List of Ingredients... What to make?

I just read In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto (okay I listened to the audio book), it is mainly about eating whole foods and mostly plants and some meats. Either way I went out today grocery shopping and bought a bunch of random stuff after being so inspired. Turns out I just bought veggies I knew I enjoy with absolutely no plan as to what to do with them.

I now have:

[li]2 Zucchini[/li][li]1 Eggplant[/li][li]1 Red Pepper[/li][li]2 Russet Potatoes[/li][li]2 Avocados[/li][li]6 Eggs[/li][li]A few Chicken Breasts[/li][li]A handful of Brussel Sprouts[/li][li]1 lb Ground beef[/li][li]Some random spices that are in my kitchen[/li][li]2 Tomatoes[/li][li]A Package of Hotdogs[/li][li] A Box of Elbow Macaronis[/li][li]Some Rice[/li][li] You can also assume regular condiments and such. . .[/li][/ul]
What do I make?! Any suggestions would be great! Man I am a horrible cook.

Fried Eggplant and baked potatoes w/brussle sprouts

Baked Chicken on rice w/Zucchini and Tomatoes

Meatloaf w/red pepper and mashed potatoes

Hamburgers and steak fries w/avacado dip

Fried eggs and hash browns

No cheese for macaroni
no beans for hotdogs

This all I see so far…use what ever spices you like :wink:

Fajitas. Use the tomatoes and beef to make Spanish rice. Dice the potatoes and fry them with a bit of oil. Use some more tomatoes and the avocados to make some guacamole. Cut the zucchini, eggplant, and pepper into strips, as well as the chicken.

You don’t have tortillas, which kind of sucks, but you can either pick some up or just make it more of a stew.

Santo mentioned my idea. I would probably take a bunch of those items (potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers, chicken, random spices, some sort of liquid), toss them in the slow cooker and see what happens. Maybe put the result over the rice or pasta.

Make “Potato Lasagna.” Thin-slice the veggies, then layer potatoes, eggplant, zucchini and maybe the pepper. Hit it with a little tomato sauce and some cheese, then pop in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes or so. Serve it with broiled chicken breasts.

Moving thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.

Oh yea it’s about food, sorry about that.
And I am trying to make multiple meals out of all of this… I am a poor college kid here. Thanks all, oh! I do have beans!!!

It doesn’t really matter if you make multiple different meals, or make one big meal and eat it over several days, IMHO. As long as you make something different next time, it won’t get boring. Do you have a crock pot? They’re the best for poor college students.

How about a three course meal?

Appetizer: Roasted red pepper guacamole with fried eggplant, zucchini, and potato chips.

The potatoes will fry nicely on their own, but the eggplant and zucchini need some starchy help in the form of a 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup corn starch, and 1 TB semolina dredge (16:16:1 ratio). You will need lime juice and cilantro to make the guacamole really delicious, but it will still be good without.

Soup: Chicken and Rice egg drop soup with brussels sprouts

Slice or dice the chicken, and fry it up in a wok or a suitable wide and tall pan. Add water, a little soy sauce, and the blanched brussels sprouts (you could cook them in the soup, but the chicken would be rubber by the time they were tender, unless you cook the breasts whole, pulled them out and sliced them up later). Bring to a boil, and whisk in the eggs, in a slow steady drizzle. Throw in the rice to make it a bit more filling.

Entree: American Goulash

Also known as Beef-a-roni ( jk, :wink: ). use your tomatoes and ground beef to make a hearty sauce, and serve it over the macaroni. 2 tomatoes won’t make very much, but if you have some canned tomato of some form (whole, diced, purree, or paste), you can stretch it a bit.

That only leave the hot dogs… Buy some buns on your next trip to the store. :smiley:

ETA: Oh, Franks and beans! Perfect!
I used every ingredient on the list. Do I win a prize?

It’s a very interesting book, isn’t it? IIRC, he has three rules for eating, all mentioned on the cover:

Eat food.
Not too much.
Mostly plants.

These are wonderful guidelines for eating, but there might be a fourth one to add:
Eat deliberately.

Once you use up these ingredients, you might want to start in the opposite direction: what meals do you know how to cook and enjoy eating? If you enjoy eating something but don’t know how to cook it, find a recipe and broaden your horizons. Then make a grocery list, and buy only what you need. This will be more economical and will lead to more delicious meals, I think.

The ideal IMO (which I’m pretty far from achieving) is to eat what’s fresh and cheap and in season where you live.

My first idea was a layered potato casserole or chicken/beef fajitas, but those have already been mentioned. Here’s a couple more that haven’t come up yet:

Ratatouille: You’ve got most of the main ingredients already: zucchini, eggplant, tomato and red pepper. You just need some onion and garlic, plus thyme/salt/pepper for seasoning and a good-quality olive oil to round it all out. Smitten Kitchen has a nice untraditional take on the recipe that you can use as a guideline. Add a drained and rinsed can of chickpeas and serve on rice or pasta for a delicious vegan/vegetarian meal.

Fritata: The next day, chop up your leftover ratatouille and make a fritata using your eggs. Add some grilled and chopped up chicken breast if you’re feeling carnivorous. Serve with oven-fried potatoes (cut spuds into wedges, toss with a little oil and herbs of your choice, then bake at 375F for around 20 minutes or until golden).

I forgot to add to the list I do have an onion! Wow, I can’t even help people help me cook ha.

I will try to go the cook deliberately route next time, I just have VERY LIMITED cooking knowledge and have yet to find a cook book that I like that equally suits my needs… Any reccomendations along with recipies?

I’ve been scratching my head over this thread because my way of cooking is to find a recipe and buy the food, not buy the food and find a recipe.

Recommendations I do have.

I’m more a fan of the internet than books for recipes, but to start off here’s the one book I have liked: College Cooking. My favorites from here are the Szechuan Chicken, Potato and Bacon Casserole, and Thai Chicken.

Cheap Eats’s 3-dollar-or-less recipes has been a bit hit or miss with me, but one of my favorites comes from here: Sausage and Pepper Sandwich.

Lastly but most importantly is my favorite place for recipes: The top 20s of whatever section I’m after are usually my first stop when looking for something new. The ratings and user comments are invaluable, and the main reason I prefer it to a cookbook.

Student Cook may also be useful.

Allrecipes also has a a page that lets you list ingredients you have, then comes up with recipes for them. I find Allrecipes a bit… middle American for my tastes, but it’s a good stop in your situation.

Edited because I screwed up the link.

So night 1 with my foods I created a stir-fry(?) mix of thinks and had it over some rice.

My concoction:

1/4 of a Pepper chopped
1/3 a potato chopped
1/3 of an onion chopped
1/2 a Tomato
1/2 a pound ground beef
Some hot sauce
and few dashes of this “mixed seasoning” stuff we have.

All thrown into a big skillet with a few drops of olive oil. I heated it up to 7 and just stirred it a bit to keep everything turned and tossed around. I threw that over the rice i made and ate away. Taste fine to me, just burned some of the beef.

I’m pretty sure there is a name for how I cooked things or what it actually is… care to fill me in? I’m so aloof in a kitchen or with food.

That sounds delicious! You can get a medal for suggesting I have this… How specifically do I make this, think half-trained ape when explaining things :slight_smile: THANKS!

I don’t know how CoG888 would approach it, but here’s how I’d do it:

Roast a red pepper. There are several ways to do this, but if I only need one or two, my preferred way is to turn on a gas burner on my stovetop and plop the pepper on top of the grate. Let it get totally blackened on that side, then rotate, until as much of the skin as possible is burnt completely black; use tongs if you have them, but I’ve managed to do this with just my hands, carefully. Pop the newly roasted pepper in a plastic bag, close it up, and set it aside for ten minutes while you do other things. If you don’t have a gas stovetop, you can also roast peppers under a broiler.

Make guacamole. There are a gazillion different ways to do this, and I realize that mine is not particularly authentic. Mince some onion or shallot if you have it, maybe two tablespoons per avocado; mince up a small garlic clove if you like as well. (Some people put in garlic powder instead, but I personally prefer fresh garlic in general.) Mash up your avocado(s), stir in the minced onion and garlic, and add salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze in some fresh lime juice, or, if you haven’t got limes, add in some sort of acid (lemon juice or vinegar) to taste. (This means 'start with a little, maybe a teaspoon per avocado, and taste, then add more if it doesn’t taste like you want it to yet.) Stir in some chopped cilantro, or chopped parsley if (like me) you hate cilantro. Now go back to your roasted pepper - peel off the blackened skin, then rinse off any extra blackened bits, although you don’t need to be obsessive about it. Cut it open, seed it, and chop it up into nice bite-sized pieces, then stir into your guacamole.

Personally, I find frying a total pain, and almost never do it, but here’s a basic outline: Put on a garment you don’t care about, because the oil will spatter. To make chips, peel your potatoes, and also the eggplant if you prefer yours peeled (I do). Slice the vegetables very thinly - think of how thin even a thick-cut potato chip is, and aim for that. Heat up several inches the frying oil of your choice (peanut oil is great, but you can use any neutral vegetable oil like corn or canola if that’s what you have) in something flattish, but with high walls, over medium-high heat. While it’s heating, mix together 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup corn starch, and 1 tablespoon of semolina flour if you have it (it’s OK to skip this if not). When a pinch of this mixture sizzles when you drop it into the oil, the oil is hot enough. Drop in the potato slices as-is, but coat the zucchini and eggplant slices with the flour mixture first, because it will help make them crispy. Drop all the veggies in the oil carefully, making sure not to crowd them too much, because if your oil gets too cold because you’ve added tons of room-temperature stuff at the same time, the vegetables will get oily and soggy rather than crisp; this probably means you’ll need to work in batches. If necessary, flip over the vegetables when the bottom side is a nice golden-brown, and looks like something you’d want to eat. When they’re done, take them from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate covered with paper towels for them to drain on. Eat as soon as possible, since fried stuff is best about five seconds after it comes out of the pan, and doesn’t sit well.

The secret of brussel sprouts is soaking them in cold, salty water before cooking. This article explains a bit why.

I made the guacamole and the fried zucchini and eggplant…

Things I did learn though, Olive oil is not for frying things!

Tonight I am making a Meat loaf with all of the left over meat and a few of the veggies I had. The only things I have left now are:

a Zucchini and the brussel sprouts. Any great recipes that involve either?

Get your Brussels sprouts. Cut all but the small ones in half.
Dice enough onion (one large onion at minimum).
Dice some meaty bacon (I like shoulder bacon).
Put a large saute pan on the stove, add water, let it boil.
Dump in the sprouts, blanch till bright green and barely turning soft.
Pour the sprouts in a colander and set aside.
Put the saute pan back on the heat, but turn the heat down a bit.
Dump in some olive oil and/or butter.
Dump in the onion and bacon, cook till the onion starts to caramelize.
Dump the sprouts back in the saute pan, mix, add more olive oil or butter if necessary.
Add salt & pepper to taste (it may take more than you expect)
Crank the heat to high and saute, stirring regularly, till the sprouts are cooked to taste. There will probably be a bunch of water trapped in the sprouts from the blanching, and you want to cook this off. Don’t be surprised if you need to add some more oil too (hey, it’s olive oil–it’s good for you anyway)
Adjust seasonings if necessary, then serve.