Creative Kitchen? or Desperate Dining?

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Assistant Cook
Dec 11, 2007
So... it's freezing cold in Chicago, the weather's been terrible, I'm out of food in my house and I'm not motivated to be outside for any longer than I need to be - including the short walk from the grocery to my car! If you've lived in the northern midwest, you know!

I've also been really busy and have let myself slack on cooking.

Well... what do I eat then? I am going to share with you what I made. Now mind you - I have hardly ever really experimented - I'm more of a recipe follower / baker.

Tonight, I poured about a half a cup of orange juice into my wok. Added some broccoli, chopped garlic cloves, sun dried tomatoes, capers, chopped pickled jalepenos and cooked until hot. I reheated some whole wheat spaghetti noodles that I had frozen - covered those with the broccoli mash and sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top.

Does that sound entirely crazy or mad? Because it was really really good. Maybe I was just hungry.... ? Hmmm... Would you do the same with similar ingredients? Would you eat this dish if placed in front of you?



The Dude Abides
Moderator Emeritus
Jun 1, 2006
Bermuda Native in D.C./NoVA

Maybe the OJ, garlic, broccoli, thicken with some slurry, finish with a bit of vinegar(provided you have it), toss in cooked noodles for a faux stir fry?

As for the capers and peppers, no dice for me. But I am not a fan of capers anyways.

So long as YOU enjoyed it, go for it!


Executive Chef
Oct 28, 2007
Perth, Western Australia
Hey if you are cooking, I'm eating it!!! (Well at least once!!)

I've done similar for spaghetti but without the OJ and chilli. I would have cooked the pasta then thrown the other ingredients through the lightly drained pasta, adding some tomato paste or cream or both instead of the OJ. I would also have added some olives into the mix. That is pretty close to one of my throw together pastas where I just grab what's in the fridge. Often I would also add some smoked salmon or smoked trout or tuna to the mix as well.


Executive Chef
Oct 19, 2004
...lala land..............
Truth be told, it doesn't sound odd to me at all. Sometimes, you just have to use what's on hand, get inventive/creative and take a chance. How awful could it have turned out? The capers, I'd have done without too, but that's just me. There was a recipe floating around here for a sauce using an entire bottle of capers. Up for any challange, bought the capers and proceeded. Didn't care for it much, it was okay while others raved, all in individual taste buds I suppose. The pickled peppers, probably not either. Everything else sounds like a meal to me. Agree with tattrat, would have wanted to thicken with a small bit of slurry.

Hope you have some food in the house so you don't have to freeze going out to get it. That's got to feel awful on your skin to be hit with that find of cold, burrrrr..

Mostly happy for you that you enjoyed your creation. Keep's better than being out in the tundra:-p


Chef Extraordinaire
Feb 21, 2002
North Carolina
You had me right up to the capers :LOL: It does sound good though. I questioned the sun dried tomatoes but I bet they were great and I'm not so sure I would have thrown in the capers nor the jalapenos. BUT - it could be that the jalapenos are really throwing me off. The capers might actually work.

As for the title of your thread - I think it's Creative Cooking Under Desperate Circumstances. This is what cooking is all about. :chef:

I found one of my favorite "quickie" lunches here that I would have NEVER put together - pasta and cottage cheese. Though I put cottage cheese in my lasagna/manicotti, I never thought to just mix it in with some pasta and heat everything up together (with garlic and oregano/parsley of course).


Master Chef
Sep 4, 2004
Galena, IL
Sounds yummy. Here in Galena, it has actually been colder than Chicago ... usually it is the opposite. And being such a small town, plus living on the side of a hill, we're living out of our pantry rather than going shopping. Last night it hit -12, and that was without wind chill, and it was blowing hard. Luckily hubby and I keep a heavily stocked pantry and freezer, so that we joke that we can eat for weeks off of what is in the house at any given time. Luckily I am NOT a recipe person, so can throw a meal together at a moment's notice. This + that + the other thing = dinner some days. I'll never forget baby sis complementing me on a supper I made for the family, impromptu. This was in FL and it was three different cans of soup plus a can of tomatoes, on a cool eve after swimming. I was astonished that everyone enjoyed it so much. I wasn't expecting anyone for supper and just tossed it. Crackers and/or bread, butter and/or cheese. So leave your expectations behind sometimes.

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