LIFESTYLE

From Perfect Grilled Chicken To Brownies: 17 Essential Recipes Everyone Should Know

22/04/2017 14:53 SAST | Updated 22/04/2017 16:28 SAST

You don’t need to be a gourmet cook with legions of cookbooks to please your friends and family. So long as you have tried and true recipes for the basics — grilled chicken, deviled eggs, tomato sauce, chocolate chip cookies, and so on — you’ll be able to whip up a crowd-pleasing meal with ease.

1. Perfectly Grilled Chicken Breasts

This is my basic, go-to grilled chicken — perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or cookout — and so versatile. You can serve the fillets on their own (kids love them), topped with cheese on a toasted bun, chopped up in a quesadilla or sliced over a Greek or Caesar salad. They’re quick and easy: you do all of the prep ahead of time and you won’t dirty a single bowl. GET THE RECIPE

2. Deviled Eggs

This classic deviled egg recipe promises a creamy, fluffy, lump-free filling without gobs of mayo. I like to dress the filled eggs with herbs, but feel free to add your own favorite toppings. GET THE RECIPE

3. Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These chocolate chunk cookies come out tender, puffy, and fudgy with perfectly crisp edges — guaranteed. GET THE RECIPE

4. Homemade Tomato Sauce with Basil

Jarred tomato sauce is fine in a pinch, but if you’ve got a little extra time, this homemade sauce is totally worth it. GET THE RECIPE

5. Roast Chicken with Herb Butter

Everyone needs a good basic roast chicken recipe in his or her repertoire. This one, inspired by Laurie David’s The Family Dinner cookbook, is one of my favorite family meals. GET THE RECIPE

6. Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tangy and a touch sweet, this is a great all-purpose vinaigrette. The secret is a spoonful of Dijon mustard, which acts as an emulsifier and makes the dressing nice and thick. GET THE RECIPE

7. Potatoes Au Gratin

This dish involves layering thinly sliced potatoes with heavy cream and grated cheese, and then baking until the cream reduces and blankets the potatoes in a rich, creamy sauce. Definitely special occasion-worthy! GET THE RECIPE

8. A Nice Lasagna

This lasagna comes from Julia Turshen’s lovely cookbook, Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs (Chronicle Books, 2016). Not only is it the simplest lasagna I’ve ever made, it’s also the lightest and most elegant. GET THE RECIPE

9. Perfect French Toast

French toast is easy to make on a busy weekday morning. This version cooks up slightly crisp on the exterior and creamy on the interior, and tastes almost like bread pudding. GET THE RECIPE

10. Juicy Steakhouse Burgers

It’s difficult to replicate steakhouse burgers at home because most steakhouses use closely-guarded recipes and custom ground beef mixes, both of which are hard to find. But it can be done! The secret is to use readily available 85% lean ground beef, a panade — or mixture of bread and milk that keeps meat tender and juicy even when cooked to medium-well — and lots of seasoning. GET THE RECIPE

11. Caesar Salad Dressing

Most people buy Caesar salad dressing in a bottle, but homemade is easy to make and so much better. This rich and creamy version is the one my whole family loves. It’s not too garlicky and not too fishy — it’s just right. GET THE RECIPE

12. Best Ever Rice Krispies Treats

Thought classic Rice Krispies Treats couldn’t get any better? Wrong! A few simple tweaks to the original back-of-the-box recipe take them to a whole new level. GET THE RECIPE

13. Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

In this classic French beef stew, chunks of beef are slowly braised with garlic and onions in a wine-based broth. After a few hours, the meat becomes meltingly tender and enveloped in a rich, deeply flavored sauce. With over 1,000 reviews, it’s my most popular recipe. GET THE RECIPE

14. Banana Bread

This is my go-to banana bread recipe. It’s phenomenal right out of the oven, and delicious all over again when you toast it for breakfast the next day. GET THE RECIPE

15. Classic Tomato Soup

This is the ultimate tomato soup and it’s incredibly easy to make. The only chopping involves some onions, garlic and basil — the rest comes out of cartons and jars (though you’d never know by tasting it). GET THE RECIPE

16. Best Blueberry Muffins

Bursting with fresh blueberries with a tender crumb and sparkling sugar crust, these really are the best blueberry muffins. GET THE RECIPE

17. Supernatural Brownies

If you’ve been searching for the perfect brownie recipe, look no further. I promise you, this is it!  The recipe comes from Nick Malgieri’s Chocolate cookbook, an excellent resource for all things chocolate. GET THE RECIPE