Here are some meal ideas for beginners:

Ratatouille
Ingredients
- Veggies of your liking (seriously, like, anything)(Examples: baby corn, carrots, bell peppers, eggplant, red bell peppers, zucchini)
- onion
- garlic (generally at least 3 cloves, sometimes more if you love garlic)
- tomatos
- salt
- pepper
- dash of tabasco for taste/spice (optional. FOr more spice, add the hotter tabasco sauce)
Cut up everything into roughly equal sizes (or cubes). Keep them separate! There are two ways to make ratatouille. The more traditional way is to cook, in a pan kinda stir fry style, each veggie individually. The lazy way is to just add ingredients one at a time, starting with onions and garlic and then moving on in the order of how long it takes things to cook, starting with the slowest. Tomatoes go last.
Really, as long as you have a roughly equal proportion of veggies you're fine. Example: one or two eggplant, one carrot, one bellpepper, one onion (or sometimes just half), one whateverveggies, and then 3-4ish tomatoes. Extra tomatoes can be made into Bruschetta. After adding tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, reduce heat so that your stuff (it'll look like stew) is simmering. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Taste test. Season with more salt/pepper if necessary. Distribute over rice or with pasta or bread. Or both/all. Caution: dish may be hot. Relish the idea that this is a healthy dish. Eat and be happy. <3

Quick & Easy Tuna Pasta
Ingredients:
- Pasta of choice
- Olive Oil
- Lemon juice (from a bottle is fine)
- Can of tuna fish (in water, or in oil since you're adding oil anyways)
- Salt (season salt if you have it, such as Lawry's)
- Pepper

Boil pasta until desired tenderness. Al dente tends to be nice. Drain in a colander. Transfer to bowl. Drizzle with olive oil (enough to coat your pasta). Dump your can of tuna in. Add a splash of lemon juice, salt to taste (a couple dashes is good) and pepper. Stir well. Eat.

Tuna Mornay
Ingredients:
- 1-2 cups uncooked Pasta (spirelli or macaroni in size)
- Canned tuna
- Canned sweet corn
- Flour
- Butter / Margarine
- Milk
- Cheese (pre-grated is easiest)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Boil pasta until desired tenderness. A little below Al dente is preferred. Drain. In a pot melt a tablespoon of butter or margarine. Slowly add flour to the butter, mixing with a wooden spoon, until a dry looking roux is made. Slowly add milk, bit by bit, while stirring, until you create a creamy white sauce without lumps. Add some cheese (for texture and taste) and a little salt and pepper (for taste). Add in equal parts tuna and sweet corn. Stir until warm. Add the pasta, again stirring until warm. Serve.
Tips
Add other simple vegetables like peas or beans.
Put in a heatproof container and cover with bread crumbs (パン粉 'panko'), and place in toaster oven until breadcrumbs are brown.

Side dish ideas:
Bruschetta
Ingredients:
- Tomatoes (however many you want)
- garlic (at least 1 clove per tomato)
- onion (generally like, half an onion to every two tomatosish. When things are all chopped up, you should have roughly 2:1 tomatoes to onions).
- salt
- pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- basil (optional - fresh is better)
Chop/Dice everything into nice cubies. If you want to take out the seeds, you can (it tastes a little better) but you don't have to. Mince garlic. Cut basil into thin strips. Throw everything in a bowl, coat liberally with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (regular olive oil will work fine too). Shake a nice layer of salt on top of it, followed by pepper. Season to taste. Seriously. Do a lot of taste testing to get the salt/pepper levels to your preferred taste.
Tips: It tastes better after letting it sit for even 30 minutes, but it's also good immediately after. Serve on top of toasted baguette (or not toasted, or regular bread, but baguettes are the easiest thing to serve from). For extra awesomeness, get butter, mix with garlic (or get garlic butter), and make mini garlic toasts before you put bruschetta on them. They will be awesome. You can also do olive oil+garlic.


Tasty Comfort Guacamole
Ingredients:
~ Avocados x4
~ Lemon x1 (for the lemon juice. You could probably use store bought lemon juice too, but I don't know how much that is. It's probably easier to do it that way though. Just do the "add a bit, taste, add a bit more, taste" method until you're satisfied)
~ 1/2 of a red onion (diced into small pieces)
~ 5 (large) Garlic cloves, diced (but you can never have too much garlic. If you have normal sized cloves, it very well might turn out that you need like... 7 cloves.)
~ Salt (liberal amounts to taste)
~ pepper (Lots. Recommended: lemon pepper, but regular pepper works excellently too. Ground pepper is the bestest. :D Basically keep on adding pepper from the grinder until you go "OMG I HATE GRINDING" and then give it a couple good more twists. If you want to make your own (approximate) lemon pepper: black peppercorns, sea salt, dried onion, dried garlic granules, dried lemon rind, and a dash of lemon juice powder and lemon oil.)
Hardware: Fork, spoon (optional, though you'll want it for serving later), 1 large bowl that you'll mix stuff and mash your avocados in), cutting board, kitchen knife
Steps:
Take avocados and cut them length-wise going all the way around the avocado. Twist (like an Oreo) and hopefully your avocado will come apart like magic, all clean and stuff. Take out the giant pit (carefully). Then, using a fork (since you're going to be using it soon anyways) or a spoon, loosen the avocado from the skin by taking said utensil and running it around the avocado. Once you've done that, it's much easier to just pop the avocado out of the peel. Once you've gotten all the avocados out of their skins and into the bowl, take that fork and start mashing~ This is where having soft, ripe avocados is really really nice. Mash away until you don't have many lumps (unless you like lumps). Add in your lemon juice, diced onions, diced garlic, salt, and pepper now. Mix really well. Taste. Always under-add things like salt since it's much easier to taste it later and then decide if you need more salt than to have to you know, cut up another avocado and add more stuff. Then tada! Once you have it to your liking, you are all done! You might want to "taste" it one more time though, just to make sure. :D
Note: Pretty much, to figure out the right amount of salt, liberally sprinkle in a circle, mix, and then give it another good round of salt and mix again. THIS IS IMPORTANT: Make sure to taste your guacamole. Constantly. It's the only way to make sure that it's seasoned to the level that you like it at.

Onigiri
Make an easy snack with leftover rice, or set up a bunch for a picnic.
Ingredients
- Rice (cooked)
- Seasonings (salt, pepper, furikake...)
- Stuffings (Nori paste, tuna, umeboshi...)
- Dry nori seaweed (you can often buy sheets made for onigiri, with wrapping instructions)
Materials
- Plastic wrap (saran wrap, cling wrap...).
Method
1. Take a rice paddle scoop of the cooked rice, and place it onto a square of plastic wrap.
  • 2a. Seasoned onigiri: Sprinkle rice with seasoning of choice.
  • 2b. Stuffed onigiri: Place the 'stuffing' in the middle of your scoop of rice
3. Close the plastic wrap around the rice and shape into a bulbous triangular shape (the usual onigiri shape).
  • 4. Seaweed wrapped onigiri: Cut a sheet of dry nori seaweed into quarters. Wet hands and remove onigiri from plastic wrap. Place lightly moistened onigiri on one square of cut nori (shiny side out). Put another 1/4 square of cut nori on top of the onigiri at a different angle (think 8 pointed star). Wrap the seaweed around the onigiri.
Tips
- If you have no plastic wrap, just lightly wet your hands and take a scoop into your palm.
- If you want to make a large batch of the same seasoned onigiri, mix the seasoning into the rice before taking out scoops.

- Some basic types of onigiri to start with: 'Tuna and mayonaise' stuffing, lightly salted, umeboshi stuffed (make sure there's no seed), bits of cooked bacon mixed into the rice...
- Be creative, try anything for a stuffing or seasoning, or add vegetables or spices to cook with the rice and make onigiri from that. Maybe even create a 'sweet' onigiri.