While we are all practicing social distancing, this seems like a good time to perfect a few basic recipes that everyone should know how to make. I have lived on my own for almost 4 years so, while I may not be a chef, I have definitely nailed the basics. The following recipes are my personal go to’s—they are fast, cost-effective, and they can be made with limited tools!

Artisan Loaf

At the end of 2019, I decided that 2020 would be the year that I started making my own bread. Don’t get too excited, it’s not sourdough and this isn’t “It’s Alive” with Brad Leone. It’s just a simple bread recipe that can be made in a few hours.  

What you’ll need: 

-1 packet of active dry yeast

-1 tablespoon sugar

-1 tablespoon salt

-2 cups warm water

-5 cups all purpose flour

-1 cup boiling water

-1 teaspoon olive oil

  1. Follow the instructions on the yeast packet, which will likely tell you to mix the yeast with a small amount of warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes until it dissolves. Add the remainder of the warm water, as well as the salt and sugar. Gradually add the flour (let’s be serious, I usually just dump the entire thing in there) and begin kneading and mixing the dough until it all joins together. 
  2. Clean your counters (please) and flour the surface. You don’t need a giant amount of counter space for this, mine is about 2’x2’. Bring the dough onto the counter and begin to knead it again. Use the heels of your hands and push into the centre of the dough ball away from you. Next, take the edge of the dough furthest away from you and fold it over itself, towards you. Finally, rotate the dough 90 degrees clockwise, and begin again. I usually do this for a few minutes, or until I get exhausted (bread is exhausting). 
  3. Now, it’s time to rise. Using your olive oil, coat the bottom and sides of a bowl with a thin layer. Throw your dough into that, and place a damp towel over it. You want the dough to be warm while it’s rising, I usually just preheat the oven to a super low temperature, turn it off, and lay the bowl in there while it’s rising. Leave it for about an hour, then cut your dough into 2 even pieces. 
  4. Get a big sheet pan, and heavily flour the bottom. This will stop the bread from burning, since we aren’t using an actual bread pan. Lay your 2 bread halves on the sheet, you can adjust the shapes here to your liking. Cut 3 lines in each loaf, not too deep, and sprinkle with cold water and salt. 
  5. Find a small, oven safe dish. Pour boiling water into it, and place at the bottom of the oven. Place your sheet into a cold oven, above this dish, and bake at 400F for 40 minutes. 
  6. That’s it, you’re done, you made freaking bread. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know, this is as basic as it gets, but these are the best and I will accept no argument. I usually half this recipe, so feel free to do that!

What you’ll need:

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1.5 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

1.5 cups chocolate chips

1 cup butter

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

3 cups flour

  1. I could tell you to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately but, if I’m being honest, I usually just throw everything in a bowl, mix with a spoon, toss in the chocolate chips, and call it a day. 
  2. Preheat your oven to 375F. Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet, roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and spread out evenly. 
  3. Bake for 8 minutes, you can do more if you want them crispier, and take them out when the edges start to brown. You will think this is too early, and they will look undercooked, but the residual heat will cook them and they will be perfect. Yum. 

Hotsauce Egg Breakfast Sandwich

This may sound kind of weird, but never knock it ‘til you try it. This is an easy, super delicious breakfast that tastes like it could be from a restaurant. My favourite hot sauce to use is Chili Garlic Cholula, but you can use whatever you like most. You can also add meat or plain coleslaw mix to these sandwiches and it’s pretty good.

What you’ll need:

1 egg

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon hot sauce (whatever’s your favourite)

½ teaspoon italian spice mix (or oregano/thyme/rosemary)

½ teaspoon celery salt

1 slice of cheese

1 bagel

2 tablespoons ketchup

  1. Put your bagel in the toaster.
  2. In a pan, mix the hot sauce, olive oil, garlic powder, celery salt, and spice mix. Heat until it begins to spit.
  3. Crack your egg into the pan and break the yolk.
  4. Take your bagel out of the toaster. Put your cheese on one half of the bagel and microwave for 30 seconds.
  5. Set your egg on top of the bagel with the melted cheese. 
  6. On the other half of your bagel, spread ketchup and a little more hot sauce. Voilà, perfect breakfast.