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[dis]illusioned
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Please post your quick and dirty foods of choice, preferably erring on the side of morbid simplicity. Cheap, yet healthy, is ideal. Tips and tricks are appreciated. Ingredients that you think are magic and go with just about everything are appreciated as well.

So in some ways, I feel like I've never left the college mindset of simple, yet often times creative meals (if not necessarily original). The obvious choice being instant noodles, where simple things, like steaming a bag of spinach, boiling broccoli or adding one hard-boiled egg went far to make the experience into a genuine meal and not simply a carbohydrate fix. Granted, ramen noodles aren't exactly the best (the salt, mainly)... actually, spaghetti in a soup base works surprisingly well, and tends to be more al dente anyways (especially the next day; ramen noodles are horrible if they soak too long).

Anyways, here are some of my favorite foods/ingredients that I think go with anything. @Veggie any good "recipes?" When I think "innovative cuisine," your parmesan (or was it cottage) cheese came to mind XD.



  • 1/2 salsa + 1/2 black beans (or pick your poison) - So... I've basically convinced myself that fiber and protein are the two most important components of good food. Beans have an insane amount of fiber, they taste great and boast plenty of protein. The perfect food? Maybe. Plus, they go with most everything. My latest jam has been mixing chips and salsa with half beans... not only does it make your salsa go further, but it gives often times watery salsa much more chunkiness; bliss. You can put them in rice, soups, eat them straight out of the can, etc..
  • In college, I used to slice avocado into nothing but pinto beans with tomato sauce.
  • How to fry an egg - Water. The key to frying the perfect egg, other than practice, is water. I find most restaurants can't really get the over-medium egg just right, because they usually flip the egg to cook the top. The method I was taught was to fry as normal until the bottom half is basically solidified, the pour a tiny amount of water in the pan and cover. This allows the steam to cook the top, which results in a much "cleaner" frying of the egg that does less damage to it.
  • And on that note, beans + fried eggs are excellent when you have them lying around. Add salsa and you have juevos rancheros. easy peasy.
  • Sriracha on anything - I'm not one of those freaks that puts sriracha on everything, but I do put it on almost everything. It's good with ramen, right in the soup.
  • Spinach goes with just about everything - Spinach, pasta, and tomato sauce. The issue with spinach is that boiling it makes a whole bag wither into nothing. Obviously, it's the same mass, but I tend to prefer steaming it by putting a bowl inside a bigger tupperware, then nuking it to hell in the microwave. Boiling tends to wash out a lot of the flavor.
 

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MOTM Jan 2015
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Please post your quick and dirty foods of choice, preferably erring on the side of morbid simplicity. Cheap, yet healthy, is ideal. Tips and tricks are appreciated. Ingredients that you think are magic and go with just about everything are appreciated as well.

So in some ways, I feel like I've never left the college mindset of simple, yet often times creative meals (if not necessarily original). The obvious choice being instant noodles, where simple things, like steaming a bag of spinach, boiling broccoli or adding one hard-boiled egg went far to make the experience into a genuine meal and not simply a carbohydrate fix. Granted, ramen noodles aren't exactly the best (the salt, mainly)... actually, spaghetti in a soup base works surprisingly well, and tends to be more al dente anyways (especially the next day; ramen noodles are horrible if they soak too long).

Anyways, here are some of my favorite foods/ingredients that I think go with anything. @Veggie any good "recipes?" When I think "innovative cuisine," your parmesan (or was it cottage) cheese came to mind XD.



  • 1/2 salsa + 1/2 black beans (or pick your poison) - So... I've basically convinced myself that fiber and protein are the two most important components of good food. Beans have an insane amount of fiber, they taste great and boast plenty of protein. The perfect food? Maybe. Plus, they go with most everything. My latest jam has been mixing chips and salsa with half beans... not only does it make your salsa go further, but it gives often times watery salsa much more chunkiness; bliss. You can put them in rice, soups, eat them straight out of the can, etc..
  • In college, I used to slice avocado into nothing but pinto beans with tomato sauce.
  • How to fry an egg - Water. The key to frying the perfect egg, other than practice, is water. I find most restaurants can't really get the over-medium egg just right, because they usually flip the egg to cook the top. The method I was taught was to fry as normal until the bottom half is basically solidified, the pour a tiny amount of water in the pan and cover. This allows the steam to cook the top, which results in a much "cleaner" frying of the egg that does less damage to it.
  • And on that note, beans + fried eggs are excellent when you have them lying around. Add salsa and you have juevos rancheros. easy peasy.
  • Sriracha on anything - I'm not one of those freaks that puts sriracha on everything, but I do put it on almost everything. It's good with ramen, right in the soup.
  • Spinach goes with just about everything - Spinach, pasta, and tomato sauce. The issue with spinach is that boiling it makes a whole bag wither into nothing. Obviously, it's the same mass, but I tend to prefer steaming it by putting a bowl inside a bigger tupperware, then nuking it to hell in the microwave. Boiling tends to wash out a lot of the flavor.
Hahaha, yes, it sounds like you cook like I "cook" :p

Sriracha on everything? Right? I actually used to keep a bottle of it in my purse, so that I was literally prepared to put it on anything. I learned that Giselle did this for her metabolism, and since I love spicy food anyway, it only made sense that I adopt this.

Kind of random. I went to spend the night at one of my best girlfriends from high school's place a couple years ago. She has a bunch of kids now, so I tried to be a good party guest and brought wine, spicy hummus and snacks for us, organic cookies for the kiddies. She was going through a hard time, so I sort of stepped up to play babysitter. One of the kiddos wanted some of our snack right before bedtime so I'm thinking, whatever, they probably won't like it, at least I'm not giving them seconds on cookies and sugar. Very wrong sum up XD They all swarmed and devoured the spiciness and suffered from sickness and belly aches all night long. My friend had sympathy on me because I couldn't have known, but she was like, yea, we put hot sauce on everything, then she opened a cupboard where, like, four economy sized Srirachas laid. Haha.

It's funny that you mentioned boiling broccoli and hard boiling eggs too though, as these are two of the only things I'll actually take the time to make (though I fry the eggs sunny side up). Staples are freshly ground pepper, olive oil, hot sauce, minced garlic. Tips? Idk. Another thing I've been eating is lentil soup. (Amy's organic). I'm real classy about it. I open the can, and then I eat it cold ^^

Oh, and the recipe you're asking/not asking for - I'll give.

Cottage cheese. Topped with parmesan cheese. Topped with ground pepper.

Voila. Delicious, and you get to weird everyone out too.
 

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Wow, I need to step up my Sriracha game. I don't have a purse, but I can at least store a bottle in my glovebox...

To get my heat back (pro wrestling term, ignore it), did you guys try Sriracha Stout Beer by Rogue brewing? huh???? :perc2:

As for simple meals, I'm getting into uni-level cooking of fish. I thaw out some Salmon (wild caught), sear the bejesus out of the skin side, then I'm done. The key with salmon is not to overcook, and don't flip it, because (see first key). If it looks a little under, baste it with whatever oil/butter you used to cook it.
 

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I've been in to tinned fish lately, things like mackerel, just put it with some salad and it makes a perfect filling lunch, very healthy as well. If feeling lazy you can get a bag of prepared salad, tip it out on the plate, open the tin, it's ready in seconds, I don't know of any easier meal.

I put rocket with a lot of things, hot dishes included, it goes with anything and adds flavour and makes everything seem more substantial.
 

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exploring space
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I like Barilla's ready sauces, especially the pesto one. I also like putting a chicken patty in the oven and making some tortellini and I just spread dried basil on them afterwards. Top with a little parmesan and it's done.
 

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A two ingredient recipe, with an old school method:

1. Roast of ___/ribs/anything that's tough/cheap
2. Bottle of sauce

Put the meat in a slow cooker, cover in sauce (don't over-pour or else you'll dry the meat out) then turn it on low for 8 hours.
 

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I swear by my dutch oven. So little effort and full flavored outcomes with a ton of different uses. Bake, braise, fry, stew and anything else you want to do with it. It's expensive to buy one but it will save you money over time. Cheap minimal ingredients will give you excellent quality meals with very little skill required. Plus they keep all the nutrition in the pot.

Easiest is lentil soup. Water, onion, lentils, celery in a pot. Add parsley, bay leaf, thyme and salt. Stir and until boiling. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Skill level 0. Healthy, cheap, quick and easy.
 

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A two ingredient recipe, with an old school method:

1. Roast of ___/ribs/anything that's tough/cheap
2. Bottle of sauce

Put the meat in a slow cooker, cover in sauce (don't over-pour or else you'll dry the meat out) then turn it on low for 8 hours.
If you brown it first it will taste and look even better. Otherwise it will be grey.
 

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MOTM Sept 2014
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I always keep garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, lemons, and dried chili flakes around the house. Reasonably cheap (except maybe the sesame oil, but its not outrageous) and you can make delicious noodle bowls with that. Rice noodles are cheap as hell. Just boil them up and toss them in a sesame oil/soy/lemon/chili dressing. Eat them hot or cold, topped with ANY vegetables or meat that you have. Seriously, just use it up. Toss an egg on there if you want. Don't have lemons? Use some type of vinegar. This has WAY more flavour than your typical ramen noodles and way less salt. It's also very versatile. I frequently shred all the veggies that are going bad in my refrigerator with a cheese grater and use them to top the noodles. Very healthy and satisfying.

I agree that if you've got a slow cooker or dutch oven, you're golden. You can toss just about anything in there and make it taste good. Soups are fairly forgiving.
 
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