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Need to cook more. Need ideas!

RendRend Registered User regular
edited May 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
It's not been long enough since my last thread, but I'm done moving, and now I'm restocking the larder. So here goes.

Alright, I've known for awhile that I need to cook more food for myself instead of going out, since going out is way too expensive. Problem is, I can never think of anything to cook. I just don't have any ideas of WHAT to cook.

So, what I'm asking for is any or all of these:
1. Simple recipes I can accomplish as a beginning cook
2. Ideas on how to come up with things to cook on my own
3. Places or resources where I can go to get ideas and recipes.

Ideally the first one, but I'm willing to do some research on my own. I just want some ideas of INTERESTING food i can cook (I know how to grill steaks, chicken, i can make tacos, ramen, canned foods, etc), to spice things up a little (excuse the pun).

Rend on


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    JavenJaven Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    buy a spice rack. Addition of simple spices and flavors can make those "boring" foods (steaks chicken etc) into something more interesting.

    Get into the habit of prepping food you plan on eating tomorrow or eating sometime in the future. It's a little more difficult to cook something delicious when you're already hungry because stuff like marinating or dry rubbing takes time.

    Also, get into the habit of going to the grocery store for the express purpose of getting specific ingredients.

    In terms of what to took; not knowing your tastes my best advice can be: what do you eat when you go out? Just took at one of your many take out menus, pick something you like, google the recipe/cooking method, and make it.

    EDIT: Also, embrace leftovers. Don't always cook for one (or however many you're feeding) so you don't have to spend so much time in the kitchen for every meal.

    Javen on
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    AtheraalAtheraal Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Kitchen staples are good to keep stocked, things that you can pretty much always find a use for and last for a reasonably long time.. Eggs, potatoes, onions, rice, beans, pasta, etc. When you figure out what you enjoy basing your cooking around, it's pretty easy to just pick up a few fresh veggies or meats to complement them when you think of it. Or you can just mix 'em up on their own, and try subtle variations. Try adding your spices/herbs at different times during the process, see how it affects the taste. Keep It Simple, Stupid is a great mantra for cooking, with which it's hard to go wrong once you've got your tasty ingredients in order.

    As for recipes, I pretty much just use google as my recipe book for the most part. Search syntax i usually use is: "<name of dish> recipe <extra ingredients i'm thinking about adding> <other describing keywords; spicy, creamy, fat-free, w/e>". There are so ridiculously many recipe sites out there that you're pretty much guaranteed to find something to your liking.

    Atheraal on
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    ErandusErandus Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    1. Begin cooking the pasta of your choice. Alternately, rice.

    2. Slice up 2 chicken breasts into pinky-finger sized chunks. Pan fry in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Just enough to very thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Add more if it cooks off. Stir fry until the chicken is just starting to brown up on the outside.

    3. Add a jar of alfredo sauce. I prefer one of the Classico sauces such as this there.

    4. Add ~3-4 tablespoons of pesto. You'll find them commonly in 6-8 oz jars. Roughly half of one jar should cut it.

    5. Mix and simmer for ~ 10 minutes.

    6. Fuck yes.

    That sauce will go with almost any meat. Pan fried chicken will go with almost any sauce. Mix and match.

    Erandus on
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    Blake TBlake T Do you have enemies then? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    The biggest thing about cooking is actually doing it. While there is a big difference between a master chef and a guy in the kitchen, anyone can make nice workable food if they have a decent recipe to start with.

    Sit down, come up with 5 dishes that you like (and if they need them complimentary sides) look up the recipes and write out a shopping list and go to supermarket and go nuts.

    In terms of saving money while cooking, stick with seasonal produce.

    Blake T on
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    InvisibleInvisible Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    This is the first thing I really cooked. It sounds complicated, but it's really not and you can find all of the ingredients at your local grocery store. I like to serve it with a side of steamed rice and vegetables as recommended. Also I usually use 1/4 of the crushed red pepper otherwise it becomes far too spicy.

    As for where to find easy to make recipes, local morning talk shows are a good source and usually have them listed online. The Food Network and Rachel Ray's show are also good if you have DVR.

    3 T water
    2 T ketchup
    1/2 c lite soy sauce
    1 T rice wine
    1 T cornstarch
    2 t honey
    1/2-1 t crushed red pepper
    1/2 t ground ginger
    1 T dark sesame oil, canola oil or vegetable oil
    1/3 c chopped green onions
    2 t minced garlic
    10-12 oz cooked shrimp, tails removed

    Stir together water, ketchup, soy sauce, wine, cornstarch, honey, crushed red pepper and ginger in a bowl and set aside. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium- high heat. Add green onions and garlic; cook about 1 minute, stirring continually. Stir in shrimp and toss to coat with oil. Add sauce and stir; cook until sauce is bubbly and thickened. Serve over steaming rice with oriental stir-fry vegetables. Yield: 2 servings.

    Invisible on
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    BecclescakeBecclescake Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    This recipe for beef and ale stew is amazing:

    Just make sure you serve with mashed potato.

    I'm in my final year of University and only really started cooking proper meals (as opposed to just pasta and sauce, or sausages chips and frozen veg every night) this last year. I can't recommend using a local greengrocer highly enough - good, cheap and fresh fruit & vegetables. The recipes off of that site (I have the book) are really useful, now I can make a damn good curry.

    Agreeing with the spice rack comment. And lots of black pepper. It can make anything better. Cumin in tuna mayonnaise? Yes please. Makes sandwiches even more delicious.

    Becclescake on
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