How to Adult: 5 "Grown-Up" Recipes to Have in Your Arsenal

Because no one wants to eat cereal and PB&J seven days a week.
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Oh, Homie...

Oh, Homie...

Do you ever come home from class or work and open your fridge for dinner, only to find condiments, takeout boxes, and wilted lettuce? (It's cool... we've all been there.) Or do you wander into the grocery store on Sunday only to realize you have no idea what to cook for yourself that week? 

Part of adulting is learning to feed yourself, and feeding yourself on a budget is a lot easier when you have a bunch of go-to recipes at your disposal. Even if you're a newbie to cooking, having a few dishes that you like and can cook easily will save you a lot of money and be way better for your health in the long run. 

The following foods are recipes I have in my "arsenal," or foods I come back to often when I'm making grocery lists or trying to stretch my budget. 

A Frittata


 Eggs and veggies and cheese, oh my! | Photo Credit

For the uninitiated, a frittata is like a fancy combination of an omelette and a quiche that is first cooked on the stove and then baked in an oven. 

Yes, it takes a little longer than an omelette, but the best part about a frittata is that you can beef it up with more fillings than an omelette and it's solid enough to cut, so you can make a frittata on Sunday and have breakfast until Friday. Or, you can make it for your friends for brunch and impress the pants off of them. Either way... frittata. 

Recipes to Try:

A Chicken Thing

roast chicken

Winner, winner... | Photo Credit

Sorry, veggie/vegan friends, but sometimes my tummy has the rumblies that only a dinner of a cooked chicken breast, a starch, and a veggie can satisfy. 

Keep a bag of chicken breasts or thighs in your freezer and whip this recipe out for a quick weeknight meal that makes you feel fancy. Use the leftovers sliced up on top of a salad or shredded for tacos.

Recipes to Try:

  • Chicken and Parsnip Fries with Spicy Vinegar from Epicurious
  • Vinegar-Marinated Chicken with Buttered Greens and Radishes from Bon Appetit
  • Ina Garten's Chicken Picatta via the Food Network
  • Smoky Roasted Chicken Breasts with Tomatoes and Chickpeas from TasteFood

Pad Thai

pad thai

GET IN MAH BELLY. | Photo Credit

Never succumb to the siren song of takeout pad thai again! This takeout staple is surprisingly easy to make at home, and can easily be made vegetarian or vegan. 

It does require a lot of ingredients, but once you've stocked up on the condiments (looking at you, fish sauce) and rice noodles (buy them in bulk at an Asian supermarket or restaurant supply to save some cash) you'll basically be able to make this whenever your little heart desires. 

Recipes to Try:

Minestrone Soup


All those veggies tho. | Photo Credit

Yeah, yeah, there are a lot of soups out there that are more exciting than minestrone, but if you're trying to eat healthfully or squeeze more veggies into your diet, minestrone soups are a comforting and filling choice.

They are also super, super easy to make, they freeze well, and you can use any veggies fading away in your crisper as long as you have tomatoes, garlic and onion for your base. 

Just remember that if you're making a minestrone with pasta, you'll want to cook the pasta separately and add it in AFTER the soup is fully cooked or reheated. A lot of these recipes just tell you to add it in while the soup is still cooking– don't do that. Your pasta will be overcooked and your leftovers will get slimy. 0/10, do not want. 

Recipes to Try:

A Pie

homemade pie

Baking a pie for your new neighbors is like, A++++ adulting. | Photo Credit

Your adulting arsenal isn't complete without a dessert you can whip up at a moment's notice and modify to your liking (no shame in using store-bought crusts– some days, ain't nobody got time for that). Cakes and cookies can be finicky, but it is really, really hard to mess up a pie. Generally, you'll only need a few tools as well– a spoon, a bowl, a knife, a cutting board, a pie pan, and maaaybe a rolling pin. 

Bring this pie to your family reunion and earn the approval of distant relatives. Bring it to a friend's barbecue and be hailed as a god by your peers who subside entirely on ramen. Give it to your cute new neighbor across the hall and meet the love of your life. YOU'RE WELCOME.  

Recipes to Try:

  • Blueberry-Pecan Galette from Bon Appetit
  • Peach Tart from Food52
  • Plum and Raspberry Pie from Food52
  • Rhubarb-Strawberry Lattice Pie from Martha Stewart
  • Your mom's secret recipe. This is a rite of passage, yo. Learn that pie recipe. 

What do you think?

What recipes do you have in your arsenal? Would you try any of these recipes? What adult-y type topics would you like to see in this column in the future? Let me know in the comments below!

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