Three No-Fail Recipes to Master 

posted: 02/17/17
by: Katie Morton
Checking the recipe

When life is busy with family commitments, work deadlines, kid's sports, and maintaining a home, getting food on the table each and every night can seem like one more burden to add to your list. Microwave dinners and takeout can be a saving grace when you're in a time crunch, but relying too heavily on take-out can be costly (and can pack on the pounds).

What to do? Simply learning how to prepare a handful of simple, savory, go-to recipes using just a few standard ingredients can be a game changer. Here are our three favorite recipes. We promise each one is simple and the end result will make dinner a pleasure, rather than a struggle.

1. Jamie Oliver's Perfect Roast Chicken

Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver touts his "super-reliable roast chicken recipe...juicy meat and crispy skin, every time." True, you can grab a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from many grocery store shelves these days. However, those pre-cooked chickens are often laden in fat or salt, and the meat may not be the best quality.

These are the basic ingredients to make the perfect roast chicken:

  • Whole chicken (organic is preferred)
  • Two onions
  • Two peeled carrots
  • Two celery sticks
  • Garlic
  • Splash of olive oil
  • One lemon
  • Fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, or sage.

Learning how make roast chicken at home allows you to control your ingredients. And bonus: Your house will smell amazing while you're making this dish! You can find the complete recipe on Jamie Oliver's website.

2. Ree Drummond's Mac and Cheese

Is there a more perfect comfort food than basic mac and cheese? We dare you to think of one. A fail-safe macaroni and cheese recipe will please everyone! What about the boxed variety? Real chefs would sooner chew on their own arms than stir up boxed mac and cheese.

The good news is this is super easy, even if you have two left feet in the kitchen. And this recipe is a no-brainer for pleasing picky kids, vegetarians who want a protein-rich dinner, or anyone craving a bowl of warm comfort.

Make the meal even heartier by adding simple baked meatballs on the side. To boost your vitamin intake, just toss in some roasted broccoli. If you're feeling fancy, add some of your favorite high-end cheeses. Smoked Gouda and Brie both melt beautifully, while adding lusciousness to the dish. No matter how you customize it, this decadent dinner will be one you'll want to serve again and again during the frigid winter months.

For the best mac and cheese, you'll need to gather the following ingredients:

  • Four cups dried macaroni
  • One whole egg
  • Half stick of butter
  • Quarter cup of flour
  • Two and a half cups of milk
  • Two teaspoons dry mustard
  • One pound grated sharp Cheddar
  • Salt
  • Seasoned salt
  • Black pepper
  • Spices, such as cayenne pepper, paprika, or thyme

If you're a visual learner, Ree Drummond demonstrates exactly how to make this delicious dish.

3. Oprah's Lemon Salmon With Roasted Spinach

Sometimes your body craves a meal that's quick, delicious, and super healthy. Cooking fish at home intimidates many people--you may worry about over or undercooking your seafood. We're here to tell that this salmon dish is basically foolproof. Even better, each ingredient on the list is a nutritional powerhouse--salmon is rich in Omega 3, and olive oil, garlic, and spinach contain key vitamins and antioxidants.

Here's your lemon salmon ingredient list:

  • Four salmon fillets
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Garlic
  • Baby spinach


For the full recipe, visit Oprah's website.

By adding a few basic recipes to your dinner roster, you'll expand your cooking skills and make preparing the family meal all the more enjoyable. Each dish can be customized with modifications, favorite spices, and creative sides. You'll find countless ways to spice them up and make them your own. Enjoy and have fun with it!