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Whether you're a beginner in the kitchen or a pro, there are a few standard dishes that you *should* be able to whip up when life calls for them.
You know, chicken noodle soup for those inevitable sick days, the perfect basic mac and cheese for potlucks, chocolate chip cookies for midnight cravings, guacamole for girl's night, brownies for chocolate fixes …
You get the picture!
And the good news is we've got you covered on all the sweet and savory standards. (Plus a few of Rach's personal classics!)
Now go make Rach proud!
With only 5 ingredients, this recipe couldn't make it easier to ditch the box! Watch Rach make it in the video above.
GET THE RECIPE: 5-Ingredient Mac and Cheese
Fair warning: 'Butter' your grilled cheese bread with mayo instead of butter and you may never do it any other way again.
GET THE RECIPE: Perfect Grilled Cheese
"It's extremely simple," Rach says, "but the key is 24 hours in the refrigerator, uncovered."
GET THE RECIPE: Rachael's Italian Roast Chicken
Turns out the secret ingredient to light-as-air eggs is EVOO, according to "Milk Street" founder and chef Chris Kimball.
GET THE RECIPE: Fluffy Olive Oil Scrambled Eggs
5. French Toast
For when bagels and cereal just don't cut it on a Saturday morning.
GET THE RECIPE: Rachael's Parmigiano-Reggiano French Toast
According to culinary producer Grant, room temperature butter is key for these masterpieces.
GET THE RECIPE: Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is Rach's version of a Big Mac -- and her special sauce does *not* disappoint. (Though you can skip it for ketchup and mayo if you want to go ultra-classic!)
GET THE RECIPE: Double Cheeseburgers with Special Ranch
We doubt the kiddos will ever say no to this simple, go-to dinner!
GET THE RECIPE: Rachael's Ultimate Spaghetti and Meatball Supper
9. Pizza Dough
For when you need to give the takeout menu drawer a little break but are wearing thin on patience, this recipe only has 3 (easy-to-memorize!) ingredients and doesn't call for *any* kneading or dough rising.
GET THE RECIPE: 1-2-3 Pizza Dough
If you want to go the old-fashioned route, though, you can try Rachael's One-Hour Pizza Dough!
You’ll never buy another bottle of pre-made salad dressing again!
GET THE RECIPE: Basic Vinaigrette
Every mom must eventually master chicken noodle soup, right? Rach calls hers "really easy and really delicious," so you really can't go wrong bookmarking this one.
GET THE RECIPE: Chicken Noodle Soup
12. Mashed Potatoes
So you always have something to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner!
Pro tips: for the ultimate fluffiness, Rach suggests passing the potatoes through a food mill or a ricer. And instead of relying on your microwave to warm them up, keep them in a bain-marie (a.k.a. a water bath) until they're ready to serve.
GET THE RECIPE: Garlicky Mashed Potatoes
As Rach puts it, "Everything is better with bacon." Case in point: this chili recipe. Have you ever looked forward to cold-weather days more?)
GET THE RECIPE: Rachael's Serious 3-Meat Chili
International bestselling cookbook author Nigella Lawson makes this recipe that serves 2-4 when she's in desperate need of a brownie but doesn't want to risk devouring a full batch on her own. (No one's stopping you from multiplying the ingredients, though!)
GET THE RECIPE: Nigella Lawson's Emergency Brownies
Spinach and feta make a perfect match in this versatile breakfast, lunch or dinner option -- but don't be afraid to use whatever odds and ends you have on hand in the fridge instead!
GET THE RECIPE: Rachael's Spinach and Feta Frittata
This lasagna inspired by Rach's favorite childhood restaurant takes a little effort but man, oh, man is it worth it!
GET THE RECIPE: Mamma Leone-Style Meat, Spinach and Sausage Lasagna
17. Marinara Sauce
Whether you put it on pasta for an easy dinner or use it as a dipping sauce, this one's a must to have on your cooking roster.
GET THE RECIPE: Buddy Valastro's Marinara Sauce
If you have a girl's night without guacamole, did you even really have a girl's night? And if you have guacamole without a kick, did you even really have guacamole? (Rach would say no!)
This recipe has the perfect not-too-hot-but-just-spicy-enough balance of jalapeno and lime juice.
Chef Chris Kimball's got plenty of tricks up his sleeve to help you make this picture-perfect apple pie.
GET THE RECIPE: American Apple Pie
This is Rach's hubby John's absolute FAVORITE (she makes it for him every Valentine's Day) -- so it’s definitely a staple in our books.
GET THE RECIPE: Classic Spaghetti Carbonara
Nothing says "happy birthday" more than a *homemade* birthday cake. And if you'd rather chocolate cake, we have that, too!
GET THE RECIPE: Buddy Valastro's Vanilla Cake
Because at some point, we all have to accept that veggies need to be a part of our diet. And in the words of chef Kelsey Nixon, referring to this roasted veggies recipe of hers, "Anyone can handle that!"
Pro tip: Chop all of your veggies into like shapes and sizes so they cook evenly and at the same rate.
GET THE RECIPE: Roasted Root Vegetables with Cider Vinaigrette
23. Tomato Soup
And if you're not dunking grilled cheese soldiers into it, you're missing out. (Rach puts fennel in this tomato soup to add a "special extra layer of flavor," but you can skip it if it's not your jam.)
GET THE RECIPE: Tomato-Vegetable Soup
After all, if you're doing it the way popular NYC restaurant chain The Meatball Shop does it, you've GOTTA be doing it right.
GET THE RECIPE: The Meatball Shop's Classic Beef Meatballs
Nothing beats the convenience of boxed pancake mix ... except maybe (nope, definitely) the flavor of this *homemade* batter. And it’s easy: only 6 ingredients!
GET THE RECIPE: Classic, Fluffy Pancakes
26. Juicy Steak
If your sirloin is 1-inch thick, Rach says it should take you about 8 minutes, while turning it occasionally, to cook it to mouthwatering perfection. How’s that for a quick dinner?!
GET THE RECIPE: 5-Ingredient Grilled Steak
The hot sauce makes the filling in these a little spicy while the pimientos give it a hint sweetness for balance.
GET THE RECIPE: Pimiento Cheese Deviled Eggs
This is a a crowd-pleaser if we've ever seen one. (And if you ask Rach, it's a must-know for hosts and hostesses!)
GET THE RECIPE: Pizza Cheese Ball
29. Go-To Stir Fry
You can substitute the cooked brown rice for wild white rice, or quinoa -- depending on what you have on hand -- personal trainer Bob Harper suggests.
GET THE RECIPE: Bob Harper's Signature Stir Fry
30. Caesar Salad
We bet you can make this just as well as they do at your favorite restaurant.
GET THE RECIPE: Rachael's Classic Caesar Salad With Homemade Croutons
Honestly, what CAN'T you dip or slather in this slightly spicy cheese sauce?
GET THE RECIPE: Date-Night Fondue
Because sometimes you (or the kiddos) are in the mood for something other than classic marinara.
GET THE RECIPE: Fettuccine Alfredo
33. Sheet Pan Nachos
Life pro tip: spreading out the chips means even toppings coverage.
GET THE RECIPE: Patricia Heaton's Epic Sheet Pan Nachos
If you *really* want to stick to the basics on this one, skip the bacon, oranges and almonds.
GET THE RECIPE: Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
35. Baked Ziti
Last but not least, the ULTIMATE potluck contribution.
GET THE RECIPE: Baked Ziti