Help me PLEASE!

Joined Jul 5, 2006
I'm an 18 year old guy and I have the house to myself for the next week (my family is at the lake and I am here because of work). I have zero cooking experience. I have nothing in my fridge and the cupboards are pretty much bare except for a couple boxes of kraft dinner which will only last me so long. When I step into the kitchen, I don't know what I am doing. Help me, please!

I am ****ing hungry.

I am willing to learn and I can follow directions well. I don't want to live off sandwiches or pre-packaged foods, however. I have money to go buy groceries but I don't know what to get.

I feel that I am beyond help but I'm making a desperate attempt at trying to get better at this.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Grills and griddles. Go buy some steak, a pork chop, some chicken parts.

Season with salt and pepper, or cajun seasoning.

Lay on the grill, or a hot skillet, or under the broiler. Don't touch it for at least 5 minutes. It should release on it's own when it's done cooking on that side.

Bake the potato. An hour in the oven at 400 does you average baking potato. A bigger potato needs more time. When you get tired of that, boil some pasta. Melt some butter, and add some crushed garlic. Turn off the heat. When the pasta is done, add the garlic butter to the drained pasta, top with parmesan cheese.

Steam some frozen vegies until they're just barely tender.

Simple food of good quality and good taste. No special skill required.

Joined Jul 5, 2006
Phil you're a life-saver. I think I'll pass on the veggies since I don't know how to steam stuff. I think I'll grill a chicken breast and eat that with the pasta, and maybe if I can handle three things at once, a salad with it.

This is ridiculous. I'm cooking up my noodles for kraft dinner and guess what, I don't have any milk. So I have to run down the street with a measuring cup in my hand to ask my neighbour for some milk. Then I come home and burn my hand on the steam as I try to pour out the water. But now I finally got some substance in me and I'm sitting here thinking that I have to eat again tonight and every day this week. Probably more than once a day too.
Joined May 26, 2001
Edited to add: Phil, you beat me to it! :D Good advice, though.

One week, eh? Okay, here's a start: go to the store and buy a bag or two of prewashed, precut salad greens and lettuce, and a bottle of a salad dressing you like. Also a pound of spaghetti. A dozen eggs. A package of sliced bacon. A container of grated Parmesan cheese (from the dairy case, NOT that horrible stuff in the green cardboard canister :eek: ). An onion. (I'm assuming there's some salt in the house, and maybe some pepper, too.)

When you get it all home, find the biggest pot in the house, fill it with water to a couple of inches from the top, and put it on the stove on the highest flame/heat level. Also pull out the biggest frying pan you can find, and a big salad bowl. Put the salad greens in a colander or strainer, run cold water over them, let them drain so there's almost no water coming off of them, and dump them in the bowl. Put the bowl away in the refrigerator (you'll eat it later, don't worry).

Find a big knife. Take four to six strips of the bacon and cut them across the narrow way into slices about 1/2-inch wide. Put those in the frying pan and turn the heat on medium-low. Stir the pieces around every once in a while so they cook evenly.

While the bacon is cooking, peel an onion and use the knife to chop it up into little bits. When the bacon bits are crisp and not giving off any more fat, scoop them out of the pan into a cup, pour most of the fat into the garbage (NOT DOWN THE DRAIN!!!) and put the chopped onion into the pan. Stir that around until the onion bits smell good, and look soft and light brown. If the water in the big pot isn't boiling yet (You do know what boiling water looks like, I hope?), turn the heat off under the frying pan. Otherwise, just turn it down as low as it can go.

When the water is boiling, throw in a small handful of salt, add the spaghetti, give it a stir with a big spoon, and set a timer for the amount of time it says on the package to cook it.

Crack four of the eggs into a bowl (throw out the shells), take a fork, and beat them until they look all blended (no separate whites and yolks). Add a big handful of the cheese and mix that in.

When the spaghetti is done, put the colander back in the sink and pour the spaghetti and water into it. Let almost all of the water drain out of the spaghetti, then dump the spaghetti into the frying pan. Pour the egg-and-cheese mixture over the spaghetti, and mix the whole thing up with the biggest spoon and fork you can find. Add a lot of pepper, if you have some, and like it. Put the cooked bacon on top and mix it through.

Take the bowl of salad out of the fridge, and pour on some of the dressing. If you want to be really fancy, put the spaghetti into another big bowl (not necessary -- just be careful if you eat it out of the frying pan, the pan will still be hot). Sprinkle more cheese on top, if you like.

Okay: that should feed you for the first night. :lips: Anyone else want to pick up for the next night?

Oh, and Bang Train: when everyone gets back, ask whoever usually does the cooking to show you how to make some of the stuff you like to eat. :D
Joined Jul 5, 2006
Wow! Step by step, detailed instructions, not even someone with half a brain can fail now. Leave it to me though.

So I put everything back in the frying pan after I cooked the onions and bacon in there. I guess the onions never leave the pan too because I don't see where you take them out.

Oh and how do I know when the entire concoction is complete? I don't really want to be eating raw egg.

Joined Mar 13, 2006
Bang, steaming's dirt easy using a microwave. Put your fresh cleaned veggies on a plate with a tablespoon (couple mL's) of water. Season, cover with plastic wrap and nuke for a minute or two. Easy stuff, eh?

(Gotta love them Canes and sorry about Edmonton)
Joined Dec 30, 1999

You might benefit from watching the videos of Martha's Cooking School. You can view them free online and there are 30 lessons for people just like you. All the lessons come with suggested recipes you can try to learn each technique. It might be the perfect opportunity for you to learn the basics. Plus it helps to be able to "see" how something is cooked.
Joined Dec 4, 2001
Egg proteins cook at a fairly low temperature and the residual heat from the pot and the hot pasta is enough to safely cook the egg. The end result should look smooth and creamy.

Suzanne describes one of anumber of variations of a dish called Spaghetti Carbonara and it's one of my favorites. If you want to you can substitute your favorite Tortellini instead of the spaghetti.

Joined Mar 24, 2006
Maybe you should consider the deli counter too Bang, some very good food there, and I hate think of you fading to nothing.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Welcome to Chef Talk, Bang. As you can see, this is a great place to learn!

Suzanne, who is a very highly trained chef, just gave you the directions for making one version of Spaghetti Carbonara. I love her descriptions! She is teaching you to cook with your eyes, nose and tongue, which is the very best way to learn when you're just starting out.

Basically, your spaghetti dish is done when the egg isn't all runny and it looks like you want to eat it. The heat from the pasta, and the heat left from cooking the onions, will cook the egg, which doesn't need much heat or time to cook.

How about an omelet, or scrambled eggs with mix-ins such as bacon, onions and green peppers? You can chop up the veggies, saute them in the pan (cook over medium heat in a frying pan in melted butter- swish them around every so often until they look like you want to eat them). Crack open some eggs, mix them up as Suzanne said, and pour them in the pan with the veggies. You could also add bacon or sausage which you fried first (described in her post). Stir the eggs gently so that the runny part of the egg gets in contact with the pan. Keep stirring and/or turning the egg over until it looks like you want to eat it. Voila! Another meal.

How about grilled cheese? You'll need sliced bread, butter and sliced cheese (cheddar, colby, swiss- whatever you like, or a combination).

Spread butter on one side of the two slices of bread you'll need for the sandwich. Set them aside for a moment. Have ready one or more slices of cheese, sliced so they'll fit onto the bread.

Heat up a non-stick pan over medium heat. You'll know it's ready when a drop of water sizzles in a lively way immediately. Put one of the buttered slices of bread in the pan, and put the cheese on it. Put the other slice of bread over the cheese, buttered side up.

Let the sandwich sit in the pan, with the heat at medium to medium low. You don't want the bread to brown before the cheese gets ooey-gooey! When the bottom piece of bread looks toasty and golden brown, carefully turn the sandwich over and let the other side get toasty and golden brown.

Enjoy! Nuke some tomato soup and you have a classic meal. MMmmmm....

Does this all make sense?
Joined Jun 12, 2001
George Foreman grill.

You can cook chicken breasts, chops, burgers, bacon, sausage, grill all types of veggies, make paninis, quesadallias, etc. I bought them for both my boys when they moved out, and they use them a lot.

My favorite sandwhich is to formanize some red pepper slices and eggplant, layer these in between toasted bread with gruyere or mozz cheese, tomato slice, put it back in the foreman grill for a minute or so till the cheese melts.

I hope you're not having any wild parties at the house while mom and dad's away.

Joined Aug 15, 2004
If you have a crock pot at home, go to the store and buy the ingredients from the recipe you will find at this link:

Also remember to buy some hard rolls to eat it on. You will like this so much that you won't mind eating it everyday, and it will make just enough to last you a week! The directions are very simple, you cannot go wrong!

Joined Jun 3, 2006

As a young guy who just got his own apartment, I feel your pain! If you are fortunate enough to have a full kitchen and a lot of free time at your disposal, you can make some very fun and tastey stuff. Check out or for tons of stuff to make, ranging from very simple to fairly complicated. A bit of reading, lots of time, a few dollars spent, and a healthy dose of confidence will have you cooking some good eats in no time :roll:

EDIT: ALSO, cooking shows are the greatest thing ever for the beginning cook. Even if you don't use their recipes, they are absolutely indispensible for showing you basic cooking techniques!

EDIT AGAIN: ALSO, how have I never heard of spaghetti carbonara?? This sounds like the ideal bachelor chow :) I think adding some shredded chicken and some cream to the sauce is in order! :lips:
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Mrs. Butterworth, Spaghetti Carbonara is what Suzanne described in her early post. Your idea of adding chicken (or shrimp?) and cream are nice additions.

Bang, are you eating well??! Please let us know if we led you in the right direction.
Joined Dec 23, 2000
Too late. The paramedics came and took him away to treat him for acute malnutrition!

Mike :)
Joined Mar 16, 2005
Ok - here's another quick fix.
Go to the supermarket and buy some chicken breasts. Ask the butcher there to clean them for you; do what I do sometimes " I'm a complete vegetarian so I know NOTHing about meat - all I'm going to do is cut them and grill them".
They'll do that for you.
Then buy 1 bell pepper, 1 small carrot, 1 onion, 1 small packet Chinese Beansprouts, 1 small bottle of GOOD soy sauce.
Slice the chicken breasts across-wise into 1/2" inch slices. Sprinkle with flour or cornflour, and salt. Leave aside.
Finely slice the bell pepper, removing seeds and veins. Set aside.
Finely slice the carrot into rounds, then into half rounds. Set aside.
Finely slice the onion into rings, then into half rings. Set aside.

THERE!! That was easy, wasn't it??

Now put a frying pan ( If you've got a wok, much better - a frying pan will do) on to the cooker and heat it up for about 5 minutes. That will make the surface sizzling hot - THAT is what you need.

Add about 2 tablespoons of oil, then add the chicken. It'll sizzle, splutter, spit at you - don't worry, that's normal. Let it cook a little ( about 2-3 minutes) and shake the pan gently to move the chicken around. Add the bell pepper and carrot and onion and move around again.

add a pinch of salt and about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. It'll sizzle like mad - no worry! Stir it around a bit, and it's ready to serve.

With rice, like they told you up above!!

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