Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
These galley-tested recipes are easy, yet family-pleasing.
Bring the sunny flavors of Tuscany into a one-pot dish that does not call for potatoes, pasta, or rice.
6 meaty, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 can chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2-teaspoon dried thyme
Medium yellow squash, cubed
Medium zucchini, cubed
16-ounce can white kidney beans (cannellini), drained and rinsed
3 plum tomatoes, diced
Salt, pepper to taste
Freshly snipped parsley (optional)
Brown the chicken thighs in the olive oil, gradually stirring in the garlic. Add the broth, the oregano, and the thyme. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Add the yellow squash and the zucchini; cover and simmer just until they are tender. Stir in the kidney beans and the diced tomatoes and heat thoroughly. Adjust seasonings and serve sprinkled with parsley if you like.
Serve in soup plates with crusty bread, a salad on the side, and upside-down cake for dessert.
Chocolate Banana Muffins
A fabulous new cookbook titled Duncan Hines Cake Mix Magic (Robert Rose, $18.95) is a must for cooks who love shortcuts, because the recipes start with a mix yet end up with homemade treats such as this one. These muffins are ideal for breakfast or a midmorning coffee break, but they are sweet enough to serve for dessert also. They are very tender, so I recommend baking them in cupcake papers. Otherwise, follow the book’s directions for cooling.
1 package devil’s food cake mix
1 package (4-serving size) banana cream instant pudding mix
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 or 4)
1/4-cup vegetable oil
1-1/3 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake and pudding mixes, eggs, mashed bananas, and oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until blended. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin tins. The recipe should fill two 12-cup muffin tins.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until set and golden. Cool 15 minutes in pans on a wire rack; then remove the muffins from the pans and cool on a rack.
Nuke ‘Em Stuffed Mushrooms
This low-fat main dish serves four people, or it can be served as a first course for six to eight people with thin slabs of baguette that have been lightly brushed with olive oil.
24 medium or 12 large mushrooms
Medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
8 ounces raw bulk turkey or pork sausage (half a tube)
3-ounce brick of cream cheese, at room temperature
Take the stems off of the mushrooms and chop them fine on a cutting board using a chef’s knife. In a covered microware container, cook the onion and chopped stems in the oil on high for two to three minutes or until they are tender. Add the raw sausage, cream cheese, and thyme to the onion mixture and stir thoroughly. Divide the resulting mixture among the mushroom caps, pressing it into the cavities. Place mushrooms on a plate and microwave on high, turning every minute, for three to five minutes, or until the sausage filling firms up and is fully cooked. (Times will vary, because you may have to cook mushrooms in two batches.)
Divide the mushrooms onto serving plates and serve as a main dish with a medley of roasted vegetables and a garnish of bread-and-butter pickle spears. For dessert, serve old-fashioned bread pudding filled with plump raisins.
Chicken In Orange Gravy For Two
If you’re looking for a different way to serve chicken breasts, add citrus. Fresh orange zest is essential to the recipe. Add a zester tool to your galley equipment and you’ll find yourself using it often to add a kick of orange or lemon to a recipe.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt, pepper, dried tarragon
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and dried tarragon, and brown them on both sides in the butter. Cover, reduce heat, and braise 15 minutes or until the chicken is done through. Stir a little orange juice into the cornstarch to make a paste; then add the paste, orange juice, and orange zest to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring and scraping up browned bits, until the sauce thickens and clears.
Serve with buttered rice, mixed vegetables, crisp salad greens, and a dessert of canned peach halves sauced with vanilla yogurt and sprinkled with finely chopped macadamia nuts.
Serve this thick soup with chunks of fresh, crusty French, Italian, or pita bread for dipping and dunking. Add a salad to make it dinner, or serve it with fruit for lunch.
Large onion, diced
Large bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4-ounce can diced green chilies, with juice
28-ounce can peeled plum tomatoes
Salt, pepper to taste
8-ounce package shredded Monterey jack cheese
In a large, covered microwave casserole, cook the onion and pepper in the oil on high for six minutes, stirring and turning once. Open the canned tomatoes and run a knife through them several times to cut them coarsely. Add the chilies and the tomatoes, with their juice, to the onion mixture and cook on high for eight to 10 minutes or until the mixture reaches a full boil. Remove the casserole from the microwave, adjust the seasonings, and stir in the cheese just until it melts. If additional heating is needed, place the dish in the microwave oven and heat for 20 seconds at a time, stirring each time. Do not boil. Serves four.
It takes much longer to form and brown meatballs, so make these distinctive patties instead and prepare them in the skillet or on the grill. They can be made ahead of time at home, formed into patties separated with waxed paper, and kept in the refrigerator for up to two days.
1 pound lean ground beef
Small onion, finely diced
1/3-cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt, pinch pepper
Mix all ingredients and form into four patties. Fry the patties in butter until they are brown outside and done throughout, or grill until no pink remains. Serve with buttered boiled potatoes, whole cranberry sauce, steamed snow peas, and a salad. Top off the meal with chocolate-drizzled coffee ice cream for dessert.
Mushroomy Brunch Casserole
Here is a recipe that uses the other half of the pound of bulk sausage from the Nuke ‘Em Stuffed Mushrooms recipe. It can serve four to eight people, depending on how many eggs you add. It’s best made with fresh mushrooms.
8 ounces raw bulk ground sausage
8 ounces mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned, and chopped
6 to 8 eggs
1/2-cup regular or fat-free sour cream
Brown the sausage and mushrooms in a roomy, nonstick skillet, breaking up the sausage into crumbles. Pour off any excess fat. Mix the eggs with the sour cream, and add them to the skillet. Cook over medium heat “” stirring gently so the uncooked eggs go to the bottom “” just until the eggs are set. Adjust the seasonings. It may not need any, depending on how highly seasoned the sausage is. Sprinkle with chives and serve with buttery rolls and fresh fruit.
Sweet “˜n Sour Pork
If you serve this over chow mein noodles, you won’t have to cook rice. The crisp, ready-to-eat noodles come in cans or in cellophane packages. This recipe is easily halved by using 8-ounce cans of carrots and pineapple chunks, and half of all the other ingredients. If the pineapple doesn’t yield enough liquid and the mixture is too thick, stir in a little water.
2 pounds lean, boneless pork chunks
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Large onion, diced in large pieces
Medium green bell pepper, cut into strips
Medium red sweet pepper, cut into strips
15- or 16-ounce can baby carrots, drained
16-ounce can pineapple chunks (save the juice)
1/2-cup soy sauce
1/4-cup rice or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
Saute the pork chunks in the oil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the pork is nicely browned and done through. Turn up the flame and stir in the onion and peppers until they are crisp-tender. Stir in the drained carrots. Add the pineapple juice to the cornstarch to make a paste, and stir it in along with the soy sauce, vinegar, pineapple chunks, and molasses. Stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens and clears. Spoon the mixture over the chow mein noodles.
This recipe serves six. To complete the meal, simply add hot tea and fresh tangerines for dessert.
- To make shrimp Creole, thaw a pound of peeled, deveined shrimp and a cup of frozen peas. Heat a quart of plain spaghetti sauce to boiling. Stir in the shrimp and cook just until they are firm and pink. Add the peas and stir just long enough to heat through. Ladle the mixture over instant rice. Pass the hot sauce.
- To make red beans and rice, saute a pound of sliced smoked sausage with a diced green pepper in 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir in a quart of spaghetti sauce and two cans, 15 or 16 ounces each, of drained, rinsed kidney beans. Heat, ladle over instant rice, and pass the hot sauce.
- Soy sauce is an all-in-one seasoning and browning sauce. Add a tablespoon to a pound of ground beef or turkey to make hamburgers. Brush it on salmon; then broil. Marinate chicken in soy sauce; then grill.
- Prepare a yellow cake mix and substitute one-third of the water required with raspberry liqueur. Spread a 10-ounce jar of raspberry jam between two layers. Cover the top and sides with canned vanilla frosting.
- Give grilled steakburgers an exciting new taste by topping them, hot from the grill, with slabs of pepper jack cheese. Sauce with a spoonful of guacamole.
- Make a double batch of your favorite burger blend, form half into patties and half into ovals, and freeze them. Serve the burgers in buns. Make the ovals into a knife-and-fork meal by serving them on toasted hero buns liberally sauced with heated spaghetti sauce from a can or jar.
Books for cooks
The cookbooks in The Rush Hour Cook series are slender, homemade-looking, spiral-bound books of under 100 pages that sell for only $5.95 each. Recipes are rudimentary and familiar, but cooks on the go will like their simplicity and the shopping-planning lists provided by the author. Try the author’s fettuccini; the sauce is made with only two ingredients — evaporated skim milk and grated Parmesan cheese. Also try her Snickers Bar salad, made with candy bars, apples, whipped topping, and miniature marshmallows. The books, titled Family Favorites, Effortless Entertaining, Presto Pasta, and One-Pot Wonders, can be ordered by calling (262) 692-3897 or visiting www.rushhourcook.com; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feedback: Claudia’s Hot Stuff
Thanks to Claudia and Jerry Barber, F301991, for this delicious quickie. I made it with 6-inch corn tortillas, fat-free sour cream, and a 12-ounce package of low-fat grated cheese. It’s easy to keep all the ingredients on hand. Claudia says to use a large or small can of the chopped chilies, depending on your tastes. I used the small can, which was about 2 ounces.
Here’s my shortcut. Instead of using a bowl, I placed the ingredients in a plastic bag and then squeezed and “mooshed” until the chicken was broken up and everything was mixed well. The bag went into the trash, and there was no icky bowl to wash.
Claudia’s Hot Stuff
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
10-ounce can boneless chicken
1 pint sour cream
Chopped green chilies, with juice, large or small can
Small can sliced black olives, drained
3 cups grated cheddar and Monterey jack cheese mix
Approximately 12 corn tortillas
Mix the soup, chicken, sour cream, chilies, olives, and 1 cup of the grated cheese in a bowl. Coat an 8-inch-by-10-inch casserole with nonstick cooking spray and cover the bottom of the dish with a small amount of the soup mixture. Cover this with a layer of tortillas. Claudia places three tortillas down the middle of the dish and cuts two more tortillas in half, placing them against the sides of the dish. Now add another one-third of the soup mixture and one-third of the remaining cheese. Add two more layers of tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese. Bake 35 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves six people.
What’s your favorite shortcut recipe? Send it to email@example.com or mail to Janet Groene, c/o Family Motor Coaching, 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45244.