Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
With six or fewer ingredients, it’s possible to whip up amazing dishes quickly and with minimal cleanup. If you’re watching your diet, however, be aware that many convenience foods contain far too much salt, sugar, and heaven knows what else. When combining cans and packages, it’s doubly important to look for low-salt, low-carb, sugar-free, and organic foods.
2 pounds lean ground beef, chicken, or turkey
1 large onion, diced
1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 packet gravy mix
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
Make eight patties from the ground meat and brown each on one side in a hot skillet. Turn the patties over and sprinkle with the diced onion. Using two spoons, dot the burgers with chunks of cranberry sauce. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 to 30 minutes or until the burgers are done through. (Don’t risk undercooking poultry.) Remove the burgers and keep warm. Whisk the gravy mix and mustard into cold water as directed on the package and add to the pan drippings, stirring constantly until thick. Spoon the sauce over the burgers and serve with mashed potatoes, steamed snow peas, and fruit salad.
Cheesy Chicken Chili
This recipe has only four ingredients unless you serve it over rice or noodles, as suggested in a new book, Fix-It And Forget-It, 5-Ingredient Favorites ($18.95, Good Books). This cookbook is spiral-bound to lie flat and is filled with five-ingredient recipes for slow cookers.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
16-ounce jar salsa, your choice
2 16-ounce cans great northern beans, drained
8 ounces shredded colby, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack cheese
Put the chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker. Cover with salsa and cook on low for 5½ to 7½ hours or until the chicken is tender but not dry. Using two forks, shred the chicken in the sauce. Stir in the beans and cheese and cook for another 30 minutes on low. The book suggests serving this with noodles or rice, but it’s also good served in shallow soup plates with crusty rolls.
Variation: Save the cheese and sprinkle it on the hot chili just before serving.
This is a heavy, stick-to-the-ribs breakfast that takes oatmeal to a hearty new level.
4 packets instant oatmeal, regular or flavored
1/4-teaspoon baking soda
1/2-teaspoon baking powder
8-ounce can crushed pineapple
1/4-cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Mix the oatmeal, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Drain the juice from the pineapple and add enough water to make 1/2-cup. Whisk together the liquid and egg and fold into the oatmeal with the pineapple and nuts until everything is evenly mixed. Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and add the batter. Cover and cook over low heat until the cake is springy “” approximately 15 to 25 minutes. (It won’t be brown on top.) Turn out onto a plate or cutting board and cut into four wedges. Eat it plain, with pancake syrup, or with warm milk.
Sweet Spot Pot Roast
2-pound lean, boneless pot roast
5 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2-cup pickle juice (any variety)
With the tip of a knife, make random slits in the roast and put a clove of garlic in each. Heat a heavy Dutch oven over high heat and sear the meat on one side. Turn the roast over. Mix the brown sugar, pickle juice, and ketchup and pour over the meat. Cover tightly and braise over low heat for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender, turning once and re-covering quickly. Remove to a cutting board; slice; and serve with rice sauced with the sweet pan juices.
After you make this five-ingredient cake you’ll need two more things to add the traditional orange and pineapple flavors that, combined with coconut, add up to ambrosia. This cake carries well if you bake it at home, stack it with the filling, and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days. Before serving, allow the cake to come to room temperature and frost the top and sides. Be sure to buy grated coconut. Shredded coconut makes the cake hard to cut.
1 package white or yellow cake mix
1¼ cups water
1/3-cup vegetable oil
1¾ cups grated coconut
You’ll also need:
10-ounce jar pineapple jam
1 can orange-flavored frosting
Make up the cake mix according to directions on the box; fold in the coconut; and bake in two layers. When the layers are cool, slather the top of one layer with the pineapple jam. Place the second layer on top and frost with orange frosting. Sprinkle the finished cake with more grated coconut if you wish.
Serve this with toast for breakfast, with buttered bread for a luncheon main dish, or in sauce dishes as a dinner dessert. Buy fruits canned in their own juices and then drain the juices to dilute and serve as a drink. This recipe makes 15 to 18 servings, so freeze it in batches or bring it out for a potluck.
2 29-ounce cans sliced or diced peaches
2 29-ounce cans fruit cocktail
20-ounce can pineapple chunks
1 cup snipped, dried apricots
21-ounce can cherry, peach, or apple pie filling
Drain the peaches, fruit cocktail, and pineapple and save the juices for another time. Mix in the apricots and pie filling. Chill several hours or overnight.
Crustless Spinach Quiche
10-ounce package frozen, chopped spinach
Half a stick of butter, melted
1 cup creamy cottage cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Thaw the spinach and drain well in a sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to remove the excess liquid. Whisk together the flour and eggs until very light, then stir in the butter, cottage cheese, and spinach. Put in a buttered pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; let stand for five minutes; and cut into six wedges.
Plump Plum Cake
This moist cake doesn’t need frosting, so it’s a good choice to bake-and-take. Serve it for dessert or breakfast. It’s best made in an angel food or Bundt pan, but it also can be baked in two small loaf pans.
1 spice cake mix
1/3-cup vegetable oil
1 cup prune juice with extra pulp
6 moist, dried plums, snipped into small pieces
Mix up the cake batter with the eggs, oil, and prune juice. Fold in the dried plums and pour into a sprayed pan(s). Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. The cake should be springy and pulling away from the sides of the pan(s). Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out; cool further; and wrap in plastic overnight for easier slicing.
Serving suggestions: for dessert serve it plain, sprinkled with powdered sugar, or sauced with lemon pie filling from a can. For breakfast, sauce it with fruited yogurt and sprinkle with a tablespoon of granola.
4 large or 8 small skinless chicken thighs
1 small head cabbage, cut into bite-size chunks
16-ounce bag baby carrots
16-ounce can whole potatoes, drained
32-ounce can (or two 15-ounce cans) Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
Brown the chicken in a large nonstick skillet or saucepan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Stir in the cabbage, carrots, and potatoes, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom. Add the tomatoes; cover; and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. This recipe makes four servings.
Golden Veg Medley
Heat this dish in the oven or microwave oven to go with meat from the oven or grill. It makes a big side dish to serve eight to 10 people.
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes
1 large can sweet potatoes, drained
21-ounce can apple pie filling
2 15- or 16-ounce cans sliced carrots, drained
1/3-cup liquid margarine
Scrub the potatoes, cut into chunks, and cook until fork-tender. Drain. Gently fold together the potatoes, sweet potatoes, apple pie filling, and carrots. Put in a buttered baking dish; drizzle with margarine; and bake or microwave until heated through.
Throw any plain meat, ham steak, chicken, or chops on the grill; sizzle to doneness; then slather with this sassy sauce. It’s the only seasoning you’ll need.
1 can whole cranberry sauce
10-ounce jar pepper jelly
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/3-cup minced cilantro (or more to taste)
Mash the cranberry sauce and pepper jelly together and mix in the onion, celery, and cilantro. Serve at room temperature, but refrigerate any leftovers.
Slow Cooker Wild Rice
Socialize with your guests outside at the grill while this side dish cooks itself in your slow cooker.
1½ cups wild rice, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups water
1 to 2 cups fresh mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
Coat the inside of the cooker with nonstick cooking spray and add the rice, onion, water, and mushrooms. Cook on high for three to four hours (the rice will pop open). Stir in the butter and serve. This recipe makes six servings.
Secret Ingredient Pork Pot
When you combine dry ranch dressing mix, cream soup, and cream cheese you get a creamy sauce everyone loves. See if your guests can figure out how it’s made.
8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
10-3/4-ounce can cream of tomato soup
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
1 pound lean ground pork
2 cans diced potatoes, drained
With a wooden spoon or hand mixer, mix the cream cheese, soup, and dressing mix. In a large skillet or saucepan, fry out the pork, breaking it up into crumbles. Pour off any excess fat. Stir in the potatoes, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Pour the cream cheese mixture over all; cover; and heat over low until everything is hot. This recipe makes four servings.