Category Archives: Recipes

Some recipes that we have successfully prepared in an RV setting.

Recipes and Links from Cooking Seminar at the National HDT Rally

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.

Chicken Lasagna

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

Turkey Chili

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
  • Crackers

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:

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.

Copper Pans

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).

Induction Cooktop

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 Check on Amazon price tag new is a bit much.

Here are a few others that are good buys:

 

Cooking at the HDT Rally

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything non-technical, and needed to share a few notes from a cooking seminar–geared toward cooking healthy foods in small spaces–I presented at the National Heavy-Duty Truck Rally in Hutchinson, Kansas a couple of weeks ago.

The audience at the HDT Rally seminar.  Credit for this picture goes to Sondra Kahanamoku.

First, let me start by saying that I’m no chef, by any stretch of the imagination.  This is my second time presenting the seminar, but the first was as a stand-in for someone better (John).  The second time was all me, and it probably shows in the more basic nature of what was presented–though I still think it turned out pretty well.  This post will cover some of the recipes and equipment used.  Apologies for the lack of pictures–I was talking and cooking the whole time, and food was being passed around the room as soon as it was ready.

Equipment

 

Anova Precision Cooker with Bluetooth

Before I start talking about recipes, let’s talk about some of the equipment I used.  Obviously, with sous vide recipes, a sous vide cooker was part of the mix.  I used an older Sansaire cooker (about $160 on Amazon now), but you can get a little better deal on the Anova model (with Bluetooth and a phone app, which lets you look at recipes and send settings to your cooker).

I hadn’t really planned to talk about them, but a set of utensils I brought along got quite a bit of attention.  The nesting set hangs from a stand with little magnets in the handle of each utensil, and there’s a ladle, spoon, slotted spoon, pasta fork, and spatula in the set.  They get used all the time, and go through the dishwasher regularly.  At about $20, it’s a pretty good deal.

Joseph Joseph Nesting Utensil Set

Appetizers

This time around, we made two very simple appetizers–a caprese salad and a buffalo chicken dip.

Caprese Salad

What’s a caprese salad? Don’t worry, there’s no lettuce involved.  All you need to get started are a couple of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, salt, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella, arranging them in a row alternating between a slice of cheese and a slice of tomato.  Sprinkle some chopped basil (preferably fresh) on top, and drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This one is pretty easy, but does require some heat.

  • Buffalo wing sauce (I prefer the Hooter’s stuff, as it tends to mix better.  You can get it at most grocery stores, but it’s also a good excuse to go to the restaurant!)
  • Cream cheese (2 8-oz. packages)
  • Shredded chicken (fresh chicken can be boiled, or cooked sous vide, or you can use canned chicken)
  • A bag of Frito’s Scoops

Mix the wing sauce and cream cheese, and either microwave or simmer until the cheese is soft.  Stir together, then add chicken.  Best served warm, and can be easily reheated.

Meats, Sous Vide

It’s been a while, but I’ve talked about cooking sous vide a number of times before (here, here, and here to get you started).  Working with an immersion cooker is really nice in an RV, particularly with meats that you’ve bought and frozen.  I usually keep a full freezer, and it’s easy to pull something out, drop it in the water bath, and walk away while it defrosts and cooks unattended.

At this year’s seminar, we cooked two meats this way–a beef bottom round roast and some tuna steaks.  Cooking this way, you can get a very uniformly cooked piece of meat, and especially with the roast, one that’s very tender without being overdone.  In either case, season as you’d like before putting the meat in a bag.

For the tuna, all you need is 105-degree (F) water, and about 15 minutes of cook time.  For the roast, you’ll cook for at least 8 hours, at about 130F, for a nice pinkish-red all the way through.  If you have more time, it’ll just keep getting more tender, without turning grey.

The only picture I took, after the seminar was over and there was some “clean-up” of the leftovers.

Bratwursts

Cooking bratwursts was a last-minute add-on to the seminar.  The idea came from Gregg (who runs RVhaulers), who bought an immersion cooker after last year’s seminar.

It’s a really simple idea, and makes less of a mess (and less heat) than boiling bratwurst.  Especially if you buy them vacuum packed, drop the bratwurst into 140-degree water for at least 30 minutes or so.  The bratwursts will be fully cooked, and then you can toss them onto the grill or into a hot skillet to brown the outside.  The flavor is richer, and they stay nice and moist.

Skillet Macaroni

  • 1lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • Onion (either chopped part of a fresh onion, or a couple of tablespoons of dried onion)
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 can each of black and dark red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 of a packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 cup of elbow macaroni (whole wheat preferably)
  • Serve with sour cream and cheese on top.

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and onion, but don’t drain off the grease.  Toss in the tomatoes, with all of the liquid in the can.  Add the rinsed and drained beans, taco seasoning, and the macaroni.  Cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is tender.

Serve in a bowl with a bit of sour cream and shredded cheese on top.

What else?

Hopefully there’s something here that interests you.  I’m planning on doing the seminar again at next year’s rally, so I’m looking for ideas and suggestions.  The goal is to present things that are a little different and fairly healthy, but easy enough to make in a small kitchen with ingredients that can be found just about anywhere.