I have several friends who say they don’t cook much, or don’t even like to, because of the time involved. They often ask if I have any recipes or advice for them. In my head. I say, “It’s not hard to cook. You can do it! Quit your bellyaching and make yourself some dinner.” But my (much nicer) outward response is always, “Keep it simple.” That is good advice for cooking in general.

It is true that anyone can cook, but sometimes it can seem overwhelming. You don’t have to create a dish with layers of complex flavors that tickle your palate, although that’s certainly worth doing if you have the time and desire to do so. Really, you just need some recipes with a few ingredients and a few steps to cook a delicious meal for yourself or even company. This repertoire of go-to recipes is great for those of us short on time as well. There are more than a few nights when I find myself low on ingredients or supplies because I haven’t made it to the store, or I have very little time after a long day to prep for an involved recipe. For those times, I like to keep a few recipes up my sleeve for simple dishes.

To meet the needs of my somewhat culinary challenged friends and my tight schedule, I am often looking for recipes that fit just a few rules. I check to make sure: 1) it doesn’t require many ingredients, 2) it asks for only a few seasonings, 3) it doesn’t require a lot of chopping, and 4) making it requires one or two steps, at the most. Following these rules of thumb will help you choose and create recipes to make a hassle-free, delicious meal in a pinch.

I recently made Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops and Steamed Yellow Squash and Onions for my family. They have less than five ingredients and very few steps.

I’d love to hear about any that work for your family, too. See? You can do it. Now, go make dinner.

Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at teresabday@cox.net.