There's a funny Internet meme going around that many parents can sympathize with:
Why do they want dinner every single night? / via Someecards
When you were on your own, you could go out for a late lunch, then count a bowl of cereal as dinner; but not so much with kids. You'll do well to have a couple solid cooking techniques up your sleeve so you can whip up a stunning (and simple!) dinner for the kids and your spouse.
Want to have a scrumptious dinner with practically zero effort? Every parent, please raise your hand. Make your oven do the work for you. Roasting lets you drizzle favorite vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them into the oven. Really want to be impressive? Throw a whole chicken on top of those veggies and you have the ultimate one pot meal. Yum.
Perfectly Simple Roast Chicken and Vegetables with Lemon Rosemary Sauce Recipe on Food52 / via Food52
If you can boil water and fill up a bowl of ice water, you've got blanching down. Green beans work well with this process, but so does broccoli, carrots, snap peas — and tons of other veggies. Martha Stewart shows the whole process with a helpful video. Serve up crisp and bright green beans tonight for dinner, and bask in rave reviews. Or really pull out an incredible dessert show stopper by making orangettes.
Feeling fancy is only one poached egg away. Cooked slowly in a warm liquid, poaching makes it impossible to dry things out, a helpful skill set for those nervous to tackle fish. Float a runny-yolked egg on toast, over roasted veggies and rice, or in a brothy soup and make a light snack into a light supper. Keep fish juicy and buttery and in a flavorful broth with tons of "hands-off time" in the kitchen … not to mention pure deliciousness.
Ginger Fried Rice with Poached Egg - alexandra's kitchen / via alexandra's kitchen
Yes; I mean from scratch. Running last minute to the store may seem like your only option, but some confidence in the kitchen means you can scrounge together the ingredients for a cake or cookies in mere minutes. Food52 contributor Phyllis Grant walks you through the cookie-making process, nice and slow. You'll hate going back to store-bought after a batch of these.
Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe - Classic Baking Recipes / via Food52
French always sounds fancy, so be sure to sprinkle this term into your dinner conversations to wow guests and family alike. To sauté is a simple process: Cook ingredients rather quickly in a small amount of oil or fat. That's it; but this one skill set truly opens the door to a culinary world. Sauté vegetables, meats, even nuts. Food52 invites to you enter the world of the sauté, by starting with shrimp.
How to Sauté - Easy Weeknight Shrimp Recipe / via Food52
If you're into making reservations, finding a babysitter and paying more for your food than usual, go ahead and don't learn how to make fabulous steaks at home. Alton Brown gives you the know-how you need with his video tutorial. Friday night steak night just got a lot more cozy … and there's no need to leave a tip.
Seared Steak With Cauliflower Puree / via Real Simple
Ever read the ingredients on a salad dressing? Along with a bunch of chemical names that are difficult to pronounce, you'll find a whole lotta sugar. Salad dressing is one kitchen skill away once you learn how to emulsify. Make your own dressings, mayonnaise, hollandaise … really, the list is endless. Bon Appetit really shows you how it's done, with the excitement level you should be feeling right now. Food52 gives you the basics you'll need to know to make a stunning vinaigrette without a recipe.
Oh, and an added skill to any parent: reheating. No, it's not as glamorous as a hard-peppered sear on a steak, or delicately poached fish, but it's beyond practical. The Huffington Post has you covered.
Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.