If you're like me and hate to cook, there is finally hope. I’m not a very good chef. I don’t have the patience to stand around in the kitchen all day to make a meal, and I despise cleaning up after I’m done. I’m so bad that I don’t even make my own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; I buy Uncrustables. That has started to change ever since I learned to make easy dishes, with the help of my family-cooking expert.

My dad has always been an amateur chef, so I decided to enlist him for some crash course training in easy cooking. He showed me how to make easy meals that take 15 minutes or less, all using rice and beans. Rice and beans might not sound sexy, but they’re inexpensive ingredients that are easy to store, prepare and reuse. 

For starters, you need your choice of microwaveable rice and canned beans. Open up your bag of rice, scoop out as much as you want to cook and throw it in a bowl with your beans. After a quick 45 seconds in the microwave, they’re ready to serve as the base to just about any meal.

From here, you can go a number of ways. You can add microwaveable chicken strips and have chicken and rice in minutes. I like to make a double dose of the rice and beans, so I have a head start the following night.

To turn those leftovers into chili, just brown some ground beef in a pan, add the rice and beans into the mix and apply taco seasoning. I like to go with the Old El Paso taco-seasoning packet. It costs about $2 and gives you all the flavor you need in one small packet.

If you want to take it to the next level with little effort, you can make tacos. For this dish, some additional ingredients will be required like tomatoes and salsa. I also like to buy shredded cheese because it’s easy to use in tacos. All you need is your leftover rice, beans and chicken dish to make this meal. Just put the leftovers in a pan, add the tomatoes and shredded cheese, and then grab a taco shell. If you’re working with your leftovers, this whole process should take you no more than five to seven minutes.

All of these meals are easy to make even if you’re a terrible cook, like myself, and they shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes. 

Must have ingredients:

-Microwaveable rice

-Ground beef or chicken

-Canned rice

-Taco seasoning/General tso’s sauce

-Shredded cheese 

*If you get tired of Latin cuisine, you can make any of these meals Asian style by using black beans and substituting the taco seasoning for General Tso or sweet chili sauce.