If You're In Your 20s, You Should Know How To Make These Dishes

This article was originally published on July 27, 2016.

We all have those friends who are mini Ina Gartens in the making — always whipping up fancy dishes and hosting dinner parties. Even if we're not there quite yet, there are some basic cooking skills that are super important in our constant quest to be real-life adults.
From chopping onions to scrambling eggs and everything in between, here are the kitchen techniques you should already know. Don't worry, we've already included tips, tricks, and recipes, just in case you're still learning.
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Photographed by Daniel Castro.
Smoothies
Smoothies are a great breakfast, snack, or anytime treat. But a store-bought version can cost upwards of $10 despite the fact that they're super simple to make at home. All it takes is a blender or an immersion blender (if you're working with a tiny kitchen) and a simple formula to get you started. Our fave starter combo is frozen banana, strawberries, almond milk, and orange juice. We've even got some great hacks to make things EVEN easier.
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Photo: Getty Images.
Tomato Sauce
Tomato sauce is delicious, versatile, and most importantly, easy to make. No need to buy the jar kind and then end up wasting half of it when you can just make your own. Plus, you'll score major points if you're having a friend or S.O. over for dinner. Use it for the obvious — pasta! — or serve it with chicken or veggies. The possibilities are endless. Plus, it freezes really well, so you can make a big batch and save the rest.
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Photographed by Jackie Alpers.
Chocolate Chip Cookies Or Brownies
Nothing beats a freshly baked dessert, straight from the oven. And once you've practiced one of the (back of the chocolate chip package) standard recipes a few times, you'll have them down forever.
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Photographed by Liz Clayman.
Eggs
If you've really never cooked anything other than, ahem, cereal before, eggs are a great place to start. You can put an egg on pretty much anything to turn it into a meal. Once you get scrambled eggs down, try making them hardboiled or even poached!
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Photo: Getty Images.
Chicken Soup
It might seem hard, but chicken soup is actually one of the simplest soups to make. It just requires throwing a bunch of only semi-chopped veggies into a pot and simmering it for a few hours. It's really hard to mess up. Not to mention, chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food and you can make it in bulk — win-win.
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Photographed by Sara Haile.
A Good Sandwich
Even if we still eat a lot of PB&Js with the crusts cut off, making a legit sandwich is a key skill. Yes, we're talking good bread, multiple veggies, and some kind of shmancy condiment.
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Photographed by Janelle Jones.
Chopping Veggies
We're not saying you should be a mincing or julienning pro just yet, but you should know your way around a knife and be able to chop things in relatively uniform chunks without losing a finger in the process. Need a refresher? We've got you covered.
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Photographed by Eric Helgas.
Fancy Dinner
Everyone should have one go-to nice dinner in their back pocket. And don't be intimidated! A simplified steak dinner or an easy parchment packet salmon would do the trick. That way, if you're having people over (or trying to convince your parents of your adulthood) you'll already have an impressive dish you're comfortable whipping up.
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Photographed by Julia Stotz.
Coffee
Pick a method — whether it's a regular old coffee pot, a pour over, a French press, or cold brew — and learn how to make good-tasting cup of Joe. You'll save a ton of money and you can offer coffee to anyone who comes over. Sounds like adulting to us.
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Photographed by Davide Luciano.
Pasta
Learning to make pasta is pretty much step one of having your first kitchen. Pay attention to the package's cook times, make sure to salt your water, and cook your noodles al dente. After you've got the basics down, try a few of these easy recipes.
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Photographed by Ingalls Photo.
Easy One-Pot (Or One-Pan) Weeknight Dinner
Another back pocket necessity — a meal you can whip up in 20 to 30 minutes with just one pot or pan. It'll save you from your Seamless habit and make weeknights SO much easier.
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Photographed by Eric Helgas.
Salad Dressing
If you're in a bind, you can always just mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper for a no-fuss dressing. But, knowing how to make one nicer salad dressing ensures that you're always just a few greens and veggies a way from a meal. Our fave? Shake together olive oil, seasoned rice wine vinegar, crushed garlic, and lemon juice in a jar.
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Photographed by Will Styler.
Cheap Meals (Grilled Cheese)
When we're saving cash, we often turn to peanut butter sandwiches and cereal. That's why learning some other low-cost, easy recipes is seriously essential. A good grilled cheese feels substantial, but the ingredients will only cost a few dollars.
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