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Old 11-12-2009, 09:47 AM
 
34 posts, read 110,827 times
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Hi there,

I just recently graduated and I do like to cook, but I only need to cook for myself and just dinner because I get breakfast and lunch for free at work. The problem with that is that I don't usually have a lot of fresh ingredients because I only need to cook dinner and they usually go bad before I get to use them all.

I am very simple because of the lack of fresh ingredients. I don't mind making more dishes so long as I can reuse ingredients. I have a decent set of dried spices in my kitchen and I usually always stock up on chicken/steaks with frozen steamed veggies. This is my life!

Does anyone have any simple recipes that would include ingredients that I could reuse again and again? (I hate the one time purchase of ingredients that go to waste).

My usual menu:
1) Grilled steak or chicken on the George Forman w/ some steamed veggies and side of whole wheat toast w/ butter or side of white/brown rice (i have rice cooker-its easy!)
-Usually don't have time to tenderize and marinate meat, so I just dab some spices on it right before it hits the grill, I usually end up ruining it, but again, I'm simple...
2) Tuna sandwich!
3) Grilled chicken salad
4) Boiled dumplings (frozen) - easy and quick
5) I'll buy sushi every now and then from the local supermarket (its not the greatest, but its cheap and gets the job done)
6) Maybe some soup every now and then;
7) *Chicken adobo (Philippine dish) - chicken legs/thighs on bone marinated with onions, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, some olive oil, salt n pepper, supposed to be boiled but I bake it instead. Serve it with some white rice and soy sauce and you're set! Very delicious, but time consuming.
8) Chicken franches - got a recipe from a cooking website, very simple to make and tasty!

Help a young fellow out!
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
7,405 posts, read 7,519,835 times
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I'd recommend you check out some of Rachel Ray's 30-minute meals. They usually require very few ingredients and are simple enough to put together and cook quickly. And she uses a lot of "staples", like worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, stock in a box, tomato paste in a tube, etc. I haven't tried a recipe yet that wasn't amazingly yummy.

I've made the meatball part of this recipe, without the sauce, and served them with spaghetti and spaghetti sauce 3 times in the last 2 weeks it's so yummy. Everything goes in one big bowl, gets mixed together with your hands, then put on a baking sheet and baked for 25 minutes. I've even made them without the spinach and they're still amazing. And if you cut the recipe in half, you can make them in a toaster oven if you have one large enough.

30 Minute Meals : Food Network
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:57 AM
 
34 posts, read 110,827 times
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That looks pretty simple. I may try that next week! Thanks.

Anyone else have similar ideas?
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:05 AM
 
Location: In the real world!
2,178 posts, read 8,907,435 times
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If you have a oven and a sweet tooth, try a box of cake mix (any flavor), 2 eggs and 1/2 cup oil, mix well and make cookies! EASY as 1, 2, 3! That would impress all your friends!

I have used marshmellow fluff (in a jar) in the middle and made sandwich type cookies with these.
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:20 AM
 
34 posts, read 110,827 times
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Oh wow, the marshmellow fluff sounds like a great idea. I know how to bake; directions are always easy to follow and the ingredients usually don't get too exotic.
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
7,405 posts, read 7,519,835 times
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One way to use fresh ingredients so they don't go to waste, is to make large batches of things, then split into portions and freeze for later. A great way to do this is to invest in a good crock pot. Most crock pot recipes are as simple as dump a bunch of stuff in the pot, set it and ignore it for 6-10 hours.

I'd recommend a 4-5 quart oval crock pot that has a timer that will switch to "keep warm" when the cooking time is done. That way you can be away from it for a longer period of time without worrying about ruining the food. Here's a great article on crock pot cooking and crock pot features to look for.

Chili is a great thing to make in a crock pot. You will have to brown the beef, but after that, it's just a bunch of staples tossed in; canned beans (if you like beans in your chili), canned sauce, herbs and spices. You can even get away with not using fresh peppers and onions by tossing in a jar of chunky salsa!

Here's my crock pot brisket recipe. The only fresh ingredient is the beef, all the rest are staples. This recipe makes amazing french dip sandwiches, too! (And in case you don't know what "Kitchen Bouquet" is, it's a bottled meat browning and seasoning sauce. Here's how the bottle looks. You should find it near the other bottled condiments, like worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, etc.)

This BBQ Beef recipe uses ketchup, bbq sauce, honey, dry soup mix and broth -- all staples. And an alternative to keeping boxes or cans of broth on hand, is to buy jars of "Better than Bouillon" and mix with water as needed.

Make chicken and cornbread dressing at the same time in the same pot with this recipe.

Just Google crock pot recipes and you'll get TONS of hits.

Oh, and BTW, if you do try the meatball recipe, one thing I do that isn't called for in the recipe, is to turn the meatballs halfway through the cooking time. You'll find that the "bottom" of the meatballs gets a nice caramelization, so turning them gives you a more even end result.

Enjoy!
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Denver
2,970 posts, read 6,458,617 times
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You can make a mock lasagana using ravioli. I usually make it in an 8x8 pan for two of us. Preheat oven to 350 and par boil your favorite frozen ravioli, drain and reserve. Spoon some marinara or alfredo sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Put a layer of the ravioli down and top with some italian cheese blend and a layer of sauce. Add more ravioli, cheese, sauce, etc. until the top of the dish, ending with cheese. Bake until hot and bubbly and the cheese has browned on top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley or basil and let sit for a few minutes to set. Can make garlic bread and a salad to go with.
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
7,405 posts, read 7,519,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandsGal View Post

You can make a mock lasagana using ravioli. I usually make it in an 8x8 pan for two of us. Preheat oven to 350 and par boil your favorite frozen ravioli, drain and reserve. Spoon some marinara or alfredo sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Put a layer of the ravioli down and top with some italian cheese blend and a layer of sauce. Add more ravioli, cheese, sauce, etc. until the top of the dish, ending with cheese. Bake until hot and bubbly and the cheese has browned on top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley or basil and let sit for a few minutes to set. Can make garlic bread and a salad to go with.
Ok, that's just freaky. I made this very thing night before last, for the first time ever, and we're having the leftovers for dinner tonight. Let me just second this recommendation. It was delicious!
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:08 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
14,785 posts, read 20,878,904 times
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  • 8 oz package - sour cream
  • 8 oz package - cream cheese Mama Teris taco dip
  • 1 pack - taco seasoning
  • 4 tbsp - taco sauce
  • 2 handfuls - shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup - diced tomatoes (fresh)
  • 1/2 cup - chopped green onion
  • 1 small can - chopped black olives
  • 1 or 2 bags - corn chips
Directions
Mix cream cheese and sour cream in med size bowl. Add taco seasoning. Pour into 9x12 pan and smooth out. "Frost" with taco sauce. Spread lettuce, tomato, black olives and green onion over top. Enjoy!
My best friends mom used to make this for us all the time! It is fast, easy and so yummy that I never have any leftovers when I make it! It is great for church socials, or just your teens company.
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
7,405 posts, read 7,519,835 times
Reputation: 7727
I thought of another way to address your concern about fresh ingredients that go bad before you can finish them. In both cases my husband thought they were nothing but late night tv gimmicks. And in both cases, they've saved us tons of money by keeping food fresher, longer.

1. Debbie Meyer's Green Bags. I admit, this one I was skeptical about, too. But fresh fruit and produce really does stay fresh longer when we put it in these bags.

2. A Foodsaver food sealing machine. We love ours. Love it, love it, love it. We buy things in bulk, separate them into serving portions, seal them with the machine and store them for weeks or months in the fridge or freezer. We even re-seal many things right in their own bags, like frozen veggies, crackers, pre-mixed salads, and so on. It really is a brilliant gadget.
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