Everyone knows how to cook. Even if you think you’re a horrible cook, you still can cook… you just don’t do it as well as you do other things…and that’s okay. Really.
There comes a time, however, when you absolutely have to cook. I’m not talking about feeding yourself (because you’re probably okay with eating restaurant leftovers or frozen meals). No, I’m talking about when you are forced to produce something that will not only be acceptable for others to eat, but that others will enjoy eating.
These are the top 10 recipes you should be familiar with and know how to make when it counts. They’re all pretty easy and don’t require a lot of ingredients… mostly items that you should already have in your fridge or pantry (that is, if you’ve been paying attention to Mama).
You don’t need to memorize them (how can you? You have all those carry-out numbers to remember), you just need to be familiar with the basic steps so you’ll be able to pull it off with just a little effort and a few fresh ingredients.
1. Fettucine Alfredo
Why: Six ingredients and a velvety smooth cheese sauce. This dish is not only elegant, but romantic and, yes, decadently delicious.
2. Cheese Omelet
Why: This dish could be lunch or dinner… or breakfast for that someone special the next morning after you serve your mind blowing Fettuccine Alfredo supper.
Why: A good vinaigrette not only dresses a salad, but can be drizzled over steamed vegetables, used to season croutons or tossed with cold chicken and pasta for a wonderful alternative to mayo.
Why: Chocolate. Enough said.
5. Oven Roasted Whole Chicken
Why: Store bought rotisserie chickens will never embrace your guests like the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven. Besides, it really looks impressive when you pull it out of the oven.
Why: Such an easy and versatile dish. Learn to make this and, with a few add-ins, you’ll be able to create a different recipe in almost every cuisine: Mexican Rice, Stir Fry, Steamed Rice, Rice Pudding…
7. Mashed Potatoes
Why: A great go-to side dish that is perfect as it is… but still plays well with others: stir in cheddar or blue cheese, whole cooked cranberries, grilled onions, crispy bacon…
8. Broiled Steak
Why: If you like meat, there’s nothing like a great steak. Rub on your favorite spices and herbs, a little S&P and you’re set. Make extra and you’ll have enough for another meal later in the week.
9. Roasted Vegetables
Why: Mama always says to eat your vegetables… and now you will because this recipe is easy, low in fat, and tastes great. Plus you can use whatever veggies you like.
10. Sautéed Fish
Why: You know you should have more fish in your diet and eventually you’ll have a guest who doesn’t eat meat (and you want to be the accommodating host, don’t you?).
Stay calm. None of these recipes are difficult to whip up. Repeat the process often enough and you’ll look like a master chef in the kitchen, able to do it all from memory.
Now…let’s get to it.