The dishes that lend themselves most easily to this are melanges, and almost every cuisine has one or two of them. My standbys are chili, jambalaya, gumbo, spaghetti, curry and soups (five options can get most anyone through a week; if you have others, please let me know).
For the chili, I started with a pound of ground turkey and a tablespoon of olive oil. Turkey is bland, but much like tofu, it picks up the flavors around it. I season it as it's cooking with garlic, onions, cumin and oregano. And of course, chili.
I prefer straight chili. Prepared chili powder is OK, but it's a combination of chilies, cumin, oregano, salt and sometimes other spices, and you don't know how old the other spices are that go into it, since the smell of chili overwhelms the others. I use ancho powder if I'm in a hurry; otherwise, I like to use dried whole chilies (a combination depending on how hot I want it) stemmed and seeded, soaked in a little boiled water for 45 minutes, then puréed.
If I'm preparing a bowl of red, I add a can of beer and stop right there. But turkey doesn't hold up nearly as well as beef for that. So my turkey chili is what the sainted Frank X. Tolbert would refer to as "a rather tasty vegetable stew." (Those were the fighting words that led to the first chili cookoff, which gave birth to a cultural phenomenon that will continue this year in Terlingua, TX, Nov. 5-7.)
I added a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, then found in the refrigerator the following: 1 eggplant, which I had sliced and salted in preparation to sauté, but had a change of plans; 1 1/2 yellow bell peppers, which had been charred and the skins removed; a lonely carrot; a half cup of refried black beans. I rinsed the eggplant slices, trimmed the skins off them, then chopped them and the peppers coarsely before adding them and the beans to the pot. I peeled the carrot and shredded it into the pot. Then everything cooked for about three hours. The texture, no doubt thanks to the refried beans, was just right; usually if the chili is a little soupy at the end, I add a little masa harina to thicken the stew.
One taste and you, too, would know why it drives me crazy when people say they'd rather eat fast food than leftovers.
Now, no discussion on chili would be complete without a little travelogue on Texas, so here's one on Big Bend National Park, which will give you a little taste of Terlingua country.