Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
How long does it take to cook a 3-minute egg? The answer to that and many other simple cooking-related cooking questions can be found in The Absolute Beginner’s Cookbook, Revised 3rd Edition ($14.95, Prima Publishing) by Jackie Eddy and Eleanor Clark. If you suddenly find yourself solo in the galley and haven’t a clue, this is the book for you. It also makes an inexpensive shower gift for new couples. While experienced cooks don’t need recipes for mashed potatoes or fried pork chops, nearly everyone will find something to love about this cookbook. Here’s a sample of the recipes you’ll find in the book:
Chocolate Peanut Clusters
The ingredients for this crunchy snack can be hidden away to bring out on a day when you need something quick, but homemade, for dessert.
6-ounce package chocolate chips
6-ounce package butterscotch chips
2 cups peanuts, any kind
2 cups chow mein noodles
Boil water in the bottom of a double boiler. (The book explains what a double boiler is and how to improvise if you don’t have one.) In the top of the double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips, and remove from heat. Add the peanuts and noodles and mix thoroughly. Spread waxed paper on a cookie sheet, waxed side up. Drop mixture by the teaspoonful on the paper. Cool on the counter or in the refrigerator. This recipe makes 16 to 20 candies.
Beef And Rice Filling
Double or triple this versatile filling and freeze it in small batches for future meals of stuffed peppers, tomatoes, onions, acorn squash, or zucchini. The recipe is from a lighthearted new book, The Sicilian Gentleman’s Cookbook ($19.95, Firefly Books) by Don Baratta. It’s filled with memories, observations, and recipes for simple Sicilian classics. The olives add tang, the nutmeg adds flavor, and the egg helps hold it together.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
10 pitted green olives, chopped
Salt, pepper to taste
1 egg, well beaten
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with a tight-fitting cover and then saute the garlic, onion, and oregano in the oil. Add the beef when the onion becomes translucent. Stir and cover. Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Remove the cover and allow juices to evaporate. The author then transfers the mixture to a mixing bowl, but I make the entire recipe in a non-stick skillet for easier cleanup. Turn off the stove. Stir in the cooked rice, olives, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Next, stir in the egg and mix until the filling is moist and solid. If it’s too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it firms up.
The mixture is now ready to be scooped up and used to fill the vegetables (parboiled if necessary) that you choose to stuff and bake. All this can be done early in the day and then baked just before serving.
4-ounce carton frozen egg whites (or 4 egg whites)
14-ounce package coconut
6 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
If frozen, thaw the egg whites. Stir together the coconut, sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in the egg whites and almond extract and drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or greased and lightly floured. Bake at 325 degrees until the cookies are brown around the edges. Immediately remove to cooling racks. This recipe makes 24 cookies.
No-Cook Cheese Nut Fudge
The funniest cookbook since White Trash Cooking ($19.95, Ten Speed Press) is Ruby Ann’s Down Home Trailer Park Cookbook ($15.95, Citadel Press) by comic performer Ruby Ann Boxcar, which is available through bookstores or www.kensingtonbooks.com. The recipes are hilarious and some are quite good. Here’s one that whips up in minutes without lighting the stove. It was contributed, Ruby Ann reveals, by Nellie Tinkle in Lot #4. Throw it together when you need a sweet treat in a jiffy.
3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4-teaspoon almond extract
1/2-cup chopped almonds, pecans, or walnuts
Grease a 9-inch-by-5-inch pan with margarine. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and almond extract until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the nuts; spread the mixture in the pan; and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
Turkey In The Straw
4 servings turkey cutlets
1 tablespoon olive oil
Small onion, diced
1 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2-cup strawberry jam
Brown the turkey cutlets in the oil with the onion. Stir in the water and bouillon cube, cover, and simmer until the turkey is cooked through. Remove the turkey to serving plates, bring the juices to a hard boil, stir in the jam, and cook until everything is well mixed. Spoon the sauce over the turkey and portions of steamed rice. Top with the slivered almonds. Complete the meal with broccoli spears and carrot-raisin salad.
Variation: Use raspberry preserves in place of the strawberry jam.
Whip this up on a summer morning and chill it all day for a scrumptious dessert that tastes richer than it is.
1 graham cracker pie crust
3 packages, 8 ounces each, cream cheese (regular, low-fat, or fat-free)
1 package lemon gelatin, regular or sugar-free
1/2-cup boiling water
5-ounce can evaporated milk, chilled
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-quart carton regular or low-fat whipped topping, thawed
Butter a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan. Crumble the pie crust with your hands and press it into the bottom of the pan. Let the cream cheese come to room temperature. Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water. Beat the cream cheese with the sugar until the mixture is fluffy, gradually adding the evaporated milk, then the gelatin and flavorings. Fold in the whipped topping and spread over the crust. Cover and chill for 8 hours.
Variation: Instead of folding in the whipped topping, chill the mixture without it, and spread on the topping before serving.
Meatball Stroganoff One Dish
If you prefer your own meatballs, make a multiple batch at home and freeze them in one-pound batches for this recipe. This is a delicious way to serve a meatball meal that doesn’t involve tomato sauce. I buy bags of frozen peas for the convenience of scooping out half a cup here or a cupful there to add flavor and color to soups and casseroles. This recipe makes four servings.
10-ounce can concentrated beef broth
10-ounce can water
8-ounce package wide noodles
3-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1/2-cup sour cream (regular or fat-free)
1 cup frozen peas
16-ounce package meatballs (homemade or purchased)
Bring the beef broth and water to a boil, add the noodles, and cook until the noodles are tender. Cut the cream cheese into small squares. Turn off the heat and gently stir the cream cheese, soup, sour cream, and peas into the noodles. Arrange meatballs on top. Cook, covered, over very low flame until everything is heated through. Serve with sliced beefsteak tomatoes, cornmeal-crusted bread sticks, and cut fresh fruit.
Jiffy Carrot-Raisin Salad
1/4-teaspoon ground ginger
14- to 16-ounce package grated carrots
8-ounce carton yogurt with oranges
8-ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained
1/2-cup golden raisins
Sprinkle the ginger over the carrots, and then add the other ingredients. Mix everything together well and serve at once or refrigerate until mealtime.
21-ounce can pie filling
8 flour tortillas, 6 or 7 inches
Can of whipped cream
Spoon a line of pie filling across the center of a tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side down on a microwavable dish. In the microwave, cook on high for approximately 30 seconds per tortilla or until the filling is bubbly. To serve, sprinkle with sugar and crown with whipped cream. Be careful when eating, because the filling may be hot.
Cold Oven Cookies
Make your own graham cracker crumbs if you like, or buy ready-made crumbs in a box.
2 cups sifted powdered sugar, divided
2-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons dry, unsweetened cocoa
1 cup chopped nuts
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4-cup liqueur, such as amaretto, Tia Maria, kirsch, or Kahlua
Sprinkle a cup of the sugar on a piece of waxed paper or paper toweling. Combine the other cup of sugar with the other dry ingredients and then stir in the corn syrup and liqueur. Mix the dough until it can be pressed together into balls. Roll the balls in the powdered sugar. Serve immediately, or put in a covered container and place in the refrigerator. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar before serving.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2-cup bottled raspberry vinaigrette dressing (not fat-free)
Pinch salt, freshly ground pepper
4 wood skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1 jar baby food strained apricots
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4-teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon lime juice
Cut the chicken into cubes and marinate in the raspberry vinaigrette dressing, salt, and pepper in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Drain the chicken and discard the marinade. Thread the chicken cubes on the skewers and grill for 12 to 15 minutes, turning several times, until the chicken is done throughout. The chicken will cook faster and more thoroughly if it isn’t packed too tightly on the skewer. Whisk together the strained apricots, soy sauce, ginger, and lime juice. Place the kabobs on serving plates and spoon with the apricot sauce. This recipe makes four servings.
Frontier Soups packages a large line of gourmet mixes for pasta salads, chili, mouth-watering soups, and their Colorado Morning breakfast collection. Prices are high, but so is the quality of the products. The dry mixes save time and space. Be sure to read labels ahead of time, so you’ll have on hand any ingredients that are required to complete the recipe. The mixes are sold in specialty food and gourmet stores. Orders also can be placed by calling (800) 300-7687 or visiting www.frontiersoups.com.
To receive a free booklet with barbecue and grill techniques, including numerous pork grilling recipes, send a self-addressed mailing label to Hot Topics, National Pork Board, P.O. Box 9114, Des Moines, IA 50306. The Hot Topics booklet also can be ordered online at www.otherwhitemeat.com. You can download a printed version by clicking “Offers” on the home page.