3 years ago
Homemade broth or vegetable/chicken stock is very easy and quick to make, it's also almost FREE. All you need are the bones or leftover chicken from a Sunday lunch. You could use any kind of vegetable to make the stock, just break up the vegetables and/or the chicken, put everything into a large saucepan, cover with fresh cold water, season to taste and turn up the heat to simmer. Turn down as soon as it starts to simmer and put on a VERY low heat or it will become cloudy. Leave to heat as you carry on with the rest of your day, topping up the pan as you go. Leave a lid on to cook thoroughly. When finished - a couple of hours minimum - cool stock and remove the bones and bits using a filter like a colander or sieve. That's the base for your stock.
Be imaginative, live long and prosper!
Calorie Eirinn4 years ago
There are some very good broths out there. I've never had much luck with making my own broth. Besides, the time and money it takes to make you own isn't worth any discernible difference (for me at least.
The only reason to make your own (and I make my own often) is to use left overs... the paper from the onions, the tops of the carrots, the water from boiling chicken, etc. If you use ingredients you paid for to make it, you are wasting time as well as money.
Money yes certainly, but not time.
Well, by time I meant that people often make a stock, then use it to make a soup - only they threw away all of the good veggies that they bought to make the stock, which is extremely wasteful, and they spent time making stock when now they are going to repeat the process when they make the soup.
Eric95 Mr. Geek5 years ago
Aw, I envy you! I try to start cooking but I can never find the time! Do you have any tips for a starter? (I'm thirteen)
Mr. Geek Eric955 years ago
ummm..... as far as tips go, just cook a lot and you will get better, im almost thirteen myself and i can cook just about anything, just keep practicing... and another good thing, though it sounds really lame, is that i watch the cooking channel a lot, so i have a basic knowledge on "how to cook", and what comes next is learning to use flavor to make things actually taste good ;), also, try to find flavors you like, so you always have a back up if your dish tastes bad, i really like garlic on most things, and mint on anything that sweet (mint fudge brownies are the bomb). send me a message if you have want any more advice. Mr. Geek
 Hey Mr. Geek I started out cooking at a young age and i'm now turning 14 soon you remind me of myself. I am really good at using my hands so cooking was great for me. The stuffed pepper idea was great. Im now making sushi soon for my family as a mothers day treat! Can't wait!! Good luck with your future cooking!
I recommend starting with seared meats such as lamb chops, salmon steaks, and most cuts of meat on the "less than hulking" side of the spectrum, moving on to stews and braising, then moving on to eggs (until you can make good eggs, "perfect eggs" are unattainable, as far as I know,), this should give you a stable base.
{Cooks.com}  When you search for your recipe, use the word Easy or Simple in front and you will get some great recipes.  It also has tips and tricks just like those church cook books.  I'm not a beginner anymore and I still use it for ideas.
I grill mushrooms like that sometimes, and I put garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese on it.  Yum!
Honestly, I thought that what he had in the spoon was garlic, then I read the package it came out of.
weiblen.c (author)  Mr. Geek6 years ago
You're right! Those are all great ideas. I especially like the idea of the stuffed peppers. Plus, the mushroom is a little plain, so it could definitely use sprucing up with garlic & some grated cheese. Thanks for your feedback. :) CW
wolfe.chris4 years ago
The brand/kind you buy does matter.  I was in a hurry the other day and purchased that other brand of yellow rice (the one you aren't using but is in the picture) without paying attention.  I thought it was just saffron rice, but when I cut the top off I noticed seasoning that was definitely not saffron.  I read the ingredient list and it was made with defatted chicken (I believe that is what it was).  That's a no-go for me as a vegetarian.  READ THE INGREDIENTS!!!
weiblen.c (author)  wolfe.chris4 years ago
Wow. Sorry about that oversight. I was pretty sure I did read the ingredients. I'll have to check them again. I have several vegetarian friends and I have eaten that brand in at least two of their homes. They will be very interested to know this. Correction: The brand doesn't matter as long as the ingredients are confirmed vegetarian.
Calorie4 years ago
Well thought out, excellent documentation. Keep up the good work.
Azayles4 years ago
I have those exact same mushrooms (Large portabelo?) and bread and paprika AND parmasan cheese, so gonna make that portion of this dish for lunch today methinnks :P
A most nourishing instructable :D
with the Asparagus you forgot to mention that it is better thin than thick
weiblen.c (author)  Yerboogieman6 years ago
In step one, there are instructions to choose the slenderest stalks because they'll be more tender. I suppose it's easy to miss though. Asparagus amateurs, beware that thicker stalks can be woody and gross, so select the skinniest, most delicate stalks you can find.
great dorm food.
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Looks good! +
This really IS impressive! +1 rating Faved