Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
Many of these “stuffed” recipes can be prepared ahead of time at home and refrigerated or frozen. For safety’s sake, remember to keep everything cold. It’s unwise to put warm stuffing in cold meat. If you stuff meat or vegetables to cook later, chill the stuffing first; combine the cold foods; and refrigerate them until the dish is cooked.
This is a salad and a starchy side dish all in one. Add a green vegetable, meat from the skillet or grill, and dessert to round out the meal. Bake a pan of cornbread for breakfast and save the leftovers for this recipe.
4 ripe tomatoes
2 cups crumbled cornbread
1/2-cup mayonnaise or sour cream
2 tablespoons cooked, crumbled bacon (no imitations)
Small sweet onion, finely diced
Cut the tops off the tomatoes, scoop out the pulp, and turn them upside down on paper towels to drain. Toss together the cornbread, mayonnaise or sour cream, bacon, and onion and pile the mixture into the tomatoes. Serve at once. If you prefer a warm dish, microwave on high for 30 seconds per tomato, or just enough to heat through.
Cabbage leaves can be precooked at home two or three days ahead of time. Blanch the leaves until they are barely pliable; drain well; layer with plastic wrap; and chill. The secret to this dish is to add a touch of brown sugar or molasses — no more than a tablespoon. To save time, use leftover or instant rice.
Large head cabbage, approximately 3 pounds
Large onion, diced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 to 2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound lean ground meat (preferably a mix of beef with turkey, pork, or veal)
1-1/2 cups cooked rice, cooled
1 tablespoon brown sugar or molasses
28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
Cut the core out of the cabbage, discard the leaves that are tattered or tough, and place the cabbage, core side down, in a large pot of boiling water. After 5 minutes, remove the cabbage and rinse it under cold water. Carefully separate 12 leaves, trim out the large veins, and set aside. Coarsely chop the rest of the head.
In a small skillet, heat the onion, seasonings, and garlic until the onion is limp. Add the raw meat and cooked rice and mix well. Lay out the cabbage leaves one at a time; fill with approximately 1/4-cup of the meat and rice mixture; and roll up, tucking in the ends as you go to make a neat bundle. Mix the brown sugar or molasses with the tomatoes and put a small amount in the bottom of a buttered casserole dish. Top with the chopped cabbage, then the cabbage rolls, alternating and ending with the tomatoes. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. This recipe serves six with two cabbage rolls each plus a serving of chopped cabbage in sauce. Arrange the servings in shallow soup plates and complement the meal with crusty Italian bread, spinach salad, and a dessert of baked apples with maple syrup.
Fruit-Stuffed Coffee Cake
Keep a can of vanilla frosting in the refrigerator to use in small amounts on coffee cakes such as this one.
1/2-cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter, melted
2 tubes flaky biscuits
12-ounce jar all-fruit preserves (strawberry or blueberry)
Toss the brown sugar and cinnamon together on a paper plate. Melt the butter in the microwave in a shallow bowl. Separate the first tube of biscuits, patting each between your hands to flatten them. Then dip each biscuit, first in the butter and then in the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture. Arrange the biscuits in the bottom of a sprayed, 10-inch deep-dish pie plate, pressing and overlapping as necessary to form an even layer. Using two spoons, dapple the preserves over the top of the biscuits as evenly as possible. Separate, flatten, and dip the second tube of biscuits and arrange them over the top of the preserves in an even layer. Drizzle with any leftover butter and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until toasty brown. Serve as is or dot with bits of frosting, which will melt deliciously into the warm biscuits.
If you’re looking for a new way to serve the same vegetables, here is a rich side dish that should bring many compliments. It goes well with any meal that calls for a yellow vegetable. It also can be used as a filling in stuffed peppers or tomatoes. If you’re using peppers, parboil them for 1 to 2 minutes first. Stuff, then bake until everything is hot.
1 tablespoon olive oil
Medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cans, 10 ounces each, dry-pack canned corn, drained*
3 heaping tablespoons cooked, crumbled bacon from a jar (not imitation bacon bits)
1/4-cup instant-blend flour
Small can evaporated milk
1 cup milk
Salt, pepper to taste
1/2-teaspoon dried thyme
Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the onion and garlic until they are limp. Stir in the corn and bacon. In a separate bowl, add a little milk to the flour to make a paste, then stir in the canned and fresh milk. Add the mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring, until it’s thick. If a thinner sauce is desired, add a little more milk. Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the thyme and serve; or bake as a stuffing in tomatoes or peppers.
*There should be little juice. If you use regular canned corn, use two 16-ounce cans, drain the juice, and save it for another purpose, such as the liquid for cornbread or pancakes.
Try as I might, I simply can’t flip an omelet the way it’s done at fancy restaurants. So I get the same effect by making a layered omelet. If you don’t like my mushroom filling, use your own favorite filling, such as salsa, jam, sauteed ham and onions, and so on. Use an 8-inch or 10-inch skillet to make your omelet, but avoid using a 12-inch skillet, which would make it too thin.
8-ounce package sliced mushrooms
3 pats butter, divided
3-ounce package herbed cream cheese
2 to 3 scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons water
In a nonstick skillet, saute the mushrooms in one pat of butter until they are tender and the excess liquid has boiled away. Cut the cream cheese into cubes and add it with the scallions into the mushroom mixture over very low heat just until the cheese melts. Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, salt, and pepper. Melt a second pat of butter in the nonstick skillet and pour in half the egg mixture. Cook over low heat until the egg layer is set, then slide it out of the skillet and onto a warmed platter. Cover with the filling as the other half of the egg mixture cooks in the third pat of butter. Slide the second layer of egg out of the pan and on top of the filling. Slice into four wedges. Complete the meal with cinnamon toast and citrus wedges.
More stuff about stuffing
Here are a few more food-filling suggestions.
- Fill scooped-out tomato or green pepper halves with three-bean salad from a can and serve as a salad or a light lunch.
- Line a casserole with nonstick aluminum foil, spray it with a cooking spray, and fill with prepared stuffing. Bake the stuffing to a crusty brown without worrying about cleanup.
- Try stuffed lasagna for a change. Cook lasagna noodles just until they are limp and pliable, spread with your favorite meat sauce, and roll them up. Arrange the lasagna spirals in a buttered casserole tightly enough to keep their shape; cover with more sauce and grated cheese; and bake until bubbly.
- Make a spicy bread stuffing, spread it on sole fillets, and roll them up. Arrange the spirals in a casserole dish, drizzle with liquid margarine, cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, or just until the fish turns opaque. Serve with a light white sauce and garnish with halved, white seedless grapes. Sole is also good with spinach stuffing.
- Prepare stuffed French toast by making sandwiches with jelly, peanut butter, plain or exotic cheeses, mashed banana, cream cheese, or ham. Cut each sandwich in half, dip it in egg, and cook in butter until it is brown and crusty. Try this, too, with refried bean sandwiches, French-toasted and served with salsa for breakfast, lunch, or a light supper. It’s daring and delicious!
- Make stuffed hamburgers by pressing two patties together around a filling such as a tuft of grated cheese, fried onions, sauteed mushrooms, or whatever your imagination dictates. Don’t overfill, and make sure that the two patties are completely sealed around the filling. Then cook in a skillet or grill.
- Make stuffed biscuits by pressing together two refrigerator-style biscuits, flattened with your hands, around a filling such as jam, dried fruit, a chunk of cooked sausage, a cube of cheese, or a chocolate kiss. Don’t overfill, and make sure the two biscuits seal completely. Bake according to package directions.
- Make stuffed pastry. Place a refrigerated pie crust flat on a cookie sheet and cover with a meat, fruit, or vegetable filling to within an inch or so of the edge. Do not overfill, use a soupy filling, or let the filling get too close to the edge. Run a wet finger around the edge, place another flat crust on top, press to seal, and fold up approximately 1/2-inch all around the rim to secure the seal. Bake as you would a pie and serve in wedges.
- To make stuffed lox, steam 20 asparagus spears until they are crisp-tender. Roll five spears in each of four slices of smoked salmon. Place each on a bed of shredded lettuce, seam side down. Drizzle with salad dressing and garnish with halved hard-boiled eggs, baked corn chips, rings of sweet onion, red pepper wedges, and other pretty trimmings.
- Turn a roll of dairy case cookie dough into a homemade treat by stuffing a surprise between thin slices of dough. Make each one different, if you like. Possibilities include a piece of candy bar, a dried apricot, a dab of preserves, or a pecan half. Don’t overfill; allow room at the margin to seal the two slices completely around the filling. Bake as directed.
- Use an apple corer to bore a hole through a scrubbed potato and stuff a hot dog or bratwurst through it. Wrap in buttered nonstick foil and roast each in the oven or campfire. Serve plain or with barbecue sauce, sour cream whisked with Dijon-style mustard, or condensed cream of mushroom soup heated with a little milk and a small can of mushrooms.
- Surprise the family with stuffed meatloaf. Place half the meatloaf mixture in the pan and top with a length of fully cooked sausage such as kielbasa and/or two to three parboiled carrots, placed lengthwise. Top with the remaining meatloaf mix and press down tightly. Bake, allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then slice.
- Dazzle the gang with stuffed lobster tail. Simply slit each raw lobster tail and stuff in several raw, cleaned, and deveined shrimp. Drizzle with melted butter and lemon juice and bake, broil, or grill just until the lobster and shrimp are done through.
- Simplify stuffed chicken. Whip up a box of stuffing mix and stuff it under the skin of individual chicken quarters. Bake the chicken skin side up until it is done. Each serving is now both stuffed and pre-carved.
- Microwave scrubbed yams until they are tender. Cool; slit lengthwise; and place each in an aluminum foil “boat” to catch any spills. Spread the potato open at the slit and stuff with miniature marshmallows and chopped pecans. Just before serving, reheat the potato in the oven or on the grill until the marshmallows melt.
- Buy large, round slices of a good deli ham. Place a small mound of cornbread stuffing plus one or more bonus ingredients — a few whole green or wax beans, one or two blanched asparagus spears, lengths of parboiled carrot, scallions, or cheese sticks that are about the same length as the diameter of the ham — on each. Roll up, and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze. Microwave only as many ham rolls as you need for each meal.
- Don’t forget stuffed pasta shells, a vegetarian main dish that can be made ahead of time and baked in camp.
Books for cooks
Pastry chef George Geary has written 125 Best Cheesecake Recipes ($18.95, Robert Rose Inc.) with cheesecake fanatics in mind. He recommends that real cream cheese be used in the recipes, but he supplies a “Guilt Free” chapter of recipes that can be made with low-fat cream cheese. Be sure to read the invaluable opening chapters on tools, equipment, and ingredients. Then start with the Flavored and Vanilla Cheesecake chapter and work your way through the various fruit, chocolate, no-bake, nut, and other cheesecakes to the end. You’ll be the toast of the campground with a warmed Herbed Gorgonzola Cheesecake at happy hour, or a Lime Souffle Cheesecake served for dessert.
Rose Murray’s new 125 Best Casseroles & One-Pot Meals ($18.95, Robert Rose Inc.) is good reading for the taste buds as well as a boon to motorhome cooks. All the recipes don’t fit the one-pot promise — several are served with rice or noodles that must be cooked separately — but the recipes are inventive and delectable, and the color photos are inspiring.
Both books can be purchased at bookstores, through online booksellers, or by calling the publisher at (800) 387-5085.
Sophisticated Made Simple is the title of a free recipe booklet available from J.M. Smucker Company with information about its newly acquired product line, Crisco. Send your name and mailing address to The J.M. Smucker Company, Consumer Relations, P.O. Box 280, Orrville, OH 44667, Attention: Crisco’s Sophisticated Made Simple Brochure, or call (888) 550-9555. All recipes use Crisco shortening or oil. The offer is good while supplies last.