Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
These recipes cut corners in clever ways. Try them on your next motorhome trip and you’ll save time, cooking fuel, and dish washing. Let me know how your family likes them.
Rip Roaring Red Slaw
12-ounce package finely grated red cabbage
1 tablespoon sugar
Half a sweet red pepper, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/4-teaspoon hot sauce (or more to taste)
Red salad dressing such as Russian
Toss the grated cabbage with the sugar and let stand for 15 minutes. Toss lightly with the remaining ingredients, adding the salad dressing to taste. This goes well as a side salad or as a topping for burgers hot from the grill.
Make these shamelessly sweet candies as an afternoon lark, and then invite campground neighbors in to enjoy them after dinner. The fudgelike chocolate is created in a heavy saucepan. Use your imagination to shape the candies to resemble tortoises, lizards, or other amphibians.
16-ounce package soft caramels
2-1/2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
2/3-cup evaporated milk
6-ounce package real semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
Set out lengths of waxed paper and arrange the caramels 4 inches apart, flattening them with the heel of your hand and shaping them with your fingers. Stir together the sugar, butter, and evaporated milk in a heavy pan over medium heat until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for exactly 6 minutes after it boils. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Drop the chocolate by spoonfuls atop the caramels to cover them completely and form chocolate puddles around the edge. When the candies begin to firm up, press in the pecans to create legs. After they have cooled, wrap each piece individually in waxed paper and store them in a cool place.
Here’s something to do with that pint of ice cream that you never got around to serving. The best part about this recipe is that each batch can be different, depending on the flavor of ice cream you use. How about some peach muffins? Chocolate mint chip? Strawberry cheesecake? Coffee, pistachio, or caramel nut? Luscious! Be sure to use real ice cream, not sherbet, frozen yogurt, or low-fat ice cream.
1 pint ice cream, melted
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2-teaspoon baking soda
Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin papers. Let the ice cream come to room temperature. Mix together the dry ingredients, then whisk in the ice cream just until everything is well moistened. Add a teaspoon or two of milk, if necessary, to make a thinner batter. Spoon into muffin cups and bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are springy to the touch. Serve warm for a coffee break, dessert, or with a hearty soup.
When you’re hungry for something different in a vegetable side dish, try this offbeat bean combination. It will liven up any meat-and-potatoes menu.
2 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
12-ounce package bean sprouts
10-ounce package frozen green beans, thawed
15-ounce can wax beans, drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
In a skillet or wok, stir-fry the bacon and gradually stir in the scallions until the bacon is crisp. Pour off all but a tablespoon of the bacon fat. Keep stir-frying as you add the bean sprouts and green beans just until they are crisp-tender. Stir in the wax beans just until they are heated through. Splash with the soy sauce and serve. A variation is to prepare this recipe exactly the same way, only using a total of three pounds of green and yellow squash, cut into bite-size pieces, instead of the three types of beans.
4 halibut steaks
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 plum tomatoes, sliced
8 stuffed olives, sliced
Arrange the fish steaks in a buttered casserole dish, and salt and pepper them lightly. Saute the onions in hot oil until they are translucent, then add the tomatoes and continue cooking until the excess liquid boils away. Stir in the allspice. Spread the tomato sauce over the fish, sprinkle with olives, and bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Start sweet or white baked potatoes in the oven 40 minutes ahead of the fish, split and fluff them, and top them with butter. Complete the meal with steamed sugar peas, a butter lettuce salad, and for dessert, broiled grapefruit topped with brown sugar.
This unusual main dish is very low in calories. At its heart is a ground beef-rice mixture that can be made at home ahead of time. Save time by using leftover or instant rice.
3 small cantaloupes, scrubbed, halved, and seeded
1 large onion, diced
8 ounces lean ground beef
1 tablespoon oil
1-1/2 cups cooked rice
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1/3-cup pine nuts or shelled sunflower seeds
Drain the cut and seeded melons upside down on paper towels while you saute the onion and ground beef in the hot oil, stirring constantly. Once the beef is crumbly and the onion tender, stir in the remaining ingredients. Cut a very thin slice off the bottoms of the cantaloupe halves, if necessary, to make them sit flat. Fill the melon halves with the meat-rice mixture; wrap each in foil; place on a baking sheet; and bake for 75 minutes at 350 degrees. This recipe makes six servings.
Tangy Tomato Aspic
Make your own tomato aspic with a horseradish kick and serve it instead of green salad for a change.
2 cups mixed vegetable juice (such as V-8)
1 packet lemon gelatin, regular or sugar-free
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Heat 1 cup of the vegetable juice until it boils and stir into the gelatin until it dissolves. Add the lemon juice and horseradish. Pour into four individual ramekins and chill until set. Serve in the ramekins or slide each out onto salad plates garnished with leaf lettuce.
Do you like your muffins fresh and hot every morning? Make a big batch of this batter at home and carry some in the motorhome refrigerator to bake as many as you need each day. The batter keeps for up to a month in the refrigerator. This recipe is enough to make approximately five dozen muffins.
5 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups “minute” or “quick” oats
2 cups bran flakes
1 cup raisin bran
1 cup Grape-Nuts brand cereal
1 cup raisins
2-1/2 cups sugar or sugar substitute (part brown sugar, if you like)
2 sticks butter, melted
1 quart buttermilk
Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, then stir in the other dry ingredients. Whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, and eggs until well blended; stir into the dry ingredients until everything is evenly moistened. Refrigerate. To make the muffins, fill greased or lined muffin pans half full with the batter and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are springy and the muffins test done with a toothpick.
This showy side dish goes well with baked ham or roasted pork. The dish is also good without the meringue, but it takes only a few minutes to add the special topping.
12-ounce package medium-wide noodles
10-ounce jar apricot jam, regular or low-sugar
1 carton egg whites, thawed, or four fresh egg whites
1 heaping tablespoon sugar
Boil the noodles according to package directions. Take the lid off the jam and soften it in the microwave by cooking on medium for 20 seconds. Drain the noodles and stir in the apricot jam until it melts. Put the noodles in a buttered casserole dish and keep warm. Whip the egg whites with the sugar until peaks form. Spread the meringue atop the noodles and swirl nicely with a wet spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately two to four minutes, just until the meringue is set and golden brown.
Books for cooks
Mr. Chilehead: Adventures in the Taste of Pain ($15.95, ECW Press), by James Campbell, is a guide to finding and using the world’s hottest peppers and hot sauces. It’s Mr. Campbell’s personal story of collecting and trying thousands of hot sauces from all over the world. If you’re a chilehead, follow the chili cook-off circuit in your motorhome, or just want to find out more about this interesting subculture, read this hilarious book. Compare notes to see if there are chiles you’ve missed tasting in your travels, and try the author’s scorching recipes.
Cowboys and Cookouts: Recipes from the Range ($12.95, Barrons Educational Series) is a slender, hardback book for those who love the Old West. In addition to authentic recipes, the book includes poems, legends, photographs, and drawings of cowboys from yesteryear and today. According to the book’s author, Lewis Esson, chuckwagon chefs cured their own salt pork, and it became a staple on the roundup. The cooks would dip each slice in boiling water, then in cornmeal before frying it with a chopped onion. Milk and flour were added to make gravy, and the meat would be served with biscuits or cornbread.
If your family dotes on old-fashioned comfort foods, Merrill Shindler’s 1996 book, American Dish: 100 Recipes from Ten Delicious Decades ($21.95, Angel City Press), recently was re-released as a paperback ($9.95, Citadel Press). The book contains a collection of recipes that span the 20th century. Learn to make tuna noodle casserole and chicken-fried steak just like Mother’s, then sit down and relax while reading delightful essays about the history of American cuisine.
Living on air
Picture the FedEx truck pulling up to your campsite and delivering a box of food that tastes great, can be prepared with ease, plus helps you lose weight. Low-carbohydrate foods that can be eaten by those following the Atkins diet now are available from Atkins Nutritionals Inc. in every form, from sliced bread to pizza to a bun mix that has only 1 gram of carbohydrates per serving. For an early getaway, make coffee and grab a Morning Start breakfast bar (blueberry muffin, apple crisp, chocolate chip crisp, or creamy cinnamon bun) and hit the road. Have a sugar-free dessert bar and the meatiest chili for lunch. The choices are many and mouthwatering, especially desserts such as cheesecake, meringues, and mousse. Energy Burst Protein Snack Mix is a trail mix with no hydrogenated oils. Request a free catalog from (800) 228-5467 or order from www.atkins.com.