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35 Essential Recipes You Should Know by 35

Learn to make these essential recipes, and you'll be equipped for any occasion. Think everyday healthy meals, decadent treats to share and celebration-worthy recipes.

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In Your Teens

By your teens, you should master a few snacks, basic meals and classic sweets. This basic buttermilk pancake recipe is easy to whip up for Sunday brunch (or a sweet supper).

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Spinach-Mushroom Scrambled Eggs

My husband and I had breakfast at a hotel and enjoyed an amazing mushroom and egg dish. As soon as I got home, I made my own rendition. —Rachelle McCalla, Batesville, Arkansas

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The Ultimate Grilled Cheese

These gooey grilled cheese sandwiches taste great for lunch with sliced apples. And they're really fast to whip up, too. —Kathy Norris, Streator, Illinois

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Fudge Nut Brownies

There's no brownie recipe or mix I've ever tried that's better than this! And it's so easy—you can mix it in one bowl in just a few minutes. My husband's grandmother passed the recipe on; now our son makes these brownies for after-school snacks. —Becky Albright, Norwalk, Ohio

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Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie

We love the perfect blend of sweet and citrus in this refreshing smoothie. It's so easy to throw together, I often find myself making one for breakfast or a midday snack. — Jamie King, Duluth, Minnesota

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Blueberry Muffins

For a wonderful addition to your brunch menu, try these delicious muffins. The applesauce adds another layer of flavor which your guests will be trying to figure out what is that taste.—Katrina Shaner, Stronghurst, Illinois

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Hard-Boiled Eggs

In the kitchen, it's important to start with something simple, like how to cook hard boiled eggs. Use these in plenty of recipes or eat plain for a quick protein fix. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Big & Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies

My take on the classic cookie is inspired by a bakery in California called Hungry Bear. It's big, thick and chewy—truly the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. —Irene Yeh, Mequon, Wisconsin

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Early 20’s

Time to master the basics, like sauces and grains, plus easy everyday healthy recipes, like this garlic lovers’ chicken.

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Roasted Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil

Roasting really brings out the flavor of the tomatoes in this wonderful soup. It has a slightly chunky texture that shows it's fresh and homemade. —Marie Forte, Raritan, New Jersey

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How to Cook Brown Rice

Rice can be one of the most versatile players in your mealtime lineup. It's also one of the simplest to make. Our foolproof guide will teach you how to cook brown rice, with helpful tips along the way.
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Get-Up-and-Go Granola

My family loves to have this soul-warming granola before hiking, biking or even when camping. It smells delicious while baking up and you can easily make in large batches for special occasions or to send in gift packages to family and friends. —Sabrina Olson, Otsego, Minnesota

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Classic Hummus

We love hummus, and this version is really amazing. If you have a pressure cooker, this is an easy, tasty reason to pull it out! We pair hummus with fresh veggies for a meal or snack. —Monica and David Eichler, Lawrence, Kansas

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Herb-Happy Garlic Bread

You'll love the fresh garlic and herbs in this recipe. The mild cheesy duo that’s sprinkled on top makes it extra rich and wonderful. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Stamp-of-Approval Spaghetti Sauce

My father is very opinionated, especially about food. This recipe received his almost unreachable stamp of approval. I have yet to hear a disagreement from anyone who has tried it! —Melissa Taylor, Higley, Arizona

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Yellow Cupcakes

Nothing is better than homemade cupcakes. They are so delicious and fluffy. Choose whatever frosting you want to top these treats. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Raisin Nut Oatmeal

There’s no better feeling than waking up to a hot, ready-to-eat breakfast. The oats, fruit and spices in this homey meal cook together while you sleep! —Valerie Sauber, Adelanto, California

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Best-Ever Banana Bread

Whenever I pass a display of bananas in the grocery store, I can almost smell the wonderful aroma of my best banana bread recipe. It really is that good! —Gert Kaiser, Kenosha, Wisconsin

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How to Make Vinaigrette in Seconds

Cheaper and healthier than store-bought salad dressing, vinaigrette is also a snap to make at home. Our Test Kitchen shows you how it's done.
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Sweet & Tangy Salmon with Green Beans

I'm always up for new ways to cook salmon. In this dish, a sweet sauce gives the fish and green beans some down-home barbecue tang. Even our kids love it. —Aliesha Caldwell, Robersonville, North Carolina

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Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup

My mother was a pastor's wife, and she did a lot of cooking for potlucks. This recipe's one she created herself. I serve it frequently to my husband and to our four children. Every one of them is a hearty eater! —Marlene Doolittle, Story City, Iowa

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Homemade Guacamole

Ever wondered how to make a guacamole recipe easy? Just whip together this delicious blend of your favorite fresh ingredients.—Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas

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Quick Bacon Potato Salad

My family was tired of the same old potato salad at family functions, so I created this with the ingredients I had on hand. Now I'm always asked to bring it to potluck gatherings. —Tami Gallagher, Eagan, Minnesota

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Classic Beef Stew

Out of all my beef stew meat recipes, this one is my favorite. Here's a good old-fashioned stew with rich beef gravy that lets the flavor of the potatoes and carrots come through. This is the perfect hearty dish for a blustery winter day. —Alberta McKay, Bartlesville, Oklahoma

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Late 20’s & Early 30’s

Time for more advanced recipes that rely on technique to get restaurant-worthy results. Think homemade bread and pizza dough, great steak, and more.

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Traditional Lasagna

My family first tasted this rich, homemade lasagna recipe at a friend's home on Christmas Eve. We were so impressed that it became our own holiday tradition as well. I also prepare it other times of the year. It's requested often by my sister's Italian in-laws—I consider that the highest compliment! —Lorri Foockle, Granville, Illinois

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Balsamic Roast Chicken

When the aroma from this dish fills your house, your family will think you spent all day cooking. But this elegant, Sunday-special roast chicken, flavored with rosemary, wine and balsamic vinegar, is surprisingly simple to make. —Tracy Tylkowski, Omaha, Nebraska

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Heirloom Tomato Salad

This is a simple yet elegant dish that always pleases my guests. Not only is it tasty, but it is healthy, too. The more varied the colors of the tomatoes you choose, the prettier the salad will be. —Jess Apfe, Berkeley, California

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Blueberry French Toast

A local blueberry grower shared this recipe with me, and it's the best breakfast dish I've ever tasted. With the cream cheese and berry combination, this blueberry french toast casserole reminds me of dessert. —Patricia Axelsen, Aurora, Minnesota

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Grilled Marinated Ribeyes

These juicy steaks are a favorite meal of ours when we go camping. Let them sit in tangy, barbecue-inspired marinade overnight and you've got a rich and hearty dinner ready to grill up the next day. —Louise Graybiel, Toronto, Ontario

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Homemade Chicken Broth

Wondering how to make chicken broth at home? Learn here! Rich in chicken flavor, this traditional broth is lightly seasoned with herbs. Besides making wonderful chicken soups, it can be used in casseroles, rice dishes and other recipes that call for chicken broth. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Cinnamon-Sugar Apple Pie

Apple pie baked in a cast iron skillet is a real stunner. This beauty, with its flaky, tender crust, also works in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. —Renee Schettler Rossi, New York, New York

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Thin Crust Pizza Dough

My family love this pizza crust, and this is our go-to recipe. It's healthier and less expensive than delivery and taste so much better. —Theresa Rohde, Scottville, Michigan

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Slow Cooker Short Ribs

These ribs are an easy alternative to traditionally braised short ribs—you don't need to pay any attention to them once you get them in the slow cooker (that makes this one of my favorite short ribs recipes!). —Rebekah Beyer, Sabetha, Kansas

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Sandy's Chocolate Cake

Years ago, I drove 4-1/2 hours to a cake contest, holding my entry on my lap the whole way. But it paid off. One bite and you'll see why this velvety beauty was named the best chocolate cake recipe won first prize. —Sandra Johnson, Tioga, Pennsylvania

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