Let’s set something straight, right now: there is something very attractive about a man who can cook. And you want to smash that stereotype that us bachelors are slobs right? And there is just something awesome about having a meal straight out of the oven.
Don’t worry if you’ve only just moved out. I know what it’s like being on a student budget; sometimes even ramen can feel like a feast. But all those things you think about ovens, that they’re for really fancy or expensive food and that this is such a chick thing, that’s the oven winning. If you master it, you can have great food for pretty cheap, and impress all the girls down the hall. So let’s put that hunk of metal in its place. Here’s how to make great meals prepared in your oven.
There is no simpler meal that will impress a certain special guest. The ingredients are few which brings down the cost, and it’s lamb, which means it will sound and taste fancy.
2 or 3 shoulder chops (of lamb!) 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 c. brown sugar 2 or 3 slices of pineapple (canned)
First, preheat the oven for 375 degrees. Oh yeah, we went there.
Next, get yourself a shallow pan. This can be a baking dish, or even an actual pan for the stove top, as long as it’s big enough for the lamb shoulders. Put the chops inside and sprinkle them with the salt and sugar. Then put those slices or pineapples on top. Slide them in the oven and let them cook for 45 minutes.
You should check on them every now and then to baste them. That’s just getting a spoon, scooping up some of the juices in the pan, and pouring back on the meat. That keeps the flavor inside.
Pro-tip: after the lamb is done, let the meat rest for five or so minutes. This allows the meat to reabsorb some of the juices, and finish cooking a bit. It also will taste amazing. You can pull out the lamb, set the table, and then serve up your master piece.
This is a dish that I straight up experimented with until I got it right. The ingredients are also cheap and you can put whatever toppings you want on this bad boy. The only downside is the dough: you have to knead it and let it rise. But if you make a lot of dough, it will keep for awhile, and then you can have pizza every night.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (get the big jar if you plan to make lots of dough, it doesn’t go bad)
1/2 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Go preheat the oven. Put it on for 350 degrees.
Mix all the dry stuff together. If you want, you can add some spices in there, like garlic powder or even parmesan cheese for flavor, but don’t put too much into it, unless you want really powerful bread. Add the water, but slowly. As you add it, get your (clean) hands in there and start beating it up, punching and twisting it for a bit. What you want is to have all the ingredients together in a ball. If it’s too dry, add more water. If it’s way too sticky, get some flour on your hands.
Once you have a dough ball in your bowl, cover it with oil and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Then go play Halo for an hour or two. When you get back, the dough will have doubled in size. Now you can beat it up some more. Take it out and work it with your hands, and eventually roll it out flat like a tortilla. (If you’re saving some for later, just tear a piece off and put the rest in the fridge.) If you don’t have a round pizza pan, you can use a baking sheet, over even tin foil carefully wrapped on the oven rack. It doesn’t have to be a circle.
Once you have a crust, you can add the sauce. The quickest way is to get a can of tomato sauce or even the Ragu stuff. Then you can put on whatever you think will taste good on a pizza. Once you’ve got that done, put it in the oven. Cooking times can vary, which means check it after ten minutes, then every five after that. You don’t want it to burn. Cooked it when the crust rises and looks a little brown, and the cheese is melted.
Cooking with the oven is that easy. You eat pretty well, you save good money, you defeat the smug oven, and you can offer your pals over for your awesome pizza, or a lady friend for some extra special lamb. Because you rock, and everyone likes a guy who can cook.