Cooking On The Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
Try these delicious recipes, each with a secret shortcut or two, as you travel in your motorhome. They’ll save time and mess without letting your culinary standards slip.
Dockside Blueberry Crisp
This recipe, a freebie from the folks at Dockside Jewelers in Juneau, Alaska, celebrates blueberry season in the northernmost state, where this bursting blue fruit can be found growing in the wilderness. Because this recipe calls for two full quarts of blueberries, save it for when you travel to places where wild berries are plentiful. The recipe creates a crisp top and a creamy blueberry layer.
8 cups blueberries (2 quarts), washed and drained
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup flour, divided
3/4-cup dark brown sugar
1 stick butter, cut up
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish. Toss the blueberries with the white sugar, lemon juice, and 1/2-cup of the flour and spoon it into the baking dish. Press down the mixture gently to form an even layer. Cut the butter into a mixture of the brown sugar and the remaining 1/2-cup flour to form coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the berries and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the crumb topping is golden brown, which may take up to an hour. Serve warm.
New England Clam Chowder
This recipe was sent to me by Alan and Lynn Sachrison, F256560, who use canned soup and potatoes as a secret shortcut. “The canned potatoes add crispness,” they wrote. The Sachrisons discard the clam juice, but I used it, plus a 13-ounce can of evaporated milk and water, to make enough liquid to fill the soup cans instead of using the milk or cream that the recipe calls for.
10.5-ounce can condensed cream of celery soup
2 soup cans milk or cream
10.5-ounce can condensed New England clam chowder
1 can chopped or diced clams in water, drained
1 can small, whole potatoes, drained and quartered
Put the cream of celery soup in a saucepan and whisk in one soup can of the milk or cream. When it’s smooth, stir in the clam chowder, clams, potatoes, and second can of milk or cream. Gently heat the chowder to let the flavors blend. Place a pat of butter in each soup bowl and ladle in the chowder. This recipe makes four servings. Complete the meal with pilot crackers and a side salad.
Money In The Bank-quet
The ultimate shortcut is to take dinner out of the freezer or fridge and put it in the oven. It takes time to prepare this dish in advance, but the recipe makes 12 big servings that you can freeze in batches to suit your needs. To save even more time, freeze it in disposable foil casseroles. Make several versions using different meats, seasonings, and vegetables for each. Meat or poultry can be cooked from scratch, or you may choose to purchase cooked, cubed meat and poultry at the deli. Apply any seasoning with a light hand, because the soup, crackers, and French-fried onions are highly salted.
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups cooked chicken, beef, turkey, or pork, diced
16-ounce package sliced mushrooms
2 cups cut-up seasoning vegetables (onion, celery, green pepper, carrot)
2 cups long-grain rice or 4 cups instant white rice or brown rice
4-1/4 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
1 cup (8-ounce carton) regular or low-fat sour cream
10.5-ounce can condensed cream of chicken, celery, or mushroom soup
1 teaspoon of a dried herb such as marjoram, poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, thyme, paprika, or dried garlic (not garlic salt)
1 sleeve round crackers, such as Ritz brand
6-ounce can French-fried onions
In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil and stir-fry the meat, mushrooms, and seasoning vegetables until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Meanwhile, cook the rice in the broth, following package directions. Whisk together the sour cream, cream soup of choice, and herbs. Stir the soup mixture into the meat and vegetable mixture and add the cooked rice until everything is evenly combined. Divide into greased casserole dishes. Crumble the crackers to break them up, then pulse several times in a food processor with the French-fried onions to make a coarse crumb mixture. Sprinkle the cracker topping over the casserole(s); drizzle lightly with margarine; wrap; and freeze or refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat, thaw (if frozen) and bake at 350 degrees until the casserole is thoroughly hot and the topping is golden brown. Baking times will vary depending on the size of the dishes you use.
A cousin of the elegant seafood dish coquilles St. Jacques, this quickie calls for canned foods that you can keep on hand. Add a layer of freshly chopped parsley under the bread crumbs if possible. There is no substitute for fresh parsley, so omit it if you don’t have it. Although broth or milk can be used as a substitute for the vermouth, it won’t taste the same.
8-ounce can or jar button mushrooms
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter
10.5-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1/2-cup dry vermouth
2 cans solid-pack albacore tuna, drained and broken up
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2-cup dry bread crumbs
Butter six individual, ovenproof dishes, such as ramekins, and set the oven for 425 degrees. Sizzle the mushrooms and onion in hot butter until the onion is translucent. Whisk together the soup and vermouth and stir into the onion mixture until everything is smooth and hot. Place half of this sauce in the bottoms of the six dishes. Divide the tuna among the dishes and top with the remaining sauce and a tuft of minced parsley. Toss together the bread crumbs and cheese; sprinkle evenly over each dish; and drizzle with liquid margarine. Bake for 10 minutes to brown the top. You can make this recipe earlier in the day and then chill it in the refrigerator. When it’s dinner time, remove the dishes from the refrigerator and add the bread crumb mixture just before baking. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and increase the baking time to 25 to 35 minutes for thorough heating.
Hot Sausage Sandwiches
When our recent survey of full-timers asked about “must-haves,” a surprising number recommended carrying a George Foreman grill. It can be used indoors or out to make these quick, whole-meal sandwiches.
4 hoagie buns, split and spread with mayonnaise
4 bun-size, low-fat Italian sausages, hot or mild
1 medium onion, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 medium tomato, seeded and cut into strips
Sprinkle Italian seasoning lightly on the mayonnaise-spread buns. Arrange the sausages, onion, and pepper on an indoor grill or in a grill basket for use over a charcoal or gas grill, and cook until the sausages are juicy, brown, and done through. Place the sausages on the buns and smother with cooked vegetables and sliced tomatoes. This recipe makes four servings. Complete the meal with creamy coleslaw, crisp potato chips, and lemon sherbet drizzled with red raspberry syrup.
Meat “˜n Taters Casserole
Frozen hash brown potatoes are a super shortcut for the cook on the go. For this recipe, fry lean, fresh ground beef, or use vegetarian cooked crumbles.
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound lean ground beef or equivalent in cooked “crumbles”
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3-cup hot, medium, or mild salsa
16-ounce package hash browns
10.5-ounce can condensed cream of celery, mushroom, chicken, or potato soup
8-ounce carton (1 cup) sour cream
Handful grated cheddar cheese
Butter a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole. Brown the onion, garlic, and meat or meat substitute in hot oil until the meat is done and the onion translucent. Season lightly and stir in the salsa. Spread the meat mixture in the casserole and top with the potatoes. Whisk together the soup, sour cream, and cheese and spoon over the potatoes. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on top. (Allow extra baking time if the casserole has been chilled before cooking.) This recipe makes six servings.
Your microwave oven is the shortcut to these sweet, nutritious carrots. Test for doneness depending on whether you like the carrots soft or crisp. The thinner the slices, the quicker they cook.
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut up
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Put the carrots in a microwavable dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt; add the water; cover; and cook on high for three minutes. Turn and cook another 1-1/2 to two minutes until done. Stir in the raisins, butter, and brown sugar. This recipe makes four servings.
Here are a few more delicious time-saving ideas.
- Some rainy day when you have time on your hands, make ice cream sandwiches using regular or chocolate graham crackers and half-gallon bricks of ice cream (which are easiest to slice into squares). Wrap the sandwiches individually and store them in the freezer for instant desserts.
- Make a honey of a sauce for grilled ham steak by mixing together 2 tablespoons honey, 1/2-teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2-teaspoon ginger into 1/2-cup chunky applesauce.
- Self-rising flour is a shortcut substitute in most recipes that call for flour plus salt and baking powder. Try it with pancakes, muffins, and biscuits.
- Add a finishing touch to grilled steak with a fancy butter. Melt a stick of butter and stir in one of the following: 1 teaspoon seasoned salt; 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs; or 1 tablespoon honey plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard. Blend well; chill in a square container; cut into pats; and place one atop each steak just before serving.
- Caribbean Rum Cakes from the Tortuga Rum Co. Ltd. keep for weeks on the pantry shelf and make an elegant emergency dessert served plain or with a topping or dip. They come in many flavors, in 16-ounce and 33-ounce sizes. Find them in gourmet and specialty shops; buy directly from the company by calling (877) 486-7884; or order online at www.tortugarums.com.
Books for cooks
The Maple Syrup Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes For Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner by Ken Haedrich ($10.95, Storey Publishing) is a 144-page book filled with luscious recipes that call for real maple syrup. The real thing is superior, but “lite” or sugar-free syrups can be substituted for those on sugar-free diets. To prepare the book’s Creamy Maple Fondue recipe, measure out 2-1/2 cups light cream and make a paste with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and some of the cream. Bring the rest of the cream to a boil with 1/2-cup maple syrup; stir in the cornstarch mixture; and boil, stirring, for one minute. Spear bits of fruit on forks and dip them into the warm fondue. The book has recipes for desserts, salads, breakfasts, and main dishes. It can be purchased at bookstores or through online booksellers.
Olwen Woodier’s Apple Cookbook ($10.95, Storey Books) is filled with 142 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacking, and dessert, all made with apples. Since apples travel better than almost any other fresh fruit, you can keep them on hand to make recipes found in the book such as curried ham and apples, apple pie with strawberries and rhubarb, and much more. Find this book at bookstores or online booksellers.
Sweetly Southern: Delicious Desserts from the Sons of Confederate Veterans, edited by Lynda Moreau ($22.50, Pelican Publishing), is a collectible, hardcover cookbook with reprints of 30 sepia photos of Confederate veterans. Each of the 173 recipes comes with the story of the contributor’s ancestor’s service in the Civil War, but the recipes themselves use modern language, ingredients, and shortcuts. With this cookbook on board, you’ll never run out of dessert ideas. It is available at bookstores, through online booksellers, or from the publisher by calling (800) 843-1724 or visiting www.pelicanpub.com.
Penny E. Stone’s three books on crock cooking have been combined into one hardcover book, Crazy About Crockery ($24.95, Champion Press Ltd.), which will stand up for years of use on the go. It’s spiral-bound to lie flat while you follow your favorite recipes. The more than 300 recipes are old-fashioned, hearty, familiar, and said to cost less than 75 cents per serving. Throw everything into the crock cooker in the morning and forget it until suppertime. Those who love carefree entertaining will cherish recipes that cook while hosts relax with their guests. It is available from the publisher by calling (877) 250-3354 or visiting www.championpress.com.