Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
Here are recipes chosen for ease, speed, and good taste. Try them on your next motorhome outing.
You can have this crusty casserole on the table about half an hour after you get up. Save the juice from the ham and add it to the milk measure; add the drained pineapple juice to your morning fruit juice.
10-ounce can chunk ham, drained and shredded
8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
2 tablespoons real bacon bits
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 cup biscuit mix
Ham liquid plus milk to make 1 cup
Heaping teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
4 ounces shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterey jack)
Spray an 8-inch-square casserole with cooking spray and scatter in the ham, pineapple, bacon bits, and cranberries. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together the biscuit mix, milk, eggs, and mustard. Pour the mixture over the ingredients in the dish and bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for another 3 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, cut into nine squares, and serve. This recipe serves four to five.
Egg Foo Frycake
The ramen noodles cook in a bowl and are turned into flavorful fried cakes for two. Use shrimp with shrimp-flavored noodles, chicken with chicken-flavored noodles, beef with beef-flavored noodles, and so on. This is a great way to use up leftovers, or chop up a few slices of deli meat. To make a vegetarian-style cake, add an extra 1/2-cup of chopped, cooked vegetables. It’s best to use a 6-inch frying pan, making one cake at a time.
3-ounce packet ramen noodles
1-1/2 cups packaged shredded cabbage with carrots
2 scallions, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1/2-cup finely diced meat, chicken, fish, or tofu
2 eggs, beaten
Oil for frying
Break up the noodles in a bowl or pan with 1/2-teaspoon of the flavoring packet and cover with boiling water until the noodles are tender; drain well. Stir in the cabbage mix, scallions, flour, meat, eggs, and the remainder of the flavoring packet. Heat a little oil in a nonstick, 6-inch skillet and use a quarter of the noodle mixture to make a cake, frying it until it’s golden on both sides. Place the finished cakes in a warm oven while using the additional oil to make the remaining cakes. Serve two fry cakes per person, pass the soy sauce, and complete the meal with bowls of stewed plums for dessert.
Here’s a snappy way to make gooey and delicious cookies. Line the baking pan with the new nonstick aluminum foil and you won’t need to use cooking spray.
12 graham crackers
1-1/2 sticks butter
1/2-cup brown sugar, firmly packed
9-ounce package chocolate chips
3- or 4-ounce package chopped nuts
Line a 9-inch-by-15-inch jelly roll pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the bottom with a single layer of graham crackers, arranged as close together as possible. In a saucepan, melt the butter and sugar over low heat and cook for 1 minute until it’s smooth. Pour the mixture over the graham crackers; bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until the topping bubbles; and remove from the oven. Cover with chocolate chips; wait a minute for them to melt; then spread gently. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the chocolate and allow it to cool thoroughly. Separate the crackers and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container.
Pork Chops Chop-Chop
You’ll have this casserole in the oven in no time. Don’t forget to thaw the potatoes and cauliflower.
16-ounce package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
2.8-ounce can French’s fried onions
6 lean, fully cooked smoked pork chops
10-ounce package frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
1 can condensed cheese soup
Coat a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole with nonstick spray and press the potatoes into the bottom. Sprinkle with half the fried onions. Arrange the pork chops in a single layer on top and tuck the cauliflower florets around them. Top with the rest of the fried onions. Whisk together the soup and milk and pour it over the chops. Cover with nonstick foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes. This recipe serves six.
Complete the meal with chilled cranberry sauce, a green salad, and bar cookies for dessert.
Variation: use any flavor cream soup instead of the cheese soup or substitute broccoli florets for the cauliflower
Coffee Can Ice Cream
This is an old-fashioned but fun way to make a small batch of ice cream. Save empty coffee cans to take on the trip, bring ice cream salt, and make extra ice cubes. This recipe is from Penny Stone’s book 365 Quick, Easy & Inexpensive Dinner Menus (described later in this article), but you can use any ice cream recipe that calls for approximately three cups of liquid (must fit in a one-pound coffee can). It works on the same principle as a cranked ice cream maker but uses an inner coffee can to hold the ice cream and an outer can to hold the ice and salt.
3-pound empty coffee can with lid, washed and dried
1-pound coffee can with lid, washed and dried
1 can Milnot milk or evaporated milk
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten*
1 teaspoon vanilla
Your choice of flavorings
*I recommend using 1/4-cup egg substitute because of food safety concerns with raw eggs.
Mix all ingredients well and place in the smaller coffee can. Seal with the lid and place inside the larger can. Pack the larger can with ice cubes and 1/2-cup ice cream salt. Put the lid on the larger can and roll it back and forth for 5 minutes. Add more ice and salt, and roll for another 5 minutes. Continue the process for a total of 20 minutes. If the ice cream is still too soft, add more ice and salt and roll for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Ms. Stone doesn’t specify a type or amount of flavoring, so try several dollops of jam. Coffee cans rust quickly when subjected to salt water, so consider them disposable after one or two batches of ice cream. Pack the ice as tightly in the can as possible; the ice cream will freeze more quickly if you crush or at least break up the ice.
Here’s a quick relish to go with meat from the grill or to spice up a simple lunch of sandwiches and chips.
16-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1/2-cup salsa (mild, medium, hot)
1/4-cup sliced ripe olives
Toss the corn with the lemon or lime juice, then add the salsa and olives. Serve at once or chill.
Choco-Peanut Butter Bars
If you have all the ingredients on board, these bar cookies can be ready for the oven in just a few minutes.
1 package chocolate cake mix
1 cup peanut butter
1/2-cup vegetable oil
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
6-ounce package real chocolate chips (not imitation chocolate)
Spray a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan and heat the oven to 350 degrees. With a fork, combine the cake mix, peanut butter, egg, and oil until the mixture is crumbly. Press it into the pan, reserving one cupful. Bake for 10 minutes. In a microwavable container, heat the milk and chocolate chips for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until the chips melt. Pour the chocolate sauce over the crust, top with the remaining cake mixture, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until firm and lightly browned at the edges. Cool and then cut into bars.
Tony Casillo’s Sauce Marinara
Food writer Tony Casillo provides a very personal and delicious way to make marinara sauce in his book, Tony Casillo’s Family Cookbook, which also is featured later in this column. He serves the sauce with spaghetti or linguine, but I’ve used it to flavor vegetables and to spoon over chops from the grill.
For a quick supper, spread the sauce over a slab of Italian bread, top with a slice of cheese, spoon on some more sauce, and microwave on high until everything is heated through and the cheese is melted.
1/4-cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped; or 3 cloves garlic, chopped; or both
3 anchovy fillets in oil
2 16-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1/2-cup coarsely chopped Kalamata or Gaeta olives
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
3 bunches fresh basil, chopped
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and/or garlic and the anchovies and sauté until the onion and/or garlic is soft and golden but not brown. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, half the basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for approximately 10 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and tender but not reduced to paste. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Stir in the remaining basil before serving.
Homemade Tomato-Spinach Soup
When you want a simple supper of soup and bread but can’t face another canned soup, try this quick recipe.
4 walnut-size chunks yellow cheese (cheddar, Colby, Edam)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
10-ounce package chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, parsley)
Set out four soup bowls and place a chunk of cheese in each. In a roomy, covered saucepan, cook the onion and garlic in the oil until they are translucent. Stir in the spinach and tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil; cover; reduce heat; and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste. Ladle the hot soup over the cheese and serve with chunks of Italian bread and a crisp salad. Try banana cream pie for dessert.
Linguine For Two
4-ounce package blue cheese
10-ounce package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
2 servings linguine
Place the cheese and milk in a microwavable container. Cook the linguine according to package directions, adding the broccoli during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking so it is crisp-tender. Microwave the cheese and milk on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until it’s hot and well blended. Drain the linguine and broccoli and toss with the cheese mixture. Serve at once with crusty bread and tossed salad.
Look for the Tasty Bite line of Indian and Thai foods in the specialty foods section of the supermarket. They’re of special interest to motor coach cooks because portions are small “” only two per package “” and they are packed in shelf-stable pouches that can be warmed in a pot of hot water. Flavors include Kashmir Spinach, Bombay Potatoes, Malabar Mixed Vegetables, and various curries. Nutrition information on the package is thorough, including notations that the food contains no gluten or MSG. They also are labeled for kosher use. Flavors are authentic, so they’re best for people already initiated in Indian or Thai cuisine. To find store locations or order Tasty Bite products online, visit www.tastybite.com.
Books for cooks
At a loss for what to serve on your next motorhome trip? Penny Stone’s book 65 Quick, Easy & Inexpensive Dinner Menus ($19.95, Champion Press Ltd.) includes one or two recipes for every day of the year, so it’s fun to try them day by day.
If you love Italian food and/or have fond memories of Italian-American family life from the 1930s through the 1950s, you’ll treasure Tony Casillo’s Family Cookbook: A Treasure Trove of Recipes and Cooking Advice from a Dad to His Daughters ($30, Reader’s Digest). A hardback coffee table book, it’s filled with family photos as well as wonderful recipes that Mr. Casillo wanted to pass down to his daughters.
Learn Southwestern cooking
Jane Butel, the cooking teacher known for her books on Southwestern cooking, will give weekend and weeklong cooking classes in Albuquerque, New Mexico, through November and then starting again in January 2004. For more information, call (800) 472-8229 or visit www.janebutel.com.
The making of cheeses by local artisans has spawned an exciting new travel trend. If you’re weary of California winery tours, a free map to 28 cheese makers that offer tours and tastings is available from the California Milk Advisory Board, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Suite D, Modesto, CA 95358. Send a self-addressed, stamped (37 cents), business-size envelope and ask for brochure 21108, the Real California Cheese Country Brochure. The list also is available online at www.realcaliforniacheese.com.
These two quickies are contributed by Iris Ohman, F153399. The Smoky Spread makes a huge batch and is delicious as a sandwich spread or on crackers. Iris likes sharing it during potlucks or giving it as gifts.
1 gallon mayonnaise
2-1/2 teaspoons herb seasoning (your choice, Iris says, so I used Herbes de Provence)
One-fourth onion, finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons each pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder
1/4-cup liquid smoke
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 cups (16-ounce bottle) French dressing
Mix everything well and refrigerate. Divide into small containers for sharing.
Iris Ohman’s Cool Whip Candy
16 ounces milk chocolate chips
8-ounce container Cool Whip or other non-dairy whipped topping
Chopped nuts or crushed vanilla wafers
Melt the chips and cool slightly. Mix with the whipped topping, shape into 1-inch balls, and roll in the nuts or vanilla wafers. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
If you have a recipe that you enjoy making in your coach, share it with Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Janet Groene, Family Motor Coaching, 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45244.