Basic Recipes Everyone Should Know

I’m giving a friend a sort of “lesson” in shopping for and cooking food this weekend. Now, I’ve been married for nearly 6 years and cook most nights, but I’d never sat down and made a list of my go-to recipes, and I wish I had.
I’ve been attempting to compile a list of such basic recipes for our friend, but I kept going blank, feeling like I was forgetting things. The internet wasn’t helpful. Googling kept turning up short lists that I already had on my own list, or lists that were too advanced or too basic.  I finally found a decent list that had the right idea, but it was on a UK site, and tailored for British tastes (fish pie?).
Clearly, the internet needs this list. New graduates and newly marrieds need this information! So, after much thinking and googling, here’s the list I’ve compiled.

Random picture of Ingredients from Google.

Recipes Containing Beef:

Spaghetti (can be made without meat)
Lasagna (can be made without meat)
Sloppy Joes
Pot Roast
Chili (can be meatless)
Shepherd’s Pie / Cottage Pie

Recipes Containing Chicken:

Chicken Spaghetti
Baked Chicken
Roast Chicken
Bake-fried Chicken
Chicken Salad
Chicken and Rice
Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Pot Pie (can also be made with other meats or no meat)

Recipes with Other Meats:

How to substitute ground turkey for beef
Turkey Tetrazzini
Eggs, fried and scrambled
French toast
Tuna Salad or Casserole
Sausage and peppers
Stuffed Bells

Meat-free Recipes:

Baked Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes
Pizza / French Bread Pizza
Salad (can be made with meats)
Mac and Cheese
Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheese
Potato Salad
Pasta Salad / Baked Pastas
How to cook vegetables

Baking Recipes:

Dinner Rolls
Yellow Cake
Pie Crust
Banana Bread

Wow, this list ended up being longer than I expected. I think I’d consider this list fairly complete. It does, of course, reflect my own tastes in food, and a list compiled by someone else might be very different. That’s okay!

Some of these are what I’d call “first recipes” – recipes that people should learn first, because they are super easy and basic. Spaghetti is one of these. They’re great for nights when you don’t want to have to think, haha. The ingredients are typically cheap. They’re perfect for singles or newlyweds with a tight budget and a small kitchen and not a lot of experience.

Some of these are more advanced. I suppose we could call them “second recipes.” Some of them build on the foundations of the “first recipes” – you wouldn’t make Turkey Tetrazzini unless you can make spaghetti. They’re typically more complex than the others, but still basic enough for anybody to be able to make.

I think a lot of people would completely omit the baking section from this list, but I disagree. Firstly, baking has an undeserved reputation for being difficult. People – baking is EASY. Nothing elevates a meal of sloppy-joes-from-a-packet like fresh cornbread to go with it.

I know there is a huge lack of vegetable/vegetarian recipes here. Very regrettable. I thought of including things like Eggplant Parmesan, but I have to admit that we rarely eat meals like that. We’re not total carnivores – we try to eat a veggie with every meal. But it’s usually just plain peas or a salad. Sometimes we go totally meatless, and that’s where the dried beans usually show up. So I don’t have a lot of experience with veggie-only entree meals (I do love eggplant parm, though), and I also know that a lot of people just don’t like vegetables (my husband doesn’t like the texture of eggplant, for example). Sorry vegetarians. I’d love to see a veggie-focused list like this!

Now that I’ve written this lovely list, I’ve got an announcement. Let’s consider this list to be the Table of Contents for my resurrected Food section! I haven’t decided yet on a schedule, but from here on in, my food blogging will stem from this list. I haven’t even decided which recipe I’ll feature first – would you like to make a suggestion?