Learning to cook for yourself is probably one of the most essential of skills and one you should master before living on your own. If you are just venturing out into the world on your own, either to a college campus or moving into an apartment with a roommate, there are many easy dinners you can learn to make. We’re all guilty of eating out more than we should as young adults but learning to cook simple, delicious recipes will not only save you money in the long run, it’s also a lot healthier than eating cheap fast food! Here are ten easy dinners that will leave your mouth watering!
1. Baked Mac & Cheese
This is a great easy dinner to stave off the comfort food cravings. I mean, who doesn’t like a plate of some good old mac & cheese every now and then? But baking it takes it to a whole other level! The basic ingredients needed are elbow macaroni, shredded cheese of your choosing (cheddar and parmesan are awesome), and a little milk and butter. You’ll probably need a pinch of salt and pepper too but believe me, once you find a good recipe you like, you’ll be making this dinner at least once a week!
2. Stir Fry
Stir fry is a good option when you have a lot of leftover vegetables that you need to use up. Recipes vary depending on where you look but for the most part, you’ll need chopped vegetables (broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, and mushrooms), a package of thin spaghetti, and oil, and one boneless chicken breast. After you saute the veggies in some canola oil and garlic, do the same for the chicken which should be cut into cubes while the noodles are boiling. Mix everything together in a giant saucepan and add either teriyaki sauce or make your own! Your mouth will be watering just from the heavenly aroma!
3. Chicken Cutlets
Chicken cutlets are typically easy to make but take a little work. You’ll need to slice some rinsed chicken breasts into thin cutlets and cover in flour, then an egg batter, and finally the breadcrumbs. Fry them in canola oil for about 5 minutes each side on medium to high heat and repeat until you have a full plate of golden brown chicken cutlets! Serve with a side of steamed veggies or penne pasta for a filling dinner!
4. Chicken Broccoli Fettuccini
Another very easy recipe is chicken broccoli fettuccini in alfredo sauce. You can always buy the alfredo sauce already made in a jar from the store or you can make your own. Cut the chicken into cubes and cook in a bit of oil and garlic. You can add either frozen broccoli or fresh and mix in with the pasta once it’s done. Combine everything together and pour the alfredo sauce, letting the whole thing cook for another few minutes with the pot covered. You will definitely go for a second plate!
5. Quesadilla Night
Quesadillas are fairly simple to make whether you have a quesadilla maker or not. For those that don’t, you’ll need to grill the chicken before starting. Then cut into strips and place onto a flour tortilla while it heats up and add a Mexican blend of shredded cheeses. Fold the tortilla over so everything is covered and press down with a spatula so the cheese will melt. See, you don’t need to go to that Mexican restaurant down the street when you can just make it at home!
6. Chicken Noodle Soup
You should always have a good soup recipe handy for cold winter nights or when you’re simply feeling under the weather. Chicken noodle soup is a well-loved recipe for people of all ages and really easy to make! Basic ingredients include diced chicken, chopped up celery and carrots, chicken broth, and egg noodles. The egg noodles should always be added last since they cook pretty fast but everything else can be boiled together. Add a dash of pepper and parsley and you have a heart-warming dinner ready!
7. Mexican Burritos
Another favorite for when you are craving some Mexican food. Making burritos is an easy option during the middle of the week when you have leftover rice and chicken or steak. Reheat the meat and rice and heat up a flour tortilla as usual. Add in your favorite cheese, beans, and lettuce, and voila! You won’t even realize you’re eating leftovers!
8. Baked Salmon Dinner
Salmon fillets bake pretty fast in the oven and is a healthy, nutritious meal option during the week. Prepare the salmon with your favorite condiments like paprika powder, garlic, and salt and pepper. Herbs like thyme and rosemary also help to enhance the flavor of the salmon. Serve with a side of rice and green beans and even your roommate will be amazed at how simple this dinner is!
9. Steak and Cheese Subs
Comfort food is seriously the best and here is another favorite. Season the shaved steak with some salt and pepper as it cooks and make sure to add sliced bell peppers and mushrooms. Prep the rolls with your favorite slices of cheese and add as much steak as your heart desires. Your belly will thank you and will ask for more!
10. Shrimp Scampi
This recipe is great to end the week with or one to try when you are having a date night at home. Cook the shrimp in butter and olive oil and toss in some garlic for flavor. Once the shrimp has turned pink, add a cup of white wine and let simmer for a few minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, squeeze fresh lemon over it and garnish with parsley before adding the cooked pasta. This dinner will definitely make your mouth water and make it feel as though you’re eating at a fancy restaurant!