Camping and RV Recipe of the Week
If your family loves exotic dishes, try this elegant Indian one-pot classic with my usual shameless shortcuts. Use canned chunk chicken or pick up a rotisserie chicken and tear meat off the bones.
2 tablespoons canola oil
Medium onion, peeled and sliced in crescents
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon turmeric
4 cups cooked chicken cut in bite size
2 to 3 tablespoons mild curry paste
½ cup raisins
3 cups water
3 teaspoons chicken base (e.g. Maggi or Knorr)
1 ½ cups rice, preferably basmati, well rinsed
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)
In a large skillet or pot stir-fry onions in hot oil until they begin to soften. Stir in bay leaf and spices until fragrant, then remove and discard bay leaf. Add chicken, curry paste, raisins, water and chicken base. Bring to a boil and add rice. Cover and simmer over very low fire until rice is tender.
Stir in peas and sprinkle with almonds. Serve at once. Makes six main dish servings.
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Campground Potluck Recipe of the Month
Avocado Shrimp Wiggle
This dish has to be gelled before you drive away. Don’t travel with liquid gelatin sloshing around in your fridge.
1 pound peeled, de-veined, cooked shrimp
Large, ripe avocado (or two to three Haas avocados)
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 packet lemon gelatin dessert
1 packet lime gelatin dessert
2 cups boiling water
½ cup cold water
1 cup mayonnaise
Thaw and drain shrimp. Cut up in large. Scatter in a bowl, mold or pan such as a 9 X 13-inch baking dish. Dice the avocado into a small bowl and toss with the lemon juice to coat well. Arrange over shrimp.
Dissolve both packets of gelatin in the boiling water, stirring well. Then whisk in cold water and mayonnaise until smooth and creamy. Pour over shrimp mixture, cover with plastic wrap and chill until set. Cut in squares or serve with a spoon. Makes 12 to 15 servings.
Cook’s note: this makes a pretty presentation on the potluck table if you put it on small, lettuce-lined paper plates.
Tips for the Camp Cook
* Out of bread and in a hurry for sandwiches? Make wafflewiches with thawed waffles from the freezer.
* Make play dough for the kids on a rainy day in camp. Cook 1 1/4 cups biscuit mix, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/4 cup salt with 1 cup water. Stir constantly over medium heat until it forms a ball. Cool, knead until smooth and roll between sheets of parchment paper. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and paint or shape to make jewelry or hang-up ornaments. Bake 1 to 1½ hours at 225 degrees until hard. Make sure the kids don’t eat them.
* Carefully use a flexible silicone baking mat or a plastic cutting board cover to chop nuts. Lift, form a funnel, pour.
* Store-bought shortcake cups make great shortcut desserts and you can just decide at the last minute what to use for filling, How about mandarin oranges sauced with orange flavored yogurt or instant chocolate pudding and whipped topping?
Freeze-Ahead Recipe of the Week
Most of my freeze-ahead recipes can be brought from home in an ice chest and used within three days even if they thaw. This one needs to stay frozen until serving time, so make it only if you have a freezer in your camper. It’s ideal for one large pie or several smaller ones.
1 large graham cracker pie crust
½ cup chopped pistachio nuts
8-ounce brick of cream cheese
1 1/4 cups milk
1 package pistachio instant pudding mix
8-ounce tub of whipped topping, thawed
Sprinkle pistachios in pie crust. Chill crust. Mix cream cheese and milk until smooth, then mix in pudding mix. When it begins to to set, stir in half the topping. Put in the crust. When it sets, spread with remaining topping. Wrap and freeze. Remove from the freezer 60-45 minutes before serving. Serves 6 to 8.