Totally bored with food; anyone got any ideas?

I’ve completely lost all my creativity in regards to food. All I eat is pasta and pizza (mainly because they’re cheap and quick), like some crazy Italian who’s rapidly becoming bored with his the stereotypical food of his country. I realise I could google or use a cookbook, but they don’t give you the whole picture.

So, any ideas as to how to spice up my palate? The only requirements are that it be pretty cheap, quite quick and simple to prepare. Preferably healthy, but I keep active enough and have a high metabolism so that’s somewhat less of a concern. Any country of origin, in fact I’d be quite interested in suggestions from other cultures, providing they meet the old CQS requirements.

I work full time and go to grad school half time, so I like to stick to simple meat+veg+carb dinners in as few dishes as possible.

Also, I live in an apartment, so I have to make do with a grill pan instead of a real grill.

I’ve found the key to actually cooking food that is actually appetizing while working on a time budget is to stock up on versatile basics that minimize prep time.

Tonight, I’m making grilled lemon pepper chicken, roasted leeks, and some basic bruschetta.

The chicken breasts come frozen in a bag. I throw a couple in a baggie with the lemon juice and pepper and let 'em thaw in a bowl of cold water while I’m cleaning the leeks.

The leeks are just tossed in olive oil with pepper and kosher salt.

For the bruschetta, I make one of those half-baked mini Tuscan loaves from the Kroger bakery. While the leeks are roasting and the chicken’s grilling, I just barely roast a couple teaspoons of pre-minced garlic in a quarter cup of olive oil, and pour them over the freshly sliced bread.

Okay, now I’m getting hungry.

I thought this was going to be about hot dogs. I’m sorry.

It’s not really quick and simple, but a one-pot meal, casserole or soup goes a long way for one person, so if it’s a question of having something ready when you are hungry, that can work. (Freeze single servings for later so you don’t get totally sick of it before you finish the batch.)

Otherwise… um, burritos are pretty cheap and easy: can 'o refried beans, cheese, tortillas, salsa. Bit of lettuce if you must.

Sandwiches? Stir-fry?

I haven’t had this for a long time, but it used to be a staple food for me: Sloppy Units.

Brown some ground beef and if you must, some chopped onion. And minced garlic if you have it. Drain the grease, then add a little water, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, salad dressing, pickle juice, wine, old moldy sour cream, grapes, jelly, leftover potato salad – basically anything you find in the fridge is fair game. Season with salt and pepper and serve over toast.

It takes a bit of finess to not cross the line from delish to gag-me, so use restraint. Ketchup, mustard, worcestershire, and a dash of vinegar is a winning combination. It almost tastes like BBQ.

Two words: Roasted vegetables.:slight_smile:

I learned to joys and versatility of roasting vegetables a couple of years ago from a good friend who is a chef and it has dramatically improved my overall cooking.

Almost any veggie can be roasted, and the flavor is often very different. Then these veggies can be used in salads, pasta, soups, sandwiches etc. To roast veggies, I line a cookie sheet with tinfoil, slice the veggies, rub them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper (but not always, sometimes I use a spice rub too) and put them on a cookie sheet in the oven at about 375 or 400 until they are soft. Sometimes I put them on the grill too, if I’m already grilling something or if I want a smoky flavor. For veggies that release a lot of juice (like beets) I wrap them in tinfoil too. Some of them are good chilled too, which is great for leftovers and to add to salads.

Some of my favorite recent creations:
-Roasted beets, chilled, tossed with grapefruit or orange slices and feta cheese, served with a little vinegar and oil.
–Roasted squash (butternut is AWESOME!) dusted with cinnamon.
–Roasted onions, especially sweet onions, served with any beef dish.
–Sweet potatoes, roasted and smashed with a little marscapone cheese and maple syryp-- it’s like a dessert!
–Roasted red peppers served on hot-sausage sandwiches.

I also roast any color pepper and add it to salads, and I’ve made a roasted veggie soup out of a lot of these combinations. Right now the soup we’re eating this week is roasted squash, sweet potato, onion and carrot. I just puree the veggies and add some broth and some spices. This week I added some curry, which is SUPER! Last week it was roasted red pepper and tomato, but it was flavored with the last of the basil from our garden. I also find that making soups like these save $$, since I’m able to use pretty much all of our veggies. And seldom does anything taste the same.

Hope this helps! Happy roasting!:slight_smile:

Agreed, but you left off broccoli.

Same recipe, but I crank it to 425, and roast them until the edges just start to turn black. It’s veggie candy!

Thanks for the responses guys. Roasting vegetables definitely seems like a cheap way to contribute towards a decent meal; I’m gonna have to try black rabbit’s suggestion of grilled lemon pepper chicken and roasted leeks just from the sound of it.