Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
A sampling of regional dishes and slow-cooker creations.
Motorhomers can find local tastes wherever the road leads them. Here are a few more regional favorites that you can make wherever you happen to be parked. Plus, I’ve included a sampling of slow-cooker recipes that make meal preparation a snap.
Southern Spoon Bread
This recipe comes from historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant of Berea College, in Berea, Kentucky. The area is known for its mountain arts and crafts, so come here to shop for weavings, quilts, paintings, baskets, and pottery. Spoon bread is served as a dinner side dish, but leftovers, warmed in the microwave oven, make a substantial breakfast. If you stir up the cornmeal early in the day, it’s easy to complete the spoon bread at dinner time.
1-1/4 cups white cornmeal
3 cups milk
1-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Pour the cornmeal into rapidly boiling milk, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Allow to cool. It will become very stiff. To complete the dish, beat the eggs well. Break off pieces of the hardened meal and gradually add them to the eggs. Add the baking powder, salt, and melted butter. Mix for 10 minutes with a wooden spoon. Pour into a well-buttered casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with a spoon.
KC Masterpiece Baked Beans
If you’re loyal to the Kansas City school of barbecue, you’ll love these beans. They’re baked with the favorite hometown sauce.
2 16-ounce cans pork and beans, drained
3/4-cup KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce
1 tart apple, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2-cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2-teaspoon ground red pepper
1 heaping tablespoon golden raisins
1 medium onion, chopped
3 strips bacon, cut in half, or 2 tablespoons butter
Combine everything except the bacon or butter in a baking dish and top with the bacon or butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. The beans should be juicy and the bacon crisp.
Years ago, Apple Valley Road along the Little Pigeon River was the main route between the Tennessee towns of Sevierville and Gatlinburg. Now it’s the home of Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, which is in a home built in 1921 to replace the original homestead, which burned. Serve this drink as a nonalcoholic cocktail.
1 quart apple juice
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1/4-cup lemon juice
Mix and serve over ice. This recipe makes six to eight servings.
Florida Panhandle Grits
This meaty dish from North Florida/South Georgia is most authentic when made with old-fashioned, stone-ground white grits, but you also can use quick or instant grits.
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup smoked ham, finely chopped
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with garlic
1 small can or jar (about 4 to 6 ounces) real bacon bits
4 servings grits
Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
In a medium-size, nonstick skillet, cook the onion and pepper in hot oil, gradually stirring in the ham. When the onion is tender, add the tomatoes and bacon. Prepare your choice of grits according to package directions and stir the tomato mixture into the hot, creamy grits. Season to taste. Complete the meal with fire-roasted sweet potatoes and buttercrunch lettuce lightly sauced with vinaigrette. This recipe makes four servings.
Southwestern Steak “˜N Beans
Cook this carefree meal over the campfire or grill. Each portion cooks in its own foil “oven,” so you can fine-tune the flavorings to suit individual tastes. Set out eight large squares of heavy-duty foil and coat the top sides with nonstick cooking spray.
8 lean, serving-size pieces sirloin or top round steak
Seasonings: can include salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, minced garlic, chili powder, and cumin
2 large onions, peeled and cut into 8 slices
2 15- or 16-ounce cans pinto beans, drained
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
Place a piece of steak on each piece of foil and sprinkle with the seasonings of your choice. Top each with the large, outer ring of an onion slice. Divide the beans among the centers. Using two spoons, dot the beans with tomato paste and use the rest of the onion slices as a “lid” over the beans. Add additional seasonings if you wish. Bring up two sides of the foil and roll down over the steak, then fold the sides over several times to form a leakproof packet. Place on the grill meat-side down and cook for 20 minutes; turn and cook another 20 minutes. Turn the packet meat-side-down again and cook for a final 10 to 20 minutes. Cooking times will depend on the heat of the grill, but meat should be well done and the onions tender.
Slow cooker recipes for a crowd. Your e-mails tell me you’re wild about your slow cookers, so here are some great recipes that cook carefree while you enjoy campground activities. Then whip off the cooker cover and wow your guests with a feast that looks and tastes as though you fussed over it all day.
ABC Crock “˜O Soup
This is another slow-cooker dish that freezes beautifully, so make a big batch for even a small family.
1 pound beef stew meat, cut in small cubes
2 15- or 16-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 packet onion soup mix
1 20-ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup alphabet pasta
Put everything but the vegetables and pasta in the slow cooker and cook on low for six to eight hours. Meanwhile, let the vegetables thaw. Turn the cooker to high 30 minutes before serving and stir in the vegetables and pasta. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes. The onion soup provides enough seasoning for most tastes, but you can add salt and pepper to taste if you like.
Slow Cooker Sandwiches
Yes, you actually can prepare sandwiches ahead of time and serve them, hot and flavorful, right out of the slow cooker. If all the rolls won’t fit in a single layer, separate the layers with foil or a rack.
8 crusty French rolls
Spray-on olive oil
2 hard-cooked eggs, mashed
1 pound ham salad from the deli
8 small cubes of Cheddar cheese
Coat the inside of the cooker with nonstick spray. Cut the tops off the rolls and pull out much of the soft filling. Feed it to the birds or save it for another use. Spray the insides of the rolls lightly with olive oil. In a medium bowl, mash the eggs and mix in the ham salad. Divide the salad filling among the rolls, pressing a cube of cheese into each. Replace the tops of the rolls and arrange in a single layer in the cooker. Cook on low for two to three hours. Serve warm.
Slow “˜N Saucy Pot Roast
1 5-pound lean, boneless pot roast
1 12-ounce can cola
1 12- to 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2-cup soy or teriyaki sauce
1 32-ounce package baby carrots
6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
Put the meat in the slow cooker. Whisk together the cola, tomato sauce, and soy or teriyaki sauce and pour over the meat. Cook for six hours on low, then add the vegetables and cook for an additional two hours. This recipe makes eight to 10 servings.
Variation: Use only 1 pound of carrots and six small potatoes to serve six, and you’ll have meat and sauce left over for hot roast beef sandwiches the next day.
Slow Cooker Reuben Casserole
2 1-pound cans sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
2 cans corned beef, excess fat scraped off
1/2-cup bottled Thousand Island dressing
1/2-pound sliced Swiss cheese
8 to 10 slices rye bread, cut in cubes
1 stick butter
Put the sauerkraut in the bottom of the slow cooker. Shred the beef with a fork and place it over the sauerkraut in an even layer. Drizzle with the dressing and top with the cheese, overlapping slices to cover the mixture completely. Cook on low for three to four hours. Just before serving, melt the butter in a large skillet and saute the rye bread cubes until they are toasty. Place a serving of the hot beef mixture on each plate and top with the hot, toasted cubes.
Lentil Mushroom Soup
Serve this to company or divide it into batches and freeze for future use. It’s a very satisfying vegetarian dish when prepared with vegetable broth, and by omitting the butter you can make it a vegan dish.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery with tender leaves, finely cut up (optional)
1 pound sliced mushrooms
3 quarts chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
2 cups lentils, washed and picked over
1/4-cup soy sauce
Set the slow cooker to high and heat the butter and oil. Sizzle the onion, celery, and mushrooms in the hot oil to coat. Add the broth, lentils, and soy sauce. Cook on high for three to four hours or on low for six to eight hours.
Pease Porridge Potluck
Make this salad up to three days ahead. It needs time for the flavors to blend, so it’s the perfect choice when you’re on the road and don’t have time to fuss on the day of the potluck.
6 cups frozen peas
1 cup regular yogurt
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons Lawry’s seasoned salt
2 cups green onions, white and green parts (except for tough ends)
Put the peas in a large refrigerator container. Whisk together the yogurt, sour cream, and seasoned salt. Slice the green onions and fold them into the sour cream mixture, then fold into the peas. Cover and chill at least overnight and preferably for two nights. This recipe serves 12 to 15 people.
Optional: Just before serving, fold in a can or jar of crumbled real bacon bits (no substitutes).
Food by mail
While most online grocery services are regional, Amazon.com offers thousands of nonperishable foods for nationwide delivery. Shipping is free on orders of $25 or more. I found many items here I couldn’t find in local supermarkets, and most prices were a bargain. Other online food sellers include Netgrocer.com, which will deliver to anywhere in the United States; Fresh Direct (www.freshdirect.com), which operates in the New York City metro area; Peapod (www.peapod.com), which services several states along the East Coast as well as select Midwestern cities; and Safeway (www.safeway.com), which delivers in Arizona, California, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, D.C.
The scoop on spuds
For a free copy of the “Wisconsin Potatoes Taste Tour” recipe brochure, e-mail your postal mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to “Taste Tour,” P.O. Box 327, Antigo, WI 54409. Or visit www.wisconsinpotatoes.com/consumers/recipe_brochures.php.