Cooking Out Of Your Cupboards



How well are your cupboards stocked? If the Rim country became snowbound and you could not get to the grocery store, the fast food and regular restaurants, or call for a pizza delivery, could you still put a meal on the table?

Take a look at the following lists of suggested staples and see how your cupboards stack up, then see a meal or two you could concoct from the contents.

Staples for baking: active dry yeast, baking powder, baking soda, biscuit mix, chocolate chips, cocoa, coconut, cornstarch, cream of tartar, flour and nonfat dry milk.

Staples for add ins: chow mein noodles, dried beans and peas, evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, jams, jellies, lemon juice, lemon peel, marshmallows, molasses, peanut butter, nuts, quick-cooking oats, rice, spaghetti and macaroni.

Other staples: coffee, tea, garlic or onion powder, herbs, bouillon, instant minced onion and garlic, mayonnaise, meat tenderizer, mustard, catsup, horseradish, paprika, parsley flakes, green pepper flakes, dried chives, relishes, olives, salad dressings, salt, seasoned salt, sesame seed, poppy seed, shortening, vegetable oil, soy sauce, spices, sugars, vanilla, lemon and almond extract, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.

In the refrigerator: milk, eggs, butter, carrots and celery.

Canned foods: ham, luncheon meat, Vienna sausages, dried beef, corned beef, beef hash, beef stew, chicken, fish flakes, salmon, shrimp, tuna, a variety of vegetables and fruits, soups, frostings, puddings, pie fillings and sauces.

Packaged foods such as: breakfast cereals, cake mixes, casserole mixes, dessert mixes and toppings, dry bread crumbs, grated cheeses (American, Parmesan, Romano), herbed croutons, muffin mixes, packaged pie shells, pie crust mixes, potato mixes (instant, au gratin, scalloped), processed cheese spreads, rice and noodle mixes, salad dressing mixes and seasoned coating mixes.

Naturally, it certainly isn't necessary to stock all of the above. I, for one, would never have Vienna sausages or canned shrimp on my shelves. I am not a fan of horseradish either.

Anyway, you get the idea. Stocking up on staples can get you out of a pinch in the kitchen.

Start that snowbound day with a big helping of Yankee Hash and Eggs.

Yankee Hash-Onion Bake

1 (16-ounce) can whole new potatoes, drained and finely chopped

1 (15-ounce) can corned beef hash, finely chopped

1 (8-1/4-ounce) can sliced beets, drained and finely chopped

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon instant minced onion

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons shortening

1 (3-ounce) can french-fried onions

Toss potatoes, hash and beets. Combine milk, onion, horseradish and salt, set aside to stand 3 minutes, then toss with hash mix.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat shortening or vegetable oil in a 10-inch, ovenproof skillet until melted then spread hash mix in skillet, cooking over medium heat until bottom is brown. Sprinkle with french-fried onions and bake uncovered for about 15 minutes. Makes four to five servings.

Eggs Sunny-Side Up

Heat an 1/8-inch of oil in a heavy skillet until a drop of water sizzles in it. Using a measuring cup or saucer, break egg in it then gently slip into skillet. Repeat with remaining eggs, then lower heat and cook slowly, spooning oil over eggs until white sets and yolks have film over them.

Top each serving of hash with an egg.

Some main dish meals that can be made from a well-stocked pantry include: Broiled Ham Platter, Crunchy Tuna Bake, and Quick Chicken Chowder.

Broiled Ham Platter

1 (24-ounce) can fully cooked ham whole cloves

1 (11-ounce) can mandarin orange segments, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons of liquid

1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish

1 (16-ounce) can whole green beans, drained

1 (4-ounce) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1/8 teaspoon paprika

Dried thyme leaves

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut ham in half, lengthwise. Score top of each half with diamonds, about 1/4-inch deep and 1-inch in size and punch whole cloves into cuts. Put ham halves in broiler pan. Combine horseradish with reserved mandarin orange liquid and drizzle over ham. Bake for 10 minutes.

Put vegetables around ham halves and orange segments between them. Dot vegetables with butter. Sprinkle potatoes with paprika and put thyme on beans and mushrooms.

Turn oven up to broil, or 550 degrees. Return ham to oven, about four to five inches from heat for about 5 minutes. Makes four or five servings.

Crunchy Tuna Bake

2 (3-ounce) cans french-fried onions

1 (16-ounce) can cut green beans, drained

2 (6 1/2-ounce) cans tuna, drained and flaked

1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and cut into thirds

1 (10 3/4-ounce) cream of chicken or mushroom soup

1/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside 1/4 cup on french-fried onions. Mix remaining onions, beans, tuna and water chestnuts. Combine soup, milk, mayo and curry powder then fold into tuna. Put mixture in an ungreased 2-quart casserole, cover and bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven, take off cover, garnish with reserved french-fried onions then bake, uncovered, for another 5 minutes. Makes six servings.

Quick Chicken Chowder

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed tomato soup

1 soup can of milk

2 tablespoons instant minced onion

2 tablespoons dried green bell pepper flakes

1 tablespoon instant chicken bouillon

1/2 teaspoon instant minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper

2 (5-ounce) cans boned chicken, broken in chunks

1 (16-ounce) can lima beans, undrained

1 (15-ounce) can sliced or whole new potatoes, drained or chopped

1 1/4 cups cheese-flavored croutons (recipe to follow)

Heat soup, milk, onion, pepper flakes, bouillon, garlic and lemon pepper to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Add chicken, beans and potatoes, return to boil, stirring occasionally. Garnish with croutons. Serves six.

Cheese-flavored Croutons

2 slices bread


Grated American cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter both sides of bread slices and sprinkle both sides with grated cheese. Cut bread into 1/2-inch squares and spread in an ungreased, shallow baking pan.

Bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown in color, stirring occasionally.

A well-stocked pantry has plenty from which to create sweet endings to your quick cupboard meals. One dessert to consider is Fruit Pudding.

Fruit Pudding

1 (21-ounce) can cheery, apple or apricot pie filling

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup marshmallow creme

2 teaspoons water

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup granola (any flavor)

Combine pie filling and cinnamon and divide into four, 6-ounce custard cups, bake at 350 degrees until hot, about 20 minutes. Combine marshmallow creme, water and lemon juice and drizzle over pie filling and top with granola. Makes four servings.

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