I love cooking. And over the years I’ve noticed that I’m always cooking more or less the same way.
Granted, I’m not a gourmet cook but I never had any difficulty fixing up a delicious hot plate for myself and family within 20 minutes. You can do it too.
Here is how to do it:
First of all, you have to look at a dish as a unit composed of Three Components:
1) The TOP Stuff.
2) The MIDDLE Stuff.
3) The BOTTOM Stuff.
Let’s start in reverse order.
The BOTTOM Stuff is what you cook first before you add anything else into the pot.
My universal Bottom Stuff consist of oil to taste (believe it or not, I always use Extra Light Olive Oil) warmed up in medium heat.
NOTE: If you’re going to use olive oil like I do, make sure you’re not using Extra Virgin oil, which is great for salads but will leave a fragrance too heavy for comfort in a regular dish. It has to be Extra Light.
Once the oil is warmed up I usually add TWO more items: Diced onions to taste and tomato sauce or dried tomatoes. Stir while continuing to simmer. If you feel like adding sliced garlic (yummy!) Always do it towards the end because garlic browns and burns up much more easily than onion.
One other thing you may want to add at this stage is ground beef (or meat in general). Keep stirring until the beef turns dark brown and mixes thoroughly with the rest of the ingredients.
To add volume add water as required. Some people even add and stir flour at this stage to give a gooey consistency to the Bottom Stuff.
Now it’s time for the MIDDLE Stuff which is for me usually nothing more than steamed vegetables, or rice or canned anything. I just add it onto the Bottom Stuff and add water, spices, salt and pepper to taste. Chopped parsley is usually appropriate at this stage as well.
If I have grilled or stewed meat before hand, I mix it in also at this stage of my 20-minute formula. I sometimes also mix in some cold cuts or hot dogs. They work fine with me.
If you are cooking rice, add two cups of water for every cup of rice at this stage. Cover and simmer on low heat until rice absorbs all the water.
After the Middle Stuff is also cooked it’s time for the TOP Stuff. And this is really any SAUCE that you’d like to add on top of your dish. I’ve tried ready off the shelf Salad Dressings in the past and especially the Italian style dressings worked pretty good. But I would not recommend those with a distinct taste of their own like the French or Russian dressings.
And voila! Your food is ready. Enjoy!