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Thursday, January 24, 2013

One Pot Meals - Less Cleanup, More Flavor!

I Love My 4 Burner Stove!
    Almost every RV has a Kitchen or Galley these days. Most of them come equipped with multi-burner stove tops, an oven and even a microwave. I've even got a convection/microwave in my rig. They tend to be smaller than your typical home kitchen (unless you live in a big city style tiny apartment!) For me, cleanup is always a challenge as I don't like to wash dishes and pots (mostly because I like to conserve my meager water supply, but also because I'm a bit lazy!) The trick is to cook delicious meals without using too many pots, pans, utensils and plates.


Limited Kitchen Storage (Pans On Right)
I like skillets. Big ones, little ones all have uses. When I'm by myself, a small one suffices. When I have guest(s) the big one is better. When I travel with my vegan buddy and his family plus a friend along with me, I have to cook a pretty large meal or 2 (or 3.) What to do? Well, before the trip I try and cook a large batch of pasta. Typically I use Farfalle ("bowties") or something along those lines. Cook it. Drain it. Add a bit of butter or olive oil, stir and let cool. I use a "zip-lock" style gallon baggie to store in the fridge. Any air tight storage container will work. Now you have a great base to add various things to for a multitude of meals. I take lots of fresh vegetables with me. Red, green, yellow, orange bell peppers, "purple" onions, sweet onions, mushrooms, and whatever is in season. Add a bit of chicken, shrimp, beef or other meat and some spices and/or marinades and you have the beginnings of a fantastic meal. So far, except for the pre-cooking of the pasta (which you COULD do in the RV so two pots...ah well!) these are all single skillet meals.

Freeze Dried Garlic
Recently I've found a most amazing thing. Freeze dried garlic. These are usually sliced and come in the typical screw top spice containers. It's not dried, so doesn't get soggy or have a different flavor than fresh garlic. You simply shake a few into the oil as you heat up the meal and get a wonderful fresh garlic taste. OK, I'll admit I'm a bit of a garlic aficionado. This stuff really satisfies the garlic craving. Try it, you'll never go back to dehydrated! The chopped jar style is still useful and I will still keep it around, but in a much smaller size jar. When RV'ing every little bit of storage space helps! Besides, I like variety and having a large variety of ingredients to work with can really go a long way when creating a multitude of meals.


Similar Recipe
How about breakfast? There's always the traditional bacon or sausage and eggs, but what about something a bit more substantial? First make sure you have a well fitting lid! Take a can of diced potatoes (or frozen/fresh hash browns) and put them in the pan with a bit of oil. Add some purple and sweet onions. Cook until almost done on one side. Watch the onions, they should be getting translucent at this point. Add some various colors of diced fresh Bell peppers and some mushrooms and green onion slices if you wish. Then crack a few eggs, distributed evenly, over the mixture. The number will depend on the size of your skillet! If you like, you can use an egg substitute from a carton, NOT dry! I like the egg substitute for this recipe, it's a little bit different, more frittata, less "diner-style" but still excellent! Cover and cook until the eggs are almost done the way you like them. Add some shredded cheddar or swiss over the top and recover until melted. Essentially they get steamed from the top down, while the potatoes and onions are getting browned from the bottom up. You could always add some bacon or sausage chunks to the mix..... Slide the meal out onto a plate, cut and serve. I use a pizza cutter (looks like a wheel with sharp edges) works great, tastes great.

What else can you make in a single pot? Depending on how long you'd like to cook, almost any recipe can be adapted. For example, chili can be cooked in a single pot. Most soups and even many casseroles! How about real macaroni and cheese? Not the box kind either! OK..I'm officially hungry now. Time to cook something up. All of these techniques can be used with your favorite ingredients.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,
Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com




8 comments:

  1. Okay - now I am hungry too! But, Wanderman - did you ever think of organizing your cabinets instead of just stuffing them full and slamming the door? Only kidding - I really do enjoy your articles, only wish you had a picture of yourself. I wonder what someone who is so creative looks like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,
      Believe it or not, those cabinets ARE organized! Since the space is so limited I have to resort to a TETRIS like storage plan.

      Thanks for the compliment! You want a picture of me? Funny coming from someone listed as ANONYMOUS! ;) Besides, the folks over at witness protection wouldn't like it....;)

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  2. You need to write a one-pot recipe cookbook, Rich!!! I'd buy the first copy and buy more for my friends and relatives!!! Love the breakfast skillet!! Going to cook that in my "sticks & bricks" home tomorrow morning!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lacy,
      That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me. Thank you! I'm not much for recipes, more about techniques. The breakfast one can survive lots of substitutions and modifications and still work great. I used diced potatoes once it it was terrific.

      Thanks again,

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  3. Where can I find the freeze dried garlic? I'd like your cookbook too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,
      Thanks! I better start writing one....
      I buy the "spice sized" plastic bottles of dehydrated garlic at a liquidator place near me called "Big Lots" the brand was/is fresh finds. I did a quick online search and it's available from many sources.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  4. Rich, how about a test on the induction burners? They should be good for campers as they are supposed to stay cool & would work outside on the picnic table.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buck,
      Yup..you know I already have an induction stand-alone cooktop! I'll write up a full test in 2 weeks.

      Great Suggestion!!

      Stay tuned.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete

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