A female chef cooking food

How to Improve Home Cooking Skills? (Step-by-Step Guide)

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While some people prefer to eat out frequently, there are many extra benefits to be experienced by the person who chooses instead to cook at home. Cooking one’s own meals is less expensive. Because the cook controls the ingredients, it can be much more nutritious, and as more skills are acquired, cooking one’s own food can impart a strong feeling of self confidence.

What follows is a guide for cooking a complete breakfast, lunch and dinner using simple cooking methods.

Basic equipment

  • Chef’s knife or knife set
  • Cutting board
  • Medium-to-large pot or cookware set
  • Stick-free skillet with lid
  • Utensils, such as spatula, whisks, wooden spoons, measuring spoons and measuring cups
  • Large bowl for scraps

Before beginning

Food should always be prepared on a clean surface using clean implements. The hands should be washed repeatedly during the preparation process, especially before and after handling meat.

About those knives

Most any chef would agree that kitchen knives are at the center of a good cook’s skills. Mastering knife skills will not only make one a better cook, it will keep the chef safe while working.

Kitchen knives should be treated with great respect. One of the first rules about kitchen knives to memorize is that a sharp knife is a safe one. Sharp knives slice very easily into food, while dull knives can slip and accidently cut fingers.

Knives should always be used with a plastic, composite or wooden chopping board. Never chop food on a stone surface, such as a granite kitchen counter. Knives should also never be used to cut on glass or metal surfaces. These surfaces will dull the knife’s blade.

Knives should always be kept clean, which means washing them by hand. A high quality knife should never be placed in a dishwasher, as this can cause pits in the blades and loosen the blades from the handles.

What knives are best to have for beginning cooking?

  • Chef’s knife
  • Small paring knife
  • Serrated knife

There are three basic knives that are good to use when starting as a cook. A cook can cut up practically anything with this knife selection.

The first is a chef’s knife. A quality chef’s knife can be expensive, but if cared for properly, it can last a lifetime. A chef’s knife is used for chopping and dicing fruits, vegetables and other foods.

A small paring knife is used for tasks such as peeling fruits and vegetables, or trimming the fat from meats. A knife with a serrated blade is perfect to use for slicing bread and thin-skinned fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes.


Eggs, toast and a piece of fresh fruit can make a delightful beginning breakfast.


Eggs are high in protein, low in calories and can be easily cooked in a number of tasty ways. The easiest method of cooking an egg is by boiling it, and it is the perfect place to start for a beginning cook.

Boiled eggs

Use a one-quart pan containing just enough water to cover an egg. Gently place a few eggs into the water and place it on high heat until it boils. At the beginning of the boiling stage, use a long wooden spoon to gently stir the eggs before removing them from the heat. Place a lid on the pot. Let the eggs remain in the hot water for 3 minutes to result in a soft boiled egg, 6 minutes for a medium-boiled egg and 10 minutes for a hard-boiled egg. Remove the egg from the hot water with tongs and run under cold water to make peeling easier.

Scrambled eggs

Use a non-stick skillet for the best result. Add a small piece of butter and melt over medium-low heat. Break an egg directly into the skillet and allow to cook for one minute. Then, begin to gently stir the egg until it is cohesive and fluffy. Be careful not to overcook. During the last minute of cooking, herbs, cream cheese, onions, chives, cheese and other favorite ingredients can be added, or simply add salt and pepper.

Fried eggs

A non-stick skillet is recommended for this recipe. Use a small amount of olive oil, thinly covering the bottom of the skillet. Carefully break an egg into the pan and place on medium-low heat. Allow to cook undisturbed until egg sets up, approximately 3 minutes. Carefully, turn the egg with a spatula. For a loose yolk, cook one minute longer. Allow to cook additionally for a firmer yolk. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove from the pan with a spatula.


Toast can be prepared in a toaster, a toaster oven or in a skillet with a small amount of butter. Toast goes well with eggs, but it can add extra nutrition to the meal when certain ingredients are added. For instance, egg on toast with sauteed or raw spinach adds iron and vitamin C. Smashed avocado and tomato add texture, delicious flavor and lots of nutrients. Peanut butter or almond butter spread on toast adds extra protein. The possibilities are limitless.


Create a savory, homemade vegetable soup and hot sandwich for a delicious lunch

Soup for one

Fortunately, great soup broth can be purchased in small cartons at most grocery stores these days, but one can also create soup broth by slowly simmering a variety of root vegetables with onions, herbs of choice and animal bones, unless a vegetarian broth is desired. Letting a favorite mixture simmer in salted water over low heat for 3 hours can achieve a rich, tasty broth. Adding mushrooms during the last 30 minutes can deepen the flavor even more. If animal bones are used, the bones and large vegetable chunks should be strained out before the broth is used.

Broth can be used as the base for soup and as a base to flavor sauces, gravies and in casseroles. Cooking pasta in broth imparts an additional layer of flavor as well. Think of broth as an ingredient or as a meal consumed with fresh bread or a salad.

When creating vegetable soup, a good rule to keep in mind is that the hardest vegetables are cooked first, with softer vegetables added gradually as the soup cooks.

Savory Vegetable Soup

4 cups broth of choice

½ small onion

1 large potato

2 medium carrots

1 can tomato chunks with liquid

2 cups Portobello mushrooms

¼ C. frozen English peas

How to prepare:

Place 4 cups of broth in a medium sauce pan.

Chop potato into 1″ chunks

Chop carrots into 1″ rounds

Chop the onion and saute. A separate pan until soft and clear

Allow the mixture to cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots soften.

Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Add the English peas and cook for 3 more minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes and cook for 3 more minutes.

Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the soup to cool slightly before serving.

Hot Cheese Sandwich

2 slices of sandwich bread of choice

4 slices of cheese of choice (It is OK to mix different kinds of cheese)

1/4 thinly sliced, small onion, sauteed

Coarse ground mustard


Dill pickle

1 pat butter

How to prepare:

Place 1 Tb. mustard and 1 Tb. mayonnaise into a small dish and mix thoroughly.

Lightly spread the mixture on both slices of bread.

Add cooked onions

Layer cheese slices on top of onions and apply the second piece of bread to make a sandwich.

Melt the butter over medium heat in an iron or non-stick skillet.

Place the bread in a pan and cook on each side until brown.

Remove from pan and slice diagonally.

Serve wtih soup


Fried chicken breast

Caprese salad

Baked potato


1 boneless chicken breast with onions

¼ onion sliced and sauteed

1 large potato

Salad ingredients of choice

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Baratta cheese

Fresh basil leaves

You will need a meat thermometer for the chicken recipe. Keeping an eye on internal meat temperatures is an important part of cooking.

How to prepare:

Baked potato

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218.333 C). Clean potato throughly under running water. Wrap in foil and place in hot oven for 45-60 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Chicken breast

After partially sauteing the onion, place the chicken breast in a pan on top of the onion. Cook on medium-low heat for from 6-8 minutes, or until the chicken becomes golden brown . Turn the meat and cook on the other side for an additional 6-8 minutes. Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast and make sure the temperature reaches at least 165 F.

Place the chicken breasts in a hot pan and cook for 6-8 minutes, until golden brown on the front side. Flip the chicken breasts and cook an additional 6-8 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F (73.8889 C) in the thickest part of the chicken.

Remove chicken from pan and spoon on cooked onions .Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Caprese Salad

Slice one tomato and place on plate with whole basil leaves and sliced Burrata cheese. Sprinkle lightly with balsamic vinegar and oil. Serve with chicken and potato.


Try these meals using different choices of ingredients. For instance, add corn to the soup recipe or try the chicken breast with chopped peppers rather than onions. Once the methods have been mastered, other techniques can be added.

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