Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
The e-mails I’ve received lately indicate that many readers prefer simple, old-fashioned recipes that call for few ingredients and little fuss. So, here are some solid, time-proven favorites.
Duckling With Cherries
4- to 5-pound ready-to-roast duckling
12-ounce jar black cherry jam or preserves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon orange juice or orange liqueur, such as Triple Sec
Tie the duck’s legs together, prick the skin all over with a fork (to aid in draining fat), and place it on a rack in a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan. In an oven preheated to 325 degrees, roast the duck for two hours, pouring off fat as needed. Combine the other ingredients in a microwavable container and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring at the end of each interval, until the sauce is warm and well mixed. Cut the duckling into four portions, place on serving plates, and ladle with the cherry sauce. Complete the menu with a fruity rice pilaf and a colorful vegetable medley.
Ground Sirloin Stroganoff
1 pound lean ground sirloin
1 medium onion, diced
8-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
10-ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup
Soup can filled with sour cream
Salt, pepper (optional)
Stir-fry the ground beef and onion until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is translucent, gradually stirring in the mushrooms. Over very low heat, stir in the condensed soup and heat thoroughly. Save the soup can and fill it with regular, low-fat, or no-fat sour cream. Stir the sour cream into the beef mixture until everything is heated through. Do not boil. Adjust seasonings; the soup is salty, so add salt only after tasting. Serve over cooked noodles, hot rice, a split baked potato, or a nest of mashed potatoes.
Variation: Thaw a package of frozen hashed brown potatoes (approximately 4 cups) and toss with a stick of melted butter. Press the potatoes onto the bottom and sides of six individual, oven-proof casseroles (10-ounce capacity) to form a crust. Stir a cup of thawed peas into the hamburger mixture, divide it among the casseroles, and bake at 375 degrees until the potato crust is golden and toasty.
Cheatin’ Heart Coffee Cake
Start the morning with hot, moist coffee cake laced with a couple of secrets. First, it’s made from a mix; second, it has a sweet, nutty heart.
1 teaspoon vinegar
1-1/3 cups milk (can be fat-free)
3 large eggs
1 box two-layer yellow cake mix
1/2-cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2-cup chopped nuts
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Evenly coat a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan with nonstick spray. Add the vinegar to the milk and let it stand for a few minutes. Whisk the eggs and sour milk into the cake mix until it’s well blended. The mixture doesn’t have to be satin-smooth. Mix together the brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon. Pour approximately one-third of the batter into the pan and allow it to spread out to completely cover the bottom. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar mixture and carefully pour in the remaining batter. Bake the cake for 45 minutes or until it is springy to the touch. Cut into squares and serve warm.
Instead of wrestling with Reuben sandwiches that fall apart when you try to flip them in the skillet, make sandwiches with this spread. It’s also delicious as a warm dip served with torn chunks of pumpernickel bread.
1 12-ounce can corned beef
8-ounce package cream cheese
10-ounce can chopped sauerkraut, drained, rinsed, and drained again
4 ounces shredded Swiss, Monterey Jack, or Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons salad dressing, preferably Thousand Island
Place the corned beef on a few paper towels in a casserole and microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes to absorb excess fat. Remove from the microwave and discard the paper towels. Add the cream cheese, sauerkraut, cheese, and salad dressing to the casserole. Microwave the ingredients on high power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring and rotating until the ingredients are well mixed and spreadable. The mixture can be used as a dip or to make sandwiches. For sandwiches, butter slices of toasted rye or pumpernickel bread and spread the Reuben filling on the unbuttered side before frying in a skillet.
Gingerbread With Lemon Sauce
The sauce in this recipe mixes best with an electric mixer or blender. A whisk can be used, but it takes more elbow grease. For easier mixing, soften the cream cheese in a microwave oven by cooking it on medium power for 20 seconds. See if your guests can guess that the secret ingredient is mayonnaise.
1 box gingerbread mix, baked according to package directions
1 cup mayonnaise
8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Bake the gingerbread just before dinner so it will be warm when served. Whip together the remaining ingredients and add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is the desired consistency. Spoon the sauce over squares of warm gingerbread. Refrigerate any leftover lemon sauce.
Baked “Fried” Chicken
3 pounds large chicken pieces
1 pint buttermilk
3 to 4 drops red pepper sauce, such as Tabasco sauce
2 cups packaged dry bread crumbs
1/2-teaspoon ground sage
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 stick butter, melted
The day before you intend to serve this dish, put the chicken pieces, buttermilk, and pepper sauce in a sturdy plastic bag; seal tightly; and place in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to begin cooking, drain the chicken well and discard the marinade. Mix the bread crumbs, sage, and pepper in one pie plate and place the melted butter in another. Dip the chicken in the melted butter, roll thoroughly in the bread crumb mixture, and place on a sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until toasty brown.
Serve this as a side dish with meat from the grill. It can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a cookout crowd.
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
Small onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese
Stir-fry the garlic, zucchini, and onion in the hot olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Reduce the flame; cover; and simmer just until the squash is tender. Over very low flame, stir in the salsa until everything is heated through. Put into a serving dish and sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese.
1/2-cup cherry liqueur or any fruit juice
1 cup soft pitted prunes
1/2-cup brown sugar
2/3-cup rolled oats
1 can pie-sliced apples (not apple pie filling)
Let the butter soften to room temperature. In a microwave oven, heat the cherry liqueur on high in a 4-cup microwavable measure until it’s steamy. Add the prunes to the liqueur and let them soak. Cut the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and oats into the butter until crumbly. Put the prunes and apples, with any juices, into an 8-inch-square cake pan and sprinkle with the butter topping. Bake at 400 degrees just until the topping is golden brown. Spoon onto plates and serve plain or with whipped cream or ice cream. This recipe makes four to six dessert servings. Another option is to serve it plain or with milk as a breakfast main dish.
Chicken Cordon Blush
This recipe is shameless with shortcuts. You can buy frozen puff pastry and wrap it around pieces of pre-cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast. If the chicken is uncooked, brown it in butter, cover, and braise for 20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Do not season. Place the chicken in bags and freeze it for use in the motor coach for dishes such as this one. Appropriate seasonings can be added with each new dish.
4 portions cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
17-ounce package puff pastry, thawed
8 pieces chipped, dried beef from a jar
4 large, round slices provolone cheese
1 can or jar mushroom gravy (optional)
8-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
Thaw the cooked chicken and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and crushed rosemary to taste. Cut the puff pastry into four pieces and roll out on a lightly floured dish towel or paper towels until each piece is large enough to wrap the chicken completely. Wrap each piece of chicken in two pieces of dried beef, then a slice of provolone, and surround it completely with the pastry, sealing the edges well with a finger dipped in milk. Place each pastry bundle seam-side down on a lightly sprayed baking pan and brush with more milk, if you like (to promote browning). Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. To complement the dish with a sauce, combine the mushroom gravy with the mushrooms and heat until hot and bubbly. Complete the plate with chilled cranberry sauce and a green vegetable.
Praline Fudge Frosting
Buy a day-old pound cake or angel food cake on sale, or whip up a vanilla box cake to baptize with this heavenly sauce. It hardens quickly, so have the cake ready before you start the frosting.
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3-cup half-and-half, light cream, or canned milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
In a 2-quart pan over a medium flame, bring the butter, brown sugar, and half-and-half to a boil for exactly one minute. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and pecans. Pour the warm frosting over a plain cake and let it drip down the sides. Cool before cutting.
Variation: Cut the cake into six portions and top each with sliced bananas, then pour on the praline frosting.
Microwave-convection recipe of the month
This simple pie recipe involves very little work and even less cleanup.
No-Rolling-Pin Pecan Pie
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup flour, plus more for mixing
3 large eggs
1/2-cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecan halves
With your oven in the microwave mode, melt the butter in a 9-inch pie plate on high power for 10 seconds at a time until it’s liquefied. Remove the butter and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir a cup of flour into the butter with a fork, then add flour as needed until no oily pools remain. Using floured fingers, press the dough evenly around the bottom and sides of the pie plate, fluting the edges. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, corn syrup, and vanilla extract. Sprinkle the pecans over the crust, and then pour in the egg mixture. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until the pie is set and the crust is toasty brown. Cool, then cut into wedges.
Freebies. Go to www.hersheykitchens.com to find more than 500 chocolate recipes, baking tips, and clues to help you locate hard-to-find Hershey’s products.