|I cook a lot but I follow recipes a little too slavishly. I've also got a lot of random ingredients I'm trying to clean out and use up. Can you point me at some fridge-clearing, seat-of-your-pants recipe templates or use-what-you-got recipes that would let me mix and match? (Details about what I mean, and things I'm especially trying to use up, inside.)
What I'm looking for is something kind of like what I do with vegetable soups: some onion, carrot, and celery, and then chop up whatever other random veg needs using up; bung that in some broth with whatever cooked beans are hanging around and a handful of elbow macaroni and simmer. I'd like to have some other types of dishes - casseroles, salads, grain bowls, that kind of thing. What I'm ideally looking for is a recipe that isn't as fussy about what KIND of grain you're using, say, so much as it is about how you need X amount of the cooked grain. Then you add Y amount of a leafy green vegetable, Z amount of combined other veg, and then you do blah blah blah to cook it. Or something like the Food52 Cook In The Blank cookbook; I have some sample pages there (the grain bowl, the mac and cheese, and a couple of the soups) already.
As for the "use what you got" recipes - what I mean is, for instance, I have a lo mein recipe which calls for a set amount of noodles and seasonings, but then says a pound of "whatever meat you want", a certain amount of "whatever leafy vegetables you want," a certain amount of "whatever hard vegetables you want"; as long as you follow the steps, the kinds of vegetables don't matter so much. A similar cookie recipe I have is a basic recipe for the cookie part, and then you add X amount of whatever combination of nuts, chips, dried fruit, etc. you want.
I'm also looking for generic tips like "if you have leftover stew of any kind, just fling that in a dish and slap some puff pastry on top and you have a pot pie" or "if you have leftover rice just dump some canned salmon on top and drizzle with mirin and it's a quick-and-dirty Japanese rice bowl".
And the more free-form and flexible the better; I have a bad habit of going up my own ass about using the exact ingredients a recipe calls for, and that's exactly why I have all these scant amounts of grains and condiments and what-not. If a recipe is flexible about exactly what KIND of cheese or grain or meat or veg or whatever, then I'm interested.
EXTRA BONUS POINTS if the recipe is in a "serves one" or "serves two" quantity. I am almost always cooking just for myself, which is ANOTHER reason why I have so much shit in my pantry.
SUPER EXTRA BONUS points for recipes that will let me use up any of the following:
* random odds and ends of cheeses that are still hanging around from earlier this summer when I was in a DIY cheese-tray phase. (Some are already fated for a catch-all mac-and-cheese, but still.)
* whole grains like millet or bulgur or freekeh.
* seasonal vegetables in general (the CSA just ended for the season and I've got a massive backlog).
I'm well-practiced in a kitchen and have no allergies (other than broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts giving me MASSIVE indigestion, woe).