For the third time, I’ve stumbled my way through a 2-hour cooking seminar without knowing how to cook. The 2017 National HDT Rally was the biggest yet, and the cooking seminar was no exception.
In part because of the size of the crowd, the location was moved–there was a lot more seating, but no permanent kitchen. That introduces a few new challenges, but also keeps the focus on keeping the cooking pretty simple. Having cooked a number of meats and appetizers in past years, I decided double-down on healthy stuff, and include a couple of desserts (one healthy, one not so much). The two main dishes are both well-balanced and high in protein.
I have also included some links to some of the tools used in the seminar–sous vide, cooktop, utensils, cookbook, etc. The links are to Amazon listings, but as always, shop around for the best prices.
This recipe is a twist on an old classic, made a little bit healthier by using whole-wheat pasta, chicken instead of beef or sausage, cream cheese, and unsweetened marinara sauce. Tweaked a little to cook in a crock pot, which takes a little longer but can be more convenient in an RV.
- Uncooked whole-wheat pasta (can be lasagna, ziti, etc.)
- 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (can use canned chicken)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 cups marinara sauce (no sugar added or low-sugar)
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Combine chicken, basil, 8 ounces of cream cheese, and 1/4 cup broth. Spread about 1/3 cup marinara on the bottom of crock pot, followed by a later of pasta, more sauce, and the chicken mixture. Add 3/4 cup mozzarella, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Repeat for 4 layers. Mix the remaining cream cheese and broth and spread over the top, followed by the remaining cheese.
Cover and simmer in crock pot for 3 hours or so.
Link to original recipe: https://www.prevention.com/recipes/quick-creamy-chicken-lasagna
This recipe is pretty similar to the way I found it, though I use 2 pounds of ground turkey (mostly because it’s usually sold in 1lb packages), and we add a small can (4 oz) of jalapeno peppers.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large orange, red, or yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 pounds lean ground turkey breast
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (15 ounces) no-salt-added tomato sauce
- 1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons chili powder to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
- 1 small can jalapeno peppers
Cook turkey in deep pan over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients, and simmer for at least an hour. Serve in a bowl with a tablespoon or so of sour cream, topped with shredded cheese and crushed crackers.
Link to original recipe: https://www.prevention.com/recipes/mens-health-one-pot-turkey-chili
Peanut Butter Balls
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 scoop chocolate or vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 cup raw oats
Mix ingredients in bowl, form balls about 3/4″ in diameter on wax paper. Put in freezer for 30 minutes or longer.
Optional: Melt dark chocolate chips in microwave-safe dish. Insert a toothpick in each ball, and dip into melted chocolate.
Corn, Carrots, Tomatoes, and Pasteurized Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
These recipes were all prepared straight from the Modernist Cooking Make Easy: Sous Vide book.
Joseph Joseph Nesting Utensils
I think I’ve talked about these before, but since a few people asked after the seminar, here’s a link:
Products from Amazon.com
Note that as I write this, the “blue” set is only $11, where the multicolor set I have is more than double that. The stand for mine is anchored to a corner of the kitchen counter with a piece of 3M Command adhesive/velcro.
I’ll admit I was wrong here. I got this pan as a gift, and being an as-seen-on-TV deal, I was pretty skeptical of the quality and functionality that this thing promised. After giving it a chance, however, it’s easily my most-used piece of cookware. There’s not a single blemish on the cooking surface, nothing sticks, and it regularly goes through the dishwasher. It’s also compatible with the induction cooktop, and oven safe (though the long handle makes that less-than-practical for most RV ovens).
In the seminar, I used a two-burner portable induction cooktop. They’re a little more expensive than two single-burner induction cooktops, but it’s advantageous for plugging into a single circuit, as it automatically manages the power draw of the two burners to prevent tripping a circuit breaker. As you increase the power of one burner, the other drops if needed.
If you’re not familiar with induction cooktops, the big advantages are a quick response similar to cooking with gas, and a cooking surface that isn’t heated–so spills are much easier to clean. Induction cooking directly heats the cookware on top, and makes more efficient use of energy. It does require, however, that the cookware is ferromagnetic. Look for an induction-ready marking, or test the pan bottom with a magnet before purchase.
Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
In the seminar, I used a Sansaire cooker, which has been on the market for some time. It benefits from simplicity and an 1100W heating element, but lacks some of the advanced features of newer models that are often available at a lower price. You can get them very inexpensively refurbished, but the $198.00 price tag new is a bit much.
Here are a few others that are good buys:
Products from Amazon.com