My brother just recentally got married and his wife is expecting. They are moving into their first house (this is the first time either one of them is out on their own). My brother, who usually doesn’t let anyone know when is stuff is bothering him, let me know he is a little worried. Neither one of them know how to run a house. I told him alot of it you just learn as you go…like how much bleach to use when you clean the toilet and how much ajax you sprinkle when you clean the tub. But the cooking…that a different story. She can’t cook and all he can cook is pancakes and frozen pizzas. She is pregnant and needs more than that! Do any of you have any SIMPLE recipes I could give him? I’m single so I have a few that are really simple but I want to give them a few more than what I have.



Taste of Home, they have a whole family of magaiznes and cookbooks. You can find them at WalMart even!


I SOOOO second Taste of Home…I was also a very poor cook and the beauty of their magazine/website/cookbook is they’re all tested recipes (they also have a new magazine “Simple and Delicious” also, and a few more that I’m sure are great) and I literally have not made anything that wasn’t good (and I’ve made alot of them now :P) It also helped me build my confidence because people kept telling me how good the food tasted (which I realize is largely because of the recipes, but it helped none-the-less). Perhaps get them a subscription (it’s a once every two months)…I believe that the original “Taste of Home” comes out opposite months to some of their other publications (every two month magazine).


I have been cooking for more years than most of you put together and am considered a gourmet cook. I highly recommend Taste of Home magazine. All those recipes are reader tested and all I have tried are good.


This thread is a good resource for recipes, some of which are super easy. Zooey posted in this thread a link to a chart on how to toss a casserole together with whatever’s around in the kitchen. I’ve used it twice, and both times the casserole came out great, and I didn’t have any wasted food cuz I used it up in the casserole.

The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook is awesome for anyone learning how to cook. It’s real easy to follow, and there are some great staple recipes in it. This is how my mom learned to cook, and it’s how she taught me to cook. I highly recommend it for any newlyweds or anyone just starting out in life.

The largest hurdle in learning to cook in my opinion is that you first need to learn how to shop. You have to know what kind of food to keep in the pantry (rice, canned tomatoes, canned beans), and you need to know what stuff goes bad and how quickly. You also need to know how to pick your produce. And you can’t let yourself be guided by the grocery store, cuz they’ll lead you to the convenience foods that cost more and will end up making you a lazy cook.

Saint Pascal Baylon is a patron saint of cooks. Offer up a prayer to him for your brother! And congratulations on your expected niece or nephew!


I got a Better HOmes and Gardens cookbook for a wedding present, and have been giving it as a gift ever since (the one in the red plaid loose leaf binder). It is great because it explains everything, like what is that cut of meat and what do you do with it, how much to buy to feed so many people, what is the difference between boiling and broiling, baking and roasting, frying and sauteeing, and what foods use what methods. How much a half cup dry (noodles, rice etc.) will be when it is cooked, how long to cook every kind of vegetable. It never assumes you know the meaning of a term, or what that funny looking spoon is for, or how big a pan to use for each job.


Taste of Home!


You can get a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook on ebay pretty cheap! I’ll have to do that myself cuz mine has fallen apart. Best to get the one in the ringed binder, cuz then you can add pages and notes if you want to, and it also won’t fall apart like mine has.

I guess I’m off to do a little ebaying… :wink:


I have that red and white Better Homes and Gardens book. It is very good - but the new big “Tast of Home” cookbook for a beginning cook would be my first choice.


I love TofH, too, but if SIL is that inexperienced in the kitchen, she may find TofH intimidating. Perhaps start with their other series, Quick Cooking. It makes use of many prepared ingredients.
As for recipes…
I throw stew meat in the crock pot with a bottle of BBQ sauce and have shredded beef sandwiches.
Also, go to and look for Six Can Chicken Tortilla Soup. YUM! ( I don’t use the canned chicken myself)
asian cabbage salad is a yummy
homemade mac and cheese is an easy hit anyday
and if you can make cheese sauce you can make basil cream chicken (from TofH)
all pretty darn easy


I use lots of recipes from the site.

Taste of Home magazine is also good.



I think Taste of Home and Better Homes & Gardens are both good resources for someone learning to cook for a family.

If your brother is interested in really learning to cook himself, I would also recommend the magazine I think it is a good magazine for those who are a little more analytical, because it tends to cover thechnique and theory a lot more indepth than most magazines do. They try out several different ways of cooking something and explain why the recipe they came up with is the best. They also thoroughly explain the technique, so you’ll really understand how to make it work in the kitchen.

Another good resource for men is Alton Brown. If they have cable, he has a great show on the Food Network. He also has cookbooks available at the bookstore too.


1.) Taste of Home.
2.) Better Homes and Gardens.
3.) Betty Croker Cookbook.
4.) While she is learning the ropes, cheap food, easy to cook:
A.) Packaged macaroni and cheese (doesn’t have to be Kraft). Include milk and butter on the shopping list.
B.) Banquet Chicken, frozen. Have her watch coupons and see if the ready-roast chickens are cheaper.
C.) Frozen veggies with instructions written on them.
D.) OnCor “big family” meals. They stretch “family” a bit, but they feed 2 people nicely.
E.) Canned soup.
F.) The deli counter. Make sandwiches!
G.) Stouffer lasagne.
H.) Instant pudding.
I.) Fresh fruit.
J.) Prewashed, precut lettuce, with a bottle of dressing. If she’s feeling brave, she can wash a head of lettuce.
K.) Hot dogs cut up into a can of pork 'n beans.


When my wife and I were dating, niether one of us were really “cooks”. So we bought 2 cook books (Home & Gardens and Betty Crocker) and would pick a recipe out every week and try it out. Worked great. It’s just a matter of jumping in and gaining experience.


my other staple cookbook when I was younger was Peg Bracken’s I hate to Cook Book. Her point was that you only need about 30 basic recipes, since most families eat the same thing in a 3-4 week cycle. If you have 5 recipes for chicken or turkey, 5 recipes for ground beef or leftover meat, 5 recipes for roast beast (ham, beef) etc, and 5 pasta or casserole recipes, you are good to go, along with a couple of fish recipes (which can be as easy as tuna melts or baked frozen fish fillets). The rest of the time you have pizza night, chinese takeout night, eating out night, fast food night or eating at the football game night.

Those paperback cookbooks from brand names like Bisquick, Campbell soup, uncle ben rice etc. are also gold mines because they have recipes that are very adaptable.

Learn to be versatile with eggs, which takes practice, and directions from your Big Fat Cookbook (be prepared to break a lot of eggs or eat a lot of egg salad while you learn). Also learn to make a couple of sauces (unless you want to cheat and use the packaged high-sodium mixes). White sauce, brown gravy, tomato sauce and cheese sauce should cover most of your needs. Basically 1 T flour, 1T butter or oil, to one cup milk, broth or other liquid.


I love Peg Bracken!! I have worn out about 3 copies of the I Hate to Cook Book…She has great simple recipes.
And I agree about the brand name cookbooks, too. They are excellent. There is also a cookbook called “Best Recipes from the Back of Bottles, Boxes, Cans, & Jars” which collects a lot of these kinds of recipes from…:stuck_out_tongue: the backs of bottles, boxes, cans, & jars…


Since we’re coming up on summertime, and your brother and sister in law are getting a house, maybe they could get interested in grilling! Burgers are so super easy to BBQ, and chicken is too, once you get the hang of it. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are especially easy to grill (I do advise folks to take a meat hammer and smash the thick side down flat so it’s an even thickness for even cooking though). The plastic packaged kielbasa you can get in just about any grocery is usually fully cooked, so you can toss one of them on the grill and just heat it up. We like to slice it and dip it in mustard while we wait for the main course to grill.

Speaking of that sausage, a super easy casserole is to mix rice and a can of ranch style beans (or some kind of beans in a nice chili sauce) with some sliced kielbasa, top with cheese and heat in the oven till the cheese on top is melted and a bit toasty. 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes usually does the trick. Serve with a salad on the side for a bit o’ green. Those pre-packaged salads are great, providing you’ll eat it in about two or three days.

Make sure they have a good timer and a meat thermometer!


I have ALL the Peg Bracken books. Some are paperback, but I have a hardcover of* I Try To Behave Myself*.

Swoop Steak and Sweep Steak are great!!! My granddaughters are crazy about Mother’s Little Lead Balloons (cocktail weiners wrapped in cresent rolls).

And who could forget Lipton Onion Soup’s famous meatloaf, off the back of the onion soup box. Any packaged onion soup works (I use the Aldi stuff).

There is also precooked ham, in addition to hot dogs, kielbasa, italian sausage, etc. For a couple, rather than an army, a little canned ham or a ham steak makes more sense than a big old shank or picnic ham.


I think buying them a few good cookbooks, like those suggested, would be the answer. Lots of todays great cooks were once challenged w/ boiling water. And mastering the art of cooking is a great confidence builder. I can remember the days that I labored for hours to make potatoe salad. LOL


I am not a great cook, but this goes over really well with my husband and kids and is super easy, and quick.

Put a little oil in a pan. Turn stove on to medium heat. Cut up 2 chicken breasts into the pan. ( I just cut them up with a pair of scissors - easier than a knife) Add a little Mrs. Dash. Cook through, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, boil up a package of pasta. I prefer farfalle for this (bowtie). Toss in some frozen veggies to cook. I buy a mix that has baby carrots, snap peas, and baby corn.

Drain noodles/veggies and return to pot. Add chicken. Add a jar of alfredo sauce. Stir.

Ta Da! Dinner!

Also, super easy…

Heat oven to 320 -ish. Put 2 chicken breasts in a baking dish. Cover with Italian salad dressing, or vinagarette, or any dressing in that category. Bake uncovered about 25 minutes. That’s it. It comes out so tender that you don’t even really need a knife! Just do up some pasta roni and frozen veggies and you’re good to go.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit