More Cooking Basics to Know – Vegetables

Do you have no clue when it comes to cooking vegetables? Have you been opening a TV dinner or can to add veggies to your family meal? Did you know there are very little nutrients in those cans?

Up your game for cooking with some help. We are sharing recipes for you. Some are simple recipes and other recipes not so simple. We are going to just talk about some easy basics in this article. Whether you have never cooked from a recipe or if you are just a beginner cook looking for best recipes, we have some valuable cooking basics to know that will benefit you before you get into the cooking.

Let’s start with ways to cook

BOILED – Most vegetables to start off with can be boiled. Add a tablespoon of butter and you have it. The boiling is just done until the vegetable reaches the desired texture you like it. Green beans for instance, you can boil until mushy for some to be happy and others would not eat them that overcooked. Cooking veggies that long as your preference takes quite a lot of the nutrients out of them. So, keep that in mind if you like them soft.

SAUTEED – Onions, green beans, asparagus, mushrooms, summer squash, zucchini and many other lovely veggies respond well to sautéing.  In a low fry pan that gives the veggies enough room not to be crowded on medium high heat, you can add some butter or olive oil and let your side dish cook happily. They will cook fast and you must watch them as not to burn and turn them often until a little brown or if you like, a lot brown. Throw some garlic in there, with some salt and pepper to taste, splash some lemon at the end, and you have a delicious side dish to accompany any meat, fowl or fish.

ROASTING – Roasting at a high temperature will produce some of the most fragrant smells, your guests will be salivating. How do you do it and what vegetable is it good for? All potatoes roast very well. Roasted cauliflower has become a favorite of my 8 yr. old nieces if you can believe it. Kids that ask for the cauliflower! Amazing right? Try it. Broccoli, sweet potatoes, mushrooms (stuffed even better), zucchini, squashes, corn and so many more to try.

How do you do it? First, I set the oven on 425F to preheat. Once the oven is hot, take your clean cut up and really dried off vegetable and toss it in olive oil and salt & pepper. Put the veggies on a baking sheet with at least ½” edge so oil doesn’t drip all over your oven. Pop it in the oven on the middle rack and watch it. Cauliflower for instance can stay in unattended for 10-15 minutes before turning. Mushrooms may take a shorter amount of time. You will turn them when you see medium browning happening. Not dark browning. Turn and wait another 10 minutes or until as brown as you would like. Watch they don’t burn too much. Although the crispy bits are a favorite in my house.

Serve them up for a tasty appetizer or as a nice side dish for your meal. You will be hooked.


Vegetables are good just on their own without a fancy recipe by adding a bit of butter to taste or olive oil and lemon. However, there are lots of favorite recipes for casseroles and sauces that are very yummy and popular.

Au Gratin – Au Gratin is a baked casserole version of almost any vegetable you can think of. Here is a great recipe you can substitute the vegetable with any of your favorites. Preheat an oven to 400F. Start in a medium saucepan melting the butter and then whisking in the flour. Add milk slowly a little at a time stirring over medium heat continuously. After milk is added and clearly simmering, stir in the cheddar slowly until melted. In a medium sized casserole, layer half of the potatoes onto the bottom of the dish and top with all the onion. Season with last and pepper. Finish adding the remaining potatoes. Pour the melted mixture over the potatoes let liquid settle and cover. Bake in 400F oven for 70 minutes and remove cover. Bake again for an additional 20 minutes to brown. Enjoy!

  • 3 tablespoons – Butter
  • 3 tablespoons – all-purpose flour
  • 4 – Idaho potatoes, sliced into ¼ in slices
  • 1 – medium sized onion, sliced into rings and cut in half
  • 2 cups – milk
  • ½ teaspoon – sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups – Cheddar cheese, shredded

Stir Fried Asian Veggies – Add the stir-fried veggies with an Asian influence as the perfect recipe for a great side dish to accompany any grilled meat or fish. Select your favorite veggies, wash and cut them in to bite sized piece. Carrots should be shredded. Set veggies aside ready to cook. Preheat over medium high heat your deepest fry pan with vegetable oil. Oil should be ready after a couple of minutes.  Put garlic into the pan for about 30 seconds stirring so it doesn’t burn. Add ginger and stir for another 30 seconds then add veggies one by one starting with the densest vegetable like broccoli or cauliflower and mix every 30 seconds. Then add the balance of your selection of veggies to the pan and stir constantly as not to burn. Add hoisin sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce constantly mixing. Total time to cook should be no longer than 15-20 minutes. Ready to serve.  Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top and enjoy!

  • Prepare one cup each your choice of veggies by cutting or shredding into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons – vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons – sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons – sesame seeds
  • 3 stocks – Scallions chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons – Hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup – Low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 buds – Garlic, peeled, crushed and minced
  • 2 tablespoons – Ginger peeled and minced or grated

Add sautéed chicken, shrimp or steak to make the stir fry a delicious meal for the family.

Lemon Butter with Parsley – Lemon Butter (or olive oil) with a sprinkling of parsley is a very basic recipe that is wonderful and refreshing to every vegetable, poultry or fish dish. There is not much to the recipe except sauté the protein and or veggies over medium high heat in butter or olive oil until preferred doneness and squeeze a half fresh lemon over while cooking on medium high heat. The final step is to sprinkle freshly cut parsley over the top of the dish and serve with your favorite starch, pasta or alone.

Of course, there are so many other options for simple recipes not listed here. If you are a beginning cook or expanding your expertise, you will find some happy diners at your house thinking you just may be an expert.