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feeling braindead due to move... need recipe ideas for dinner

my kitchen is in a tizzy, and i'm still organizing it. as such, i've only picked up the basics from the grocery store, and honestly, i don't know what to buy anymore. i just moved to houston, and i'm surrounded by various asian cuisines, mediterranean, and tex-mex. i love it all, but for the life of me, when i try to puzzle out what i should buy from the grocery store to make for my family, my mind draws a total blank. i know that i should wait until my pantry is well-stocked again, but i'm tired of take-out and fast food and pan grilled chicken breast. so please, help me get started with ideas on what to buy and cook.

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  1. I always like to make soup or stew when I move to a new place. These dishes are pretty flexible and I like the process - checking, tasting, stirring as I go about unpacking and nesting. Plus the house begins to smell like home!

    Or roast something - chicken and vegetables require very little from the pantry.

    Most of all, choose something you love. Enjoy your new home!

    1 Reply
    1. re: meatn3

      chicken is a go to, but if i make too much of it, hubby starts clucking, and says he's turning into a chicken. of course my freezer is full of it. i did do a spatchcocked roast chicken last week tho.

    2. Crockpot full of chili. Simple, filling, versatile (next day over hot dogs or burgers; nachos for the family, etc.).

      Greek pizza (if I'm guessing right about where you left from -- I miss Athens Pizza on Buford Hwy, long since closed, I think). Naan or similar flatbread, onion/peppers/garlic, sausage, pepperoni, mozz cheese -- make a few ahead, wrap in foil and reheat as snack/appetizer.

      Welcome to TX! :)

      1. I agree with the stew, soup, chili angle because it's perfect for nesting into a new place, without using lots of pots and pans - hence less clean up.

        Stir fry is another option that I do when I want an easy, but more vegetable filled meal. I like chicken, broccoli, snap peas, water chestnuts, baby corn and carrots with a ginger teryiaki honey sauce.

        Congrats on the move.

        1. i like the chili and soup idea. haven't made soup since that godawful cold snap in atl. it's been a bit warm here for soup although the weather seems like it wants to turn. i think i might attempt some texas red, but i feel like fadi's for dinner tonight.

          1. I love to have breakfast for dinner. It can be as simple as scrambled eggs and toast. Or waffles, blintzes, omelettes -- almost every breakfast item can be sweet or savory.

            1. Well, at this point it seems to be more about getting you and the family fed rather than stocking the pantry. I like the soup and chili ideas; otherwise dishes that don't call for many pantry items are a good potroast with vegies, or an oven beef stew. You could easily throw together some cheese biscuits, or pick up a loaf of good bread at the grocery.
              Enjoy your new home.

              1. My braindead meal is taco salad. I dump a bag of prewashed salad mix into a bowl (I usually use Caesar because the romaine is nice and sturdy; obviously you're not using the dressing/crouton packet, and obviously if you'd rather wash and chop your own salad that's even better), add an assortment of chopped vegetable things (onions, tomatoes, avocado, peppers, whatever I have), a layer of shredded cheese, and then a layer of semi-crumbled tortilla chips. Then I add a layer of warm Tex-Mex-ish stuff that's been warmed and mixed with a bottle of Ortega taco sauce. Ground turkey and black beans works well. So does pre-cooked chicken and black beans. Refried beans, ground beef, leftover chili: all work. If you have veggies you don't want to eat raw, saute them and then add the other stuff. If you're not sauteing veggies or browning meat, you can heat up the Warm Stuff in the microwave. If you're averse to Ortega taco sauce -- and I wouldn't blame you, this is the one and only place I use the stuff -- you can fake it with salsa or some canned tomatoes and spices. Pour the Warm Stuff on top of the bowl with hte lettuce chips etc., stir everything up, add some sour cream or more salsa or more cheese or more onion to individual servings, and there you have it. Endlessly improvisation-friendly and never disappointing.

                Although I would recommend actively not thinking about the fact that you're feeding your family broken-up nachos over lettuce. That takes some of the fun out of it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: darklyglimmer

                  uh duh. that was usually the friday night meal. i feel so stupid forgetting that. what i do is brown 1/2 lb finely chopped mushrooms, 1 or 2 finely chopped green peppers, and 1 finely chopped large onion. then i add 1 lb of ground turkey, beef, or chicken, whatever i have on hand. i get everything nice and brown, and then i add my spices. sometimes, it'll be a seasoning packet, but more often than not, it'll be kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin. sometimes, i'll throw in cocoa powder and cinnamon, or i'll just use chili powder, and keep adding stuff until it tastes right to me. i'll then add a can of chopped tomatoes, maybe a finely chopped chipotle in adobo, and a small squeeze of ketchup for acid and sweetness. let that simmer a bit. if it's too juicy or not the consistency i want i throw in some masa mix, let it cook for a bit, adjust seasoning for heat, then eat.

                  if i'm feeling really healthy, i'll throw in half a bag of frozen chopped spinach. this'll either be served in fried corn tortillas or plain white flour ones. sometimes, it'll adorn homemade tortilla chips as nachos. or it'll be a salad. add some crema mexicana, crumbled queso, or shredded cheddar, and shredded romaine and fresh pico.

                  maybe i'll make this tomorrow.

                2. When I've just gotten home from a trip I frequently make Hazan's pasta carbonara. It seems special even though it's simple and made from things I generally have on hand. With a salad, that's dinner.

                  1. I assume the basics are bread, eggs, butter/marg, potatoes? Hopefully, bacon too! Breakfast for dinner! For some reason it tastes better at night. Maybe because your being a rebel!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: 02putt

                      That's why I thought carbonara. Bacon and eggs. Garlic, olive oil, cheese and wine.

                      1. re: 02putt

                        i forgot the bacon!! that's alright, though. a trip to h-e-b in the morning will rectify that.

                      2. With the warm weather I'd fire up the grill and throw whatever, could be seafood, chicken, beef on that and then have a salad and maybe some rice. Easy clean up and not a lot of prep or ingredients.

                        That is, IF you've found your grill or rice cooker. LOL WELCOME TO TEXAS!!!!

                        You also could just go to the Stock Show which is running through March 20th and eat junk food there. I've never been to it, but I've sent my road crew there from Ft. Worth since that is one of our biggest shows.