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Home-cooked Meal Ideas

AesgarAesgar Member Posts: 450 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
edited March 2017 in The Universal Membrane
Alright! I would love some new breakfast/lunch/dinner ideas because eating pasta variations every other night is getting a little tiresome. So I figured I'd create a place where we can all share our favorites.

 I love this old thread for times when I can spare the energy, time, and money to cook something fancy, and enjoy going all out one night every other week or so in the kitchen. However between work and school, I am looking more specifically for meals that meet the following criteria:

1. Affordable
2. Convenient (Don't require hours of prep and/or cook time. Basically something I can throw together assuming I bought the ingredients beforehand)
3. Delicious (No Spam)
4. Healthy is a great perk, but not mandatory

Examples that come to mind are various pastas, burrito/tacos, B.L.Ts, etcetera. Just figured I throw it out there to see if anybody had some genius ideas I could mix it up with. I usually cook for 1-2 people including myself, but leftovers are never a bad thing! Much appreciated. 


  • KryptonKrypton shi-KhurenaMember Posts: 2,377 @@ - Legendary Achaean
  • CailanCailan Member Posts: 143 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I do fried rice when I have a bunch of leftover ingredients I need to get rid of. It's also a great way to make vegetables unhealthy and therefore tolerable. 
  • AesgarAesgar Member Posts: 450 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Krypton said:

    These look tasty! Which flavor is the best? I'll have to order some or find them around town. Amazon prolly cheaper anyway :)
  • AhmetAhmet Wherever I wanna beMember Posts: 3,370 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Aesgar said:
    Krypton said:

    These look tasty! Which flavor is the best? I'll have to order some or find them around town. Amazon prolly cheaper anyway :)
    Original tastes like cheerios. Cocoa tastes like chocolate milk. Nectar tastes like fruit loops.
    Huh. Neat.
  • CooperCooper Member Posts: 5,561 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I wouldn't classify Soylent as affordable.

    If you only consumed that, assuming a 2k calorie diet, it would be $425 per month or $14.16 per day.

  • AhmetAhmet Wherever I wanna beMember Posts: 3,370 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Powder is cheaper, plus you can mix your own flavours. About $7 a day, plus convenience.
    Huh. Neat.
  • SenaSena Member Posts: 3,957 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Stir-fry is fairly quick, versatile, and not too much work. Very basic guide to start with:
    [spoiler]Chop up various vegetables and vegetable-like things (broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, onions, carrots, eggplant, peas, green beans, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, or whatever else you have lying around), and some kind of meat (chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, certain kinds of fish, or you can leave the meat out entirely, or maybe use tofu instead).
    Heat some kind of oil in a skillet or wok (vegetable oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, you can also use some kind of mild broth (or a mix of broth and water) instead of oil), and brown/cook whatever meat you're using if any.
    You can either take the meat out once it's fully cooked and set it aside, or keep it in and add the vegetables when it's about half cooked. Either way, add the vegetables next (if some of them are a lot denser than the others, like carrots or broccoli, add them first and let them cook a bit before adding the others) and probably some kind of seasonings (salt, pepper, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, possibly cinnamon depending on the ingredients you're using). Stir the vegetables frequently, cooking until they're tender and a little crispy. Re-add the meat if you took it out earlier.
    Add some kind of sauce (the choices here dwarf everything I've listed so far, you can experiment with all kinds of sauces; to start with, I recommend various combinations of soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, red wine, rice wine, honey, lime juice, various kinds of vinegar, coconut milk, various kinds of broth, brown sugar, maple syrup, sweet chili sauce, and/or oyster sauce, plus whatever seasonings) and cook for another minute or so, until the sauce is hot and everything is coated in it.
    Eat it like that or serve it over rice or noodles. You could also top it with peanuts, cashews, scallions/green onions, etc.

    Alternatively, go to Walmart and buy a frozen package of stir-fry veggies or mixed veggies, a bottle of stir-fry sauce, and a bag of frozen chicken breasts. Not as good and might end up being more expensive (depending on the cost of fresh meat/produce in your area), but saves a lot of time and effort.[/spoiler]

    Do you have a slow cooker? If not, I recommend one, there are a lot of things you can do with minimal effort, and it allows you to throw a bunch of things in a pot in the morning (a beef roast, some potatoes and carrots, and beef broth, for example) and come home from work/school to a home-cooked meal that's ready to serve and eat.

    Some simple and inexpensive recipes I've found online and tried, that turned out really good:
    Deviled Chicken Breasts
    Sweet and Spicy Crockpot Chicken
    Coconut Rum Chicken
    Honey Roasted Pork Loin
    Slow Cooker French Dip
    Balsamic Roast Beef
  • DurianDurian Member Posts: 108 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    edited March 2017
    If you like cooked cauliflower, you can get a bag of frozen riced cauliflower as a substitute for actual rice, there are also cauliflower tots instead of tater tots.

    Our family meals are pretty cookie cutter throughout the week.

    We have a few crockpot recipes that we use very often, one is this:

    Crockpot Ranch Chicken
    1 lb Boneless Chicken Tenderloin
    3 tbsp butter
    4 oz cream cheese
    1 packet ranch seasoning mix

    Throw the chicken on the bottom frozen.

    I like to arrange the butter into thirds and the cheese into fourths to kindof help the mixture settle everywhere.

    After you put the butter and cream cheese in sprinkle the ranch packet over everything evenly.

    Turn the crockpot on for however long you want, I usually come home and turn it on for four hours around 1pm so it's ready by 5, we eat kind of early so we can get the baby to sleep.

    I would recommend not cooking it for longer than 6 hours or you'll probably get a little burnage.

    P.S. This feeds two adults and a baby so downsize as necessary. Also, crockpot liners are a work of Jesus, use them often.
  • KryptonKrypton shi-KhurenaMember Posts: 2,377 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Ahmet said:
    Aesgar said:
    Krypton said:

    These look tasty! Which flavor is the best? I'll have to order some or find them around town. Amazon prolly cheaper anyway :)
    Original tastes like cheerios. Cocoa tastes like chocolate milk. Nectar tastes like fruit loops.
    And there's their coffee mix drink, Coffiest.

    I was mostly joking posting about Soylent. But if you're keen to experiment with complete-nutrition-in-a-bottle (if you like them, there is no denying how much time they save you), I like AmpleMeal.com more than Soylent.

    It's tastier & a healthier formula than Soylent. And if you shell out $4,500 upfront, you get a lifetime supply (30 bottles/month), every month until you die. Lol.
  • SenaSena Member Posts: 3,957 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Ahmet said:
    Powder is cheaper, plus you can mix your own flavours. About $7 a day, plus convenience.
    $7 a day on food for a single person sounds extravagant to me.
  • SkyeSkye The Duchess BellatereMember, Seafaring Liason Posts: 3,170 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Stock cubes are a lifesaver.

    You should also buy napa cabbage. You don't need to use the whole thing, just tear off as many leaves as you like and cut into two-inch pieces for soups or one-inch for stirfries. They keep very well in the veggie compartment so if you don't use a lot, it'll last you.

    If you have a rice cooker with a timer feature, it'll save you a lot of trouble. Just wash your rice and pop it into the cooker with water to start about 30 minutes before you reach home. Rice on demand solves half my food problems. If I don't know I'll be able to make something when I get home, I can always pick up something pre-cooked like roast chicken or something.

    Anyway, if you want something that requires little time or supervision to make. Just boil a pot of soup. Just throw in a stock cube, some tofu cubes and minced pork, maybe half an onion in slices and thinly sliced carrots. Then add the napa cabbage last, adjust the heat to medium and go take a shower. It'll usually be done by the time you get back.

    If you eat all the ingredients, you can just top the pot up with more the next day and the soup becomes even richer. If you're sick of rice, you can also pour it over noodles of your choice. You can add tomatoes, but I find the soup goes bad a lot faster if you do.

  • AhmetAhmet Wherever I wanna beMember Posts: 3,370 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Krypton ur joking right? Isn't ample like $7 per bottle?
    Huh. Neat.
  • KryptonKrypton shi-KhurenaMember Posts: 2,377 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Joking about what? The lifetime supply deal is real.
  • AhmetAhmet Wherever I wanna beMember Posts: 3,370 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Joking about you prefering it. To shell out 5x the price it must be pretty damn amazing.
    Huh. Neat.
  • KryptonKrypton shi-KhurenaMember Posts: 2,377 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Ah. Yeah, I was pretty mind-blown. I would even call it sinfully tasty, considering how gross complete-meal shakes tend to taste. Ample tasted like a dessert milkshake that you'd enjoy drinking again and again; Soylent (original flavor, the only one I've tried) still had that "off" quality in taste most health drinks have.

    Can always wait to see if Ample succeeds in making it past the start-up stage, when prices decrease, before subscribing.
  • AnedhelAnedhel Member Posts: 2,367 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Crock pooooot! 

    Those things'll make anything you put in there when you head off to work and leave it cooking on low super tender and delicious if you spice it properly by the time you get home. And you can buy cheap protein, too, since you don't have to worry about stuff being tough. 
  • BereneneBerenene Member Posts: 1,892 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I love the Tasty page on facebook.  There are so many great recipes that are really easy.  One I do on a regular basis is this one:

    I've saved a bunch of recipes that I flick through and make.  For the ones that are a little on the less than healthy side, that's where making substitutions comes in handy.

    Also, I'm not sure if it's an American thing, but I found that a lot of their recipes that call for salt add WAY too much of it, to the point where it virtually makes the thing inedible.  So, I usually don't add any and it's never impacted flavour, but to each their own.
    Janeway: Tuvok! *clapclap* Release my hounds!
    Krenim: Hounds? How cliche.
    Janeway: Tuvok! *clapclap* Release my rape gorilla!
    Krenim: ...We'll show ourselves out.
  • ZeniiZenii Member Posts: 96 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    edited March 2017
    I grew up eating this, basically you cook sliced potatoes (canned or fresh), green beans, and kielbassa sausage together seasoned with some salt/pepper. It's tasty and delicious.

    Crock Pots are awesome, you can buy an entire chicken, throw it in frozen cook overnight or all day while you're gone, and then use all the parts for various things including pot pies, chicken with yellow rice (arroz con pollo), or just shredded chicken burritos. 

    You can also do a pork roast and have pulled pork. I like to add ancho chiles (they come in a can, chop 1 up, freeze the rest if you can't do spicy), some garlic, and a can of Dr. Pepper. You can serve the pork on King's Hawaiian rolls, or with tortillas for tacos/burritos

    Also you can do a salmon packet with spinach. This is one of my favorite recipes! I've changed the seasoning up when I make it and use a creole/cajun spice along with it.  http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/mydaughter/Salmon-in-foil-with-spinach-and-cream.html

    A popular recipe at my work was taking a baking dish, and then putting a length-wise row of diced chicken down the middle, and on each side placing a side vegetable. Green Beans and potatoes are the most popular. You add a bit of butter, and some seasoning (original recipe used italian) then cover in foil, bake for 45 minutes, uncover, bake until everything's done. 

    Turkey burgers are simple and easy! You can mix in green chiles, or serranos/onions, or even laughing cow cheese. Serve with roasted bell peppers, poblano peppers, and avocado for a delicious meal!

    I'll stop now. I love easy meals!
  • MinifieMinifie Member Posts: 3,114 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I just feast on the blood and tears of my enemies.

    and hot pockets.
  • TreyTrey Member Posts: 4,829 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Minifie said:
    I just feast on the blood and tears of my enemies.

    and hot pockets.

  • MinifieMinifie Member Posts: 3,114 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Trey said:
    Minifie said:
    I just feast on the blood and tears of my enemies.

    and hot pockets.

    I was so handsome in my youth.
  • CaelanCaelan Member Posts: 2,363 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Crock Pots are great.  There is a really quick recipe I use when I want something "healthy" but don't want to cook.  It is a variation on a Shrimp recipe I found in a Gordon Ramsay book (one of the only recipes that didn't have 400 "rare" ingredients in my area, and 4 hours of prep and 2 hours of cook time)

    Orange Tequila Chicken
    Get some chicken.  Salt / Pepper it.  Toss it in a pan with a bit of olive oil.  When it's brown (about 4-7 minutes) flip it.  When the other side is brown(ed/ing) - all depends on how long the chicken was able to thaw (if using frozen).  Toss in about 2 shots of tequila and squeeze an orange or two, simmer and spoon over the chicken.   Serve.

    Literally takes less than 20 minutes assuming you don't throw frozen chicken in.

    This one takes longer but has more flavor.  You can do it with chicken or pork chops. Just, obviously, make sure the meat is cooked and adjust times to that.  Cider will obviously give it a much better flavor, but I just toss in the sugary ass Mott's Apple Juice my youngest teen loves to drink and call it a meal.

    Those are fun and easy.  And keeps my wife or I from just saying "fuck it" and making Old El Paso tacos for the kids.
    Though chicken tacos are good and easy too...   

  • ElsamElsam Member Posts: 257 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Step 1: Go to Goodwill
    Step 2: Buy George Foreman grill for like 5 bucks
    Step 3: Go to grocery store and buy bags of frozen chicken breasts and bags of frozen mixed vegetables.
    Step 4: Use Foreman grill to cook chicken breast in 10 minutes
    Step 5: Use microwave to cook frozen mixed veggies in 4 minutes
    Step5: Eat

    (This is almost literally breakfast/lunch/dinner for me. It's incredibly easy to make and the Foreman grill can also do anything else you want: burgers, steaks, fish etc. I highly recommend just getting one of those, cooks things fast  and its easy as hell.)
  • DunnDunn Member, Secret Squirrel Posts: 6,251 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I buy frozen tilapia filets in like 14 count bags. 

    In a pan with a cover:

    1/3 cup of water 
    tbsp butter
    tbsp lime juice
    salt, pepper, old bay to taste

    Cover and cook frozen (can be like rocks) at medium/high for 8 minutes. Uncover. Cook ~6 min. Serve with roasted asparagus and rice. 

  • CaelanCaelan Member Posts: 2,363 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Yeah crock pots are perfect for lazy asses, honestly.  

    Throw in some <protein> and maybe some <vegetables>  Maaaybe a little water (unless you use frozed protein, then it adds itself)
    Possibly toss in a <starch> of your liking.  
    8hr timer... or 10 if you prefer.  Walk away.


  • KezKez Member Posts: 646 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    I write a lot of meal plans. My favourite one so far, I think, is for a whole day. It results in dinner easier than takeout because it uses the same ingredients throughout the day and they can be prepped at the previous meal.
    Breakfast: BLT. Set aside 1 strip of bacon for lunch.
    Lunch: Salad of lettuce, tomato, mushroom, bacon, chicken breast(cubed), shredded cheddar. Set aside half chicken and save any uneaten salad for dinner.
    Dinner: Heat up the chicken and wrap it with the leftover salad in tortillas.

    I don't like to freeze cooked food because I find it less satisfying after it's been frozen, but I do keep 3-4 loaves worth of uncooked bread dough in my freezer. It's good for an easy pizza or loaf of bread if needed, long as you take it out to thaw in advance (with a damp rag over it!).

    Chili really is a good suggestion. You can make a big pot and either eat it for several meals or use it in other recipes. Leftover chili in place of spaghetti sauce is interesting, but if you're going to do that I suggest converting the kidney beans to paste before they go in the mix, same as if you were going to make chili for chili dogs.
  • AnedhelAnedhel Member Posts: 2,367 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    For one of them many meals from the same source thing, can swing by a grocery store and buy a rotisserie chicken! Sautee onions, bell peppers, broccoli and/or other veggies you like, eat with one chicken breast.

    Cut the other into strips and pan sear with crushed tomatoes, black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes, garlic (diced), and a heavy splash of vodka, then finish with a splash of whipping cream, serve over pasta. 

    Then you can use the rest of the meat for like black bean soup, or chicken noodle, or somesuch! Food network's website has reliable recipes for tasty soups (black bean soup you can do in the crock pot so it's ready when you come home from work, which is just the best).
  • AesgarAesgar Member Posts: 450 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    You guys are the best! Looking forward to trying all of these. Thanks so much!
  • DurianDurian Member Posts: 108 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Seriously though, crockpot meals take little prep time and are some of my favorite meals to eat. You can get a pretty decent crockpot for around 40-50 bucks.
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