Answer The Whats For Dinner Question Forever

"What's for dinner?" It's a question that makes many home cooks stressed and insecure. The pressure is on! It's up to YOU to conceive of, prepare, cook and serve dinner for your family. It had better be good or you'll be ridiculed. Don't blow it!

When you have no ideas, you search for recipes and try to follow their written instructions. You ask the cookbook for WHAT to cook and they try to tell you how to cook it. This type of search is half-flawed.

nocookingskillsRecipe books are good for ideas, but they frustrate most home cooks because of vague directions and variables that make them hard to duplicate results.

However, if you turned your thought process around and concentrated on HOW to cook something, then the WHAT to cook question would answer itself. You'd be able to Make Your Cooking A Winner Every Single Time.

You can get fast dinner ideas by using a repeatable cooking method and simply change the ingredients. With command of a basic saute method, you can cook anything with the ingredients you already have on hand.

The meal I've improvised in today's video was imagined only 10 minutes earlier. I looked into my pantry, rummaged through the refrigerator and the ingredients presented themselves to me.

shrimpflorentineI've called this improvised dish Shrimp and Cannellini Bean Florentine using a stove-top saute method and only ONE pan to save clean-up time.

Perhaps tomorrow it will be Chicken and Black Beans Over Rice using the same exact procedure. Those pork chops will become an Asian stir-fry the next night all because I repeat the HOW and change the WHAT.

Answering the what's for dinner question should begin with asking yourself, "HOW will I cook dinner?" When you're confident in a repeatable method, the ingredients can be easily changed.

But, saute is only one cooking method, there are many more. If you want to cook great food more consistently, then you'll want to explore all the repeatable methods behind cooking. These are the same methods I reveal in my webinar, Discover The 3 Secrets To Making Your Cooking A Winner Every Single Time.

You can register for the FREE webinar HERE and you'll always have an answer for the what's for dinner question.

What 5-6 ingredients do you have in your home RIGHT NOW that you could apply this method to?
Please tell me your most creative ideas below:

About Chef Todd

Chef Todd Mohr is a Certified Culinary Educator who has empowered home cooks all over the world with the reliable, dependable, repeatable METHODS behind cooking that build confidence, generate creativity and enable anyone to cook with the ingredients THEY desire.


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  • Sara Farley
    6:46 PM - 16 January, 2017

    Wondering if there was a specific reason not to have the deglazing step this time... also, do you have a rule of thumb as to when you might want to combine cooking methods (going from dry to moist, as in your example here)? Thank you so much for bringing all this information to us lowly home cooks!

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      8:33 PM - 16 January, 2017

      Hi Sara!
      Matching the cooking METHOD to the appropriate ingredient is one of the skills of the cook. A thinner and tender product like a chicken breast or fish filet will cook better under direct conductive heat for quick reactions and browning without having to tenderize.

      However, if you have a thicker or tougher product, the conductive heat will burn it on the outside and leave the inside raw. This is when you'd want a convective method or combination method to brown the item, cook completely, but also tenderize.

      The keys to cooking are about METHODS, not written instructions, not how LONG to cook something, but the repeatable procedures that bring confidence and creativity.

  • Linda
    10:47 PM - 21 July, 2015

    I have chicken, turnip greens, and kidney beans. I can use the same aromatics and it will be an East Carolina chicken stir fry! I have always liked to cook, but you have brought the excitement back!!! Love your energy and enthusiasm, thanks!!

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      3:03 PM - 22 July, 2015

      Hi Linda!
      Some greens, some turnips, some beans, some chicken sounds like an East Carolina meal to me! You could call it "Pirate Chicken". THAT'S what I'm talking about when I urge people to use basic methods with the local ingredients THEY desire. They arrive at excellent food because it's an original creation made with a dependable method. If you can repeat the steps in the method, it doesn't matter what the ingredients are.

      This is a much different approach than written recipes that concentrate on the list of ingredients and tell you nothing about HOW to cook it.
      Thank you for your kind comment. I'm glad to have re-ignited your kitchen excitement.

  • Marjorie
    11:10 AM - 17 April, 2014

    My husband hates chicken. What other meat would work well with the sauté method?

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      11:21 AM - 17 April, 2014

      Hi Marjorie!
      Hates chicken? I've never heard of that. lol. The idea behind having a repeatable cooking method is that you can change the ingredients to anything you desire. This way, the same cooking procedure can be beef on Monday, Shrimp on Tuesday, Pork on Wednesday, Tofu on Thursday and Fish on Friday. Become comfortable with a basic method and then you'll be writing your own recipes.

  • Lewis
    11:09 AM - 17 April, 2014

    I am wondering if you could use salad dressing as your flavorful liquid in this procedure? Thanks, Chef.

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      11:19 AM - 17 April, 2014

      Hi Lewis!
      YES! That's a great idea. You can use bottled dressings as the flavorful liquid after you've deglazed and reduced.

  • Micah
    11:08 AM - 17 April, 2014

    This seems like a simple method to try, but I think I will have to go shopping first. My pantry is pretty bare. I do have some chicken breast, but not much in the way of liquids and flavors. Thanks for showing this procedure.

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      11:18 AM - 17 April, 2014

      Hi Micah!
      One of my 5 Chef Secrets For Creating Amazing Meals At Home is to have your pantry stocked for quick and improvised cooking. I'm not saying you should spend a lot of money and purchase tons of stuff. You should find the flavors that YOU enjoy so they can be added to the basic saute method. Cheap and simple items like Soy Sauce, Barbeque Sauce, whole grain Mustard, beef/chicken broth, Indian Masala sauce, Salsa or hot sauce can be added at the end of cooking to make many meals out of one method.

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