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Old 12-28-2007, 03:29 PM   #11
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I also feel like I need suggestions from dh but he doesn't want to give them to me. He's no help at all.
There's an up-side to that... He has no room to complain if you choose something he doesn't like and he hasn't told you that!

It also gives you more room to be creative. If he gave you a list of "don'ts" or "do's" it might affect how you put recipes together. You probably know pretty well what he DOES like, and what he hates, so I'd guess you'll take that knowledge with you as you search. But do get Pam's book, it may solve all your problems!

Wine is the food that completes the meal.
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Old 12-28-2007, 06:10 PM   #12
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I found that by looking at lots of recipes, you can break them down into components or styles, and then most are just variations on a theme. Cooking theory becomes a lot easier then - may not help your technique but it does help your understanding of what you are doing. The other thing is to learn what flavours work together and that is personal preference as much as classic pairings.

I start by choosing my basic ingredient, usually the carbohydrate source, and then add to it with say the veges that need to be used up or are super fresh or the protein source. From that I then choose the style that I want to cook. That's pretty much it in a very basic form.

With your DH, I know what you mean but I don't have to deal with that situation every day - only when my mum comes to visit!! LOL She always says "anything is fine" but I know that "anything" is far from fine!! And because she is my mum, not only do I want to make her something she will like, but I will know when she doesn't like it because I know her well enough to recognise the signs, even if she says she likes it. It is very frustrating. Sometimes you just have to ignore the preferences of others and just go for it and if they don't like it, well they can always have a sandwich!

I also get some of my inspiration from restaurant menus and I don't mean by eating out (although it does help). With my role on another forum site, I spend a lot of time reading diners restaurant reviews and I will often check out an online menu to see the restaurant's description of the dish the diner ate. You can get some great inspiration from those menus.

And as was said by Miniman (I think - on the previous page), Ready Steady Cook can be inspiring, although the UK version is better than ours. If you don't have access to it where you are, there are some episodes on YouTube.

Too many restaurants, not enough time...
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Old 12-28-2007, 06:59 PM   #13
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I say be creative! kinda like buckytom said, you may have a few stinkers along the way, but hey, you gave it a try and you learned. Plus, you got us to help you out, just tell us what you got and we can give you some ideas.

I agree, DH needs to give you some idea what he is in the mood for! Otherwise, I don't want to hear you complaining!!
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:20 PM   #14
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DH says I can make a meal out of nothing. I think it comes with having been poor. I have a well-stocked pantry now, which makes it a lot easier.
We get by with a little help from our friends
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:53 PM   #15
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Start simple if you have some pasta you can whip up a pasta dish with the odds and ends you have another one is stir fry keep rice on hand.Another idea is to think out side of the box if its dinner it could be omelets and all the other breakfast fare or the omelet with salad and garlic bread.Its really just looking at what you have to see what you can make.I would keep certain staples on hand like rice,pasta.canned mushrooms,roasted red peppers,canned artichokes,pesto,beans,olives,garlic,soy sauce,Flour tortillas and frozen vegies,shrimp and french bread etc in freezer.Some cheeses etc if you have a few good staples you can make a meal much easier with what you already have in the fridge. Another idea is keep some of your leftovers in the freezer like spaghetti sauce,chicken etc.You could make an omelet and cover it with spaghetti sauce and parmesan.Just try to imagine what goes together and do it.I have had some miserable failures and some masterpieces.
Quesadillas can be made with all kinds of leftovers.The sky is the limit.
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:14 PM   #16
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I love to improvise. Like many others have mentioned, pasta or rice is cheap and handy to have around. Add a meat... ground beef or turkey and a sauce... tomato or alfredo. Some canned veggies... I keep around sweet corn, canned tomatos and greenbeans as well as beans. I like pintos and northern white because they fit in with pretty much anything. I also have a can of "stir-fry" veggies for a quick stir fry with some chicken, steak or shrimp. A few canned soups such as cream of mushroom, chicken, celery, et. always makes for a quick sauce. I also keep around some easy instant mashed taters and stuffing. Veggie stock because it goes with anything. Onions and garlic are a must as they make anything better. Maybe some cheese... shredded chedder, mozzarella, or maybe an Italian mix. Spices are something I'm still learning about.

I've made some, let's just say, interesting concoctions... some I've handed over to the dog nothing wrong with that. Improv in cooking is a learning experience so don't be afraid to just go with what you might be a good combination. And don't get discouraged if it doesn't come out like you expected.
If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown
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Old 12-29-2007, 05:41 AM   #17
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I keep well stocked pantry and freezers, but sometimes I have almost a love/hate relationship with cooking. Sometimes ideas just are abundant in my head and sometimes I look at everything and think "I can't stand to cook tonight". Between Thanksgiving and Christmas enjoyed cooking so much, but since I've been in a real slump. I'm tired of cooking and tired of eating. I've not even been able to think of something I'd enjoy. I know this will pass, but I'd much rather stay on an even keel with my cooking. I hope that comes soon.
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Old 12-29-2007, 05:49 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by corazon View Post
Are you good at improvising meals?
only about 364 days of the year
Katherine Snow. xx
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Old 12-29-2007, 06:44 AM   #19
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YT, who's doing the cooking on that one day? ;)

I never cook as the recipe sais... almost everytimes there is something I don't like, I don't have or I think something else would fit great..
It's no problem to search through the fridge and freezer and boards and create something...
but these meals are almost unique, as I can't remember what I did afterwards...
LiGruess cara ~~~ Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
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Old 12-29-2007, 06:53 AM   #20
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me, it`s Christmas dinner and there`s little room for change.

Katherine Snow. xx
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