(Closed) What boring, uninspiring meals do you cook the HELL out of? Share your secret!

posted 6 years ago in Cooking
Post # 33
116 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@bleusteel:  I make a chicken dish like this too, but I call it Chicken Bravo because I was inspired by a dish I had at a restaurant called Bravo’s!  I do everything in a cast iron skillet so it’s stovetop to oven, no prob!  Steam the chicken breast and let the water evaporate so you can brown them a little.  I always use my homemade garlic/basil olive oil when I brown.  I add spaghetti sauce and italian sausage with onions that I’ve browned in another pan (or previously frozen from a different meal).  Bake it covered for about a half hour, then uncover and top with mozzarella for the another 10 min.  350 degrees or so works.  I like to serve it with basil pesto pasta.  It’s simple, but yummo!!

Post # 34
9134 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@iarebridezilla:  I make a mean shepherds pie (aka cottage pie when I use ground beef instead of venison.)  The key is to sautee the onions in butter and curry powder before browning the meat with the onions.  Then add in flour, Worceshire sauce, and a little bit of water to make a gravy with the meat.  Stir in a cup (or two) of mixed frozen veggies (corn and peas is most common but I also like the mixes with green beans and lima beans added in).  Spread the meat into a casserole dish.  Top with mashed potatoes (we prefer garlic flavored).  The key here is to glop the potatoes in the middles and spread it outwards towards the sides.

Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes then broil carefully for a few minutes to brown the potatoes (you can also mix shredded cheddar into the potatoes before topping it; my husband doesn’t like his cheesy though.)  I serve ours with ketchup and/or HP sauce.

Post # 35
2075 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

@iarebridezilla:  Oh, I forgot to add shallots on the list. Shallots bring sweetness.

I’ve only seen my grandma make curry paste when I was 3 years old. I noticed that she pounds the garlic, shallots and other spices in her mortar and pestle. The more elaborate curries are special occasion curries, where there are 10 to 15 spices in them and takes forever to cook. (Google search: Beef Rendang)

Cinnamon is great in curries. So is nutmeg, but probably 1/2 tsp of nutmeg.

Other spices or herbs that go really well in curries are:
– Lemongrass
– Galangal (looks like ginger root)
– Curry leaves (the kaffir or lime leaves)
– For texture, I would add shredded coconut and/or ground blanched almonds

But for quick curries, it’s basically turmeric, shallots, cinnamon and star of anise. For kick, I would add ground cumin and ground coriander. (or use fresh parsley instead of ground coriander!) — When I was really lazy, I just used curry powder. Quick and easy ๐Ÿ™‚ The only downside is that I couldn’t control the heat. My Fiance doesn’t take spicy too well.

Post # 36
368 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2000


Me? I’m no cook. My husband? Let’s just say I was vegan when we met (for five years. 13 years a vegetarian before that) and by the third date I was howling for his spaghetti bolognase.

Something to do with blitzing the mushrooms with heat to make the water leach out and reducing said water into a mushroom-goodness concentrate and lobbing it back into the sauce. Or something…

(ace topic for a thread, by the way)

Post # 37
1475 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

I make a great twist on mac and cheese. Keep in mind I’m a veg so this may be a little out there for some folks, but it’s DIVINE!

I peel, chop, and boil a couple of sweet potatoes until soft. Once they’re softened, I puree them either with a blender or a hand mixer until smooth. I sometimes add a bit of milk or low-fat cream cheese (room temperature) to help them puree smoothly. Then I make a standard “light” mac and cheese sauce – start with a flour and butter roux, then add low-fat milk (the “real” recipes usually call for cream or whole milk) and cheese (whatever kind you like – grated). Then I whisk in the sweet potato and season it with cayenne pepper and chili powder.

Toss the sweet potato cheesy sauce with some cooked pasta in a casserole dish, top with more shredded cheese, and bake until it’s gooey. Oh my goddddd so good.

My Fiance thought I was a total weirdo when I told him what I was doing, and he could not stop eating it.

Also a great way to “hide” veggies in a kid-friendly dish – they’ll never know it’s sweet potatoes, because the sauce just looks orange like the boxed variety! You’d probably want to leave out the cayenne and chili powder, though.

Post # 39
2362 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013 - B&B

I dont think this counts as a meal at all, but little smokies, wrapped in a third of a piece of bacon, sprinkled liberally with brown sugar. Place on foil, and bake at 375 for about 20-30 minutes (off the top of my head I THINK thats the right temp and time). So. Delicious. So. Bad. For. You….

Post # 40
193 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I make vegetarian enchiladas with homemade red sauce – good enough that we had them for christmas dinner! 

I also make what we call “spaghetti pie” which Darling Husband asks for almost every single night. At one point I was making it 2-3 times a week for him, and he was eating leftovers for lunch everyday. 

basically I make spaghetti, throw in an egg or two and press into a casserole dish. Top with a ricotta/sour cream mixture seasoned with garlic and italian seasoning. Top that with a meat sauce. Bake until the noodles are set, and slice!  It tastes a lot like lasagna but SO much easier to make, and not as messy to eat! 

Post # 41
3682 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I made a kickass Thai chicken soup last night.

I had cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot and wasn’t crazy about the way it turned out, so I repurposed it.

I boiled the chicken carcass in water with 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp ground thyme. After straining out the broth, I pureed 1/2 a yellow onion, six cloves of garlic, a little shaving of fresh ginger, and half a serrano chile in the food processor and sauteed that in the bottom of the stock pot with a couple teaspoons of yellow curry paste (that I buy at our local Asian grocery store).

I added the chicken broth, a can of coconut milk, a tablespoon of fish sauce, the shredded chicken, and some chopped celery for texture, boiled to let the flavors combine and the liquid reduce, and served it topped with chopped cilantro and Thai basil. It was amazing.

Post # 42
6716 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

Lasagna. Everyone who has ever eaten my lasagna asks for the recipe, but I don’t use a recipe. I think it is the hot Italian sausage I use in place of half the ground beef. I also make a version of “Pad Thai” (which is NOTHING like actual Pad Thai) that my Darling Husband and DS want me to make all the time. They don’t eat real Pad Thai, so they have no idea that my recipe is nothing like (and nowhere near as good as, IMO) the real thing.

Post # 43
297 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I make a mean meat spaghetti sauce – my secret is cinnamon! Love reading these little secret tips ๐Ÿ˜‰

Post # 44
3245 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@Eckle:  Interesting that you use ginger in mac and cheese! I put nutmeg in mine. ๐Ÿ™‚

I think I make delicious mac and cheese:

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan. When it’s heated up, add an equivalent amount (3 tbsp or so) of flour. Whisk together and allow to cook for a couple minutes. Heat 2-3 cups of milk in another pan; when milk is hot add it to the oil and flour mixure and whisk rapidly over medium heat. Then, add a bunch of mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and several slices of white American cheese (the blend of these specific cheeses is what makes it extra good). It’s best if the cheese is cut in small pieces or grated, because then it melts more smoothly. Add 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and a bunch of black pepper and keep warm over low heat until you’re ready to add pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce to use on a whole 1 lb bag of pasta– my favorite type of pasta to put it on is the big, fat tubelike ones that are about 2 inches long– I can’t remember what they’re called. I also love rotini, usually 1/2 white pasta and 1/2 whole wheat.

Hmm, I may have to work out extra tonight and make that! Haven’t had it in a really long time since I’m trying to lose weight.

Post # 45
3245 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@Miss_Magoo82:  Oooh, I am going to have to try cinnamon in my tomato sauce now!

My secret to incredibly good tomato sauce is to use lots and lots of Greek Oregano, which I grow in my garden. When I make eggplant parmesan, I load the flour I dredge the eggplant in with chopped oregano and it makes it amazing. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 46
2447 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Mashed potatoes. I boil the potatoes with half a head of garlic and then mash them together after draining, add 2 raw eggs, half/half, butter (grass-fed), and fresh dill all chopped up. It’s insanely good.

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