Good recipes with fewest possible ingredients.
October 27, 2007 7:56 PM   Subscribe

What are the best minimal (2-6) ingredient recipes you have?

Yes, I've searched the archives. But although they are great questions (especially this one, which is similar to my question, but with a very different focus) they're not quite what I want. I've also seen the NYT's 101 Summer Recipes. I could google recipes, but I trust the recommendations of MeFites (who seem to be predominantly foodies) more than I trust PageRank.

Bonus points if they travel well, and don't contain some of the foods that immediately get stuck in globs in braces (like just about every bread known to man) when you take a bite. Yes, I can cut, but knives aren't always available when I'm out and about, and it gets... impractical (read: messy) to cut large sandwiches up.
posted by flibbertigibbet to Food & Drink (66 answers total) 405 users marked this as a favorite
Chicken Piccata

dredge a few boneless, skinned chicken breasts with flour. (the flour is optional, but it is nice to pound them thin, or slice them thin)
sauté in a bit or oil or butter
remove the chicken and add some lemon juice, stir up the bits and reduce the juice
if you are not chasing fat, add a few tablespoons of butter
add back the chicken, some salt, pepper, fines herbs or parsley, aand some capers.
posted by caddis at 8:12 PM on October 27, 2007 [6 favorites]

Fruit and peanut butter.
posted by bingo at 8:20 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I make very simple stir fry.

Boil some udon noodles (or stir fry noodles, or any kind really, I've used spagetti before)
Cut up zucchini and stir fry in a wok. Add noodles and a sauce. You can use chicken if you want, but just the zucchini and noodles is a great meal.
It works great as a lunch for later too.
posted by Becko at 8:21 PM on October 27, 2007

Grilled Onions & Potatoes
Slice 4/5 potatoes in thin, even slices.
Slice 1/2 vidalia onions.
Layer them in a large sheet of aluminum foil (heavy duty if possible).
Dot with butter, add salt & pepper to taste.
Wrap into a sealed packet.
Toss onto a grill @ medium heat for 30-40 mins, flipping occasionally.
posted by jeremias at 8:23 PM on October 27, 2007 [3 favorites]

Lemon Tuna Pasta.

Heat some chopped parsley and garlic very gently, then add a can of tuna and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve over pasta. You can add some Parmesan if you want to get fancy.
posted by arha at 8:23 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Not sure if you want recipes to make in advance and take with you somewhere, or recipes that you can make while out and about...

But if you can make in advance:
Pasta + extra virgin olive oil + pesto (+ chilli + cheese + black pepper +... there are any number of things you can add really but pesto is good since it combines lots of flavours in one ingredient).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:23 PM on October 27, 2007

Baked Salmon

Salmon has a delicate flavor, difficult to preserve... so it's easier to obliterate it and replace it with something better.

Salmon Filets
Italian Flavor Bread Crumbs

Dice one or more onions, chop up a few strips of bacon (I actually cut them with scissors), and sauté them together.

Place Salmon on greased pan, skin side down, and place additional strips of bacon lengthways across them (2 per large filet, 1 broken in half per small filet). Pour the onion and bacon mixture on top, and cover liberally with Italian seasoned bread crumbs. Add a pat of butter to each filet for good luck, and bake at ~350 degrees for ~30 minutes.
posted by The Confessor at 8:24 PM on October 27, 2007 [5 favorites]

Boil red potatoes, chopped in half or chunks. Don't overcook. We don't want mushy. Think potato salad texture.
While still hot, toss with olive oil and chopped, raw sorrel.
Salt and pepper to taste.
posted by Stewriffic at 8:25 PM on October 27, 2007

pasta with boursin cheese and peas.

boil pasta and drain, reserving a cup or so of the water. toss pasta with boursin and defrosted frozen peas. add water to make the sauce a little runnier. yum.
posted by thinkingwoman at 8:27 PM on October 27, 2007

1.cut up 2 red potatoes in thin slices. Put in a bowl for the moment...pour in about two tablespoons of olive oil (enough to coat the potatoes) and sprinkle some pepper and some A1 or alternate steak seasoning (not steak sauce but the seasoning...or just use pepper). Put the coated potatoes spread out in a baking dish in the oven on 350 for 40 minutes. It is good to stir em around at the 20 min interval.

2. Zucchinni/Squash/Green Peppers/Onions/Mushrooms---feel free to use only a few of these or all of em.....throw em in a stir fry pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir on low to med heat until cooked (usually 5-10minutes)....tastes awesome
posted by snap_dragon at 8:30 PM on October 27, 2007

Swiss baked chicken:
1) Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2) Sliced mushrooms (fresh)
3) Sliced mozzarella and swiss cheese
4) Fresh parsley

Spray baking dish with Pam (or grease with butter). Wash chicken breasts, place in dish, salt and pepper them. Sprinkle fresh parsley, then cover chicken with fresh sliced mushrooms.

Top each chicken/mushroom piece with one slice swiss cheese, then one slice mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 for 35--45 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Serve with green beans. Yum!!
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 8:48 PM on October 27, 2007

Corn and Black Bean Casserole

Bag of frozen corn, sweet white preferred
Can of black beans, rinsed
1/8 cup flour
cheese - your choice, but about 1/2 to 1 lb of cheese, such as Queso blanco, or jack cheese
a small amount of milk, few ounces, just enough to allow you to stir
chiles, chiles, chiles to taste, I recommend about four to eight Jalapeños, plus a goodly dose of hot salsa
bake or microwave until everything is melted and cooked.

This can be a side dish, or if you are going vegetarian, up the quantity and it is a meal; also add some lime to bring out your ability to absorb all the essential amino acids from the corn.

some people like this with cumin (you could just add chili powder)
posted by caddis at 8:50 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

fruit smoothies:
1 cup soft or canned fruit
1/2 cup yogourt or dessert tofu
1 cup fruit juice.

put all ingredients in blender. blend. serve.
leek and potato soup
white parts of 3 leeks, chopped
three to four medium potatoes, also chopped
1 tbsp butter
water or vegetable stock.

saute leeks until translucent, add potatoes and enough water to cover. simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Blend. Add broth/water to reach desired consistency, and salt and pepper to taste.
almond cookies
3 egg whites
2 cups ground almonds
1 cup superfine sugar

whip egg whites to stiff peaks. combine almonds and sugar, fold into egg whites. form into balls, bake for 10-12 mins @ 350 degrees.
posted by heeeraldo at 8:54 PM on October 27, 2007 [4 favorites]

Souffle - in a pan

Separate five eggs
whip the whites
make a roux with about two tablespoons flour, two tablespoons butter and a cup of milk. start with the first two and add the milk sloooowly to make a smooth sauce over very low heat until it thickens. Add flavor - a half cup or more of a nice grated cheese, gruyère is traditional, or a savory vegetable such as spinach. Add about half the yolks off the heat, throw out or save for some other purpose the rest.
fold the roux and whites together
put the mixture into a greased omelet pan, heat it for about 20 seconds on the burner and then into a 350 - 400 oven for about 15 minutes or until it rises and is brown on top. Serve with soup and a baguette of bread with unsalted butter. It is even nicer in a souffle dish, but does anyone beside me even own one anymore. I am such a relic sometimes.
posted by caddis at 8:59 PM on October 27, 2007

I'm a big fan of beans. If you just hate to cook, canned beans are fine. Dry beans are cheaper and tastier, and you can cook up a big batch and then freeze a bunch in recipe-sized portions.

All purpose lentil flavoring:
Heat up a Tbs of olive oil, and throw in 2 minced garlic cloves, a tsp of cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp turmeric and maybe about a tsp or two of minced ginger. Don't burn it! After about two minutes of cooking, throw it into a can of lentils, and voila! Dhal! Sometimes I add a few cardamom pods, chiles or cloves as the mood strikes.

Hummus! There are tons of recipes online. Find a simple one that meets your tastes.

Black beans, a jar of salsa, and some cheddar, over rice. Maybe even a can of sweetcorn.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 9:09 PM on October 27, 2007 [6 favorites]

Not one recipe, but a bunch: The Vegetarian 5 Ingredient Gourmet. I love food, but hate to prep, I have a big collection of cookbooks, but I keep coming back to this one & one other (more ingredients).
Also, I'm not a vegetarian, it's still a great read... it's also nice to have a book in hand to browse for recipes, instead of staring at the computer screen.
I do have a few favourites in the book, my email's in the profile if you're interested I'll type a few out for you.
posted by Laura in Canada at 9:11 PM on October 27, 2007

Saute pan
Chicken breast chunks
Cooked Spiral Pasta
Fresh Basil
Olive Oil

Cook pasta to al dente

Cook up chicken.

Pour a couple teaspoons of olive oil in the saute pan.
Introduce garlic
then tomato and basil.

Mix all together.

posted by FlamingBore at 9:32 PM on October 27, 2007

(all recipes are vegetarian and assume salt and pepper to taste- I cook onions with everything, if you don't care for them they can be removed)

Gnocci and pesto
Garlic (1-2 cloves)
Red onion (1/2 of 1 onion)
Balsamic Vinegar (1 part)
White wine (3 parts, pinot grigio recommended)

Add gnocci to boiling water until it rises, 2-3 minutes. Chop garlic and onions, fry in olive oil over medium-high heat until onions turn semi-transparent. Add gnocci, balsamic, and white wine. Turn heat up slightly and cook until wine cooks off. Salt and pepper to taste.

Hummus Pizza
Hummus (store bought or home made)
Feta cheese
pita bread
Olive oil

Oil one side of each pita by pouring 1 tsp oil on one and rubbing together. Repeat as needed. Place a layer of spinach leaves on oiled pitas, leaving a space around the edges. Spread hummus across spinach layer. Sprinkle feta cheese as desired. Bake at 375 for 18 minutes.

Spaghetti pie
Spaghetti, cooked
Ricotta cheese
Spaghetti sauce
Parmesan cheese (or asiago, or mix, etc)

Oil inside of a dutch oven or similar pan. Spread a layer of ricotta cheese evenly along all surfaces- this is to be the crust. Fry onions and garlic with a generous amount of olive oil. Add oil, onions, and garlic to noodles, add some spaghetti sauce and stir. Pour half of remaining spaghetti sauce into pan to form a thin layer on top of ricotta crust. Add noodle/sauce mixture, top with Parmesan and sprinkle of basil leaves if desired. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Slice into 8 pieces and serve.

Goat cheese and raisin curry
White rice, cooked (about 2 cups)
Goat cheese
raisins (2 handful)
Red potatoes
Red onion (1/2 of 1 onion)
Coconut milk, 1 can (important: buy the kind in the Asian food aisle, not the sweetened kind used for cocktails)
Spices (curry powder, chili powder, paprika)

Chop onion finely and cube red potato. Fry onion and potato in olive oil. Add entire can of coconut milk, add spices. Stir coconut milk until evenly warmed, should take on the color of the spices. Add rice, simmer for about 8 minutes. During this time, cut goat cheese into small cubes. At 8 minute mark, add raisins and goat cheese to curry, mix thoroughly, cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and serve.

Easy fried rice
White rice (2 cups, preferably dry from overnight storage)
Soy sauce (lots)
Peas (frozen or fresh, pods are fine)
Yellow onion
1 egg (optional)

Cube tofu into 1/4" cubes. Add tofu to heated oil and fry until brown on all sides. Heat a generous amount of vegetable oil over near-high heat in deep lipped pan or wok, add rice and coat evenly with oil by stirring. Add onion and peas, pour generous amounts of soy sauce into rice until evenly brown in color. More soy sauce can be added throughout preparation. Add cooked tofu to rice and stir. Stir rice to the sides of pan/wok so that a small circle of pan is open in the center. Crack egg into the center of the pan, allow to fry for 1-2 minutes. Break egg with spatula and stir. Continue stirring for at least 2 more minutes. Add chili sauce (Sri Racha) to taste. The trick to this dish is to cook over high heat and keep the whole thing moving.

Those are just some things off the top of my head. MetaMail me if you want me to post more.
posted by baphomet at 9:35 PM on October 27, 2007 [17 favorites]

Slice an apple, arrange attractively on a plate, and sprinkle some cinnamon on it. Bonus if you can freshly grate the cinnamon, and/or some nutmeg. Lemon juice optional. Eat immediately.

Also good: instant fruit salad. Peel & cube apples, peel & cut into thirds some orange slices, add a sliced banana (probably tossed in lemon juice to prevent browning), some nuts -- walnuts or pecans work well -- and maybe some shredded coconut if you're into that sort of thing. Toss to distribute fruit, then serve into individual dishes. Yummy. Even one of each type of fruit makes a substantial amount.

Cucumber sandwiches: round water crackers with hummus and (mostly peeled) cucumber slices.

Steamed asparagus with lemon juice or salad dressing.
posted by amtho at 9:49 PM on October 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Pasta Carbonara:

Pasta, water, eggs, pork, cheese, pepper
posted by trip and a half at 9:53 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: There's too many good recipes to mark as best answer! The entire page would be sage coloured... You guys are amazing.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:03 PM on October 27, 2007

My favorite variation on chicken picatta involves things I generally always have around in my kitchen (flour, shallots, wine, parsley, lemons):

Coat thinly pounded chicken breasts lightly in salt/pepper/flour, then saute in olive oil.

When they're golden on each side, throw in a few handfuls of sliced mushrooms and a chopped shallot. When they're soft, splash in chicken broth and/or white wine/vermouth. Boil until it thickens a hair, take it off the heat and stir in a blob of butter, some chopped parsley, and a squeeze of lemon. I like to serve this with mashed green peas with butter and lemon.

My dear boy's most beloved salmon dish:

Saute salmon filets in oil and pop in a hot oven until cooked through. Basically brown on one side, flip the salmon, and pop in a 425 degree oven for 3-6 minutes, depending on how thick the salmon is and how well-done you want it.

Make a salad of chopped roasted or (if you must) canned beets, green apple chunks, and arugula dressed with olive oil and balsamic.

Mix equal parts sour cream and prepared horseradish (or two parts horseradish to one part sour cream if you don't love horseradish they way I do) together with a pinch of salt and pepper and dollop on the cooked salmon.

Pasta with bacon and tomatoes:

Saute a few slices of bacon or pancetta until crispy (maybe 2-3 slices bacon for 1/2 lb spaghetti). Pour off all but 2-3 tablespoons of the fat. Add 2-ish cloves chopped garlic, ground pepper, and a diced tomato. When the garlic softens, pour in a generous splash of red wine and boil until slightly reduced. Toss it with cooked pasta in the pan over heat and add basil or parsley and parmesan cheese at the end.
posted by mostlymartha at 10:26 PM on October 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

What the hell, I'll just post more. I know most of them cheat by 1 ingredient, but spices are sort of implied in cooking.

4 tomatoes
1 can black beans or refried beans
Red onion, 1/2 of 1
3-4 hot peppers
Green pepper, 1/2 of 1
Tortillas, small corn
Shredded cheese

Chop 2 tomatoes and puree. Chop other 2 tomatoes into 1/4" cubes. Finely chop peppers and onions. Rinse black beans in the can or a colander and add to peppers and onions. Mix with spices (cumin, chili powder, paprika, hot sauce). Heat a small amount of oil in a small pan and fry tortillas for 30 seconds on a side or until slightly browned. Spoon filling into tortillas and fold. Place folded enchiladas inside a baking pan and pour tomato puree over the top. Sprinkle with cheese as desired and bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

Stir fry
Carrot, 2
Baby bok choi
Hoisin sauce
Soba noodles or other stir fry noodle

Peel carrots and cut on the bias. Chop broccoli heads in half. Fry carrots in vegetable oil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broccoli and cooked noodles. Pour hoisin sauce into pan and stir. Once even, grate ginger into the stir fry. Add spices and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add baby bok choi, cook for 2 more minutes, and serve. Hot sauce can be added as desired.

Hearty soup
Vegetable broth, 1 can
Potatoes, 3
Artichoke hearts, 1 can
Button mushrooms, chopped or whole

Steam asparagus and chop into 1/3rds. Slice, dice, or chop potatoes. Wash artichoke hearts and chop in half. Heat vegetable broth and 2 cans water, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Add ingredients and spices (dill, bay leaves, fennel, rosemary) and keep at low boil for 20-25 minutes. Serve with wheat bread.

Volcanic PBR chili
Beans, canned (1 chili, 1 kidney, 1 black, optionally 1 garbanzo)
Garlic, 3-4 cloves
Peppers, (habanero, chipotle in adobo sauce)
Morningstar steak strips, beef cut of preference, etc.
Red onion
1 can PBR

Open beer and consume occasionally. Rinse beans and set aside. Chop onion and garlic. Chop peppers (IMPORTANT: wash hands directly after handling habaneros). Fry in vegetable oil until onions become semi translucent. Add beans, protein, and peppers. Mix in spices (cumin, chili powder, paprika) and pour a few ounces of beer into pot, cover, and cook on medium or lower heat for up to 2 hours. Chili will taste better after refrigerating overnight.

These recipes are intended to be templates, feel free to make substitutions as you desire or have available. If you cook them enough you can just start cooking great food with whatever you have available.
posted by baphomet at 10:28 PM on October 27, 2007 [5 favorites]

Super easy Chinese-style tomatoes and eggs:
Ingredients (for 1):
1 medium-sized tomato
2 eggs
half an onion (optional)

-cube tomato (large-ish cubes) and cut onion
-cook tomato chunks and onions in an oiled pan with just enough water so it doesn't burn after a few minutes. sprinkle a pinch of sugar
-remove from pan when cooked
-beat and cook eggs almost like scrambled eggs but a little less scrambling. when the eggs are still just a bit runny, add the tomatoes and stir for a few seconds, then remove from heat. serve, best with rice. Comfort food!

Nutritious tasty meal in 10 minutes beginning to end. Every person who grew up in a Chinese society knows this.

I also really like stir-frying thinly sliced onions and peppers with kidney beans with either soy sauce or oyster sauce.
posted by bread-eater at 10:49 PM on October 27, 2007 [7 favorites]

Ruth Reichl's Roasted Brussels Sprouts with bacon. I hate Brussels sprouts, but I adore this recipe. Trim 2 lbs of Brussels sprouts. Dice 4 thick cut slices of bacon. Toss all this with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes in a single layer on a shallow pan in a preheated 400 degree F oven. The sprouts should be dark and crispy. Delicious. You could serve it with pasta if you wanted.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:56 PM on October 27, 2007 [3 favorites]

Cast-iron salmon

1. Mince ginger and garlic.
2. Score two salmon fillets about 1/4" deep flesh-side up.
3. Rub ginger and garlic into cuts.
4. Heat up cast-iron pan with 3 tbsp butter.
5. Once butter is melted, place salmon flesh-side down on pan for five minutes.
6. Flip salmon over and cook other side for five minutes.
7. During this time, baste the salmon with 1/2 cup lime juice.
8. Plate rice. Serve salmon on top of rice. Drizzle juice on salmon.
9. Enjoy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:28 PM on October 27, 2007 [8 favorites]

Black beans and rice:
1. make rice in one pot
2. in a different pan, sautee chopped onions and garlic in olive oil until the onions are transparent - careful not to burn the garlic.
3. drain and rinse a can of black beans, then add to pan
4. cook at medium heat for 5+ minutes, adding seasonings to taste (black pepper, maybe cumin, are basics)
Serve beans on rice.

Pasta and omelets can take whatever you've got around the house, for example:

Fast no-thinking pasta:
1. cook pasta. I usually use penne.
2. while water's heating up and pasta is cooking, wash and chop an apple or two into cubes about 2 cm on a side; maybe some green onions, tomato or other tasties you have around.
3. once pasta is done, crumble feta on it, and add chopped apples etc and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Another super-fast pasta:
1. cook pasta. For this I like the "fresh pasta" you can get in the refrigerated section of the supermarket; usually a long skinny noodle.
2. saute chopped garlic with pine nuts and olive oil.
3. combine.

(A can of white/cannellini beans are handy for just being able to add them to pasta dishes too. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil, cook the drained beans with that for a few minutes, add to pasta.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:46 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Watermelon Curry

Cut about 1/4-1/2 watermelon into cubes and set aside. Puree a few of the pieces. Heat some oil in a skillet with a bit of garlic puree, cumin seeds & turmeric. Add pureed watermelon and reduce. Throw in the watermelon cubes & stir occasionally until the pieces are well-coated & slightly cooked. Squeeze some fresh lime and add a little salt, cook off some of the lime juice and you're done.

A quick & easy side dish you can bring to potlucks, thanksgiving, etc. & make an impression.
posted by univac at 12:10 AM on October 28, 2007 [3 favorites]

Gin martini:

Chill gin, look at vermouth, and pour gin in martini glass. Insert olive.
posted by asuprenant at 1:17 AM on October 28, 2007 [5 favorites]

Pasta with broccoli sauce:

Wash the broccoli, don't drain it. Chop the broccoli into tiny florets. Saute in olive oil with garlic until the broccoli is dark green. Toss with more oil through pasta of choice.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:49 AM on October 28, 2007

Peanut Butter Truffle Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix peanut butter and brown sugar with electric beaters. Add egg and baking soda and mix more. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll into small balls and put on a cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for 7 to 11 minutes.

These cookies will stay good for a few days in a plastic container or ziptop bag.

People love them and freak out when I give them the 5 ingredient recipe.
posted by catseatcheese at 2:28 AM on October 28, 2007 [24 favorites]

Take 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts. Put in casserole dish and pour in enough Italian dressing (regular, not "lite") to just cover. Let it marinate for anywhere from a couple hours to all night. Bake covered at 350 degrees for one hour. If you've got them, toss in some cherry tomatoes at the 5-minutes-to-go mark. Serve over rice or alone with some bread on the side.
posted by JanetLand at 4:15 AM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

Chicken Paprika

Brown two good-sized boneless chicken breasts in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Once cooked all the way through, remove the chicken and cook 1 diced yellow onion in the remaining fat and oil, until it just starts to take on some color. While the onion is cooking, shred the chicken with a fork. When the onion is cooked, drop the shredded chicken back in the pan, along with approximately 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth, and approximately one tbs. paprika. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mix a large dollop (maybe 2-3 tbs.) of sour cream into the chicken and onions, along with black pepper to taste. Serve immediately over egg noodles. Delicious!
posted by saladin at 4:22 AM on October 28, 2007 [8 favorites]

I can't think of anything that travels better than tomato and mozzarella salad, since it improves with sitting anyway.

Cherry tomatoes cut in half, whole mozzarella cut into cubes, fresh chopped basil, and olive oil and vinegar dressing.

Egg salad is only two things: boiled eggs and mayo, plus salt and pepper. I like it plain (not in a sandwich) but you could carry crackers with it...
posted by DarlingBri at 5:04 AM on October 28, 2007

My staples:

1. Spaghetti, garlic, EVOO, salt (optional red/black pepper)
2. Rigatoni, canned tomato, basil, balsamic vinegar, romano cheese
3. Cucumbers, lime juice, salt
4. Chicken, salt, oil
5. Avocado, lime juice, salt
6. Chicken parts, Goya Sazon, salt, sugar, oil
7. Rice, Goya Sazon, salt, oil
8. Mushrooms, garlic, salt, oil, pepper, (fresh parsley)
9. Steak, salt
10. Green beans, salt, oil
posted by rxrfrx at 5:10 AM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Roasted salmon with dill & roasted asparagus:
2 Salmon filets
Olive Oil
Fat Asparagus, tough ends cut or broken off

Place the salmon on a baking foiled baking sheet skin side down. Drizzle the top with oil and rub to coat. Add salt & pepper. Pull the little leaves off a few sprigs of dill and scatter on top of the fillets.

Place asparagus all around the salmon. Drizzle with oil & roll around a bit to coat. Salt & pepper. (if the asparagus is thin, wait to add after about 5 minutes of the fish cooking)

Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes (depends on thickness of salmon - check for doneness).
posted by FortyT-wo at 5:32 AM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is slightly different from a recipe I saw in this month's Everyday Food. (I actually reccomend that magazine for you since most of the recipes are simple and have minimal ingredients.) I made it last night (with the tomatoes that the original recipe called for), and I ended up picking them out because I didn't like how they tasted with the pasta.

cheese tortellini
broccoli florets (fresh; if frozen, thawed in microwave)
a clove or two of garlic, minced
a couple tablespoons of butter
parmesan cheese, however much you want
salt & pepper (I am counting this as one ingredient because where there's salt, there's usually pepper)

Melt a little butter in a pan, and throw the broccoli and garlic in, saute. While this is happening, bring salted water to a boil and throw the tortellini in. Cook until al dente (or a little bit before - you don't want it mushy, yuk!) Dran the pasta, but save a bit of the pasta water before you drain it (I usually just get a coffee cup and dunk it in, better to have more than less water.) Put the tortellini back in the pot, throw the garlic & broccoli in with the pasta, then add the rest of the butter, the parmesan cheese, and a little bit of the pasta water until it's the consistency you'd like. Season with pepper (the parmesan is already salty so you probably won't need more salt), enjoy.

Yum! Just as easy to make a giganto bowl of it as it is to make a single serving.
posted by AlisonM at 5:37 AM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

I had a bunch of ideas, so my comment is more like a novel. Sorry. :)

I like doing simple nigiri sushi (the kind where you just make a little finger of sushi rice and lay something tasty on top). My favorite is thinly-sliced avocado. Also you could make a sushi salad (sushi rice with ingredients arranged on top) in a little bento or pseudo-bento.

I also like boiling some pasta and putting just a wee bit of butter in, and a little dried basil (or some other Italian-style herb you prefer -- rosemary, oregano -- though I am half Italian and absolutely detest oregano!). If you choose a tube-style pasta like penne, it's easier to eat on the go. I prefer wheat or multigrain pasta for this. Another good combo would be to use spinach-flavored pasta and use a bit of Parmesan instead of herbs. (Though I prefer real Parmesan, I find the Parm-in-a-can sticks better for this application, especially if you're using stick-shaped pasta like linguini or angel hair) Since I use the wheat pasta and it tastes a little rustic, I like some red or black grapes and a handful or two of walnuts on the side. Another good side, especially for the spinach pasta, would be some olives.

A sautee of thinly-cut chicken strips and mushrooms can be prepared a variety of ways -- soy sauce, or balsamic glaze (gosh, we go through that stuff at home like some people go through sugared cereal. Since we're Clevelanders, we get it cheaply at Marc's), or tomato sauce with a few olives thrown in, or a wine reduction if you're feeling fancy. You can do it with no sauce, too, in which case you'd want to cook the mushrooms down separately first so they sweat their liquid, and perhaps rub the chicken with a little poultry seasoning or some other spice you like.

Last idea: tabbouleh or fattoush with pita in little sandwich-bites. I have personally never made fattoush but enjoy it in restaurants. For tabbouleh, take fresh parsley and finely chop it (removing some of the larger stems so the finished product isn't tough), take a bit of tomato and onion/scallion/shallot (whichever you prefer) and mince them as finely as you can and add them in, and season with lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper and sea salt. Authentic recipes for tabbouleh also include bulgur wheat. That makes the recipe more filling, but I never have any around. I've also seen mint included sometimes. The parsley is the big player, of course, but I have seen the lesser ingredients vary greatly in terms of ratio. I tend to like a recipe that is not at all sparing with the lemon juice. If you're Googling for tabbouleh recipes, keep in mind that there are alternate spellings, like tabouli. Except for the crazy size of the font in my browser, this recipe sounds very good. I'd use a little less olive oil, myself. I prefer my tabbouleh more salad-like and less condiment-like.

With the exception of the nigiri sushi, all of these would require a fork to eat. (Well, maybe not the tabbouleh if you could get it rolled up into little bites with pita in advance, and get them to stay rolled up. I never was.) But no knife. Some of them make good dinners, too.
posted by RobotHeart at 6:09 AM on October 28, 2007

I should've added that you can make a tasty fattoush or tabbouleh in five ingredients or less, even if the traditional recipes call for 6 or 8 ingredients if you're counting the spices. That was what I was driving at but never actually said. :)

Also, I just realized your question never mentioned anything about lunch but I assumed these were lunches we were suggesting to you. But yeah, LIS, most of these make excellent dinners.
posted by RobotHeart at 6:17 AM on October 28, 2007

Cukes and sour cream: Slice up a cucumber thinly. Put in a bowl with a spoonful of sour cream and a splash of lemon juice or vinegar (the sour cream and lemon juice should just be enough to coat your cucumber slices). Add salt, and - if you have it - dill. Stir it all up until your cucumber slices are coated. Even better if you let them "marinate" together for a while but you can certainly eat 'em right away, too.

Parmesean zucchini (courtesy of my mom): Spray a skillet (or coat with butter/margarine). Thickly slice a zucchini (aim for slices that are about 3/4") and place in the skillet over medium heat. Once the zucchini are light-to-medium brown on the bottom, sprinkle them with parmesean cheese (I use the shakey stuff in a can), salt, and pepper - you want to use enough parmesean to coat the tops. Turn them over so that the parmesean-covered side is in contact with the skillet, and let them cook for a few minutes more until the parmesean is nice and brown. Yummy! I eat this as dinner fairly often ...
posted by zeph at 7:40 AM on October 28, 2007 [4 favorites]

Beef Stew

Dredge beef chunks in flour, then brown in a skillet with a little oil.

When browned, throw them in a pot with a cup of water or beer. Simmer for an hour, then throw in cut-up carrots, potatoes, and onions. Add a bay leaf and a little oregano and simmer for a couple more hours (or use a crock pot).

It's that easy.
posted by Camofrog at 7:56 AM on October 28, 2007 [6 favorites]

Cheapskate Kedgeree

Dice up an onion,and a couple of cloves of garlic and brown in a frying pan
Add some rice to the pan (good for using up left over rice) and fry
Add a can of tuna flaked up and heat through
Add a can of sweetcorn and heat through
Add salt/pepper/mixed herbs/spices to taste.
Serve with sliced hard-boiled egg.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:11 AM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

Three ingredient recipes
posted by triggerfinger at 8:41 AM on October 28, 2007

3 ingredients - Super Tasty Salmon

*Salmon filet
*3-4 tbsp. mayonnaise (I use Hellman's light)
*Lipton Onion Soup mix (or Onion and Garlic)

Place salmon on foil-lined cookie sheet. Spread mayonnaise on top (you can use as much as you want, so long as the top is covered). Sprinkle soup mix - probably the equivalent of 3-4 tbsp., don't overload as it will get too salty. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until salmon is no longer pink. Eat and enjoy!!!
posted by BubbleWrap at 8:44 AM on October 28, 2007 [5 favorites]

The leek and potato soup (vichysoisse) is good.
posted by Harald74 at 1:39 PM on October 28, 2007

"Everybody's Favorite Noodles"

Cook your favorite pasta (any kind of spaghetti, any shape pasta, egg noodles, whatever)
Melt to just turning brown 2 pats butter per serving
add drained pasta and mix
add any grated hard cheese (romano, parmesan, etc.) to taste

salt and pepper to taste

you can add sauteed onions, hot or sweet peppers, or any vegetable for a little extra kick.

This is a great meal for picky children.
posted by nax at 4:08 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

I adore potatoes + cheddar cheese + spinach; you can bake or boil or mash the potatoes. You may want to add salt and/or butter, depending on personal taste and how much cheese you use.


I make soup a lot with vegetable bouillion (for broth), noodles, potatoes, and sometimes green beans. I sometimes add a little pepper and/or top with mozzarella cheese.


Easy lentil chili:

1 pound of lentils
1 can diced tomatoes (or chop up your own)
Cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and/or garlic to taste

Simmer the lentils and spices, covered, with 6 cups of water for about an hour. Add tomatoes near the end. Remove from heat, stir in a splash of balsalmic vingegar, and serve. (Goes great with cheddar cheese.)
posted by EmilyClimbs at 4:13 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Homemade chips:

Corn Oil

Use scissors to cut about 10 or 15 tortillas (6" tortillas work well) in to six pieces.

Put almost a whole container of corn oil into a large pot, use high heat.

Fry the tortilla slices six to ten at a time until crispy.


(I use a lot of paper towels when I do this -- two on a plate, a layer of chips, two paper towels, etc. When I'm done cooking I throw all of the chips into a bowl and enjoy with salsa).

For another flavor you can add lime juice or just lime slices to the oil as you are cooking, but be prepared for the oil to go fucking crazy.

Pico de gallo:
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 or 2 tomatoes
1/2 large onion
1/2 cilantro

Have more tomato than anything else, but really just dice everything and mix it to taste. With the cilantro, do not use any of the stem, as it will give it a soapy flavor.
posted by ztdavis at 7:04 PM on October 28, 2007

We once threw a dorm 'hors d'œuvres only' party with the conditions:

1. Eveything to be made on-location (read: my dorm room and the basement kitchen). Quickly.
2. Nasty/awesome recipes preferred.

Some of the safer recipes we tried:

Peppercorn Balls
Melt some butter in pan.
Stir in gram flour until it browns. Add crushed black and green peppercorn.
Take off heat, add powdered sugar. Mix well and set aside to cool.
Shape into balls. Eat.

Ginger halwa
Melt butter in a pan. Add semolina and grated ginger and stir till brown. Set aside.
Mix sugar and water in a pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a syrup.
Add semolina to the syrup and heat until it sets.

Salad Chiles*
Slice (don't chop) green and red chillies, jalapeños and habaneros.
Toss with salt, paprika, baby onions in vinegar and a little mustard seed oil in a bowl.
For best results: retain stalks and slice chillies with a pair of scissors.

Lolly Tamarindo
Knead tamarind, chopped chillies, jaggery and salt into balls. Skewer with toothpicks and suck.

Bitter gourd juice with anise.

*yes, we actually did make this, to wean one of my neighbors off the foul Sriracha hot cock sauce he'd taken to gulping down whenever he was hungry/needed to concentrate.
posted by sushiwiththejury at 7:45 PM on October 28, 2007

The Twitter cookbook helps somewhat.
posted by sushiwiththejury at 7:52 PM on October 28, 2007

My favorite easy dessert:

1. Fresh or canned pear
2. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
3. Top with favorite kind of chocolate syrup
4. Top with fresh raspberries or spoonful of raspberry preserves/jam

posted by pril at 9:24 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hamburger Stroganoff

1 can cream-of-mushroom soup
1 can cream-of-chicken soup
1 container sour cream
1 pound hamburger (or ground turkey)
1 bag of wide-flat noodles
1 fresh onion

Start to boil the water for the pasta in one pot, then saute the hamburger and onion in a big pan. Cook the pasta, then drain it. After the hamburger is cooked, add the 2 cans of soup and the cooked pasta. Remove from heat and add the sour cream.

Optional: a bag of peas can be substituted for the onion.
Also, some may prefer serving the noodles, then pouring the stroganoff over them on your plate.

This is my comfort food.
posted by markhu at 6:59 AM on October 29, 2007 [2 favorites]

kanji / rice porridge

1. Boil 1/4 cup of rice with lots of water till thick and soupy.

2. Add

a. soysauce
b. shredded raw ginger
c. sauteed shallots (or onions)

3. Add one or two of the following in small amounts:

a. sauteed itty-bitty dried anchovies (asian food stores should have)
b. shredded leftover chicken breast from last night
c. hard-boiled egg
d. peanuts

4. Serve piping hot. Makes a hearty breakfast.
posted by BinGregory at 9:41 PM on October 29, 2007

Chicken and stuffing casserole.

2-3 cups boiled shredded chicken (If I'm feeling lazy, instead of boiling the chicken myself I'll pick up the pre-packaged cooked chicken at the super market)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
3 cups stouffers seasoned stuffing (in the stuffing aisle, blue plastic bag)

Pre-heat oven to 350

In 3-quart casserole dish, spread the shredded chicken on the bottom of the dish, apply salt and pepper to taste.

In medium size mixing bowl, mix up stir the cream of mushroom soup, HALF the can of chicken broth, and the sour cream. Pour mixture evenly over the chicken.

Rinse out mixing bowl.

Now use the mixing bowl to mix up the stuffing and the remaining half can of chicken broth. Spoon stuffing mixture on top of the sour cream mixture.

Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

This is the basic recipe and tastes wonderful. You can add peas, carrots, garlic, onions etc if the mood strikes to make it more like a chicken pot pie.
posted by BigVACub at 1:49 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Probably my favorite recipe w/ the fewest ingredients would be the "Aio e Oio", from Marcell Hazan's Essentials of Italian Cooking.

For one serving:
Take about 1 large, delicious heirloom tomato roughly chopped, 1 handful of basil roughly chopped, 1 large clove garlic minced...

Boil a 1/3rd a pound of linguine. When it's almost aldente, heat up some garlic and red pepper flakes (to taste) in a pan w/ olive oil. Add the tomatoes to the garlic/olive oil when the garlic is beginning to change color. Add the pasta and toss in the basil, allow everything to heat up then serve w/ some parmesan cheese.

Seriously one of the better simple dishes you'll prepare. It's a weekly dish for me in the summer months.
posted by pilibeen at 7:29 PM on October 31, 2007 [3 favorites]

Here's a couple:

Chicken with chickpeas:
Cut chicken breasts into small pieces; panfry them with some olive oil (or spray if that's what you have) along with some curry powder and nutmeg. Put off to the side-- pour in a can of chickpeas with a little more olive oil, add some more seasoning (plus salt or pepper if you like) as desired. Meanwhile cook some tasty aromatic rice (basmati or jasmine's great) and cut up some scallions. Combine the chickpeas with the chicken and heat through, put chickpeas/chicken on rice, top with scallions.

Mac 'n beef:
Boil a box of short noodles. Brown some ground meat (a pound or so with italian seasoning and a chopped onion. Drain, then add a can of tomato soup (2 if you prefer more sauce or are making a big batch), 1/4 cup of water (per can), and a cup of corn. Add more italian seasoning if you want it to taste more seasony. Cook for five minutes, mix in the noodles and add 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. My boy adores this.

Delicious burritos:
Slice an onion and saute it on a pan with oil-- along with fresh mushrooms or sweet peppers if you like them. When the onions start looking caramelized, add frozen corn and some thinly cut strips of meat of yer choice. Chicken and pork work best it seems. When the meat's cooked through, you'll add a packet of taco mix-- either like fajita or chicken taco usually and water. Follow the package, and cook some tortillas-- fill serve eat and enjoy!

Roasted red potato slices:
slice a bunch of small tasty potatoes thinly (I use red, you could do blue, or fingerlings, or goldens?). Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take a baking pan, spray it with olive oil spray and toss italian seasonings onto the pan. Lay the potatoes out on the pan, spray, salt, pepper, add more italian seasonings, top with parmesan cheese (or shredded cheese if you prefer) and then spray it again a little. Stick it in the oven for about 30 minutes, and you get beautiful addictive potatoes.

I also make a great spaghetti with red clam sauce that's a piece of cake to do but I think it may overstep the 2-6 rule. Most of my recipes do but they're incredibly easy and I don't really measure. (E.g, a great low-fat pot pie with turkey meatballs, chinese stirfries, etc). Mmm, food.
posted by actionpact at 5:36 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Fewest ingredients? Here's some things I make when I'm feeling minimalist. Few of them "travel well" because I don't do potlucks in the traditional sense. I just show up and take over the kitchen when I'm eating remotely. All of them fit with my general philosophy that the more ingredients something has, the easier it is to fuck up.

Ahi tuna. Fire.

A potato. An oven.

Salmon. Orange juice. Let it sit a bit. Bake or grill.

Green beans. Steam. Olive oil, salt, garlic.

Strips of chicken breast. An egg wash. Thoroughly crushed Cheez-It crackers. A frying pan full of oil.

Chunks of tomato. Garlic. Fusilli. A hot pan.
posted by majick at 10:24 PM on November 2, 2007

Freakin' quesa-dill-a: Between two matching tortillas place sliced or grated cheese and optionally anything else tasty that's handy (mushrooms, lunch meat, onions, bacon, whatever). Put on a medium-hot pan with a little grease of some kind. Turn over when the cheese melts enough to make it turnable. Cut into wedges and serve with optional salsa, pico de gallo, hot sauce, guacamole, sour cream, or whatever.

Speaking of ... Guacamole: Optional finely grated clove garlic. 1-3 avocados (cut in half, slice into chunks in the skin and then evert the skin to dump them into a bowl). Mash with fork or something. When good and mashy, stir in juice of 1/2 to 2 limes and 1/3 to 1 teaspoon salt. Optionally stir in black pepper or dust top with paprika. I have made this twice this week: The first version (garlic, 1 avocado, 1.5 limes, some salt) was quite aggressive, and the second (no garlic, 2 avocadoes, 1.5 limes, 2x some salt) was soothing but tasty. Adapt to taste.

Homefries: Cut scrubbed potatoes into some good centimeter-thick sticks. Microwave until somewhat soft. Heat a bunch of oil in a pan on high heat, and add the potatoes in a single layer and not too many at once. When miraculous browning takes place, remove to plate with paper towel and sprinkle with salt. And cajun seasoning. Or lemon and oregano.

Fry sauce: Mix ketchup and good, fresh-tasting mayonnaise somewhere between 1:1 and 1:2. Optionally add a couple drops Tabasco sauce or vinegar, a little garlic, some onion salt, A-1, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, or anything else savory that catches your fancy. The only way to screw up fry sauce is to use nasty mayonnaise, and even then it's hard to do. Dip homefries and eat. Deny that you are from Utah, even if the sauce is.

Fried apples: Cut some nitrate-cured meat and cook in a fry pan with butter if needed. Bacon, ham, summer sausage, whatever. Cut a good cooking apple (like a Granny Smith) in half, then slice each half into quarter-inch semicircles. Dump into pan with meat, adding more butter if necessary and raising heat. Sauté until apples are limp. Optionally dust with cinnamon and/or cloves or drizzle molasses; serve as is or on pancakes.

Tabbouleh: Either cook rice or buy some bulgur wheat. Mix the grain with generous rations of both lemon juice and olive oil. (Assume you used bulgur and add enough to reconstitute it.) Chop small a quantity of tomato and cucumber to rival the grain. Mince/chop/snip a comparable volume of fresh herbs (parsley, spearmint, chives/scallions) and fold all together. Better after resting in the fridge. I'm cheating by listing all the herbs as one ingredient, but you pick or buy them together, you store them together, you prepare them together, it's not too bad. Tabbouleh can constitute the bulk of a meal, just get some protein in there on the side.

Yoghurt: Buy a little yoghurt with live cultures (most brands except the bottom rungs). Scald milk (with optional added cream) by heating it until small bubbles form, then let cool. Sanitize a container with a lid using boiling water or bleach dilution. Also a spoon, maybe a funnel if you have and need one. When milk is blood-warm place in container with bought yoghurt (with a fruit-at-the-bottom you can add nearly the whole thing, and I find Dannon re-cultures really well). Mix well. Close container and leave somewhere warmish (oven with light on, oven with a pan of boiled water, over the fridge where the heat vents, in the middle of your floor if it's around 30 centigrade) until it gels. If you leave it longer, the flavor will get sharper, even (slowly) in the fridge. (I forgot a batch in the back of the fridge for a month once. No mold on it, but I swear the acid pitted my dental fillings.) Not as fussy as it sounds, and now you can make it in the mass quantities that you deserve.
posted by eritain at 1:04 AM on November 3, 2007 [5 favorites]

Oh! Couldn't omit painful chicken:

In hot greased frying pan, successively place half a largeish onion chopped small, a scored chicken breast, a good coating of cayenne pepper atop the chicken, and the other half of the onion, also chopped small. Drizzle white, chili, or cider vinegar and sprinkle salt. If you're willing, throw in some lemon juice (reverses the vinegar dissociation reaction and thus improves the vinegar flavor). Put a lid on the whole thing and let it stew in its own juices until the odor is just too delicious, then eat. Every bite of this should make you wince a little. Mmmm.
posted by eritain at 1:16 AM on November 3, 2007 [2 favorites]

If you live somewhere you can get pinquitos (Safeway sells an S&W version): Mix one can of pinquitos, one can of black beans, and cayenne pepper to taste (I like a lot, but then I do adore cayenne pepper). Heat in the microwave. Drain, and spoon over crushed corn chips; grate cheese over the top. Comfort food.
posted by you're a kitty! at 6:23 PM on November 3, 2007

One pot brownies

3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 stick salted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8" square baking pan.

Over low heat melt butter and chocolate in a small sauce pan. Remove from heat and stir until smooth.

Stir in sugar.

Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Stir in flour and vanilla until just incorporated.

Scrape into pan, Even out. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until center just set. Cool on wire rack.

Make coffee (or milk, or tea, or beverage of choice) and enjoy.
posted by jgaiser at 1:34 PM on November 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

Saute some boneless skinless chicken breasts. Empty one can of the best quality coconut milk you can find into sauce pan. Reduce by half. Roast 1-3 jalapenos under broiler or grill until skin turns black. remove blackened skin. Scrape out seeds and add them to reduced coconut milk and blend with stick blender or put in blender. Add the juice of 1 lime to sauce. Pour over chicken breasts and serve with rice and lime wedges and a vegetable side. Awesome.
posted by vronsky at 10:43 AM on November 5, 2007 [6 favorites]

Just to be clear, I re-read that and of course I mean add the roasted jalapeno, not the seeds to the reduced coconut milk.
posted by vronsky at 3:58 PM on November 5, 2007

peanut butter + X = Yum

Where X is the closest non-peanut butter food
posted by guptaxpn at 10:14 PM on August 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Best Chili I've Ever Eaten:

1 bottle V8
1lb Ground Beef - Browned and Heavily seasoned with salt and pepper
Chili Powder to taste
1 can Chili Beans (not chili like hotdog chili)

Heat up and let simmer for a few hours.

So freaking good.
posted by razzamatazm at 3:36 PM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

« Older long exposure question   |   Wireless mouse on glass table? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.