I grew up cooking and helping my mom in the kitchen. It comes as second nature to me. I’ve cooked with friends before and am sometimes surprised at how techniques that I use every day are unfamiliar to them.
What are some of the most important cooking skills for any adult to know? I came up with 10 things that are essential to being able to cook at least an occasional meal for yourself. Take a look at this list and see how many you know!
1. How to chop an onion.
2. How to use a grill to make hamburgers and steak.
3. How to hard boil an egg.
4. How to cook pasta.
5. How to plan a meal and how to prepare the main dish and side dishes at the same time.
6. How to steam vegetables.
7. How to roast vegetables.
8. How to roast a whole chicken.
9. How to make a simple dessert (i.e. chocolate chip cookies!).
10. How to shred chicken.
One of the hardest things to master can be #5: How to plan a meal and how to prepare the main dish and side dishes at the same time. The key to multitasking and making sure everything is ready to eat at the same time is to plan ahead!
Whether I’m planning a meal for a party, dinner with friends or just making a typical dinner for Andrew and I, I will usually start with deciding on the main dish. I have an arsenal of our favorite dishes that I rotate. I also like to browse Pinterest to find a new recipe to try!
Once I pick the main dish, I pick a veggie to go with it, and decide whether I want to steam or roast it. We usually eat rice or quinoa with just about every meal, but you could also use potatoes or pasta.
Now that you have your entire meal planned out, take a look at your recipes see how long each part of the meal needs to cook. Start with your prep work — preheat the oven, start boiling water to make pasta or rice, clean and chop veggies, prep your meat.
As I said before, planning ahead is key. Know how long each part of your meal will take, and make sure you start with whatever will take the longest. It’s also helpful to know what needs to be finished right when it’s time to eat, or what could sit for a few minutes while you finish up the rest of the meal. For example, once rice is finished cooking, you could leave it covered for 5 or 10 minutes, but you would want to serve a steak as soon you take it off the grill.
If you are new to cooking, start simple and have grace for yourself! Even though I cook almost every day, I still mess this up sometimes. I’ll underestimate how long it takes to cook something and end up having everything else ready and getting cold way too early. It takes practice, but you start to learn little tricks and what works best for your favorite meals.
How many of these 10 skills do you know? Which one do you think is the most important?