15 Recipes to Master Before You Hit 30 (and the Tools You Need to Conquer Them)

As a preteen in rural North Carolina, I subscribed to Bon Apétit and Gourmet alongside Teen Vogue and Seventeen, aspirationally poring over complex recipes in the same way I did the glamorous clothes I couldn’t afford. How did one pronounce "roux"? Where was I going to find lemongrass in my small town? Did lemons grow in grass? Now in my third decade, I still can’t afford the clothes, but I can whip together dinner for four in under an hour.

Much of this has to do with cheats I build in for myself in advance. (True life: My freezer looks like I’m prepping for the apocalypse.) It admittedly requires a bit of forethought, but if you double your recipes—whether it be components or full meals—when you’re feeling inspired or have the extra time in the kitchen, your exhausted weeknight self will have a lot less to do. I can’t tell you the joy of finding a homemade pre-portioned lasagna for one when you're scrounging around in the freezer at the end of a long day.

Now that you’re a bonafide, bill-paying adult, it’s time to master a few basic recipes to make when you need to feed yourself or a crowd over for dinner. Who knows? You may even find meditation in the chopping and blissful smells that fill the room. Or maybe you’ll dread it—but wait! Before you order that pizza, take a look at the 15 basic and delicious recipes below. We’ve included our go-to shortcuts for when no one’s watching to make your life even easier.