It’s no secret I love spending time in our kitchen. Ever since I was a little girl, I was always fascinated by cooking. Like many children, I started with my play kitchen complete with frying pan and stocked plastic fridge and eventually moved on to the real deal, experimenting with recipes in the microwave, stovetop, oven – you name it!
I’ll never forget the first time I tried to make soup at home, and almost set the house on fire. We had learned about stone soup in the 2nd grade and I couldn’t wait to go home and make my own. My mom gave me a pot and said I could take a bunch of different ingredients and mix them together, just playing. Boy was she wrong. At age 7, I was one smart cookie and knew that soup was best served warm so when my mom wasn’t looking, I took my aluminum pot filled with milk, candy, condiments, carrots, cheese, and of course, stones (it was stone soup after all!) and put it in the microwave! All it took was a few short minutes for the kitchen to be filled with smoke and the pot handle to be half melted! It’s a blessing that my parents let me back in the kitchen but here I am less than one week away from my 25th birthday and an avid cook and baker.
I believe everyone should learn how to cook and feel comfortable in the kitchen. While not everyone will be or will want to be a Master Chef, there are just some basic foods and meals that everyone should learn to make in their adult life. Here’s my recommended list of the 15 foods every millennial should learn to make before the age 25:
Hard boiled eggs || Hard boiled eggs are a quick and easy grab and go breakfast that are great when paired with fresh fruit. There’s many different methods for hard boiling eggs but I personally follow this method.
Omelette || Growing up in NJ, you could always expect to get a kickass omelette at any local diner. Mastering this recipe is all in the flip of your spatula. Customize your eggs with your favorite veggies and proteins, including spinach, tomatoes, onions, bacon, sausage etc.
Pancakes || Turn your kitchen into the neighborhood IHOP. Pancakes are a great breakfast option for weekends with your family and friends. I love adding different toppings, from fresh fruit to PB&J.
SOUPS AND SAUCES:
Chili || Chili isn’t intimidating, ya’ll – especially when you make it in the crockpot. Chili is a great winter meal to have for lunch or dinner paired with a salad and of course some cornbread. It’s easy to freeze for later too! If you’re not the biggest fan of ground beef, you can also make different varieties with ground turkey as well as shredded chicken.
Chicken Noodle Soup || You know what they say. It’s good for the soul. Canned soups contain too much sodium for my liking which is why I always make a batch of chicken noodle soup during cold and flu season and then freeze until needed. A cheat cheat for making a quick and easy chicken noodle soup is using a pre-made rotisserie chicken! Check out this simple recipe you can make on the stove or in an InstantPot.
Tomato Sauce || Another processed food item that too much sodium and additives. Making homemade sauce doesn’t cost much and can last you ages when stored properly. My favorite recipes include this 30 minute version as well as this veggie packed sauce.
Guacamole and salsa || Impress your guests this summer with homemade guacamole and salsa! I love following this recipe and my go to salsa must include some diced up mangos for a natural sweetness! Here’s a great 15 minute mango salsa recipe!
Roasted Vegetables || Say goodbye to frozen and canned vegetables! I love roasting different kinds of veggies, from brussels sprouts and cauliflower to sweet potatoes and beets! I set my oven to 400-425F, drizzle my veggies with olive oil and cook for 35 minutes.
Garlic mashed potatoes || Mashed potatoes are a classic, homestyle side you can serve at any family gathering or holiday dinner party. Kick it up a notch by adding in some additional spices such as freshly seared garlic, thyme and black pepper.
Whole roasted chicken || A whole chicken may be the most intimidating recipe on this list, but it truly is an essential meal that everyone should learn how to make. Buying a whole chicken is more cost effective then buying already portioned breasts or thighs, and it’s great when hosting a larger sized gathering. Follow this no-fail recipe, complete with instructional videos.
Strip steak || Steak is another essential protein I think everyone should learn how to make. I think there is often this misconception that you need a grill in order to cook steak, however we’ve used the stove top numerous times before as well as putting our Cast Lodge skillet in the oven.
Baked salmon || Of all the proteins mentioned, baked salmon is truly the easiest. I usually squeeze a lemon over top and then add a dry rub of rosemary, thyme and black pepper to the top of my salmon, then bake at 350F for 30 minutes. That’s it. If you want to get fancy, you can make an herb compound butter to put over top the salmon, as well as the steak you just grilled up!
Chocolate chip cookies || Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, especially homemade ones. Stock up on your basics ingredients such as flour, sugar, butter and eggs and then get creative with your chocolate chips – Personally I love mixing chocolate chips and chunks, or adding Peanut Butter Chips to my recipe!
Whipped cream || Fun Fact: I always hated whipped cream… until I had my first taste of homemade whipped cream. Honestly it was such a game changer. Now whenever we serve any kind of pie or dessert requiring whipped cream, I make a batch of homemade goodness to serve my guests. The best part – It’s made from just 3 ingredients!
Apple crisp || I cannot get enough apple recipes during the fall months, and love making a simple apple crisp. I know making your own pie crust can be intimidating which is why this recipe is a deconstructed apple pie with a sweet and crunchy streusel topping. If you’re feeling extra glutenous, add a little vanilla ice cream on top.