Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
Winter camping is a snug and cozy time, when meals are more fun to make, because they warm up the interior of the coach and fill it with great aromas. The family is hungrier, fresh from the ski slopes or biking trails. Here are some warm thoughts to take on the road with you.
Dark meat is best for this dish, so use economical leg quarters. Leave them whole, but remove the skin. For convenience, I buy minced garlic in a jar. If you prefer fresh, mince 2 to 3 cloves for this dish.
2 tablespoons oil
1/3- to 1/2-cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 chicken leg quarters
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 medium onions, diced
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
15- or 16-ounce can chicken broth
1 scant teaspoon cinnamon
1/2-teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup diced dates
Select a large skillet with a good lid, spray it with nonstick cooking spray, and heat the oil. Mix flour, salt, and pepper on a paper plate and dredge each piece of chicken through it. Brown the chicken on both sides, gradually incorporating the garlic and onion. Add the sweet potatoes, broth, and seasonings and bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat; and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the dates and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes until the chicken is very tender. Place one chicken quarter on each plate, and cover with the sweet potatoes and the date sauce. Complete the menu with corn sticks hot from the oven. For dessert, bake pecan-stuffed apples and serve them warm with nonfat vanilla yogurt.
Hot Cabbage Slaw
Instead of a cold salad, serve this warm slaw as a side dish. Cook the cabbage as crisp or as tender as you like.
2 cups apple juice
2 tablespoons apple vinegar
16-ounce package shredded cabbage, red or green
Large apple, chopped
Salt to taste
Bring the apple juice, vinegar, and cinnamon to a boil. Add the cabbage, apple, and salt. Simmer, uncovered, shaking the pan from time to time, for 30 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. Adjust seasonings and serve warm with pork chops and whipped sweet potatoes.
Main Dish Green Bean Casserole
Turn a classic green bean casserole into a whole meal. Start with canned ham, leftover ham, or a chunk of ham from the deli. This recipe makes four to six servings.
2 cups diced and cooked ham
2 16-ounce cans cut green beans, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Small can French’s Taste Toppers
4 to 6 servings instant mashed potatoes from the dairy case
Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray and scatter the ham and green beans in it. Whisk together the soup, milk, and Worcestershire sauce and pour over the green bean mixture. Sprinkle with half the Taste Toppers. Drop spoonfuls of the mashed potatoes over the casserole and spread evenly. Cover with the remaining Taste Toppers. Bake the dish at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until everything is heated through. Complete the menu with a side salad and fruit cup for dessert.
If you love the taste of pizza, but want a change of pace, serve this soupy stew, hot and spiced to taste, with wedges of pita bread for dipping and scooping. This recipe serves four to six.
6-ounce package sliced pepperoni
Large onion, diced
Large green bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon oil
28-ounce can diced tomatoes with roasted garlic, with juice
1 cup water
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
8-ounce can or jar sliced mushrooms, drained
Salt, pepper to taste
6-ounce package shredded mozzarella cheese
Place pepperoni slices between layers of paper towels on a paper plate and set aside. Saute the onion and green pepper in hot oil in a roomy saucepan until they are limp. Stir in the tomatoes, water, and Italian seasoning. Cover; reduce heat; and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and bring to a boil for another 2 to 3 minutes. Season the recipe with salt and pepper to taste. While the tomato mixture heats, microwave the pepperoni for 1 minute so the excess fat is absorbed by the paper towels. Arrange warm pepperoni around the bottoms and sides of soup plates, ladle in the tomato mixture, and top with a tuft of shredded mozzarella, which will soon melt. Serve with wedges of pita bread and a green salad.
Microwave Peanut Brittle
Feel like a kid again when you make this homemade candy. Use a big bowl to avoid a boil-over mess.
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
Lightly grease a large jelly roll pan or a cookie sheet with sides. In a 3-quart microwavable bowl, mix the sugar and corn syrup and microwave on high for 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the peanuts and microwave for another 7 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture turns golden. Stir in the butter and vanilla, microwave for another 90 seconds, and stir in the baking soda until the mixture is foamy. Then, working quickly, pour the mixture into the pan and allow it to cool until it’s brittle. Turn the pan over onto a piece of waxed paper and knock out the candy. Break it into pieces and store in a tightly covered container.
Your Own Low-Fat Sausage
Whip up a big bowl of this sausage and freeze it in bulk or patties in batches sized right for your family. There is nothing like the smell of sizzling sausage to warm up a cold morning. This recipe is lower in fat than pork sausage, and you can fine-tune the ingredients to your family’s tastes, such as using substitutes for the sugar or salt. If your family likes mild sausage, reduce the black pepper and go very easy on the cayenne. But if they like it hot, use the full measure of pepper, freshly ground, and kick up the cayenne to as much as 1/2-teaspoon.
6 pounds low-fat ground turkey
1/3-cup dried sage, crumbled
1/4-cup salt (or equivalent)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or equivalent)
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/8- to 1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix everything together well and divide into batches. Freeze raw, or cook immediately and then cool and freeze.
Remember to thaw the packaged frozen spinach several hours ahead of time. Imitation crab can be used, but the real thing is better. Buy it pasteurized, in cans, and it’s ready to use.
2 packages, 10 ounces each, chopped spinach, thawed
1/2-stick of butter
1 pound crab meat, picked over to remove any bits of shell, and flaked
Large rib celery, diced
Medium onion, diced
Half of a green bell pepper, diced
15-ounce can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/2-teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons instant-blending flour
2 cans evaporated skim milk
1 cup milk
Press the spinach dry with paper toweling and frizzle it in the hot butter with the crab, celery, onion, and green pepper. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Mix the instant-blending flour with a little water and stir it into the crab mixture over medium heat until it thickens. Gradually stir in the evaporated skim milk and the regular milk to heat through, but don’t let it boil. Remove the bay leaf and ladle the chowder into soup bowls. This recipe makes approximately 7 cups of chowder, enough to feed four. Make crusty buttermilk biscuits to go with the chowder, and serve a warm fruit compote for dessert.
Warm Yuca Salad
Potato-like yuca (also called cassava) is increasingly popular in American cuisine. This side-dish salad goes well with grilled steaks or chops, or heat up the oven and bake a meatloaf. Scrubbed potatoes can be used in place of yuca. Two pounds of yuca or potato makes six to eight servings.
2 pounds yuca, peeled and trimmed*
1/2-cup plain, nonfat yogurt
Juice of half of a lemon
Small bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dried basil
Approximately 1/4-cup snipped parsley
Bring the yuca to a boil in lightly salted water until fork-tender. Whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, onions, and herbs. Drain the yuca and, when it’s cool enough, cut it into cubes. Toss with the dressing and add pepper to taste. Serve at once, while it’s still warm.
*When trimming the yuca, remove the fibrous material that runs down the center of the tuber, and peel off the tough outer skin and pink layer underneath it.
All-Day Pot Roast
Here are a few tips to simplify this recipe. Use an entire 16-ounce bottle of ketchup; brew extra coffee at breakfast, the stronger the better; or stir up two cups of instant for this recipe. This is a big roast, and leftovers make wonderful sandwiches.
4- to 5-pound lean rump roast or sirloin tip
1/3- to 12-cup flour
1 teaspoon salt*
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups coffee
2 cups red wine
2 cups ketchup
Mix flour, salt, and pepper on a paper plate and roll the roast in it, coating all sides. In a roasting pan, heat the oil and brown the roast on all sides. Pour the coffee, wine, and ketchup over the roast in that order. Cover and bake for 4 to 5 hours at 350 degrees or for 6 to 8 hours at 300 degrees, turning the roast occasionally in the juices. Remove the roast to a carving board and slice across the grain. Pour the juices into a bowl to pass with the beef and mashed potatoes or stuffing.
*If cooking wine is used, keep in mind that it already contains salt.
Try these tips when you want to make a quick, delicious dish.
- Buy a pizza shell, lightly brush it with olive oil, and dot the top with bits of smoked fish, goat cheese, and ripe olives. Drizzle with seasoned tomato sauce, top with grated mozzarella cheese, and bake until it’s hot and the cheese is melted.
- Buy single-serve, microwavable packets of macaroni and cheese to use as a filling in parboiled green bell peppers. Each trimmed and seeded pepper stuffed with a packet of the macaroni and cheese makes a serving.
- Stir-fry snow peas in a little oil, then sprinkle with chopped cashews for a vegetable side dish.
- Carry single-serve bottles of several liqueurs and try them as seasonings. Sprinkle an ounce of bourbon on sweet potatoes; stir an ounce of amaretto into steamed rice; top broiled grapefruit halves with coconut rum.
- Scatter 1/2-cup of chocolate chips in the pie shell with pecans when making a pecan pie.
- To make a quick snack, stuff pitted dates with whole almonds, hazelnuts, or pecan halves.
Books for cooks
A set of four CDs makes up “Instant Home Cooking,” a digital encyclopedia of light, low-fat recipes to take with you on the road. Don’t confuse this new software with old-fashioned computer recipe databases. This one includes 60 demonstration videos, 50 mouth-watering photos, provisioning lists, and more than 23,000 recipes. Plus it provides nutritional breakdowns for the recipes and a function that will automatically scale the recipe for you if you want to halve or quadruple it. The boxed set carries an entire library in only a few ounces. It costs approximately $29.95 and can be purchased at Costco, Best Buy, and through online bookstores.
Elaine Corn’s book As American As Apple Pie ($12.95, Prima Publishing) is a small hardback that carries all the classic American recipes in one volume. Baked beans, fried chicken with cream gravy, chop suey, and New York cheesecake are among the beloved favorites found here. It’s compact enough to carry on the road and an ideal gift for a new cook or a new RVer. As American As Apple Pie can be purchased in bookstores and through online booksellers.