Starting to cook can feel like a mix of excitement and ‘What on earth do I do now?’ That’s why this list of 13 basic dishes is such a game-changer for kitchen newbies. These recipes are clear-cut, no-fuss, and they’re practically fail-proof. It’s all about rolling up your sleeves and learning the ropes with dishes that won’t leave you scratching your head.

A platter of pizza pasta salad served on a white rectangular dish.
Pizza Pasta Salad. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

California Eggs Benedict

Eggs benedict with ham and avocado on an English muffin served on a black plate.
California Eggs Benedict. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

If you’re looking to impress at brunch but scared of messing up, California Eggs Benedict is a savior. It is because it’s simple and satisfying without needing fancy techniques. It’s a great way to get into making upgraded breakfast dishes without feeling overwhelmed.
Get the Recipe: California Eggs Benedict

Copycat Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp

A plate of Copycat Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp served on a white rectangular dish.
Copycat Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Starting with something sweet and savory like Copycat Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp can boost your kitchen confidence. This dish is popular for its crunch and creamy sauce combo. It’s surprisingly straightforward to replicate at home, which makes it a favorite among those new to cooking seafood.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp

Cucumber Salad with Feta

Cucumber and Feta salad in a black bowl.
Cucumber Salad with Feta. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

For a no-cook option, this Cucumber Salad with Feta is ideal. It’s just about mixing a few fresh ingredients, and the result is a refreshing side dish that pairs well with any meal. This will teach you the art of balancing flavors in a salad effortlessly.
Get the Recipe: Cucumber Salad with Feta

Copycat Maggiano’s Little Italy Sausage & Peppers

A plate of Copycat Maggiano’s Little Italy Sausage & Peppers sprinkled with chopped herbs.
Copycat Maggiano’s Little Italy Sausage & Peppers. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

A hearty, comforting dish that introduces basic sautéing is Copycat Maggiano’s Little Italy Sausage & Peppers. It’s forgiving for a beginner and doesn’t skimp on delivering delicious Italian flavors. This dish is perfect for a casual dinner or a heartier meal prep option.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Maggiano’s Little Italy Sausage & Peppers

Cottage Cheese Toast with Blueberries

A plate of cottage cheese toast with blueberries, next to a honey dipper.
Cottage Cheese Toast with Blueberries. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

It’s as simple as it gets. Cottage Cheese Toast with Blueberries teaches you the value of ingredient pairing. It displays how a handful of well-chosen components can come together to create a fulfilling breakfast or snack. Even the pickiest eaters will love it!
Get the Recipe: Cottage Cheese Toast with Blueberries

Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplins

Two bowls of Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplins.
Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplins. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

This dish breaks down the intimidating parts of Southern cooking into manageable steps. Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplins result in a comforting bowl that’s hard to mess up and always pleases a crowd. It is a solid choice for a newbie wanting to try their hand at comfort food.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplins

Leftover Steak Quesadilla

A hand holding a cut steak quesadilla.
Leftover Steak Quesadilla. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Using leftovers creatively can be a clever introduction to the kitchen. Making a Leftover Steak Quesadilla shows just how easy and delicious it can be to turn last night’s dinner into today’s satisfying lunch. Your family will never have a clue that it’s made from leftovers!
Get the Recipe: Leftover Steak Quesadilla

Olive Garden Shrimp Alfredo

A bowl of olive garden creamy shrimp alfredo pasta served in a black bowl with a spoon.
Olive Garden Shrimp Alfredo. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Looking for a foolproof route to the world of pasta and creamy sauces? Olive Garden Shrimp Alfredo is here to save you. It’s simple to whip up and provides a generous window for error, allowing new chefs to experiment with flavors while still achieving great results.
Get the Recipe: Olive Garden Shrimp Alfredo

Chinese Chicken Salad

A bowl of Chinese chicken salad with shredded chicken, snap peas, carrots, and peppers, accompanied by a bottle of dressing on the side.
Chinese Chicken Salad. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Jumping into making salads? You can start with something like this Chinese Chicken Salad, which is forgiving in terms of prep and introduces you to mixing distinct flavors and textures. It is all while keeping the process straightforward and stress-free. What’s not to love?
Get the Recipe: Chinese Chicken Salad

Copycat Il Fornaio Rigatoni Alla Vodka

A hand holding a fork over a bowl of Fornaio Rigatoni Alla Vodka on a wooden table.
Copycat Il Fornaio Rigatoni Alla Vodka. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

A chance to tackle a beloved restaurant dish with the safety net of it being relatively simple to prepare is Copycat Il Fornaio Rigatoni Alla Vodka. It provides a rewarding cooking experience without the high risk of failure. It is great for building up your cooking morale.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Il Fornaio Rigatoni Alla Vodka

Diner Style Salisbury Steak

A plate of Salisbury steak with gravy on mashed potatoes, and a side of peas on a white square dish. The meal is set on a white wooden table beside silver cutlery and a floral napkin.
Diner Style Salisbury Steak. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Craving a taste of classic American diner food but afraid of the cooking process? This Diner Style Salisbury Steak is satisfying and it allows a beginner to step into more traditional cooking methods without the pressure. It is a comforting choice for a simple yet hearty dinner.
Get the Recipe: Diner Style Salisbury Steak

Pizza Pasta Salad

A platter of pizza pasta salad served on a white rectangular dish.
Pizza Pasta Salad. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Combining the universally loved flavors of pizza in a pasta format, this Pizza Pasta Salad is an easy-to-make dish. It is excellent for picnics or quick family meals! It’s an uncomplicated dish that allows you to familiarise yourself with pasta and simple, fresh ingredients.
Get the Recipe: Pizza Pasta Salad

Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken in a bowl with a bowl of rice in the background.
Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Another great starter recipe for those new to Asian flavors is this Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken. It balances spicy and savory with a touch of sweetness. The cooking process is forgiving enough for a beginner, making it an exciting yet approachable dish that will wow.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken

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