What should I cook for dinner?

I realize this may be an IMHO thread, but it has to do with cooking so I’m going with Cafe Society. Feel free to move the thread if you disagree, Mods (not that you need, expect or care if you have my permission).

I feel like cooking something for dinner tonight but I don’t know what. And my pantry and fridge is looking kind of bare. So I’m looking for some Dopers to help me think of something. Here’s what I have:

Frozen chicken breasts
Ground beef
a can of stewed tomatoes
several cans of black beans
two heads of broccoli
4 grapefruits
several oranges
an apple
3 potatoes
jarred spaghetti sauce (Prego)
several cans of tuna
lots of seasonings, flour, sugar, etc.

I know I could do something simple like just throwing some sauce on some spaghetti but I’m looking for something a bit nicer tonight and I feel like doing some real cooking. Any recipe ideas?

I’d like to see this turn into a really heated debate, maybe starting several pit threads.

My contribution: if you make macaroni, the terrorists will have already won. :smiley:

Veal shank, whipped potatoes, and sauteed veggies, if you please. Chocolate cake for dessert. I’ll be over at eight. You have cable, right?

What you do is you take the frozen chicken breasts and broil them for 15 minutes per side. Then, in a heavy, oven safe pan, brown the ground beef and add the stewed tomatoes and beans (which have been soaked for at least 3 hours). When that’s done, boil the spaghetti, macaroni and rice in a 2qt pot and drain, reserving 2tbsp of the water for later. Add this to the pan and cook for 25 minutes at roughly 325 degrees F. Grate the apple and potatoes, mix with 1/2 cup flour and the spagehetti sauce and form into patties about 3 inches across. Fry each side for five minutes. Mix the broccoli, grapefruit, tuna and sugar in a large bowl and top with the spaghetti sauce and reserved water.

Let me know how it turns out. It sounds pretty disgusting to me.

How about a macaroni casserole?

Brown your ground beef, adding seasonings you like (garlic salt, oregano, pepper, etc.).

Boil macaroni noodles and drain.

Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter or margarine. Pour in cooked macaroni, ground beef and spaghetti sauce, mixing well. If you have any parmesan cheese, sprinkle that on top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Steam some broccoli and serve on the side.

Do you have an onion (or perhaps some dehydrated onion flakes you can moisten)? If so, you could try the following recipe

Machboos (Chicken with Saffron Rice)

6 small chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (If you don’t have garlic, substitute garlic powder to taste when mixing other seasonings)
1 cup long grain rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground saffron
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can chicken broth (or make broth from bullion)
¼ cup water
1 10 ounce package frozen peas (optional)

Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels.

In a 12-inch oven proof skillet, cook chicken in hot oil over medium heat about 10 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, turning to brown evenly. Remove Chicken from pan and set aside.

Add onion and garlic to skillet. Cook about 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in dry rice. Cook and stir until rice is light brown.

Stir Cumin, salt pepper, and saffron into skillet (and garlic powder if substituting for fresh garlic); add the undrained stewed tomatoes, chicken broth, and water. Bring to boiling.

Top with chicken pieces. Cover tightly and remove from stove to a preheated 400° oven and bake for 30 minutes.

If you want to add peas, bake for only 15 minutes, then stir in peas. Cover and bake about 15 minutes more or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Since you didn’t mention having any peas at the moment, I’d imagine you could safely add some partially steamed broccoli instead (cut into relatively small pieces) and have a similar effect to the recipe that would still taste pretty good.

Or make a Chinese Chicken Bowl, which is pretty simple. Steam a cup of rice, brown diced chicken breasts, steam some broccoli and cut into small pieces. Mix together and top with soy or teriyaki sauce.

Or how about this for easy…

1 can of chicken broth (or broth made from bullion)
1 can stewed tomatoes
¼ cup parsley
salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ¼ cups uncooked white rice
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix all the inredients except the chicken and paprika in a 3 quart baking dish, cover and bake for 20 minutes.

Lay chicken across the top and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve with steamed broccoli on the side.

Hope you find something yummy to eat!

What, you couldn’t work the oranges and grapefruits into that?

That was meant as a response to RadioWave, BTW.

There used to be a web site where you could input what stuff you have & it would give you a list of things you could cook with it, but I can’t find it.

Them’s for dessert.

The website epicurious.com has a great recipe index sorted by main ingredient. Unfortunately, they tend to be fairly complicated.

Radiowave: Thanks for making me pee my pants. :smiley: And Mr. S too, when I read that to him.

The site handy is thinking of is likely AllRecipes.com.

Thanks for the links Scarlett and RadioWave.

And great recipes Shayna! I just did the bowl-thing tonight, but since I didn’t have teriyaki or soy, I went with a cajun theme. Cooked up the rice with salt and cajun seasonings, and then browned the chicken with some seasoned salt, cumin, salt and pepper. Steamed up the broccoli and then threw it in to the bowl with the other stuff - along with some diced green pepper that I found in the crisper. The green pepper turned out to be a mistake, but everything else turned out very well.

In the next few days I’m going to use those two recipes, though. Especially that last one looks absolutely delicious and easy. How did you come up with it?

I’d go for the machboos, but I don’t think I have an oven proof skillet…just the cheap teflon ones. I’ll check around though. If I do, I’ll try the recipe this weekend.

Heh – I cheated. I just made up the macaroni casserole and Chinese Chicken Bowl in my head, but then I googled a mixture of the ingredients you had until I found some recipes that were limited to (basically) just those you mentioned.

If you don’t have an oven proof skillet, just prepare as shown but where it says to put the skillet directly into the oven, just transfer it to a baking dish first, then bake in that instead. It’s not like some recipes that start on the stove, go into the oven and then finish on the stove again, so I can’t see why you shouldn’t be able to bake it in a glass dish instead of a skillet.

You’ll have to let me know how they come out if you try them.

And if I’d’ve known you had green peppers, I’d’ve suggested stuffed peppers (with the ground beef, rice and tomato sauce you have, it would’ve worked – though my recipe calls for tomato juice and paste to thicken, I’m sure you could’ve found a way to work with stewed tomatoes and spaghetti sauce somehow). Perhaps next time.

I’m glad you enjoyed your dinner though!

Tonight we’re making Senegalese Chicken Yassa that was showcased on Sara Moulton’s program honoring Black History Month on the Food Network. (It’s a “limited time only” recipe, though, so if it looks like something you want to try, I’d recommend printing it now. Otherwise, it’s from the book The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent by Jessica B. Harris.) I can’t wait to try it, because it looked absolutely delicious on the show and I’ve gotten several other good recipes from there.

:slight_smile: Well thanks for going to the trouble for me.

Well, I only had a quarter of a green pepper. So stuffing wouldn’t have been an option. I’ve never been able to stuff successfully, though - but I’ve only tried with chiles rellenos. Green peppers might be easier.

And I really enjoy Sarah Moulton’s shows, so maybe I’ll try out the recipe. Thanks again!

If those boos don’t actually travel at the speed of sound, I’m claiming False Advertising.

Chicken Prego Surprise.

Cut chicken into chunks and brown in a big pan. Add tomatoes. Add spaghetti sauce. Add broccoli (and black olives if you have them). Add any other veggies you want (peas, zucchini, etc.).

Meanwhile, cook pasta. When pasta is done, drain and add chicken-y sauce. Supernummy.

Or…Mexican Surprise.

Brown either chicken or beef. Add tomatoes and black beans. Heat thoroughly. Serve over rice; top with cheese and sour cream.