Cooking On The Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
It’s the time of year when most of us hit the highways just for the sheer joy of leaf peeping. Here are ways to make your table sing with color, too.
If you prefer, fry a 12-ounce package of bacon and crumble it for this dish. Or, cut up a package of pre-fried bacon. You also can use bottled bacon pieces (do not use imitation bacon bits), which will save time, weight, cooking, and the greasy mess. The bacon and cheese provide enough salt, but you may want to add a few twists of freshly ground pepper.
1/2 red sweet pepper, diced
1/2 green sweet pepper, diced
1/2 yellow sweet pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
2 cups biscuit mix
8-ounce package sliced Swiss cheese, cut up
1 jar or can (approximately 4 ounces) real bacon crumbles
Freshly ground black pepper
Ketchup in a squirt container (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the vegetables in a microwavable container with a tablespoon of water. Cover and cook in the microwave on high for one minute and let stand, covered, while you make the crust. Lightly coat a mixing bowl with nonstick spray and add the biscuit mix. Mix the water into the biscuit mix to form a thick dough; turn the dough out onto floured paper towels, and gently knead approximately 10 times. Do not over-mix. Using floured hands, press the dough into a greased 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the crust with the cheese, the bacon, the well-drained vegetables, and freshly ground pepper. Using the same bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs and pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the crust is browned on the bottom and edges, and the filling tests done. (A clean knife slipped in the center should come out clean, indicating that the egg mixture has set.) Shake the ketchup bottle, then carefully drizzle a thin zigzag pattern lightly across the top of the casserole. Let the dish stand a few minutes, then cut into squares. Serve with a red-tip lettuce salad. This recipe makes six servings.
Dilly Pea Salad
Frozen peas add a garden-fresh taste to a meal when you can’t make it to the market.
16-ounce bag frozen green peas
1/2-cup light mayonnaise or plain yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried dillweed (or more to taste)
3-ounce jar diced pimento, well drained
Thaw the peas and drain well. Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, and dillweed; toss lightly with the peas and pimento; and chill. Serve on a bed of red-tip lettuce. This recipe makes approximately seven 1/2-cup servings. Variation: grated carrots can be used instead of pimento. Some cooks also add cooked, crumbled bacon or crumbled blue cheese to this salad. Approximately 1/3-cup of either should do.
Tutti Fruiti Mosaic
You’re the artist and your palette is a crisp crust topped with luscious cream. Find a good variety of firm, colorful fruit that can be cut and composed in an eye-appealing pattern.
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1/4-cup chopped nuts (or more oatmeal)
1 cup crumbs (cookies, graham crackers)
In a bowl, mix the butter into the oatmeal, nuts, and crumbs and press into the bottom of a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool.
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla yogurt
1/4-cup lemon or lime juice
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix the yogurt, juice, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla and spread over the crust. Put the pie in the refrigerator to cool. When you’re ready to serve, make a nice arrangement of fresh fruit on top. Cut into squares, diamonds, or bars.
Confetti Salmon Patties
This is a good recipe for boondocking, because the ingredients can be kept on hand in the pantry.
1 cup instant potato flakes
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
3/4-cup very hot water
71/2-ounce can salmon, drained and picked over
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4-cup stuffed olives, sliced
Approximately 1/3-cup dried bread crumbs
Oil for frying
2 tablespoons red or green salsa or pickle relish
Put the instant potatoes and onion flakes in a medium bowl, add hot water, and mix well. Stir in the salmon, eggs, and olives. Form into four patties; dip in the bread crumbs; and fry in a little hot oil until they are brown and crispy. Serve plain or with a light coating of sauce. Complete the plate with steamed broccoli, honey-glazed baby carrots, corn sticks, and a dessert of canned red grapefruit drizzled with raspberry syrup.
This cheery, creamy red “butter” can be easily whipped up as a spread for snack crackers or rye crisps. For extra tang, add cayenne pepper or hot pepper sauce to taste.
8 ounces cream cheese
16-ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1/2-teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 small green or red bell pepper, finely diced (optional)
Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature and use a fork to mash in the cranberry sauce, juice, and garlic salt. When it’s well mixed, fold in the diced pepper. Serve on crackers or spread on bread or tortillas when making wraps or sandwiches with deli-sliced cold cuts.
Blue Streak French Toast
8 slices white bread
Butter for frying
Blueberry, raspberry, or maple syrup
Make four sandwiches with the bread and jam. Whisk together the eggs and milk; dip the sandwiches until all the egg mixture is soaked up; and fry them in butter until golden brown. Serve with syrup and a dollop of yogurt.
Harvest Gold Pumpkin Parfait
Use canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. The leftover pumpkin can be stirred into pancake batter, biscuit dough, chili, stew, or gravy (use 1/3-cup of pumpkin or less per cup of product). It simply disappears, adding a golden glow. If you don’t have clear glasses, buy clear plastic disposable cups that will show off the colorful layers of this recipe.
3.4-ounce package instant butterscotch pudding, regular or sugar-free
Scant 1/8-teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/2 cups milk, regular or non-fat
1 cup pumpkin puree
Whipped topping, thawed
Crushed ginger snaps
Aerosol whipped cream
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the pudding and spices, then stir in the milk and pumpkin puree until smooth. Let the mixture thicken and spoon into glasses, alternating layers of the pudding-pumpkin mixture, whipped topping, and cookie crumbs. Chill. Top with a spritz of whipped cream and a dash of brown sugar just before serving. This recipe makes four to eight servings, depending on how much whipped topping is used.
Mardi Gras Marinated Salad
Mix it and forget it overnight and you’ll have a salad that is as bright as a Mardi Gras float. The measurements for this recipe are approximate, but should make enough for eight to 10 servings, which makes it an ideal dish for a campground potluck.
6-ounce package fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3 cups broccoli florets or broccoli-cauliflower mix, cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
1 medium yellow squash, cut into chunks
1 medium red onion, cut into chunks
1 medium red sweet pepper, diced
1/3-cup red wine vinegar
2/3-cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup red grape tomatoes (or 1/2-cup each red and yellow), cut in half
Pile the vegetables, except for the tomatoes, into a large, reasealable plastic bag. In a bowl, whisk together the honey, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper and pour into the bag. Seal and mix gently. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate overnight, turning once or twice when you think of it. To serve, drain and discard the excess dressing; pile the vegetables into a serving bowl; and garnish with the tomatoes.
- Bake or buy an angel food cake, and riddle it with holes at varying depths using the handle of a wooden spoon. Dissolve a packet of raspberry gelatin in 1 cup of boiling water. Carefully spoon the gelatin into the holes and chill for several hours. When you cut the cake it will have veins of color. Serve plain or with whipped topping. Alternative: prepare the cake as described. Melt a 10-ounce jar of red jelly in the microwave until it liquefies and drizzle into the holes. This version does not need to be refrigerated.
- To color grated coconut or coarse sugar, place it in a container with a tight lid, filling it no more than half full. Add a few drops of food coloring and shake vigorously until the content is evenly tinted. Sprinkle on frosting, yogurt, pudding, etc. Finely grated orange, lime, or lemon zest also can be added.
- Keep fresh parsley, chives, cilantro, and red and green sweet peppers on hand to mince finely for a colorful finish atop casseroles, soups, and stews.
- Candied fruit isn’t just for holidays. Use bits of red and green cherries, pineapple, and papaya to add color to plain biscuits, pudding, coffee cake, or any dish that calls for raisins.
- Make coleslaw more colorful by adding grated carrot, red cabbage, green or red pepper, and/or red onion.
- Add color, vitamins, and fiber by leaving skin on red apples when making Waldorf salad and red potatoes for potato salad.
- Fill a serving plate with wraps made from red, white, and green tortillas, each with a different filling.
- Jelly beans are available in dozens of flavors and colors. Use them to brighten desserts.
- Buy plain cheese pizza and dress it up with bits of colorful cooked vegetables and meats, crumbled feta cheese, and seeded raw tomato.
- When shopping, look for unwaxed cucumbers that don’t have to be peeled before eating. Leave the peel plain or scrape lengthwise with a fork or peeler to create a pattern.
Books for cooks
Jan Robinson, a licensed charter boat captain, has combined her talent as a chef with her thorough knowledge of tropical seafaring to produce cookbooks that make a big splash ashore and afloat. If you’re willing to fuss a little (she may ask you to pipe mashed potatoes onto a cookie sheet in fancy blobs, or puree vegetables to make parsnip soup), you can produce dazzling meals from a small galley just as she does.
The recipes included in her “Ship To Shore” series of cookbooks, published by Ship To Shore Inc., range from simple combinations of canned or packaged ingredients to fancy dishes that will knock your crew’s socks off. Few cookbooks offer as many recipes per page, so the books, which cost from $5.95 to $19.95, are space savers as well as bargain-priced. Her Slim to Shore Cookbook is filled with luscious, low-calorie recipes that list complete caloric and nutritional information per serving. The series includes eight other cookbooks, which can be purchased by visiting www.shiptoshoreinc.com, or by calling (800) 338-6072. Ms. Robinson’s books also can be found in bookstores, through online booksellers, and at larger marine stores.