Maybe it’s your first time living on your own, or maybe you’re just moving out of your college dorm, but moving into your first apartment can be an exciting and daunting task. FFL is composed of dozens and dozens of women in various stages of life. Many of them have already done the whole “first apartment” thing and shared their tips so you can learn from their mistakes. For example, we’ve put together The Ultimate First Apartment Checklist and 13 Ways to Stay on Budget. Now, I’m here to help with a major issue that no one wants to talk about: the kitchen.

If you’re anything like me, you know how to cook the basics, but you’ve never really had to cook for yourself. I grew up in a home where my family cooked, and I learned by proxy. Then, I went away to college for four years where every meal was prepared for me and I didn’t even have access to an oven. You don’t need a lesson in how to boil an egg or make good pasta, but you do need some inspiration to help you out in the kitchen. That’s where cookbooks come in. They make up a million-plus dollar industry every year. Why not take advantage? Here are five of the best cookbooks for your first apartment that will help you grow as a chef and stay fed.

1) The Complete Make-Ahead Cookbook: From Appetizers to Desserts-500 Recipes You Can Make in Advance

For when you’re a busy career woman who doesn’t have time to cook a five course meal every night when she gets home from the office. This cookbook features recipes for every part of your meal. It has fun new recipes you’ve likely never tried, including “Breakfast Strata, Mini Chicken Empanadas, Olive Oil-Sea Salt Pita Chips, Chickpea Cakes, Cauliflower Gratin, Stuffed Eggplant, Mexican Lasagna with Turkey, Tequila-Lime Turkey Chili, Moroccan Chicken Salad, Beef Tamale Pie, Smoked Salmon and Leek Tarts, Blueberry Streusel Bars, Maple Pecan Pie, Flourless Chocolate Cake and Bourbon Whipped Cream.” This cookbook will help you become a master chef who doesn’t have to give up her day job.

2) Slow Cooker Cookbook: 150 Slow Cooker Recipes for Smart People

Crockpots save lives, especially when you’re on the go, coming home late and exhausted, and ready to chow down. This crockpot cookbook is jam-packed with every slow cooker recipe you could need to live your best live post-college. Another great compendium of genres, this cookbook will show you that your slow cooker isn’t just for pot roasts and lasagna. It’s for everything from appetizers to desserts and back again. This, and a slow cooker, are must haves for your first kitchen.

3) The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook: 650 Recipes for Everything You’ll Ever Want to Make

One of the things I struggle with most in the kitchen is cooking for one or two people and not a small army. Whether you’re living on your own, with a roommate or significant other, or with a pet, learning to cook for two is a great start to your future life, and to even having leftovers for lunch the next day. This cookbook is designed for “smaller families,” which can mean just you, It promises to teach the basics of cooking for two, including clever shopping strategies to reduce waste, smart storage tricks help extend freshness of key ingredients, and our picks for the most useful kitchen equipment for any two-person household.”

4) Quick Easy Recipes: 5 Ingredient Cookbook: Easy Recipes in 5 or Less IngredientsAre you daunted by recipes a mile long and trying to figure out when you’ll ever use that obscure ingredient ever again? The 5 Ingredient Cookbook is the answer to your prayers then. Each recipe uses just, yes you guessed it, five ingredients for a great meal. You’ll not only learn to work with what you’ve got, but learn what ingredients are most useful overall to keep your kitchen appropriately stocked. Some of their great recipes include Chicken Cordon Blue, Zucchini Chips, Cinnamon Roll Waffles, buffalo chicken dip, and more.

5) Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat

Celebrity cookbooks have become a “thing” in recent years. While I’m skeptical of many, this one caught my eye. I’m not a vegan, I don’t want to live a paleo life, and I want as much gluten as possible. I think “cravings” is the perfect way to describe my cooking style. Chrissy Teigen gets real in this cookbook and offers recipes you’ll actually want to make, and not just when the in-laws are around. Some of the recipes included are Thai Pounded Papaya Salad, Chipotle Honey Chicken, and more. While it doesn’t include a dessert section, you can surely supplement somehow.

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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member