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Speed Challenge: On-the-Spot Slumgullion

This entry is part of a series, RdJ»

Canned Food

I was issued an impromptu cooking challenge on Sunday. Seems daughterperson and her beau suddenly found themselves short of time, and also in need of a meal. My snide aside cogent observation that sleeping in was the culprit of their compressed schedule nearly got me beat to death wasn’t well-received, and in any case the meal issue wasn’t resolved thereby.

Time to put the magic to work!

Here was the specific challenge: Using only what I could find quickly in my mother-in-law’s fridge and pantry, and using her kitchen and equipment, put together a filling and nutritious meal for six adults, from scratch, in less than thirty minutes. (Where’s Rachel Ray when you need her?) I scrounged together some ground beef, several canned veggies and some nice-looking fresh potatoes. A can of cream of mushroom soup and I was in business.

I started a pot of water to boil, then quickly scrubbed and chunked the taters and dumped them in with a generous dollop of salt. The water wasn’t even past warm yet, I was so fast. Then I put a skillet on a burner and started browning the beef. A third burner got a saucepan, and into that I put some milk, the soup and the canned veggies: corn and green beans, drained.

Stirring beef with one hand and veggie sauce with the other, I managed to bring it all together at the end. I even found time to drain and mash the potatoes, right on schedule. After appropriate seasoning we had a great meal. Here’s the recipe:

Other veggies would work, I’m sure: baby limas, peas, even hominy. Peas I’d add at the end, as they need almost no cooking. If I do this next time I’ll use frozen vegetables. Although canned food may have saved civilization once, I still prefer the taste and texture of frozen garden goodies. Or better yet, fresh corn and beans if you have them! Sadly, it’s a bit early for these; give it a few weeks, though, and we’ll be eating high off the hog, er, garden.

So maybe Rachel’s right, you’re never more than thirty minutes away from a great meal. Or at least one that satisfies the Clan’s tastebuds and schedule…

Enjoy the (Quick and Canny) Heat!


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