Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
Who needs a recipe? When your cupboards are stocked with shortcut ingredients that contribute a bouquet of flavors, you may need only a few items to create a sophisticated, delicious recipe. Here are some ideas:
Mexi-jon Pork Chops
Using cooking spray, lightly grease a baking pan that will hold the number of pork chops you will need to feed your crew. Cover the bottom of the pan with a generous layer of salsa. Arrange the pork chops on the salsa and drizzle them with honey Dijon mustard from a squirt bottle. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover; turn the chops; and bake 15 minutes longer or until the meat tests done. Place the chops on plates and top with the pan juices.
Grease a loaf pan. Thaw a 10-ounce package of spinach and squeeze it dry. Mix it with 2 eggs and 1/3-cup grated Parmesan cheese. Divide a tray of lean ground beef (16 to 20 ounces) into three portions and press one portion into the loaf pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with half the spinach. Pack in the next portion of meat, pressing tightly to form an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper again, then add the remaining spinach mixture. Pack in the remaining meat to form another even layer, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Run a wet knife lengthwise three times through the layers and pack them down again with the back of a spoon. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until the meat tests done. Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes; remove it from the pan; and slice.
Lightly spray a baking pan large enough to hold the number of ground lamb patties you need. Empty a can of whole berry cranberry sauce into the pan and mash it with a packet of dry onion soup mix. Remove half of the cranberry mixture and set it aside. Mix a jar of strained apricot baby food into the cranberry mixture in the pan. Form patties from the ground lamb and place them atop the cranberry-apricot mixture. Spoon the reserved cranberry mixture over the patties. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Then uncover and bake for another 15 minutes or until the patties reach the desired doneness.
Turkey Mignon Chignon
Generously grease a baking pan large enough to hold the number of turkey mignons you’re cooking, with plenty of room to spare. Form nests from thawed hash brown potatoes with onion and green pepper that are approximately an inch larger in diameter than the mignons, packing them tightly with your hands. Arrange the potato nests in the baking pan and drizzle liquid margarine lightly around the edges of the potatoes. Place a thawed turkey mignon in the center of each hash brown nest. Top each mignon with a heaping tablespoon of cranberry-orange relish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover; increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees; and bake until the turkey is done (most come with a timer that pops out) and the potatoes are crisp around the edges. Using a spatula, carefully remove the turkey-potato “chignons” to serving plates.
Lightly spray a deep, nonstick 10-inch skillet. Set out three 10-inch flour tortillas and 1 large can or jar of spaghetti sauce. Brush the tortillas evenly but lightly with the sauce, reserving the rest of the sauce for later, and place the first tortilla in the cold skillet. In a bowl, mix 2 cups ricotta cheese, 3 eggs, salt and pepper, and 1/2-cup grated Parmesan cheese. Spread half of the mixture evenly over the tortilla; top with another tortilla; spread with the remaining ricotta mixture; and top with the last tortilla. Cover tightly and heat over low-medium flame until the ricotta mixture sets. Remove from heat; uncover; and sprinkle generously with grated mozzarella cheese. Let stand in the skillet until the cheese melts, then slide the tortilla tower onto a plate or cutting board. Cut into four wedges and serve it with the remaining heated spaghetti sauce.
Cut a 1-pound pork tenderloin into 16 slices. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and brown the pork on both sides. Spread in an even layer (it’s okay for the meat to overlap) and top with a 16-ounce can of apple pie filling. Cover; bring to a low boil; and cook over low heat for five minutes. Remove the pork to four serving plates, then stir 1/2-cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts into the apple mixture to heat. Once the mixture is warm, spoon it over the meat. This recipe makes four servings of four slices each.
Saute 1 pound of shelled, de-veined shrimp in 2 tablespoons butter until the shrimp are pink and firm. Stir in 1/2-cup soft herb cheese (e.g. Boursin) until it’s hot, then stir in 1/4-cup evaporated milk. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve with crusty bread.
Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a roomy skillet and stir in 1 cup arborio rice and a few ounces of cut-up lox. Cover; reduce heat; and cook without stirring over very low heat for 20 minutes or until the rice is creamy and tender. With the back of a spoon, make four depressions in the cooked rice and fill each with 1 egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over very low heat for two to three minutes or until the eggs are poached as desired. If you like, sprinkle lightly with dillweed.
Start with 2 cups chopped fresh or canned fruit (e.g. 16-ounce can crushed pineapple or diced tomatoes). Chop and stir in half a green sweet pepper, half a red sweet pepper, a big pinch of brown sugar, a generous splash of lemon or lime juice, and a big tuft of chopped fresh cilantro. When making salsa with whole cranberry sauce or fruit canned in syrup, reduce or omit the brown sugar.
Dredge 4 servings of chicken in seasoned flour, brown in a little hot oil, and add 1 can of chicken broth, 1/2-cup maple syrup, and 1/4-cup lemon juice. Cover and cook over low heat until the chicken is done through. Remove the chicken and stir 1/3-cup chunky peanut butter into the pan juices. Spoon the peanut butter sauce over the chicken and a side portion of rice.
Brush whole wheat tortillas lightly with soy sauce and spread thinly with creamy peanut butter. Cover with several thin slices of baked ham or roasted turkey from the deli and a layer of angel hair shredded cabbage. Roll up, wrap, and chill. To serve, cut in half.
This recipe will feed up to a dozen hungry tailgaters. Buy two roasted chickens, remove the meat from the bones, and cut it into bite-size pieces. Chop 4 ribs of celery, 2 large onions, and 3 carrots. Put the chicken and vegetables in a large pot with 1 quart chicken broth, 1 quart water, 1 pound sliced kielbasa, and 2 tablespoons seasoned salt. Bring everything to a boil and stir in 4 cups long-grain rice. Cover; reduce heat; and simmer over very low heat for 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice and the vegetables are tender. Stir and serve in bowls. Pass the hot sauce.
Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan and have ready 4 portions of meat (chicken pieces, chops, turkey mignons, etc.) that will fit in the pan in a single layer. Spread a 10-ounce jar of pineapple jam in the bottom and pour 1/2-cup water evenly over top. Arrange the thawed meat portions on the jam, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put 1 tablespoon of hot pepper jelly atop each portion. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the foil and continue baking until the meat is done. Place a portion of meat on each plate; stir the pan juices and spoon over the meat.
This is an un-recipe from Ilana Simon’s 125 Indoor Grill Recipes ($18.95, Robert Rose). Considering the popularity of indoor grills (also known as contact grills, such as the George Foreman grill) with motorhome cooks, this book is a winner. Mix 1/3-cup cornflake crumbs and 1/3-cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Marinate 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in 1/3-cup zesty Italian dressing in the refrigerator for 20 to 60 minutes. Pre-heat the grill to high and spray it with cooking spray. Roll the chicken in the crumb mixture and grill it for six to seven minutes or until it tests done. This recipe serves four. Note: it’s important to use freshly grated Parmesan, so you’ll get a crisp crust.
Some rules for un-recipes
- For food safety, when cooking pork, poultry, or ground meat, test for doneness with an instant-reading thermometer. Cooking times will vary according to meat thickness.
- How many people will an un-recipe serve? Generally speaking, plan on 4 ounces of boneless meat and 1/2-cup cooked starch per serving.
- Foil baking containers save dishwashing, but they’re flimsy. For safer, easier handling, place them on a baking sheet.
- When baking potatoes to serve as a side dish with meat recipes, microwave them on high for a few minutes, then finish them in the oven with the meat to develop a roasted flavor.
- To avoid extra handling and mess when making meat patties, wear disposable gloves and form patties out of plain ground meat. Press them into seasoned bread crumbs spread on a paper plate. Fry the patties in hot, flavored oil and de-glaze the pan with dry wine. Pour the resulting sauce over the patties.
- Save the broken bits of flavored crackers that are left in the bottoms of boxes. Place them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin or round bottle to make fine crumbs. Use the crumbs to bread chicken, fish, or ground meat patties before frying. Each batch will be different depending on the crackers used. No other seasoning is needed.
- To help breading cling to chicken or fish, pat the pieces dry, spread with mayonnaise, then press them into the crumbs. For even more zing, spread with French’s GourMayo Caesar Ranch mayonnaise.
Chipotle Tartar Sauce
This is my adaptation of the unforgettable tartar sauce served aboard the paddlewheel steamers of the Delta Queen Company. It makes bland fish stand up and whistle Dixie.
2 cups real mayonnaise
Small dab of chipotle chili canned in adobo (to taste)
1/8-cup lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8-cup chopped cilantro
1/8-cup finely diced red onion
1/8-cup diced green onion
Whisk the mayonnaise in a medium bowl and add the chipotle chili a little at a time to taste. Whisk in the lime juice and the sugar, then fold in the cilantro and the onions. Serve with fish. Note: if you don’t have chipotle chili in adobo, you can substitute ancho chili paste. This sauce can be refrigerated for up to three days; stir before using.
Bob Welch, whose Health Craft RV Cooking Show is a favorite at RV gatherings, has a terrific recipe for barbecue that he’s provided, in his own words.
“Using a Health Craft Liquid Core Electric 5-Quart Sauce Pan, dice and saute a white onion, a red onion, and minced garlic (about half a head), in a tablespoon of olive oil at 350 degrees for about six minutes. Keep the lid on. Add one minced, seeded, de-veined jalapeno pepper. When color appears in the onions, turn the heat down to 195 degrees. On our gauge, that is almost to the ‘warm’ reading. Close the vent to present a waterless (sealed-lid) environment.
“Add bottled Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons or so. Now for the secret North Carolina ingredients. Add in this order: 2 cans of low-cost beer, then 2 bottles, 18 ounces each, of low-cost barbecue sauce (I like one hickory and one regular-flavored), and about 5 pounds of low-cost pork shoulder butt. Add water if necessary so liquid covers the meat. Slice and seed a yellow pepper and add to the pot. Now the magic. Coarsely chop a bunch of cilantro and place it atop the pork. Put the lid on with the vent closed. Walk away and come back in six hours. NO PEEKING! In a regular crock pot on low, it will take 10 to 12 hours.”