In the face of recapping the seven things I didn't learn until I turned 30, I was, alas, proud to assert that full mastery over a grilled cheese sandwich was not among them. One's 20s are fraught with adventure and growth. You're collecting experiences like butterflies, so why not recipes too? When it comes to starter kits in the kitchen, a few handy tools and tried-and-true dishes make the journey all the more enjoyable. Even if you're a Cup O'Noodles–level novice as a chef, we're here to hold your hand through the mastery of some truly essential recipes.
Not only will these delicious and easy-to-execute meals flip your kitchen into a culinary drawcard among friends, they'll also save you money. Cooking at home is one of the most efficient ways to budget. Spend those hard-won dollars on seeing the world, educating your eye, and venturing into the great unknown. While you're doing all that, it also pays to know how to cook a decent breakfast taco. Here's our list of recipes every 20-something should have on lock.
My personal secret to the perfect grilled cheese involved cooking with ghee (aka adding an amount to the skillet generous enough to appease my southern mom's standards.) These candied whiskey bacon grilled cheese dippers take the classic sandwich to a whole new level. Perfect for late-night bites or a simple comfort food fallback, the combination of sweet and savory will wow your peers.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unless you count brunch, or anytime breakfast is served for dinner. We won't belabor the point. A classic omelet recipe is easy enough to nail. Pay attention to your skillet heat. Adding eggs to a skillet that's too hot will cause them to stick to the bottom. Scrambled eggs are best cooked low and slow. Omelet technique, much like crêpe technique, is all in the wrist. Named after the Netball World Cup in Australia, the Netball Omelet, aka this delectable fresh mushroom omelet, is a winner for any game day.
Dish by Dish
Waffles were a staple of the college cafeteria scene. The joys of owning your own waffle maker as a grown-up cannot be overstated. You'd be surprised how many recipes can be accomplished with the help of the handy device, which does all the cooking for you. Experiment with sweet, savory, or seasonal batters until you find a signature dish. We're voting for these gluten-free pumpkin waffles as the ideal entry point for fall brunch entertaining.
It sounds simple, yet nothing goes over at a party like the perfect guacamole. Every chef will have their own "secret" ingredient. A tablespoon of mayo or homemade aioli will add a velvety texture. Add habañeros or serrano peppers to give it a kick. To bring in a boost of superfood, we're flagging this fresh kale guacamole recipe. It's perfect for showing off your farmer's market skills.
From breakfast tacos to vegan versions, the glory of this simple Mexican favorite is a ubiquitous crowd-pleaser. This breakfast taco with bacon slaw and chipotle sauce recipe is all you need to cut your teeth on perfecting some signature moves. Serving up this Sunday morning ritual after a Saturday night of revelry will make your kitchen a destination in its own right. The sauce DIY alone is gold.
Whether attending a potluck, serving a group, or simply looking for a meal to last the whole week through—lasagna delivers. If you're new to the kitchen, the dish is one of the most fun things to make due to its layered approach. Think of it like Tetris with cheese. A single pan of this roasted vegetable lasagna with burrata will plate multiple servings, so you'll get the most bang for your kitchen efforts.
The mark of a good brownie is undoubtedly texture. It mustn't be too light, too chewy, too bready, or too crumbly. Achieving the proper alchemy of elements from density to sweetness requires lots of experimentation. Alternatively, you can just follow this insanely delicious Midnight Diablo Brownie recipe and add your own flare. Feel free to improvise with the secret ingredients.
In your 20s? What recipes are you looking to master? Fill us in and shop a few of our kitchen must-haves below.
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