Covid Cooking: Three easy meals for beginners

For those who have always wanted to try cooking but never had the time, now is the perfect opportunity to get started. Here are three versatile, introductory-level recipes that you can learn to make quickly and keep in your cooking arsenal for years to come. They can be prepared days in advance and are perfect for any meal of the day.

Single-Skillet Fried Rice:

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3-4 eggs
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 cups frozen vegetables
  • 4 cups stale rice
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup protein of your choice (beef, chicken, spam etc.), optional
  • 2 tsp sesame oil, optional
  • 3 stalks green onions, optional
  • Sesame seeds, optional and to taste
  1. In a large greased skillet, cook your protein of choice (if you’re using it) in small cubes until cooked through. Feel free to season with salt and pepper, unless you’re using spam, which is already very salty. Set this aside in a bowl.
  2. Mix your eggs with a pinch of salt in a bowl, until homogeneous. Then scramble in a large, buttered skillet over medium heat. Once they coagulate, begin cooking your garlic and frozen vegetables on the other side of the pan.
  3. Once the vegetables have thawed, add in your rice, soy sauce, protein of choice and optional sesame oil. Cook for about five minutes until everything is heated thoroughly and fully combined.
  4. Enjoy your meal! There’s a lot of customizability in this recipe in case you don’t have certain ingredients.

Chicken Noodle Soup:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, vegetable oil, or butter
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, washed and chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups chicken stock (you can substitute up to half with vegetable broth if you prefer)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp thyme, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, fresh or dried (optional)
  • ½ Tbsp fresh dill (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 2 cups egg noodles
  • 1 lb shredded or chopped cooked chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a large pot, cook your onion, celery and carrots in the oil of your choice for about five minutes until everything is fragrant and soft, then add garlic and saute for another minute or two.
  2. Add your stock, herbs, lemon juice and spices (minus the salt and pepper) and bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes. Feel free to use as many of the optional spices as you have for better flavor. What you use should depend on what you have at home.
  3. Add your egg noodles and boil for another ten minutes, until tender. Add your chicken and cook for another 5 minutes to heat it through before adding salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve your soup! It can be frozen for up to 4 months or refrigerated, but be wary of the egg noodles, which will absorb a lot of the broth if you don’t eat the refrigerated soup within the next day or so.


  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil, optional
  • 2-4 Tbsp furikake of your choice, optional
  • 1 can spam
  • ¼ cup teriyaki sauce OR ¼ cup soy sauce with 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Seaweed sheets or wrappers, optional
  1. Prepare your sushi rice according to the package directions or using your favorite method. If you don’t have a rice cooker of some kind, then prepare it on the stovetop by rinsing your rice until the water runs clear, then combine it in the pot with 2 cups of water. Optionally, let it sit for ten minutes to begin absorbing water before cooking. Bring the covered pot of rice to a boil on medium-high heat, listening closely for signs of a boil (like bubbling or a clattering lid) if your lid isn’t transparent. Reduce heat to low and cook for another five minutes before turning the heat off. Let the pot sit, covered, for another ten minutes while you prepare the vinegar mixture.
  2. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, salt and sesame oil in a small saucepan and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Once your sushi rice is done cooking, pour the vinegar and optional furikake over it and stir before giving it a couple minutes to absorb.
  3. Chop your spam into 1” cubes and cook in a skillet over high heat with the teriyaki sauce until all the sauce is absorbed and cooked away. It should get very sticky. If you’re using soy sauce and brown sugar, it will take longer. Let your spam brown a little and set in a bowl to cool.
  4. Once the rice is no longer piping hot, wet your hands and form a few tablespoons at a time around a cube of spam into a triangular shape. If you have an onigiri shaper, feel free to use it. Keep going until you run out of either rice or spam. Both make a good snack for later if you have extra. To finish, top your onigiri off with a little more furikake if you want, and wrap with seaweed right before serving.