Basic Things Everyone Should Be Able To Cook pt. 3- Kitchen Clueless Basic Cooking Course

May 13, 2020 | Cooking Tips

Hello everyone and good morning. Today in the second last post of my free basic cooking course we are going to focus on ground beef. Specifically, we are going to look at a handful of uncomplicated and delicious meals that can be made with ground beef. These are meals that in my opinion, everyone should know how to make some version of. We are going to look at how to make meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, chili, and more. Let’s get to it.

This is…

Basic Things Everyone Should Be Able To Cook pt. 3 – Kitchen Clueless Basic Cooking Course


I honestly believe that there are few things better in this world than a delicious hamburger. Luckily, making a truly delicious burger is much easier than it seems like it should be. I say this because generally, the big mistake that people make when making hamburgers is that they try to overcomplicate it. There is a tendency to add a pile of ingredients into the burger mix. All these ingredients often overpower the taste of the beef itself. What’s more, is that more often than not, all these flavours just get muddled together and end up tasting like a confusing mess. For this reason, for me, a simple burger is a good burger.

In all of my time cooking professionally the most important lesson I’ve learned, and this was a hard lesson to learn, is when to stop adding ingredients. Cooking is not about adding and adding until something tastes good. It’s about adding as few ingredients as you can to highlight the main ingredients. When I’m creating a recipe I will often list every ingredient that I think should go in it, then I started taking things away that aren’t adding anything to the final dish. Compliment the main ingredient, don’t overpower it. If you take one lesson from this whole series, this should be it. Recite it every time you cook, “Compliment, don’t overpower.” Every time you pick up a knife in the kitchen “Compliment, don’t overpower.” Every time you open your spice cupboard, “Compliment, don’t overpower.” This and this alone will take your cooking further than anything else.

Looking at the recipe below you will notice that the burger mix only has four ingredients in it; salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. That’s all. I know people who put ten or more ingredients in their burgers. Why? In cases like this, the ground beef is more a vessel for all the other flavours rather than being the start of the show. This to me, defeats the whole purpose of the burger.

Forming the burger

While there are some people out there that prefer a really thick burger, my feet are firmly planted in the opposite camp. I like thin burgers, then if you want more meat you can just add a second patty. The reason for this is pretty simple. The sear on a burger, the browning from the cooking process, adds loads of flavour to the meat and the final burger. When you have one thick patty you only have this sear on two sides. However, when using thinner patties, and doubling them up, you get the same amount of meat but double the seared surface meaning more flavour.

The other bonus to thin burgers is that they cook much quicker than thick burgers. This means that the risk of burning the outside of the burger is greatly reduced and the burger will shrink less, and dry out less. All this leads to a more flavorful and juicy burger.

Cooking the burger

In the recipe below I suggest cooking the burgers on an electric griddle. However, you can cook them in a skillet, or on a grill as well. This to me is actually the least important part of making burgers. Just make sure that whatever you are using to cook the burgers is nice and hot, and that you get a nice sear on the meat.

Bacon Cheeseburger

This recipe makes a delicious burger with onion, bacon, cheese, and horseradish mayo. What could be better?
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bacon, Burger, Cheese, Cheese Burger
Servings: 4 Burger
Author: Chef Ben Kelly



  • 1 lbs Ground Beef
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 4 strips Bacon, cut in half
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Mayo
  • 1/4 cup Prepared Horseradish
  • 4 slices Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 head Iceberg lettuce, torn into big slices
  • 4 Burger Buns I use gluten-free buns


  • Preheat a skillet or griddle.
  • Combine the beef with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • Mix the meat and spices divided the meat into four portions and form into balls and set aside.
  • Slightly oil the griddle or skillet and add the onions and bacon.
  • Cook the onions for about ten minutes or until soft and browned.
  • Cook the bacon until crisp.
  • While the bacon and onions are cooking combine the horseradish and mayo and mix well to combine.
  • Remove the cooked bacon from the griddle/skillet and add the burgers.
  • Cook the burgers for 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through.
  • Top the burgers with the onions and cheese.
  • While the cheese is melting toast and top the buns with the horseradish mayo, lettuce, bacon, and tomato.
  • Add the burgers to the buns and enjoy.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


When I was a kid meatloaf was a weekly staple on our dinner table. I hated it. My mom was a great cook, and I loved most of her food, but I could not stand her meatloaf. To be fair, it wasn’t just hers. For whatever reason, I hated all meatloaf. Someone could have served me the best meatloaf in the world and I still would have turned my nose up at it.

This hatred of meatloaf lasted until I was in my mid 20’s and was tasked with making staff meal in the restaurant I was working in at the time. I was given a pile of ground beef and told to make something. I have no idea why I chose to make meatloaf, but I did, and it was delicious. It was the only meatloaf I’d ever had that I liked up until that point. Now, I wouldn’t say that I developed a love for meatloaf after that, but I did develop more of an appreciation for it.

If you find yourself with a few pounds of ground beef and you are unsure of what to do with it, meatloaf is a great option…for those of us that like meatloaf at least.

One big problem I’ve always had with meatloaf is that they will have big chunks of onion and garlic that didn’t fully cook. This makes the meatloaf especially unenjoyable to eat. The obvious solution then is to pre-cook the onions and garlic and that is what I do in the recipe below. This is what I do in the recipe below. The added bonus is that the cooked onions and garlic add a mild sweetness to the mix adding more balance to the overall flavour of the meatloaf.

It will come as no surprise, that like my burgers (and just about everything else I cook) I prefer a more simplistic approach to my meatloaf. Not everything in the spice cupboard has to go into everything you cook. Add only what is needed and if you are going to add herbs use fresh ones whenever possible.

My Best Meatloaf Recipe

A really great meatloaf recipe with one or two ingredients that you'll want to keep our little secret. It also happens to be gluten-free
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten Free, meatloaf
Servings: 6 people
Author: Chef Ben Kelly



  • 2 lb Medium Ground Beef
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 cup Bread Crumbs I used Gluten Free
  • 3/4 cup Minced Onion
  • 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt or 1/2 tsp Table Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • 1 tbsp Prepared Mustard
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Chopped Mint
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil


  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 3 tbsp Coca-Cola
  • 1 tbsp Prepared Mustard
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce I used gluten-free Tamari


  • 1/4 cup Minced Onion
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Fresh Chopped Thyme
  • 1/2 cup Sliced Cremini Mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp Flour I used Gluten-Free
  • 1 cup Beef Stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste



  • Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil, and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • Combine the remaining meatloaf ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled onions and garlic and mix well. Knead the meatloaf mixture for 5-6 minutes until the meat becomes tacky and sticky. Push the meat into a loaf pan. Set aside.


  • Combine the glaze ingredients and mix well. Pour the glaze over the meatloaf. Put the glazed meatloaf in the oven on 350°F. Bake for about 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.


  • Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and heat until it starts to foam. Add in the mushrooms, and onions and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and thyme and cook for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir for about 1 minute. Stir in the beef stock, and cook until thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over the the meatloaf.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Who doesn’t love a good pot of Chili? The keyword there being good. In truth Chili is a bit like pizza, even bad pizza is still pizza. I think what I’m trying to say is that it is difficult to mess up Chili, it is a very forgiving dish. The recipe below is not a basis Chili recipe by any means. However, it is not at all difficult to make. What you notice right away when looking at the below recipe is that there are a lot of ingredients. Yes, it’s true. My simplistic view of cooking goes right out the window when it comes to Chili and for good reason, Chili benefits from complexity. Of course, there is nothing that says that you can’t make a delicious simply Chili, I just didn’t do that here.

The real benefit to the recipe below is more in the technique. Pay attention to when I added the spices and vegetables. They are timed so that the maximum amount of flavour is in the Chili at the time of eating. As a bit of an aside, don’t listen to people who say that Chili needs to be simmered for hours and hours, they are wrong. Doing this will destroy the flavour. The essential oils in the spices, which is where the flavour comes from are volatile and heat soluble. Cooking them for long periods literally cooks the flavour out of them.

The Best Ever Chili

In my opinion, this is the Best Chili you will ever have.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Best Recipe, Chili,, Chilli, Delicious, Ground Beef Recipes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


  • 2 lbs Medium Ground Beef
  • 1 lg Onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Jalapeno, diced
  • 1 stalk Celery, diced
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, cut in half, the bottoms diced and the tops saved for garnish
  • 660 ml Jar of tomato purée Jar rinsed out with 1/2 cup water
  • 1 can Red Kidney Beans 540ml (19 oz)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Strong Coffee
  • 2 oz Bitter Sweet Bakers Chocolate 2 oz = 2 squares
  • 1 tbsp Canola Oil


  • Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the oil along with the ground beef and cook until browned.
  • Add in the onion, garlic, celery, and jalapeno and cook for 7-8 minutes.
  • Add in the spices and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Next, add in the tomato purée. Then, rinse the bottle or jar with 1/2 cup of water and add that into the pot as well.
  • Drain and rinse the kidney beans and add those to the pot as well.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, turn the heat down to low, scrape the bottom of the pot, put a lid on it and let it sit for 30 minutes untouched.
  • While the pot is simmering, seed and dice the peppers.
  • After 30 minutes of simmer remove the lid from the pot and give it a quick taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  • Add in the bell peppers, coffee, and chocolate. Put the lid back on the pot and simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid from the pot, taste the chilli, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed then serve garnished the green onion tops.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


I just posted about these on Monday so I’m not going to say too much about them here. I suggest checking out the full post at the link below if you haven’t already done so.

Check out the full Spaghetti and Meatballs post here.

Tender and Juicy Meatball Recipe

One of the best meatballs you will ever eat.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Chicken Pasta, Meatballs, Spaghetti and Meatballs
Servings: 23 meatballs


  • 1.2 kg Medium Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Minced Onion
  • 2 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Parsley
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Rosemary
  • 1 tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt 1 tsp if using table salt
  • 3/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 3/4 cup Bread Crumbs Gluten-Free
  • 1 lg Egg
  • 1/3 batch Basic Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cup Beef Stock
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil


  • Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil, tomato sauce and beef stock in a large bowl and mix until the meat is tacky, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the olive oil to a roasting pan.
  • Form the meat into 23-24 even size balls and place in the oiled roasting pan.
  • Bake the meatballs in a 400°f oven uncovered for 35 minutes flipping them halfway through.
  • Remove the meatballs from the oven and drain off all the excess fat.
  • Add the beef stock and tomato sauce to the roasting pan, cover with foil and bake in a 325°f oven for 35-45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-20 minutes.
  • Toss the meatballs with tomato sauce and pasta and serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Shepherd’s Pie

One of my absolute favourite things to do with ground beef is to make Shepherd’s Pie. (It is technically Cottage Pie becasue it is made with beef rather than lamb but where I come from we call it Shepherd’s Pie). Not only is this one of my all time favourite foods form when I was a child, but it is also one of the first things I ever learend to cook. And it is so stragight forward that I’m not even going to give you a recipe. I will hoever give you a quick walk through.

Shepherd’s Pie is made by sauteéing ground beef with onions, and sometimes garlic. Once these are cooked other vegetables like diced carrots, peas, corn, and green beans are added to the mix. Then one large can of creamed corn and some salt and pepper. Some people prefer to use gravy, but in my family, it was always creamed corn. This mix is topped with mashed potatoes and baked on 350°f until the potatoes are golden brown. Amazing!


This concludes the Basic Things Everyone Should Be Able To Cook position of my free basic cooking course. If you missed the first two parts of this section you can check out the first two parts of this section here and here. Next week we will be wrapping up the cooking course with a final post to tie everything together and review all the things that we have covered. I’ll see you then!

I hope that you have enjoyed this post. If you have please remember to like and share it. And of course, remember to subscribe to the blog so you never miss a post again.


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