Graduation is a time of family pride. Your parents are proud that you finished school, attained your degree, and are now (hopefully) self-sufficient. But a degree doesn't ensure that you will be out of the house permanently. To prove to your parents that you really can live on your own and that you won’t live with them 'til you’re 30 (no judgement), you should gather a list of recipes for your cooking arsenal and cook your family fabulous meals to secure your place in the adult world (take a deep breath, it’s OK).

While ramen is great and is an essential quick meal for college students, it’s time to add some more elevated and healthy recipes to your cooking arsenal. The main appeal of ramen is that it’s easy and cheap, but below are a list of 12 recipes that are also easy and inexpensive to make for you and your family.

1. Spaghetti & Meatballs

spaghetti, sauce, meat, pasta, beef, tomato, meatball
Emma Lally

Everyone needs to have a carb-loaded dish. Pasta is perfect for rainy days, quick meals, and comfort food. Not to mention, spaghetti and meatballs is great date food. It may be a little messy to eat, but Lady and the Tramp anyone?

Pasta is great because it doesn’t require finesse or any fancy tools. You should be able to make it with the tools you already have in your kitchen. And if meatballs aren’t your thing, don’t sweat it. There are tons of other easy pasta recipes that are dummy-proof.

2. Roasted Chicken & Veggies

chicken, vegetable, meat
Helena Lin

This seemingly fancy dish is actually insanely easy and will have your family thinking that you took a cooking class. The best part of the recipe is that you don’t have to break down a whole chicken. You can literally pat it with a paper towel, season and cover it with foil, and stick the sucker in the oven. Bad-a-bing, bad-a-boom!

If you’re cooking for a smaller crowd not worthy of a whole chicken (sorry, not sorry), you can buy a package of chicken breasts and cook them the same exact way, but not as long.

3. Breakfast Casserole: Sweet or Savory

cheese, egg, omelet, meat
Emma Lally

Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I thought it was necessary to provide you with two breakfast casserole recipes. My aunt always made one sweet and one savory breakfast casserole on holiday mornings, so I deemed it important to provide you with both options, because we all have those picky family eaters. This is great for your cooking arsenal  because a lot of them let you prepare them the night before and then just pop them in the oven in the morning.

4. Blueberry Romaine Salad

This easy and healthy salad is perfect for last minute dinners. It requires little to no meal prep and is an all-in, two bowl salad. This salad fits the mark to be your go-to salad; it’s a little sweet, sour, and savory. Easily make this salad your main entrée by topping it off with roasted chicken (remember that recipe I mentioned earlier?), seared shrimp or salmon.

If blueberries aren't your choice of fruit, you can probably find one that you like in this list of salad recipes that are ready in 30 minutes.

5. Margarita Chicken Tacos

lettuce, tomato, vegetable, salad, cheese, bread, fish, meat, chicken, tacos
Amanda Fritz

Best excuse to buy tequila ever. You should be old enough to buy tequila at this point, unless you’re Doogie Howser. This recipe essentially infuses all the flavors of a margarita into the marinated chicken. The marinade ensures juicy chicken, which increases your success rate with this recipe by 50 percent (but no promises if you plan on drinking the tequila while cooking).

6. Mac & Cheese

pasta, sauce, cheese, macaroni, Mac And Cheese, Macaroni and cheese, spoonful
Julia Gilman

Mac and cheese is the quintessential childhood favorite (or at least it was mine!). I even unashamedly add diced up hot dogs to my Easy Mac, and trust me, my friends definitely try to shame me. But chili, ground beef, or sautéed mushrooms are socially acceptable toppings. Mac and cheese is definitely in my post-grad cooking arsenal.

7. Caramel brownies

chocolate, cookie, brownie, cake
Reed Erickson

This recipe was in the only cookbook my family owned and to this day, it is still one of my favorite brownie recipes. This recipe is ridiculously easy (only five ingredients) and produces rich, drool-worthy, mouth-satisfying caramel-y chocolate pieces of heaven. Is my enthusiasm coming through?

8. The Perfect Burger

bacon, cheese, beef, hamburger
Tess Worthington

Every person (sans vegetarians and vegans) should know the basics to a good burger. You don’t even need a grill. You can use a cast-iron skillet or a regular sauté pan. Just heat about a tablespoon of oil (depending on size of skillet) first, then add the burgers. Nothing is better than a juicy patty topped with melty cheese.

#SpoonTIp: The key to a good burger is the fat content. The higher fat ratio, the less likely your burger will be dry. Most people recommend 70% lean and 30% fat. You should have a minimum of 15% fat for a juicy, flavorful burger.

9. Margherita Pizza with a Twist

pizza, mozzarella, crust, tomato, basil, dough, sauce, cheese
Amelia Hitchens

This margherita pizza is a simple, fun recipe to fulfill the Friday pizza cravings (embrace it). Friday nights were meant for pizza. You can surprise your family by making this easy pizza for your next family Friday night instead of ordering out.

10. Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes, chives, chicken
Jade Goldstein

Mashed potatoes are a must when talking about recipes you need to know. If you are a tight calorie counter, this may not be for you because all that goes out the window when you add the butter and cheese. The more you add, the creamier, richer, and more buttery it gets. It’s the foundation of mashed potatoes.

Mashed potatoes are a blank canvas, like a clean slate for whatever flavors you want to add: bacon, herbs, sour cream. My friend puts about half a pound of cream cheese in his mashed potatoes (can you say yum?).

11. Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Peanut butter and jelly. Strawberries and cream. You can’t beat a classic my friend, and tomato soup and grilled cheese fit into this category. Keep this recipe in your back pocket for a rainy day or a sick day. This will take the gloom right out of your day.

12. Scrambled eggs

ham, scrambled
Kelsey Emery

Eggs are a great way to start the morning and are a necessary recipe to have in your cooking line up. They’re easy, yummy, and nutritious. Plus, eggs are cheap, and it’s easy to make a large quantity for a big family breakfast

Now that you’re a recent college grad, you’re a full-fledged, functioning adult. Not only does that mean that you should eat like one (no more ramen five times a week), but it means that you might be moving out on your own soon. Cherish your family dinners this summer while you have them and make healthy, money savvy choices as you practice for the real world. Your post-grade self and your family will thank you. 

#SpoonTip: You can save cooking time by strategic meal prepping.