The 7 Meals Every Recent Grad Should Know How to Cook

Some kids go off to college knowing how to braise, truss, sauté, and simmer. And then there's the rest of us.

The thing is, cooking just isn't that hard. Sure, there are dinners that take hours (or even days) to prepare, but we're not here to talk about those. Today, we're focusing on the basics. These recipes are the simple, must-make meals that everyone (we're looking at you kitchen nubes) can -- and should! -- cook right now. And a special thanks to our facebook followers who offered up their favorite EDF recipes.

Every Week Roast Chicken

Sarah Carey declares this recipe a winner and her personal favorite. Stop fearing raw poultry and try this now -- remember to let your bird come to room temperature before popping it in the oven (it will cook more evenly that way).

1 whole chicken (a 3 1/2 to 4 pound bird will serve 4)
Coarse salt
Olive oil (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season chicken generously with salt. If the bird is small, rub with olive oil for color, but this isn't necessary for one larger than 3 1/2 pounds. Tie legs together and tuck wing tips beneath body. Roast on a small rimmed baking sheet until an instant-read thermometer inserted in a thigh reads 165 degrees, about 12 minutes per pound. Let chicken rest 10 minutes before carving.

Cook's Note If you like, add:
Herbs: Tuck a few sprigs inside the cavity and underneath the chicken. Good picks are rosemary, thyme, savory, and oregano.
Vegetables: Toss them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes around the bird at the start of cooking; add garlic, onion, lemon, and parsnips after 30 minutes.

Related: 15 Kitchen Shortcuts That Will Change the Way You Cook

Smoky Beef Tacos

First dinner party? Make it Mexican-themed and try these super simple Smoky Beef Tacos. Their flavors are layered with richness but won't overpower the margaritas (we suggest this Chili-Citrus version) you serve alongside.

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1/2 cup ketchup
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 boneless beef chuck roast (about 3 pounds), excess fat trimmed
16 corn tortillas (6-inch), lightly toasted
Avocado-Red Onion Relish
Corn-and-Tomato Salsa
Cilantro-Lime Crema

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, stir together chiles, ketchup, 1 cup water, garlic, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

2. Cut beef into 4 equal pieces. Add to pot, and turn to coat. Cover, and bring to a boil; transfer pot to oven. Bake, covered, until beef is fork-tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

3. Transfer beef to a bowl. With a large spoon, skim off and discard fat from cooking liquid. Shred beef with two forks; moisten with cooking liquid as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve beef with tortillas and desired toppings.

Cook's Note
To soften the tortillas and give them a quick char, toast them directly over a low gas flame using tongs (or use a dry skillet on medium heat).

Related: Fast, One-Pot Meal Ideas To Feed the Whole Family

Beer-Braised Sausages with Warm Potato Salad

Nothing fancy here -- just a ridiculously tasty dinner. Braising is an essential cooking skill. Practiced on small foods, like these sausages, it can later be applied to larger (and sometimes scarier) meats and vegetables.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausages
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
12 ounces pale ale beer
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, halved
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add sausages and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add beer, potatoes, and 2 cups water; season with salt and pepper and press to submerge potatoes in cooking liquid. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Transfer sausages to a serving platter and keep warm. In a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar, and parsley. With a slotted spoon, transfer potato mixture to dressing (reserve cooking liquid) and toss to combine.

3. Return pot to high heat; boil cooking liquid until reduced to 1 cup, about 12 minutes. Return sausages to pot and cook until heated through, 2 minutes. Place sausages and dressed potatoes on serving platter; drizzle half the sauce over top. Serve sausages and potatoes with remaining sauce alongside.

Cook's Note
Italian sausages are delicious in this recipe, but other sausages, such as chicken or turkey, also work well.

How to Turn Any Summer Fruit into a Crumble

This basic dessert formula should be in your culinary arsenal. Choose whatever seasonal fruit looks good to you and change things up throughout the summer.

Peach Crumble

For The Filling
2 pounds peaches or nectarines, cut into 1/2-inch wedges (6 cups)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

For The Topping
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup light-brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the filling: Combine peaches, granulated sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish.

2. Make the topping: In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt and, with your hands, mix until large pieces form. Scatter over filling.

3. Bake until center is bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes, tenting loosely with foil after 30 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Crumble Creator

Same easy steps as the Peach Crumble recipe above, different delicious flavors. Each filling also gets 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt.

6 cups fruit
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
5 teaspoons cornstarch

5 1/2 cups fruit
1 cup granulated sugar
5 teaspoons cornstarch

2 pounds fruit, cut into 1/2-inch wedges (6 cups)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons cornstarch

2 pounds fruit, thinly sliced (6 cups)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 teaspoons cornstarch

Spicy Orecchiette with Broccoli. Pasta is our go-to weeknight meal and this one delivers major flavor. Kitchen Tip: Always remember to reserve some pasta water for your sauce!

Blueberry-Orange Cornmeal Muffins. Good morning! Got surprise brunch guests? No sweat. Making a quick bread or muffin won't take more than an hour from start to finish (and is always more satisfying than store-bought baked goods).

Potato-Leek Frittata. Yes, eggs are a breakfast food. But, sometimes, we call them dinner (or, yep, lunch too!). Forget flipping individual omelets for parties -- which can take some serious skills -- and bake this elegant alternative. Served with a side of peppery greens, this is a light meal you can rely on.

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Easy, Everyday Meatless Recipes