Ok, one day left in 2020. One! We did it.
Now, I don't exacccctly know what 2021 will bring, but one thing that I have absolutely loved this year is seeing so many people learn how to cook new things!
One of the things that I think has been so important this year is the idea of caring for yourself and doing things at home alone (sad, yes), even if they aren't necessarily your favorite things. I have a dear friend who dislikes cooking, but damn it if her Insta isn't full of wonderful, nourishing foods for her family week in and week out of this year.
That kind of cooking inspired this list. Listen, I'm fully aware that not everyone is super duper duper duper into cooking like I am. I also think, though, that there is a basic self care function to cooking. You don't have to love it, but some kitchen skills are really useful.
Like with most things in life, the middle ground of "I can feed myself" is still a pretty wide spectrum. It's ok to not be fancy, it's ok to see cooking as a Thing To Get Done.
SO. As we work toward anti-resolutions (just bare minimum intentions, please), I came up with this list of Things To Know How To Cook. Some of them are simple, some of them take a bit more time. All of these recipes, though, are easy basics that you only need one of.
I tried to include lots of categories in this list: something for potlucks, something for appetizers, a breakfast item, etc. These are ordered roughly in chronological order for a day with a few extras (foolproof side dish, etc).
I hope you find something for every meal of the day in this list!
My Best Basic Recipes, right here!
- Perfect basic pancakes. I don't make any other kind of pancakes, ever. I sometimes add blueberries if I'm feeling fancy, but only to mine because pancakes should be PLAIN per everyone else in my house.
- A DIY basic quiche. I buy storebought crust, use the same egg + cream + cheese ratios, and add random leftover roasted veggies, crispy bacon, handfuls of spinach, or anything else I'm feeling when I make this. It's different every time!
- Cheese Toast. I make this with a few spices to make it feel like cooking, the kids adore it, and there is nothing to say that adults eating cheese toast doesn't count as a full meal.
- Lemon vinaigrette. For your cheese toast! A quick green salad is the best easy side dish for any meal, and having dressing already in the fridge makes it even more doable. I make a batch of this exact dressing almost every weekend.
- Ground Beef for Tacos. This is the first of two ground meat recipes on this list, but it's one of my favorite make-ahead ingredients. This particular recipe works great with ground beef or turkey, freezes really well, and can be used in burritos, taco salads, enchiladas, or any Mexican favorites. It's SO good and so foolproof.
- A 15 minute homemade hibachi shrimp that has been one of my most popular recipes for almost 10 years. Sub chicken, steak, or tofu for other protein preferences!
- The no-knead bread that made my 2020 bearable. So many of you have made this in all kinds of conditions and trust me, it just works every single time.
- Spaghetti meat sauce. It takes some time with simmering, but this is hands down the best Bolognese I've ever made. I love keeping this in the freezer or using it for lasagna.
- Baked Tofu. It gets a quick marinade, baked in the oven, crispy edges, chewy centers, the ideal tofu for any grain bowl or to go on top of salads. This tofu is also gluten free and vegan; excellent for sharing with lots of folks who may have dietary restrictions!
- The best one-bowl fudge brownies ever, hands down. No mix needed, although there's certainly nothing wrong with a brownie mix.
Now, what would you add to this list? These are some of my favorites, week in and week out, works for lots of meals and applications. These are recipes that, to me, are worth it to master.
Have a happy, happy New Year's Eve and Day, no matter if you have plans or not (not). See you in 2021!