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Old 10-16-2006, 01:22 PM   #1
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Cooking help for a newbie!

Hello, this is my first post here. I'm tired of eating out! I'm a 22 year old guy fresh out of college with minimal cooking skills! I have a mission for you, should you choose to accept it:

I basically need a 5 day menu of easy to cook food that is not too high priced, and good tasting. By easy to cook i mean, can be prepared in equal to or less than 45 minutes. For example, one of my favorite things is Spaghetti, this is a perfect suggestion. However please avoid this one since im already a pro at spaghetti. Please include ingrediants, but i dont expect anybody to spend the time on telling me how to cook, just ingrediants please. If I get some help, I'll take the suggestion I like the most and i'll post a photo on here of each dish I attempt to make and include commentary. It should be some good comedy!



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Old 10-16-2006, 01:48 PM   #2
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Welcome to DC. What kind of things do you like? Have you been to any bookstores and looked through any recipe books? Did any of them appeal to you?
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Old 10-16-2006, 01:54 PM   #3
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I am definetly a traditional meat and potatos kinda guy, but i like a lot of variety and I would like to eat semi-healty. I have looked for cookbooks before but I just haven't found exactly the kind of book that suits me. Most seem to be either too fancy, diet books, or something cute (like 20 ways to make food with beer).... nothing for a normal guy like myself....

You have any recommendations? Any good free websites??

I do think it would be fun to have something like this one here, get a discussion going about how my dishes turn out.

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Old 10-16-2006, 01:55 PM   #4
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Welcome to DC. You are in the best cooking site on the internet and you will learn a lot from our wonderful cooks and chefs - it is also important to go to a bookstore and look through them to see if any interest you. If any standout definitely buy it.

Have a wonderful day!

Jill and Jolie
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:04 PM   #5
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I just bought a book for my niece who is on her own for the first time ever. I thought the recipes sounded great. It's only about $12.

by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross

How to plan smart, shop smart, and cook smart. With 274 delicious, thrifty, friendly recipes.
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:47 PM   #6
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It occurs to me that you could do a lot worse than follow the Today's Menu and Food Talk forum. Click on new posts and you're bound to see it. Today's thread is labelled "Dinner - Monday, October 16th". You're likely to find something you'll fancy eating tomorrow.
Good luck.
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:51 PM   #7
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OK here's a quick dish for you.

Chicken thighs or breasts (4-6)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salsa
tsp dried oregano

Dump the ketchup, brown sugar, salsa and oregano together, stir and pour over the chicken. Bake in the oven for 30 - 45 minutes and serve with rice and a salad. Quick and tasty.

Buy Cooking for the Rushed. Its available online, it caters to people who want to eat well and fast. You won't regret it. There are a couple of books but buy the blue one. Its the first one.
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Old 10-16-2006, 03:42 PM   #8
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Equal parts coke and ketchup - makes an 'ok' bbq sauce

Marinate a pork tenderloin (not the roast but the tenderloin) in a baggie with a can of fruit cocktail. Cook that evening in a skillet or in the oven (starting in a skillet) with the fruit cocktail.

I'll be back to post more - I've got to work (how rude!)

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Old 10-16-2006, 03:57 PM   #9
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Parmesan Pork Chops

4 pork chops, 1/2" thick
4 each - thin onion slices and green pepper rings
1 tomato, sliced
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Bake chops in 350 degree oven, turning half done. Top with onion and green pepper. Continue baking. Top each chop with a tomato slice and parmesan cheese, the last 10 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika.

Total baking time 1 hour.
Whoops, you said 45 minutes.
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:03 PM   #10
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Beef & Cheese Pie

6 servings

1 lb. ground beef
2 packets French onion soup mix
1 cup warm water
12 slices American cheese OR Velveeta
2 cans refrigerated biscuits

-Brown beef in a skillet; drain; return to heat.
-Stir in onion soup mix until beef is coated; stir in water; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
-Spread beef mixture in a 13" X 9" X 2" baking pan.
-Lay cheese slices over beef.
-Lay uncooked biscuits in a single layer over cheese.
-Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-16 minutes, until biscuits are golden.
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:28 PM   #11
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Swiss Steak

2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound round steak or chuck steak cut into serving size pieces.
1 tablespoon shortning
1 can tomatoes
1 medium onion sliced
2 carrots sliced
2 ribs celery sliced
salt and pepper

Mix flour 1/4 teaspoon salt and 18th teaspoon pepper.
Sprinkle one side of the meat with half the flour mixture. Pound it in.
Sprinkle the other side and pound it in too.

Heat shortening in skillet until melted and then add the meat.
Cook until brown on both sides.

Add all the rest of the ingreds. and heat to boiling. Reduce heat.
cover and simmer until veggies and meat are tender.
serve over rice or noodles
or even mashed potatoes.
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:35 PM   #12
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Lamb or pork chops with pineapple chunks.

1 can (13 oz) pineapple chunks drained ( save the juice)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
4 lamb or pork chops ( about 1/2 inch thick)
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Mix juice, soy sauce, mustard and vinegar and pour over
your chops.. Cover and sick into the fridg. Turn them over every hour for the next four hours.

Drain the juice (save) from teh chops and cook the chops over med. heat until they are nice and brown. Add 1/4 cup of the juice mixture. cover and cook over low heat for 30 -45 minutes.

Mix up the brown sugar and cornstarch in a pan
then stir in the rest of the juice mixture. Heat until it boils.
Reduce the heat and simmer with out a lid for five minutes. Add the pineapple. Cook for two more minutes. Top the chops with the sugar mixture.
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:36 PM   #13
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When I was a little girl...a very long time ago, my parents had a friend named Paul Martin. Paul loved to cook and often created his own recipes. This casserole was one of my favorites and became an often-asked for dish of my children. It contains common, inexpensive ingredients and is quick to prepare. Even better, it's great leftover. That is, if there's any left. Don't let the name put you off. Paul had a silly sense of humor.


(Serves 6)

1 lb. lean ground beef
½ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped green pepper
2 (10½-oz.) cans condensed
tomato soup, undiluted and
1 (16-oz.) can cream corn
3 cups cooked elbow macaroni
Salt and freshly pepper, to taste

In a large skillet brown ground beef with onions and green pepper until beef is no longer pink. Drain.

In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients except half a can of tomato soup. Mix well to combine. Put into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole and spread remaining half can of tomato soup on top.

Bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350º oven for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:36 PM   #14
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This seems like a great community here! I did not expect so much feedback so quickly!! Thank you!!

I will never ever go hungry now! I actually took half's advice and went out and purchased the book that was recommended. This is because my dad is a pretty good cook and he always tells me to buy a book but i could never find one that I liked. This one seems pretty good!!

I think I'm going to make some stuff out of this book this week, and then the following week I will take some suggetions from this post. So feel free to keep them coming!

Thank you all very much!
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:40 PM   #15
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Here's a quick hamburg and cream of mushroom soup recipe you can make in a single pan.

"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:57 PM   #16
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Quick Beef Stroganoff

This is a quick stroganoff I make when I don't have much time.

1 lb. round steak, thinly sliced
(if the meat is partially frozen it is much easier and quicker to cut)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 T. butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup water
1/2 t. paprika
cooked egg noodles

In a skillet, cook onion in butter until just tender. Add meat and cook until color just changes. Add remaining ingredients except noodles. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat stirring occasionally. Serve over noodles with a little sour cream if desired.

This is a great sauce to go on top of cooked chicken breast

1 14.5 oz. can stewed or chopped tomatoes
1 chopped onion
1/4 cup grey poupon dijon mustard
1 t. sugar

Simmer until flavors meld.

Easy Zing Chicken

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup mayonnaise
4 t. distilled white vinegar
1 large clove garlic chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken breast

Blend ingredients together. Pound chicken to tenderize if needed. Place chicken in marinade for 20 minutes.

Take out and broil for 7 minutes each side. Serve with white rice.

Oven Fish

Creamy Italian dressing
potoat chips, crushed
Sale, flounder or orange roughy fillets
monterey jack cheese

Marinate fish in dressing about 20-30 minutes. Roll in crushed potoat chips, put in baking dish that has been sprayed with a little pan or rubbed with a little oil. Sprinkle grated cheese on top of thish and bake 15 minutes in 500 degree oven. If not browned or crunchy enough, put under broiler for a few minutes.

Go Sooners
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Old 10-16-2006, 05:07 PM   #17
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Kabobs are another great idea. Use beef or lamb cubes, marinate (you can buy pre-made marinades), and skewer your favorite veggies on with your marinated meat. Broil or grill about 8-10 minutes or until desired doneness.

You can buy wooden skewers at the grocery store very cheap, but don't forget to soak them in water first so they don't burn.
Go Sooners
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Old 10-21-2006, 08:00 PM   #18
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Pan Cous Cous with Chorizo and Green Beans
(this is from Donna Hay's 10 minute meals recipe book)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 long red chilli, sliced
2 chorizo sausages, sliced
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
150g green beans
1 1/4 cups instant cous cous
1 cup coriander/cilantro leaves (tend to leave these out if I don't have any growing in my garden)

Heat frying pan over medium heat, add oil, onion, garlic, chilli and chorizo and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, stick and beans. Sprinkle over couscous. Cover with lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Top with coriander to serve.

This is good when your in a hurry. Hope the cooking is going well!
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Old 10-21-2006, 11:51 PM   #19
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Just found this thread.

A very simple meal can be made out of a ham steak (it is a piece of ham cut into slabs usually about 1/4 inch thick).

Put it into a plastic bag or covered bowl with good old Coke (the high octane stuff here, no diet soda allowed in this recipe, trust me).

Let sit overnight.

Next day slice some onions thinly and saute under medium heat until they sorta turn brown (this will take a few minutes and you can stop at any time after about five minutes, very brown or not. The longer you go the better they will taste. If they turn brown they are wonderful.).

Put the onions aside.

Saute the ham slices (take a pan, preferably nonstick, add a bit of oil, and cook the things).

When the ham is out of the pan toss a shot glass, or a tad more, of Coke into the pan and stir it about a bit. Let simmer for a minute or two. You now have your sauce.

Before I cooked the the ham would probably have made mashed taters from the box. When made you can put them aside, covered, until the ham is ready.

Service is the ham slice with the onions on top, mash next to it, and the gravy over the ham. Oh yes, a bit of butter on the taters would help.

And if some things are not warm, that is what the nuker is for.

Total cooking time is less than 30 min.

Just an idea.
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Old 10-22-2006, 02:30 AM   #20
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If you're into seafood, then this might be something you like: moules frites (moules marinières with french fries).

Moules Marinières

3-4 Servings

* 9 lbs of large fresh mussels (pre-cleaned in vacuum bags or trays)
* 1 lbs of chopped soup vegetables (celery, leeks and carrots in about equal amounts)
* 2 oignons (roughly chopped)
* 1 - 2 cups water (see notes later on)
* 1 spring dried thyme
* 1 bayleaf
* 1/2 bush of parsley
* 2 pressed cloves of garlic (opt.)
* cooking oil
* p&s

Preparation (9 lbs should take you some 30 mins if they are pre-cleaned)
Rinse the mussels in a coleander under cold running water.
Transfer the mussels to a large bowl (clean! bucket) of fresh cold water. Allow them to climatise for a while.
To clean, first scrape off white "shells" that grow on the mussels (harmless but add an undesired crunchyness when left in place to cook). Then check to see if the mussel is firmly closed. If the shell is not firmly closed, then squeeze the front together and tap the back and inner curve of the shell with the back of your knife. If the mussel closes then it's ok. If it stays open, discard. Discard mussels with broken shells. Then pull out the stringy bit hanging from the inside of the shell (if there is any).
Put the mussels back in the coleander and give another quick rinse.

Heat the oil and add the oignon to sweat without colouring for a few minutes. Then add about 3/4 of the soup vegetables and fry them too for a few minutes. Add the water and other ingredients (except mussels) and let everything boil for a few minutes. When you have a fierce boil in the pot and the vegetables are starting to soften, add the mussels and the remaining vegetables (in that order) and put the lid back on. The mussels take only 4-6 minutes to cook over very high heat. Toss the pot repeatedly while cooking! They're ready when all the shells are well opened.
Serve with french fries (obviously) and a dip of mayo with a few pressed cloves of garlic mixed in.
Also note that mussels are finger food. You eat them by picking out the mussels with an empty mussel shell that you use as you'd use a pair of pliers.

Notes: First of all the amount of liquid is variable. The general idea is to have your veggies submerged but not realy swimming. That way, the mussels will sit on a bed of veggies and be mainly steamed rather than boilt.
Secondly, the kind of cooking liquid you use is a matter of personal taste (and possibly heated debate while having dinner). My personal favourite is to use dry white wine instead of water. Other possibilities include: slightly bitter lager (Stella Artois if it's easily available where you live), 50-50 Noilly Prat (a kind of martini with a lot more herbs and a lot less sugar) and water; water with a few tbspoons of Pastis (a liquour with a strong anis taste, hence only a few tbspoons). For a more pronounced taste fo your flavoured cooking liquid, you can add a splash of it to your mussels just before you take them off the heat.
Thirdly, you can do the cleaning atleast 1-2 hours before dinner. Just proceed as described and when all mussels are cleaned, put them in plenty of cold water and put them in the fridge.

Bon Appetit!
Tonight let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.
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