Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
Hot and tasty are the key words for winter RV recipes that are quick and uncomplicated. There is nothing more inviting than an appetizing aroma, whether it’s cinnamon and cloves, onions sizzling with fresh peppers, or a long-simmering stew. Try these recipes on your next outing and fill your coach with warmth and enticing smells.
Two new lunchtime cookbooks are aimed at people who brown-bag it to school or work, but the recipes are just as useful as picnic fare for travelers. The Brown Bag Lunch Cookbook and The School Lunchbox Cookbook by Miriam Jacobs are published by Globe Pequot and priced at $10.95 each.
This recipe from The Brown Bag Lunch Cookbook turns a cold sandwich favorite into a hot, knife-and-fork meal. Assemble it in the morning, refrigerate it while you drive, and bake it for lunch.
8 slices whole-wheat bread, buttered on one side
1/4-cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup smoked turkey, diced
1/4-cup red pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon scallions, chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups low-fat milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a 9-inch-square pan, place four slices of bread, buttered side down. If necessary, trim the edges so all four pieces fit. Sprinkle evenly with the cheese, turkey, peppers, and scallions. Top with the remaining slices of bread, buttered sides up. Whisk together the eggs and milk and pour the mixture over the sandwiches. Let the sandwiches stand for 15 minutes, then bake for 40 minutes. Leftover sandwiches can be cooled, wrapped, and reheated in the microwave. Complete the lunch menu with mugs of steaming tomato soup, crisp celery stalks, and oatmeal cookies for dessert.
When you want something different with stewed chicken or soup, whip up these dumplings. This recipe makes enough dumplings for four servings of chicken.
1 package Jiffy cornbread mix
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/2-teaspoon poultry seasoning or rubbed sage
Egg and milk according to package directions
Mix together the dry ingredients and stir in the egg and milk to make a thick batter. Bring the soup or stewed chicken to a boil and use a teaspoon to drop in the dumplings, making sure not to crowd them. Boil for five minutes; cover; reduce heat; and cook for another 15 minutes without peeking. Serve immediately.
All of your favorite ground meat recipes are in a new cookbook, 125 Best Ground Meat Recipes, by Ilana Simon ($18.95, Robert Rose Inc.). She shows how to use ground turkey, beef, veal, lamb, and pork in both old and new dishes. There’s also a chapter on delicious ways to use the new, meat-free ground “beef.”
This recipe from the book is an old favorite, according to the author, but it bears repeating time and again, because it’s so simple to prepare for family meals or campground potlucks. The author doesn’t specify using a cover when cooking in the microwave, but I used a microwave-safe glass casserole cover to prevent spattering.
1 pound ground beef, formed into 24 meatballs
1/4-teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon steak sauce
2 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
Half a green bell pepper, cut into strips
Half a red sweet pepper, cut into strips
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
10-ounce can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1/4-teaspoon garlic powder
3 drops hot pepper sauce
Place the meatballs in a 10-cup, microwave-safe casserole dish. Season the meat with salt and pepper and microwave on high for three minutes. Drain any excess fat. Turn the meatballs; add the steak sauce; and microwave on high again for three minutes. Drain off the fat, turn the meatballs one more time, and layer the vegetables over top. In a bowl, mix the soup with the water and add the garlic powder and hot pepper sauce. Pour the mixture over the casserole and microwave on high for 20 minutes or until the meatballs are done and the vegetables are tender.
To bake this dish in a regular oven or microwave-convection oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, layer everything in the same order, and bake uncovered for one hour. Precooking the meatballs is not needed.
A generation ago, gelatin salads and desserts were a family staple. Rediscover the ease and refreshing taste of flavored gelatins, regular or sugar-free. This cheerful red dessert looks especially pretty when made in a clear container.
8-ounce tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar or equivalent
3 four-serving-size packages red gelatin dessert (strawberry, raspberry, or cherry)
2-1/2 cups boiling water
15-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
2-3/4 cups cold water and juice from mandarin oranges
Whisk together the whipped topping, cream cheese, and sugar; pour into the bottom of a large, clear, two-quart container; and refrigerate. Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water. Drain the oranges and add water to the juice to make 2-3/4 cups liquid. Add the liquid to the gelatin mixture and refrigerate until it firms to the consistency of egg whites. Gently stir in the oranges and pour the gelatin into the container atop the cream cheese mixture. Make this recipe in the morning and chill it the rest of the day to serve for dessert. It makes 16 servings, enough for a campground potluck.
Cranberry Cheese Mold
Stop for a quick roadside picnic and serve this luscious spread with your favorite crackers, or enjoy it as a snack any time.
16-ounce package shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 cup roasted, chopped walnuts or pecans
Salt, pepper, hot sauce to taste
8-ounce can whole-berry cranberry sauce
This recipe can be made in a carry-and-serve container; or you can line a bowl or mold with plastic wrap and turn it out for serving. Mix together the cheese, sour cream, onion flakes, and nuts. Season to taste with the salt, pepper, and hot sauce and press into a container. Cover and chill overnight. When ready to serve, mash the cranberry sauce coarsely with a fork, and spoon it over the cheese mixture. Use a knife or spatula to serve on crackers.
Esther’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake
This recipe is from Esther Brody’s new book, 250 Best Cakes & Pies ($18.95, Robert Rose Inc.). Even though this cake is made from scratch, it’s simple to whip up, because the sour cream blends into the batter so easily. I used a small, electric hand mixer, but a balloon whisk would do the job with a little extra effort. Note that this recipe contains no added salt, and you can keep the sodium content even lower by using salt-free butter. To save time, measure and combine the flour and baking powder at home and carry the mixture in a resealable plastic bag.
1/2-cup chopped nuts
1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/4-cup butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Prepare the topping by mixing all ingredients except the butter and setting aside. In one bowl combine the flour and baking powder. In another bowl, stir together the sour cream and baking soda. Combine the sugar, butter, and eggs in a mixing bowl until light, then stir in the sour cream-baking soda mixture, the flour-baking powder mixture, and the vanilla. Pour the batter into a greased baking pan. (The author suggests using a Bundt pan, but I used a 10-inch-by-13-inch casserole that I carry in the motorhome.) Sprinkle on the topping and dot with the butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake tests done. Turn off the heat and let the cake sit in the oven with the door ajar for 15 to 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. This coffee cake is delicious with scrambled eggs for breakfast or with afternoon tea.
Caramelized Onion Bread
Serve this delicious, hot, buttery bread with soup or stew and a salad on the side.
2 large sweet onions, diced
1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet and cook the onions, adding the salt and sugar, until the onions are a rich caramel color. Cool and spread the onions in the bottom of a greased 8-inch-square pan. Pat or roll out the thawed bread dough on floured paper toweling to form an 8-inch square. Place the dough atop the onions; let it rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in size; then bake at 350 degrees for approximately 18 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown on top. Let stand for five minutes; turn onto a plate onion side up; and cut into squares.
Apple Pecan Streusel Muffins
This recipe comes from 500 Best Muffin Recipes by Esther Brody ($19.95, Robert Rose Inc.), a 384-page book of recipes for nothing but muffins and toppings. They include sweet and rich dessert muffins, main-dish muffins, and muffins made from healthful ingredients. The author provides several recipes for master mixes that you can combine ahead of time at home to speed up your cooking on the go. When you make your own mixes, you can tweak them for family health by eliminating salt or using a sugar substitute. Yet you’ll still have the convenience of a versatile dry mix that can be made into a variety of muffins.
Serve these muffins hot from a conventional oven or microwave-convection oven, and listen for the ooohs and aaahs. There is no butter to cream, so just mix the ingredients with a balloon whisk. By measuring out the dry ingredients the night before, you can make these tasty muffins quickly the next morning. Better still, measure the dry ingredients at home, store the mixture in a resealable plastic bag, and make the muffins every morning on the go. Note that the cup of brown sugar is added with the wet ingredients. The streusel topping also can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.
You’ll need a greased tin that holds 12 muffins, or two tins that hold six muffins each. Disposable six-cup foil muffin tins, which you can find in the paper goods aisle at the supermarket, are a great time-saver. Buy two of these tins and you’ll have a pan of muffins to eat and another pan to share with a campground neighbor.
1/2-cup brown sugar
1/2-cup chopped pecans
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup applesauce
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine the 1/2-cup brown sugar, butter, and pecans until crumbly and set aside. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a third bowl, combine the egg, the cup of brown sugar, oil, and applesauce. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir until everything is evenly moistened. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, filling them three-quarters full. Evenly distribute the streusel mixture atop the batter in each cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned.