Easy Recipes Every 20-Something Year Old Should Know

Cooking can be a daunting task, especially if your parents have cooked for you your whole life. Well, fear not. After a year of culinary classes, I have accumulated the five easiest recipes you can make with little to no experience in the kitchen. Don't be scared to take these recipes and make them your own, because that is what cooking is all about.

Pomodoro Bruschetta

Picture courtesy of justwestco.com

A simple dish that can be served at any gathering. Bruschetta is refreshing, healthy and only needs six ingredients. The best part of bruschetta is that you just have to cut and mix. No baking needed, and it pairs great topped on garlic bread or crackers.

Ingredients

  • 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Spanish Rice

Photo courtesy of dinnerthendessert.com

One of the most perfect side dishes! Spanish rice can go with just about any kind of meat and it takes only a few minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup onions, finely chopped

  • ½ cup red bell peppers, seeded, ribs removed and diced,

  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and cut into small dice

  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice

  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce

  • 2 cups of water

  • Salt, pepper and cumin to taste

Preparation

  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, then add the onions, tomato, red peppers and celery; saute until soft.

  • Add the garlic and cook for another minute while stirring.

  • Add the rice and stir together to mix. Add the tomato sauce and the water carefully. Season the mixture then bring it to a boil.

  • Once it’s boiling, lower the heat, cover the pot and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes until the rice is fully cooked then fold in the cilantro.

Potato Leek Soup

Photo courtesy of jessicagavin.com

A simple soup that is filling and easy to make. It seems like a daunting recipe but it takes about half an hour to make, and most of it is just letting it simmer. It’s perfect for anyone who loves soup but is tired of Campbell’s and mom’s chicken noodle soup. This recipe can also be altered to be vegetarian.

Ingredients

  • 3 large leeks

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)

  • 2 lbs potatoes (Yukon gold or russet), peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces

  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, or ½ tsp of dried thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

  • Sprinkle of red chili sauce of your choice

  • Pepper to taste

Preparation

  • Cut off the tough dark, green tops of the leeks and discard them. Slice the white and light green parts of the leeks crosswise into ¼-inch thick slices

  • Melt butter on medium heat in a 3-4 quart thick-bottomed pot. Add the chopped leeks and stir to coat them in the butter. Cover the pot and lower the heat to low, cook the leeks for 10 minutes until they are softened but not browning.

  • Add the rest of the ingredients and increase the heat to bring, bringing the soup to a simmer. Once it’s simmering lower the heat to maintain a low simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.

  • Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig before blending the soup together.

Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Photo courtesy of thechunkychef.com

A simple recipe that can easily be turned into your own. All you need is potatoes, olive oil and your seasoning of choice. I prefer to use fresh chopped up rosemary and cayenne pepper, but the beauty of cooking is that everyone can make their own variation of the same dish and you don’t have to follow exact measurements.

Ingredients

  • 8 baby red potatoes, cut into wedges

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • ½ tsp paprika

  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

  • ⅛-¼ tsp cayenne pepper

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 450ºF and toss the potato wedges with the other ingredients.

  • Roast potatoes on a baking sheet until the wedges are golden brown and crisp, this takes approximately 20-25 minutes.

Baked Chicken Breasts

Photo courtesy of itsyummi.com

Another easy recipe that takes very little knowledge and can be altered for every person. It doesn’t matter what seasoning you use, you can even do the seasoning different every time you make chicken.

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF and season chicken to your liking.

  • Bake the chicken for 22-26 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165ºF

  • Let the chicken rest before serving it.