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I'm BORED with my food

Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 05:27 AM

I usually spend my weekends cooking all sorts of yummy things. I had planned to try a mushroom lasagna today but I'm just not into the idea. Last night I was so blah that I just ordered a pizza. Id probably order Chinese tonight except my sister and her fiancé are coming over for dinner.

I am going back and forth between homemade manicotti, fish tacos, or grilled burgers as a last resort but none of that sounds particularly good either.

Help me with some dinner ideas! Please.

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    oooYUM RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 05:28 AM

    I'm bored too.......
    I've even bought a couple new cookbooks recently and
    that's not working either.....
    Good Topic

    1. h
      HillJ RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 05:31 AM

      The market usually inspires me; as do the seasonal prices. I can stand in the produce section and quickly pull a menu together. It's early Spring, there are some nice buys right now on asparagus, greens, citrus. Rather than a heavier stuck in winter menu, go light!

      1 Reply
      1. re: HillJ
        m
        magiesmom RE: HillJ Mar 31, 2012 06:15 AM

        yes, I agree. And then visit the fish counter or the butcher and be inspired.

        Alternatively, explore flavor profiles you don't usually use.

      2. g
        G8ornurse RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 06:00 AM

        I challenge myself to find something new every week at the market or grocery store and figure out how to use it in a meal. By subscribing to several food magazines, I also make myself to try at least one new idea from each every month.
        Another way you can keep things interesting is to get the family involved in the kitchen or expand your repertoire to include ethnic cooking that might be out of your normal comfort zone. Recently there have been some features in Bon Appetite and Saveur about authentic Iranian, Thai, and Venetian foods that might offer some inspiration. There was even a recipe for Pho a while back.
        If all else fails, a perfect roast chicken and a bottle of good French wine is always a good "last resort" for me.
        Good luck!

        1. k
          kengk RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 06:29 AM

          When nothing sounds good to me; that is when I know I have gotten back into the habit of eating too much or too rich food.

          1. mamachef RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 06:33 AM

            Hey, you've just lost your cooking mojo for a minute, is all. It's bound to come back. In the meantime, what do your sister and her fiancee like to eat? If you cook with an eye to that, and it's something you can/will eat too, that should be fine. I wouldn't push myself too much. If you're good with homemade pasta, make homemade pasta. Same for the tacos. It all sounds good to me.

            1. s
              sueatmo RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 06:35 AM

              Since you can't find anything YOU want to eat, try to think of something your guests like. Perhaps there is something you make that they would welcome eating again. Actually I'm in the doldrums too. I need to think of a simple dessert or treat food for tomorrow night and I can't come up with a thing. In my case, the guests love sweets, so I think I'll just make a simple dessert. What I want is strawberry shortcake, but its too hard to manage unless I know exactly how many will come, and I never do.

              At any rate I empathize with your dilemma. But just typing my response out has helped me realize that all I need to do is make a simple dessert, and my guests will be happy. It isn't about what I like in this case, but what will make them happy.

              2 Replies
              1. re: sueatmo
                Hank Hanover RE: sueatmo Mar 31, 2012 08:36 AM

                I have found that strawberry short cake isn't worth the bother. I buy a lemon pound cake. Put a slice in the bottom of a bowl, put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of that and spoon macerated strawberries over that. I think it is better than strawberry shortcake and a whole lot easier.

                You could gourmet it up by making your own pound cake and your own vanilla ice cream.

                1. re: Hank Hanover
                  s
                  sueatmo RE: Hank Hanover Mar 31, 2012 11:16 AM

                  Well, I think it is, but not for 8 to 10 people. Shortcake is messy to dish up, for one thing. And you only get 8 servings at most. Later I will make a small one for Mr. and Sueatmo and myself. I am thinking of incorporating ricotta some way into the cake, or as a filling. With a little protein added, we can call it supper.

              2. j
                joonjoon RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 07:00 AM

                Try an ethnic market. Go to the Edison area and check out Iselin for some Indian goodies, then H Mart for some Asian stuff. H Mart is amazing.

                1 Reply
                1. re: joonjoon
                  j
                  jvanderh RE: joonjoon Mar 31, 2012 07:44 AM

                  +1 on the ethnic.

                  Assuming you're American and usually do the usual American/French/Italian thing, abandon European altogether until the ennui lifts. Make Ethiopian, or Indian, or something Asian that's off the beaten path. Use a vegetable you've never heard of and strong, unusual spices.

                2. Hank Hanover RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 08:42 AM

                  Go with a stirfry. Maybe a lo mein or even a sweet and sour pork. A lot of your guests may never have had sweet and sour pork without that bright red sugar syrup.

                  Oven bbqed pork tenderloins and smoked sausages served with a rice pilaf or potato salad. You could do it on the grill, too. Nice time of year for it. Serve it with some strawberry lemonade or a sangria.. maybe both. It would be like celebrating the coming of summer.

                  1. l
                    Leper RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 08:45 AM

                    Pick up a copy of "The Essential New York Times Cookbook" by Amanda Hessler. Sit back with a glass of wine and a note pad and note the page numbers of recipes that intrigue you. (This will take some time as it's a 800 page book.) Then keep the notes & list at the beginning of the book for quick future reference before you leave for the market.

                    1. i
                      INDIANRIVERFL RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 09:12 AM

                      Head to a part of town that you are unfamiliar with and enter a neighborhood store. Double points if the common language is not one you are unfamiliar with. Get at least three items you are unfamiliar with and then ask how to cook them. Matriarchs are usually the best well of wisdom.

                      I found apiato using this method.
                      A great way to spend a morning, and the potential for adding a new favorite recipe to your personal cookbook.

                      1. r
                        RelishPDX RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 10:43 AM

                        This is easily solved.

                        Go to the store stark raving hungry. Like don't eat for 12 hours or so beforehand. Not a morsel. Then walk up to the meat counter. Pick out something, a chicken, pork chops, a nice steak, etc. Your mind will flood with interesting things you can do with it, and you'll start scurrying around the market loading up your basket with stuff for cooking it three different ways.

                        Then, as you get close to the cashier, empty half your cart. Realize it's just your hunger talking, and you don't really need that $15 condiment you were going to mix into the mac & cheese for a unique side dish.

                        Your creative juices will be restored, trust me on this. My appetite gets trashed all of the time from a medication I take, and this is the only thing that gets my cooking mojo in gear again.

                        1. mcel215 RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 11:17 AM

                          When I am bored or run out of good ideas, I go to either tastespotting or foodgawker. They always inspire me, for the most part.

                          But, it sounds like you are just tired right now and the thought of cooking for everyone is a bit overwhelming....... it happens to everyone. Burgers or even fish tacos sound like a great dinner to me. It's easy to do them and that way, you can relax and enjoy your night too. :)

                          www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mcel215
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                            valerie RE: mcel215 Mar 31, 2012 07:06 PM

                            +1 on tastespotting or foodgawker. And photograzing on Serious Eats. I often peruse these sights and I end up not only finding new ideas but new blogs that I like.

                            1. re: valerie
                              k
                              katecm RE: valerie Apr 2, 2012 10:07 AM

                              My recommendation too. They are really inspiring, and they give me ideas (I don't like following recipes to the word, so this is a perfect idea-generator).

                          2. EM23 RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 12:22 PM

                            Since you were already considering manicotti, how about this variation? http://www.marthastewart.com/348690/c...

                            Really delicious!

                            1. c
                              CookieLee RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 12:54 PM

                              I've expanded my repertoire in a number of ways. I signed up through webmd.com for their recipe ideas. Every few days, they send out recipes. I haven't made many of them, but the ones I've made have been quite good. The have a Mediterranean Chicken Spinach bake recipe. I took their suggestion, and substituted black beans. Very easy to make, and delicious. Looking through magazines, online ezines, and blogs, as well as the library are valuable resources, and except for buying the mags, free! I've also bought some simmer sauces, and cooking sauces. Victoria. victoriapacking.com , puts out a cacciatore sauce that is very good. One night, I made a ground dark meat turkey stir fry with it, and served it over rice. Last night, I made shrimp cacciatore , served over linguine, with roasted asparagus on the side. I've been cooking dinner on a regular basis for over 30 years. Mixing it up is what keeps me going!

                              1. Njchicaa RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 01:35 PM

                                Thanks everyone. I decided to do fish tacos and lime soup. I'm excited about the lime soup as I love it when we are in Cozumel.

                                I'm not good with just going to the store and whipping up a meal in my mind. Heck, I can't even do it with a full fridge. I need a recipe or an idea of a dish to work from. I'd never make it on Chopped!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Njchicaa
                                  Breadcrumbs RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 01:42 PM

                                  Njchicaa, not sure whether you have many cookbooks but Eat Your Books is an amazing resource when I'm short on inspiration. I just plug in whatever ingredients I'm trying to use up and then choose from all the recipes (from my own cookbooks). Often a recipe pops up that I'd never have thought of otherwise. I'm not much of a blog reader but if you are, EYB has also indexed blogs so you have those recipes to chose from too. Here's a link if you'd like to check it out:

                                  http://www.eatyourbooks.com/

                                  1. re: Njchicaa
                                    c
                                    CookieLee RE: Njchicaa Mar 31, 2012 01:48 PM

                                    Sounds great! Can you tell me what recipes you use for them?

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