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I Like Food

An-DAn-D EnthusiastAshevilleRegistered User regular
edited February 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
"I like food." I'm pretty sure thats a sentiment everyone alive can agree upon.

Only problem is, that I'm getting kind of bored with the food that I know how to make. So, I'm looking for creative ideas for new food/recipes to try that are easily accomplished within my little apartment. As far as main courses go, I've had good luck making turkey legs, pork-chops, steak, spaghetti, breakfast foods and the normal grilled items (burgers, hot dogs etc). Side items typically involve rice or some kind of vegetable (corn, green beans, anything in a can etc). I can cook bread pretty easily too.

I'm not a gourmet chef by any means (I have started a fire while trying to boil water, I shit thee not) - so I'd prefer ideas be simple (relatively anyway. I'm more than willing to learn if I think something will be delicious). Even simple things like a new marinade to try would be awesome. I'm terrible at knowing what I should put on meats before cooking them...typically I just look in the fridge and go 'Hey! Barbecue sauce! *pour all over meat.*' This tactic has failed at deliciousness on a few occasions, and clean-up is really annoying.

I have a Wal-Mart super center (primary shopping location in my town), an Ingles (like a half-step down from Food Lion) and a bit of a drive further an actual Food Lion. For food, money is rarely and object. I'm one of those 'lucky' college students.

I like most foods, expect for fish. I hate most seafood. I can deal with shrimp and occasionally calamari...but thats about it. I've been trying to edge toward healthier food as of late.

Cooking tools I have are stove, oven, microwave, toaster+toaster oven and a George Foreman grill.

So, quick summary, I'm looking for any way to spice up meals or make interesting dishes that are delicious and/or easy to show off when I'm trying to impress someone (deliciousness = priority). Marinades, quick ideas for a food object or even straight out good recipes would be awesome.

An-D on


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    enderwiggin13enderwiggin13 Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Being Italian, most of the recipes I learned at a young age were Italian in nature. I've begun branching out in the past several years, but Italian dishes are still some of my favorite.

    Sadly though, having been taught to cook by an Italian grandmother, I don't really use any written recipes or measurements. Anyways, I've got a couple relatively easy sauces you can make to put over any sort of pasta.

    The first is a white sauce, which in college got requested often as "ooh, make us some of your delicious creamy white sauce". Sort of gross, I admit, but people did ask me to make it quite often so it must be ok. It's sort of like an alfredo sauce, and the ingredients are:
    • Asiago cheese (fresh grated is better but pre-shredded sargento is decent in a pinch)
    • Parmesean cheese (again fresh is better, but the stuff in the shakers works too)
    • Romano cheese (ditto again)
    • Sour cream (typically low-fat since theres enough fat already, and the medium sized container)
    • Butter
    • Fresh garlic
    • Black pepper (preferably the shakers where you grind it fresh)
    • Olive oil (extra virgin is best, but others do alright)

    Saute a clove or two of garlic in butter (always melt your butter over low heat so it doesn't boil) till browned.
    Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil
    Add the cheese (mainly asiago/romano as fresh parmagiano is pretty salty) - the amount here mainly determines the amount of sauce
    Melt the cheese over low heat
    Add at least half of the sour cream and continue stirring.
    At this point you're going to be playing around with adding sour cream, olive oil, and cheese to get the right consistency. You don't want it too thick and cheesy, but don't want it watery.
    Once you're satisfied, add your pepper, stir it in and serve over pasta. It's also good over chicken.

    **On second thought, the tomato sauce is a long , multi-step recipe with lots of approximation, so I'll skip it for now.

    But some fun and easy ideas:

    Taco bar - brown up some ground beef with taco seasoning, dice up some tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers, put out salsa, and sour cream. Heat up some hard taco shells in the oven, zap some soft tortillas in the microwave and let everyone build their own tacos. I usually put out some chips (lime tostitos!) and dip and have corona or dos equis on hand to complete the mood.

    Poor man's pasta fagiol (vuh-zhool) - on the surface its just elbow macaroni and baked beans, but it's a fabulous cold weather meal. Boil a pound or so of elbow macaroni (also fine with other small pasta if you have extra lying around). Heat up a can of baked beans (or two if you like more beans). Drain the pasta, add the beans and stir. Serve with a pat of butter and some pepper. Everyone I've ever served this to assumes it is going to taste disgusting but loves it now.

    Breakfast for dinner - People rarely have time for a big breakfast, so I like to eat breakfast foods for dinner sometimes. Waffles or pancakes with fresh fruit and whipped cream, omelettes, or just eggs/sausage/bacon/toast.

    Pizza - As a college student, I bet you have plenty of pizza, but homemade pizzas are easy to make and pretty tasty. I can't remember the name, but there's this roll mix in a yellow box I use to make pizza dough, spread sauce, cheese, toppings and bake.

    enderwiggin13 on
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    DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    If you're not adverse to spending money on books Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food is fantastic. It's halfway between a good cookbook of simple but good recipes and a basic "how to cook" handbook. She walks you through everything from purchasing and storing most food items to cooking the most basic of dishes and sauces to how to assemble a complete meal. It's helped me out a great deal the past few months.

    DeathPrawn on
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    TaGuelleTaGuelle Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    If you want an easy stir fry or fried rice I'll walk you through some easy steps. I'm not good with measurements since I go by taste and experience but I'll try; just keep everything in balance.

    Ingredients for Fried Rice

    1 Egg
    Desired Amount of any sort of meat.
    Liberal amount of Vegetable oil, enough to cover the bottom of your wok or frying pan.
    1 Onion chopped up, not finely, into like square Inch Pieces
    5 Cloves of Garlic
    Basil/Cilantro/Pinaple (any of these work) to taste
    Dark Soy Sauce, about 6 table spoons(Normal works as well)
    Chili Peppers, 5
    Honey, if desired, 1 table spoon
    Paprika, 1 table spoon
    8 cups of white rice, preferably left over
    (Keep in Mind you can put anything into fried rice, just make sure it fits into the set of cooking, itll make sense, you can add peas, carrots, brocoli. That goes for sauces as well, rice wine vinegar, hoison sauce, oyster sauce)

    Prepare everything before hand. Crack the egg and mix in a bowl. Cut the meat into bite size bits. Everything should be in semi equal pieces.

    Heat up the oil and when its hot, like smoke rising, add the onion and the garlic. The Chinese call it "Wok Hei". The hotter the wok the better. Keep them moving quickly, then after 5 seconds add the chicken. Let that cook. Then add every other ingredient besides the sauces the rice and the egg. Let that semi cook, but not burn. Add the egg and let it cook almost completely done. You don't want it being absorbed into the rice. Throw the rice on there and add your sauces, and stir it up well. Serve Immediatly.

    Stir frys are also good and ridiculously easy. Keep in mind to make sure every bit of food to be the same size, and you want everything to cook well but not boil.

    Expected Vegetables. - Brocoli, cabage, lettuce, peppers, string beans work. really anything
    Any sort of meat. Put corn starch and oil on the meat before hand mix them together and let sit.
    Onions, Garlic, Spring Onions, Chili Peppers

    Basically you fry the onions and garlic with the meat till its cook. you add vegetables in, starting with those that will take a long time to those that dont really need to be cooked. Peppers go last.

    You can add any sort of sauce over it. Personally i prefere a bean/garlic sauce or a hoison sauce, but really anything will do. Cook fast over high heat.

    I hope this makes sense, im not good with explaining over the internet.

    If you want more stuff, asian or european, I can give you more.

    TaGuelle on
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    An-DAn-D Enthusiast AshevilleRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Sweet. This is exactly the kind of stuff I'm looking for (I'm pretty much saving this thread forever). You guys are awesome.

    I'll look up the Alice Water's book - not sure how much luck I'll have finding it *here* (small town, smaller bookstore), but spring break is next week and if I end up at my parents, I can hit up a Barnes and Noble.

    An-D on
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    SoggychickenSoggychicken Registered User regular
    edited February 2008

    This recipe has worked pretty well for me. Awesome if you like olives. I usually make a lot and eat it for a week.

    Soggychicken on
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    LonestarRunnerLonestarRunner Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Chicken Cordon Bleu is definitely tasty

    Gotten from

    boneless skinless chicken breasts
    swiss cheese
    your choice of shake 'n bake

    This dish is different in that the chicken is not pounded or rolled up. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts are recommended. However many you want or need. Use any type of Shake 'n Bake: Barbecue Glaze, Original, Extra Crispy, or Hot 'n Spicy (recommended).

    Heat the oven to 400F°.

    Coat the breasts with the Shake 'n Bake, and put them in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool somewhat.

    Slice them in half, and add a slice or two of thin ham and a slice of Swiss cheese. Put the other half back on top. Return them to the oven for another 5 minutes or so.

    Serve as-is or top them with your favorite gravy or sauce.


    Submitted by: Gary R. Del Carlo

    LonestarRunner on
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    DiggomaniacDiggomaniac Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Deep friers are awesome so long as you aren't dieting. I definitely recommend against heating oil in a regular kitchen pan, too difficult to keep track of temperature and can be dangerous when adding wet food.

    Egg rolls are fantastically easy to cook if you have a deep frier, not so much if you only have a pan.
    First off, just buy a pack of wide dough squares for it, not sure the name of the product but it should be pretty distinguishable. Having gone through the effort of making Egg Roll skin myself, I can tell you that the taste difference is negligible. Just going to let you know that I don't go by measurement and just add until it seems proportional.

    Add a dash of oil to a wok then toss in about 1/2 pound of your preferred ground meat and enough oister sauce to your liking after the meet has turned brown. Stir in whatever you feel like adding, although I recommend green onions/scallions (either are fine) and some chopped cabbage and carrots . After you've added the veggies to the meat turn off the heat and get 10 Egg Roll Skins ready. Take the filling and add roughly two tablespoons per egg roll. After folding it it deep fry it in oil at 350 degrees for roughly two minutes, but I reccomend taking the time out of your day to watch it so that you can be sure that it doesn't overcook.

    If you want directions for folding the skin then you should find some easy diagrams on the back of most packages containing the skins. A quick summary is to lay the skin out as a diamond from your point of view for reference, add the meat from the leftmost corner to the rightmost corner, fold the top tip down the middle of the diamond so it overlaps the meat with it slightly folded under the meat. Take the left side and fold it in towards the center making it as close to a 90 degree angle as possible, repeat for the other side. Take the bottom corner and fold it over everything else and tuck it into the bottom, done. I suggest getting dipping sauce and serving it either as a side or an appetizer.

    EDIT: Forgot about adding oister sauce to the cooked meat while stir-frying. I haven't tried it with different sauces, but I imagine Soy Sauce in minor amounts would suffice.

    Diggomaniac on
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    Soviet WaffleSoviet Waffle Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    There's a thread in Accumulated Forum Knowledge, you didn't mention it, so I thought I'd link it!

    Can't really help you, but I remember browsing that thread and just having my mouth water ;).

    Soviet Waffle on
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    aquabataquabat Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I find this site

    helps me heaps

    waaaay easy recipes

    aquabat on
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    TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    If you've got a casserole dish, there's a ton of easy, delicious food you can make. Here's a standby for when I'm feeling lazy: chicken pasta salad.

    You need:
    chicken, either leftover cooked chicken or boneless chicken breasts
    pasta of some sort. I like the wheat kind, and it's better for you.
    olive oil
    an onion
    parmesan cheese
    any other spices you happen to like; go for what smells good.
    veggies, any will do.

    Cook the pasta as directed on the package. In the meantime:

    Olive oil goes in a pan, onions get chopped and go into the pan, cook and stir often until the onions go kind of transparent. Don't worry if they get browned a bit. Onions come out of pan and into the casserole dish. Chop your other veggies and cook them in the pan for a couple minutes, then, I'm sure you can figure out where they go. Remember to stir!

    If you're using leftover cooked meat, shred it off the bone and put it in the dish. If you're using raw, chop it into chunks and put it in the pan that the onions were in. Add garlic and oregano, plus whatever other spices you like. Cook until the chicken is white all the way through and then dump that in the casserole dish with the leftover oil.

    The pasta should be cooked by now, so that goes into the casserole dish too, along with a liberal splash of vinegar, a liberal shake of parmesan cheese, and a dollop more olive oil if you feel like it needs it. Put the top on the casserole dish and bake the whole thing in the oven for a good 20 minutes or so.

    You can make themed variations of this, like garden fresh pasta salad (with colored pasta, cilantro, broccoli, and carrots) or pizza-themed (lots of tomatoes, mushrooms, and some shredded cheese). It's very hard to screw up.

    Trowizilla on
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    TaGuelleTaGuelle Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    if you want a nice, easy, impressive wine dish, here it goes.

    sauce - shallots(2), butter(quite a bit), bacon(4 strips), heavy cream, white wine(a mild white wine)

    melt the butter but dont burn it. add in the shallots chopped up and keep them moving. the goal is to "sweat" them. its fairly easy to do. add in the bacon and keep it moving as well. after it smells to the point where it cant get better, add some salt pepper and the white wine. about 2 cups. when it reduces and all the alchohol is cooked out, add in the heavy cream, let reduce, and voila.

    this goes really good over asparagus, just saute it in olive oil and presto. can also work over meats and fishes. just bread and fry or saute, or as the germans do, geschnitzles

    a french onion soup is really easy too, just pretty time consuming.

    it requires

    8 massive onions, about 6 pounds
    mild white wine
    salt, pepper
    a lot of butter, mabe a stick to two sticks
    gruyere cheese
    some sort of stock (home made preferably but that takes a long fucking time)

    stew the onions in the butter for a really long time, you wanna keep them moving and not burning, theyll eventually reduce into this awesome smelling sort of mush, but still oniony. this should take 45-1hour. then add in the wine, about 3-4 cups and let reduce and have the alchohol cooked out. add the stock and let simmer for about an hour or two. it should be about 1.5 liters of stock, maybe more depending on how much you have. grate up the gruyere, never buy pre grated. dry out the baggetes in the oven and place some soup and baggete in a bowl. cover completely with gruyere and bake till the cheese starts to bubble. done

    TaGuelle on
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    seasleepyseasleepy Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I don't really have any recipes to suggest, but I will mention that Alton Brown's cookbooks and his show, Good Eats, are things you might also want to check out. (Good Eats is on Food Network, but you can also find show transcripts and things online.) They also don't focus on recipes so much as techniques, but I always come away with an idea for something I want to try making every time I watch/read them.

    seasleepy on
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