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Moved in with fiance...what do I cook??

Hi guys! :) I'm new to the boards. I was wondering if anyone could give me a few tips?

My fiance and I just moved in together, and when it comes to cooking I'm pretty panicked! He and I have cooked for each other before, but only every once in a while. Not every day! And worse, my fiance eats...a lot. Leftovers don't last more than a day. I'm content with fish and rice for dinner but he needs potatoes, red meat, etc. etc. I run out of ideas for quick, not so challenging meals to cook for him pretty easily.

I'm a beginner cook. I can make some pretty good meals, but the dishes I've mastered are a handful. People like my Italian dishes. And as for him, he owns at making steak and spaghetti. That's about it.

Does anyone know of any really good meals I can prepare? Or does anyone have any tips on how to approach this new situation? I'm a Nursing student and I work 32 hours a week, so I don't have a whole bunch of time to cook, but I do enjoy a hearty meal. I just get overwhelmed when I check out some recipes...they list ingredients that I don't always have. Any advice would be really appreciated. As you can tell, I'm very very new to this.

Thanks!

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  1. There are lots of threads already on this subject -- there was one just a few days ago, IIRC.

    My basic comment is that you should start with what you want to cook or eat, and then work on finding recipes you can manage. There's no point in us giving you simple recipes for dishes that don't appeal to you, or you eating stuff you don't like because that's all you think you can make.

    And if I may give you some unsolicited advice, you realize if you start doing most of the cooking now, you'll be setting yourself for doing most of the cooking for the rest of your lives together. You cook what you want to cook/eat some days. He cooks what he wants cook/eat other days. If you want to cook something special for him, make sure it is *special* and not something he expects every day. Or pretty soon you'll be working, going to school and doing all housework. It's 2009 -- the cooking shouldn't default to you just because you're a woman!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Precisely what I was trying to say :o)

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I was afraid there was a topic like this, but I actually looked and I must've missed it. =/

        Anyway thanks for the unsolicited advice. I do most of the cooking because he works the night shift at his job, so it just worked out that way. But you're right about making it "special" only sometimes. Thanks.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          My thoughts exactly, that no one should take it for granted that the woman will do all the cooking.

        2. You could do salads! Tuna salad, potato salad, chicken salad, leafy green salads with baked chicken in it, bean salads... etc. They don't take a lot of time, and they can last a while depending on how much you make, and you can use tuna salad to make sandwiches and tuna melts. Breakfast for dinner is another easy option. Egg sandwiches, omelets, I would even turn to pancakes! Another quick dinner is tacos, burritos, and fahitas. You don't always have to make something fancy each night. Some nights he might just have to cook something by himself :o) Don't make yourself feel like just because you're the lady in the relationship that this becomes your second job. Don't let his pasta skills throw you off, either! Pasta is very, very versatile. Saute some veggies and throw them over cooked pasta, and throw some bread with it if he's really hungry. Baking some chicken breasts only takes about 30 minutes, and you can make some veggies to put on the side quickly!

          These are just a few suggestions that I make for myself and fiance when I see him, and end up working out well. You guys can have fun making more time consuming meals on the weekend. You can freeze them, too! Lasagna is a good example, as are soups.

          I hope this helps some as I'm also in college, working and engaged, so I know what boat you're in.

          10 Replies
            1. re: mels88

              No problem. I also have a crock pot recipe that has potatoes, Italian sausage, chicken broth, spinach and cream that is amazing and really easy for when you're both really busy and don't have much time to cook. I will try to remember to post it if you're interested!

              1. re: mels88

                My advice, by way of confession, is to make extra and only put some of the leftovers in the fridge. I do this sometimes, without letting the bf see, in order to make food last longer! It won't work for simple meals that you want to eat fresh, such as pasta dishes or grilled meat, but it will absolutely work for casseroles, baked pasta dishes and even fully prepared dishes such as braised meats in sauce. When you spend extra time on one of these more labor-intensive meals, make enough for two/three meals and put one meal's worth in an airtight container in the freezer before you even sit down to eat. This way, you'll have leftovers the next day plus a 'surprise' reserve to enjoy in the near future. I really love the Italian 'tupperware' brand, Frigoverre. The bottoms are tempered glass dishes with high sides that go from the oven to the table to the freezer. The tops (firm plastic) have vents you can compress to push and lock out air. When you are ready to remove from the freezer, just release the air lock, peel off the lid, cover with foil, and pop it in the oven. Then it all goes in the dishwasher. Congrats and good luck on moving in!

                1. re: vvvindaloo

                  Where do you buy those "Frigoverre"? I have some that are glass with plastic lid --maybe same brand -- but no vents.

                  1. re: walker

                    I got mine at the Container Store about two years ago. The lid is like a translucent clear thick plastic with a blue trim.

                2. re: mels88

                  I would love this recipe, it sounds absolutely de-lish!

                  I love my crockpot, which was given to me when I went away to grad school. Best present I ever got, and that includes wedding presents :-)

                  1. re: batchoy

                    Terry's Soup (That's what we call it because it was from a family friend!)

                    2 lbs sweet Italian sausage
                    1/2 lb gold potatoes
                    1 pkg frozen spinach
                    chicken stock
                    1 cup cream

                    You want to cook the sausage, and put everything except the cream and frozen spinach in your crock pot. If you want it in there all day, keep it on low. Add the cream and spinach the last 30 minutes or so. I always mean to write down how much chicken stock I use, I think it's usually about 2 boxes of it, but keep extra on hand otherwise you will have lots of sausage and potatoes!

                    I hope this all makes sense.. I always get mad at myself for never writing more down as far as how much I use! It makes a lot, it's supposed to serve about 6, but I think it's more than that.

                    1. re: Erinmck

                      This sounds great! Any reason that I couldn't do it on top of the stove?

                      1. re: c oliver

                        None that I can think of! I just like letting it sit all day for flavor, which is why I use it in a crock pot.

                        1. re: Erinmck

                          I've been making my own sausage for a while now and always love new ways to use it. Two lbs. sounds like it would make ALOT of soup; I may reduce to one lb. or increase the potatoes and spinach. Thanks, Erin.

              2. Crock Pot is great for roasted pork roast with vegetables, potatoes, carrots, etc ... anything your favorite.

                Fish is great, rather than rice makes a quick spinach and potato on the stove with cheese. Easy quick and good.

                Steaks, skirt steak is great. 1 hr marinade, quick cook 10 minutes if that inside grill pan or even stove top or oven and served over grrilled bread with melted cheese and some grilled vegetables and salad. Good hearty meal.

                Pork filled quesadillas with cheese, sweet potato fries and simple topping for the quesadilla.

                Easy grilled chicken breasts grilled with a seasoned butter, baked stuffed potato and roasted veggies in foil pouches.

                -------------------------------------------

                Give me more of an idea what type, steak, crock pot, pork, chops, roast ????

                Too many ideas

                1. Also, set down together and come up with a plan or idea or something that states what you both like. Salads 3 days, meat 3 days and find out what each other like and make a simple list. Ask him and you as well tell him what you like. and make a list so you guys now what you like. Nothing formal just a good "need to know" list. They play off that

                  It is important to get to know one another and make favorites but also make favorites with a twist so they get to know you. You are now together so you need to communicate and talk to one another. Learn what you both like and how you like it.

                  1. Forget trying to do gourmet stuff; your fiance will like comfort food best. 1) Buy yourself a big roll of aluminum foil to ease cleanup. Line a pan with it and put a whole chicken in it. Bake it at 350*, time depends on size of chicken. A fryer (younger, smaller) will be done in an hour but a roaster (bigger) will take longer, 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. While it's in the oven you can at the same time bake whole white potatoes or whole sweet potatoes (break them open and put in some butter and brown sugar) or halves of acorn squash or baked apples. A frozen vegetable or canned green beans or fresh broccoli steamed in the microwave or a salad will complete a simple meal that will give you leftover chicken for sandwiches. You can vary this next time by smearing bottled barbecue sauce on the chicken for the last 15-20 minutes in the oven. Or instead of potatoes, cook boil-in-the-bag rice or Near East couscous, which takes no cooking at all---you bring water to a boil, add the dry couscous, remove it from the burner, and let it sit 5 minutes. 2) If you can come up with about $30 buy yourself a big crock pot (slow cooker). With this you can set up a stew, beef Burgundy, a curry, chili, a beef potroast etc before you go off to school or work and when you come home 8 hours later, dinner will be ready. 3) If it's something you like, you won't mind eating it a couple of times: make a large quantity of chili or a hearty soup, a big dish of spaghetti or lasagna, beef or chicken curry, Sloppy Joe, macaroni & cheese, etc. 4) Eggs can be a quick dinner: a cheese omelet plus frozen French fries and salad, or scrambled with sauteed mushrooms, or good old bacon & eggs. 5) If your fiance is a hearty eater you may want to pad the meal with hot rolls, hot biscuits (bought baked or refrigerated in a can then you bake), salad, coleslaw, pickled beets, sliced tomatoes, applesauce, StoveTop Stuffing, gravy that comes in a jar, a pan of gingerbread or chocolate cake or brownies made quickly from a mix, or some baked apples baked along with dinner. 6) A package of shredded cabbage meant for coleslaw makes the base of a quick stir-fry dinner. Saute it with whatever else you've got and add some soy sauce or other Asian condiments. 7) You can easily bake pork chops. Put each one on a scoop of made-up stuffing mix and put some slices of onion on top of the pork chops; bake about an hour. 8) Put a beef roast in the middle of a big square of foil, cover it with dried onion soup and don't add anything else. Wrap it air-tight and set it in a pan in case it leaks. Bake at 300* for 2-3 hours depending on size. If you cook it long enough it will be very tender and will produce its own gravy. 9) Emergency dinner: sliced roast beef from the deli counter in a jar of beef gravy makes hot open-faced beef sandwiches. 10) Stay an hour ahead of your work by setting up for tomorrow. Cut up vegetables for the next stir-fry while cleaning up from dinner tonight, etc. HINT: Find out what your fiance really likes and cook it for him and if he will cook too, encourage that. As a nurse you may work odd hours and it will be to his advantage if he can get a meal on the table. Food is a strong boost to relationships and helps make a home. PS For sure get a copy of The Joy of Cooking---you will consult it a million times.