Cooking 101: Have a Signature Dish

Huevos Rancheros (A Seat at the Table)

Cooking can be an intimidating prospect if you’re new to it. But starting off by mastering one dish can be just the start you need. Pancakes were my go-to dish for a long time. My grandmother would always make Orange Chicken with rice and broccoli. Husband started off with hot dogs, then mastered quesadillas, and has now upgraded to Turkey Sausage with potatoes and broccoli. Sister’s signature dish (at least to me since I always ask for it when I see her) is Huevos Rancheros.

It doesn’t really matter what your signature dish is, but having a dish that you feel confident making, that can satisfy friends or family when they come to visit, brings all the best parts of cooking together. A home-cooked meal is a great way to share some love, make some memories and enjoy your time together. A signature dish can also be just something that you assemble… cheese trays or snack plates can just be a collection of your favorite snack items; or packaged tortellini and store-bought pesto.

A signature dish is also a great way to get started with cooking. While it may be overwhelming to think about cooking all the time, picking just one dish to do well can be much more manageable. And getting those skills down can help whenever you’re ready to add a new dish to your repertoire.

If you’re looking for ideas for a signature dish, I’ve become quite partial to making tostadas. I take small corn tortillas, toast them, top them with heated refried beans, and then top with a host of whatever delicious toppings I have around. I usually make a little fresh salsa with grape tomatoes, lime juice, and cilantro. I usually add some shredded cabbage, or some sautéed zucchini and bell peppers, but whatever you have on hand could work.

Do you have a signature dish? What would you like your signature dish to be?

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2 thoughts on “Cooking 101: Have a Signature Dish

  1. Hi Lauren, Loved your piece about signature dishes. You mentioned your Grandma Helland’s was Orange Chicken. I do remember when we visited your grandparents in Nagano, Japan, your Grandma served Orange Chicken. I copied her recipe. As for me, I have the “bad” habit of loving to try new recipes –even for company. But I do often make Poppyseed Chicken as I love it.

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