Top 10 Recipes You Should Know How to Make


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.

Don’t be scared. That’s what Mama’s here for.

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.
3. Vinaigrette
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.
4. Brownies
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.
6. Rice
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.


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23 thoughts on “Top 10 Recipes You Should Know How to Make

    1. Christina Post author

      Well Sandra, you might not consider yourself a cook… but you obviously are doing something right! I’ll be you are a lot better than you think!

  1. Jen

    I agree! Except I would switch out the alfredo sauce for a marinara. I made it through college entirely on homemade spaghetti and meatballs and it continues to be a relative staple (with or without the meat) in our house.

    1. Christina Post author

      That is so true, Kathleen. You can open your pantry and fridge and see what you have on hand… it’s a great way to try something totally new!

  2. Diana Zee

    I am honestly horrible at cooking but being of Hispanic descent there is absolutely no way that I could get away without knowing how to make a decent Mexican rice. It’s like not knowing how to start a computer in today’s world…it’s just unheard of! Haha.

    1. Christina Post author

      I hear what you are saying. But I really believe that if you can read… you can cook. It is just having the patience to do every step exactly as they say. So do you know how to make a decent Mexican rice? What’s your recipe?

  3. Angela

    I forget sometimes to “keep it simple”. I get caught up in recipes that have me in the kitchen for hours. It’s nice to refer to this page to bring me back to the basics!

    1. Mama Post author

      Thanks so much! I know that many of us get inspired by all the food programs and, while they are achievable, many of the recipes aren’t practical for middle of the week cooking. Many of these recipes are! Thanks for stopping by…

  4. Kelly Blackwell

    Hmmmm. I am going to hit these recipes. I have mastered a whole chicken, mashed potatoes, and a cheese omelet. For my age…I am terribly behind. For a moment I was thrilled to see brownies on your list. I thought, “I can do that!” and then remembered…”Yes…with a box of mix.” I’m thinking I am going to tackle those after my next pay day. 🙂

  5. Alfredo e Ines Di Lelio


    With reference of your article we have the pleasure to tell you the history of our grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of “fettuccine all’Alfredo” in 1908 in restaurant run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi).
    Alfredo di Lelio opened the restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome, after leaving the restaurant of his mother Angelina. In this local spread the fame, first to Rome and then in the world, of “fettuccine all’Alfredo”.
    In 1943, during the war, Di Lelio sold the restaurant to others outside his family.
    In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 “Il Vero Alfredo” (“Alfredo di Roma”), which is now managed by his nephews Alfredo and Ines, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality).
    See also the site of “Il Vero Alfredo”, which also contains information on franchising.
    We must clarify that other restaurants “Alfredo” in Rome do not belong to the family tradition of “Il Vero Alfredo” in Rome.
    We inform that the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo” is in the registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence” of the City of Rome Capitale.
    Best regards Alfredo e Ines Di Lelio

  6. lorraine williamson

    Hi, love the list will share it with my boys who are teenagers who love to cook. We each have our own recipe books have to put this list in there. Love the blog following you via bloggy hop


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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: