What to Cook when you don’t know What to Cook

Have you ever got too tired of deciding what to cook? Have you ever had days when you get indoors and are tired and feeling lazy, and you really don’t know what to cook?

too tired to cookI have ……………….

and when that happens, nothing in my recipe repertoire feels quite like worth making the effort for.

In such situation, it’s always good to have quick and easy ‘meals’ that you will probably have the ingredients for and are going to enjoy.

These meals are quite filling and comforting as well as being really easy to cook – probably just what you need on a day when cooking a meal just seems like too much trouble.

One of the meals I suggest to cook when you don’t know what to cook is Nasi Goreng.

Why Nasi Goreng?

Nasi Goreng is an Indonesian classic and is amazingly versatile – it’s like pizza to the Italians. Instead of various toppings, you throw in whatever you have left over in the fridge, from vegetables to bits of  chicken or beef.

It can be enjoyed in simple versions from a tin plate at a roadside food stall, eaten on porcelain in restaurants, or collected from the buffet tables of Jakarta dinner parties.

We have so many different recipes of Nasi Goreng and this is one of my versions:


  • 2 red chilies (optional), thinly sliced or we can use 1 teaspoon chili powder instead
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg to be scrambled
  • salt
  • 2-3  tablespoons Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • 200 grams cooked white rice (best is left over rice)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 100 grams chicken breast, cut into small pieces or minced beef

For garnish:

  • 1 egg, pan-fried into a sunny-side-up
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tomato,sliced

How to make:

  • In a separate bowl, mix the sweet soy sauce with the rice until well mixed
  • Heat cooking oil in a wok until smoky.
  • Stir fry the chilies, garlic and shallot for 2 minutes, until the color turned slightly brownish and fragrant
  • Add in the chicken breast cuts or minced beef and continue to stir for a few minutes then add in the egg and scramble for a few minutes until cooked
  • Add the rice, breaking any lumps and stir until all are combined evenly and the rice is heated through. This will take around 5 to 10 minutes
  • Add in the sliced spring onion
  • Adjust the seasoning by adding more salt if needed
  • Cook for another 3 minutes

Serve and garnish the fried rice with sunny-side-up on top plus sliced cucumber & tomato on side

nasi goreng telur detik food

I also would like to share a few tips to make cooking for lunch or dinner become a lot more doable when we get too tired to cook:

Stock our pantry

It’s pretty hard to throw together a meal quickly if we don’t have anything on hand.

Building a pantry of staples is essential to speeding through cooking, and it’s easier than we might think.

Think about our favorite cuisines and use that inspiration to guide us in stocking up 5 to 10 ingredients we should always have in our kitchen.


For those who like Thai food, then things like basil, mint, coconut milk, curry paste, and fish sauce are good choices. Italian fanatics will want to keep pasta, canned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, anchovies, and garlic on hand.

As Indonesian, I always keep ‘kecap manis’ (Indonesian sweet soy sauce),  fresh chilies or chili powder, shallots/onions, garlic and eggs in my kitchen.

Keep individual serving of meat in Ziploc plastic bag

I have the habit of portioning out chicken (including boneless chicken), pork, and beef (including minced beef)  before I keep them in the freezer. It’s best to seal individual servings in Ziploc bags.


By doing this I can squeeze more of them into the freezer and when I need the meat I just take out one plastic bag and  it also can make the thawing process go even faster.

Stick to the stove

Meats and veggies roasted in the oven might be delicious, but they also take time. If we stick with cooking on the stove, we can make a quick meal in just a matter of minutes. For example:  Indonesian fried rice can be adapted for just about any leftovers we have in our fridge.

masak nasi goreng konfrontasi-com

Use a garbage bowl

Most of us don’t realize how much time we waste walking to the trash can and back as we’re cooking. It might not seem like it matters, but those little trips can really add up over the course of cooking a meal.

I always keep a bowl or container right next to my cooking area so I can toss waste into it as I am cooking. This will also keep me from dropping things on the floor, so probably end up spending less time cleaning.

Rachel Ray garbage bowlSources of information & pictures:


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