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So I am moving into a new apartment tonight but the movers do not get here until tomorrow and I just realized that I forgot to bring any of my kitchen stuff down with me.

I have a set of nice cookware at home so I don't want to buy anything new that will just take up more room in my cupboards. I'd like to surprise my girlfriend with a nice dinner when she gets here - any ideas for what I could use in a pinch and then not feel bad about throwing out after?

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How about take-out? – Kristina Lopez Dec 4 '12 at 18:49
Ah, well, I'd like to give her a nice home cooked meal to welcome her back and surprise her :) And I'd like to save a little money if possible! – javanix Dec 4 '12 at 19:31
So you want to cook, but have no cooking gear, and haven't described to us what you do have available so we can take a stab at helping? You could probably mix up a baked lasagnia (the noodles can go in raw, as long as the sauce is quite loose) and bake that in a disposable lasagnia tray. But I recommend ordering pizza, and wowing your SO when you have your stuff back. – SAJ14SAJ Dec 4 '12 at 19:39
Well, I didn't mention what I have because I literally have nothing :) But JoeFish's answer down there is a fantastic idea! – javanix Dec 5 '12 at 14:21
So how did dinner go? – JoeFish Dec 5 '12 at 14:24
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Assuming you don't want to do Uncle Ben's or Kraft Mac n' Cheeze in the microwave...

I would go with aluminum foil. For example, do a potato and root veggie foil packet. Add some fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano, whatever's on hand. Salt, pepper, garlic, oil, maybe a little wine, all wrapped up in foil. Throw in the oven and bake. I do it all the time on the grill and it works a treat.

You can even form tin foil into little dishes or sheet pans. Just fold up and roll over the edges like this, but bigger:

enter image description here

Then you could roast some chicken or cook some beef in the oven, as well.

For a main dish, maybe some sort of Fish en Papillote (sample recipe link). Some fish, wine, some herbs and veggies, some parchment paper, BLAM you're a hero. Cook it right on a homemade aluminum foil pan. An elegant, fancy dish without any pots or pans.

enter image description here

Image borrowed from here.

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Good thought on the en papillote technique. This works well, and is very simple, as the answer indicates. Some people consider it fancy, especially if done in parchment. It is very dependent on the quality of ingredients, since not much is being done to them. – SAJ14SAJ Dec 4 '12 at 23:01

A stove plate gets very hot, and cooking on a stove involves stirring. Both require a pan made from hard, thick metal with a high enough melting point, so I don't think anybody makes disposable stovetop pots or pans.

But the oven is much more forgiving. Manufacturers know that and sell disposable aluminium pans meant for an oven (or sometimes for a grill). Use one of those and you can make a stew or a roast. If making a roast, you will have to roast some vegetables as a side dish. Use a cold sauce you can create with just a knife and a disposable cup, for example tzatziki. (Sorry, I don't think you can cook anything without a knife).

Alternatively, bake something which needs no dish, placed directly on the rack or on baking paper. You could do a filled bread or some other savory baked product, or roast filled vegetables which will hold their shape such as zucchini.

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I like the roasting filled vegetables idea. Acorn and butternut squashes are excellent choices. Even just halved and rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Mmm, mmm, good! – JoeFish Dec 4 '12 at 21:33

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