What shall I have for dinner tonight?
December 12, 2013 10:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm out of ideas for something delicious and simple to cook tonight, but which does not require many ingredients. Assuming I have all the basics in my cupboard (onions, garlic, pasta, rice, potatoes, eggs, milk, herbs and spices etc) what should I make for dinner tonight?

I know what I DON'T want. It can't be a curry as I had that last night, and I don't really want pasta. Not chilli and not stir fry. To make things harder, my fiance is out until 8.45pm tonight so I need to be able to make something that I can eat earlier and then re-heat for him later (we don't have a microwave).

So - what should I cook? I eat everything and have no allergies etc, so really - anything goes. My only caveat is that I don't want to buy a ton of ingredients, I don't have time to slow-cook anything, so a meal that takes under 3 hours is preferable, and I don't really want a meat & potatoes type suggestion, I love one pot meals and stuff like that.

I love cooking and I cook almost every night so I love food prep, chopping, etc. I'm just exhausted and tapped out and I've perused so many online recipes but nothing takes my fancy. I just want someone else to make the decision for me!
posted by JenThePro to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Make a pizza.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:21 AM on December 12, 2013

posted by melissasaurus at 10:23 AM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

I myself am making this French onion soup tonight with pantry staples. Got bread, broth and wine?
posted by dynamiiiite at 10:27 AM on December 12, 2013


Fill yer boots!
posted by gohabsgo at 10:28 AM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Breakfast for dinner! Make pancakes and bacon/meat now, which can be reheated later. Fry yourself a few eggs when you eat; when your fiance comes home, just fry two more and reheat the rest.
posted by stellaluna at 10:30 AM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I like to make hash browns. Potatoes, some garlic, onions, peppers, spices, and bacon, in a frying pan with a little olive oil. 15 minutes.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:32 AM on December 12, 2013

Rice with two fried eggs. Soy sauce on the eggs. Done.
posted by TrinsicWS at 10:33 AM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

3 TB olive oil, 3 TB vinegar (red wine, sherry, whatever you have) and 1 TB of soy sauce. Toss this marinade with chopped shallots or garlic and bake with chicken parts. The dish is old school French with an umami bomb. Takes less than 30 minutes with toaster oven. A nice glass of wine and maybe a salad or starch on the side.
posted by jadepearl at 10:34 AM on December 12, 2013 [5 favorites]

Assuming you have butter, you can always make some b├ęchamel sauce for whatever you make. Mmmm.
posted by gohabsgo at 10:42 AM on December 12, 2013

Sounds like a good night for tortilla.
posted by kagredon at 10:43 AM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do you have a rice cooker?
1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup rice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups water
season with whatever
posted by Jacqueline at 10:46 AM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Spaghetti carbonara.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 10:46 AM on December 12, 2013

This spaghetti with fried eggs is one of my favorite easy, cheap, pantry's-cleaned-out, delicious recipes. It's quick and easy enough that you can make a separate batch for your fiance.
posted by marshmallow peep at 10:48 AM on December 12, 2013 [8 favorites]

Have you got frozen spinach chocked away in the freezer? Eggs Florentine. Steam spinach, poach egg(s) and place on top of spinach. Make a bechamel, pour bechamel over eggs. Grate Parmesan over the top, bake 10 min. You can wait to bake his until he gets home.

Lacking spinach, you could really substitute pretty much any chopped steamed vegetable, I'd think. Leftovers?
posted by Liesl at 10:49 AM on December 12, 2013

What vegetables do you have on hand?
posted by aniola at 11:09 AM on December 12, 2013

Response by poster: I don't have many veggies on hand but I'm not averse to buying them. I just dont want to have to buy a million expensive things.
I'm going to have to make a trip to the store anyway so I don't mind picking up a few things....
posted by JenThePro at 11:12 AM on December 12, 2013

Doria. It's slightly out of the ordinary (at least for me), it will reheat perfectly and you can customize it to your tastes. I usually do chicken and tons of veggies and add some paprika/ cayenne.
posted by hellomiss at 11:15 AM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Do a pureed veggie soup + homemade rolls!
These rolls are AMAZING:

For the soup, I saute carrots + onions in oil (you can add some fennel or celery as well), add salt and pepper, and then add in cooked veg. + chicken stock + spices or herbs of your choice.
For the cooked veg, I think roasted ones are extra nice (roasted butternut squash, roasted cauliflower), or boiled ones work too (boiled potatoes are good, either white or sweet). You can also add leafy greens at the very end (like spinach). Once everything has simmered together for a bit and is nice and tender, puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender or food processor until very smooth. You can add some dairy (cream, half and half, buttermilk, sour cream) at this point if you want (but often it's not needed), and adjust the seasonings. Serve topped with something fun (crumbled or grated cheese, toasted nuts, sunflower seeds, etc.).
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:21 AM on December 12, 2013

You said not meat and potatos, but that you like one pot meals, so file this one away for later. Super simple, absolutely delish, cheap, reaheats wonderfully.

Easy Shepherd's pie
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:26 AM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

My don't-feel-like-cooking standbys are: risotto with green salad (risotto takes time, but not effort, so I can hang out on the computer in the kitchen and drink wine and stir occasionally); in the same vein, potato soup (especially with a food processor that slices) -- slice a whole bunch of onion, and leek if you have it, saute, add sliced potatoes and broth, let it cook and finish off with milk or cream; omelet with whatever-filling (leftovers; fried potatoes and cheese; onions; onions and peppers; onions, peppers and bacon; mushrooms and cheese, spinach and cheese; just cheese; whatever); any ol' pasta with much garlic and whatever-cheese and salad; spinach and rice (saute onions and garlic, throw in some pine nuts or crushed walnuts or whatever-nuts if you have them, add frozen spinach, then broth, or water if you don't have broth, then rice, and sprinkle with parmesan or feta or whatever-cheese at the very end); stir-fried broccoli with red bell pepper and garlic with feta on the side because I love that combo, and rice if I'm ambitious; hamburger thing, wherein I chop an onion and some garlic, maybe some green pepper, and saute, add hamburger and a bit of tomato paste, boil some small pasta like elbow macaroni, mix it all up with some shredded cheese and nomnomnom -- green salad if I'm up to it; oven baked/broiled sliced cauliflower (with some broccoli added if you have it/want it) with olive oil and lemon, fry a couple of sausages on the stove... and taadaah -- delicious, hearty German-ish thing (is how I think of it); spaghetti with tuna and chopped tomato and black olives and feta and olive oil; toasted cheese sandwiches, with or without sliced ham and/or tomato slice; fried egg sandwich with or without bacon/ham/tomato slice; BLT; steal half the chicken breast I cooked for the dog's food to make a chicken salad, or chicken salad sandwich, or just straight up eat it standing over the counter and dipping into a jar of mayonnaise.

I didn't say I was proud.
posted by taz at 12:35 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

something a little different but easy for spaghetti
peanut sesame noodle
you need some toasted sesame oil, Miso is a nice addition, but soy sauce or shoyu is fine too.
you could saute some onions, celery, etc while the spaghtti is cooking.
sauce is made of a big scoop of peanut butter, some hot water to soften it, a squirt of vinegar, a squirt of hot pepper sauce, a couple of squirts of the sesame oil, a big dolup of miso.
mix thoroughly. toss the suateed veg over top.
posted by Abinadab at 12:47 PM on December 12, 2013

Potato frittata or a variation thereof.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:37 PM on December 12, 2013

Pollo blanco: brown chicken thighs for a few minutes, then throw in a chopped onion and 2 cups of water. Boil it down on medium high heat for thirty minutes or until onions caramelise. Add water as necessary so it doesn't dry out.
posted by empath at 2:57 PM on December 12, 2013

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