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Quick n' Dirty

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We all have those recipes. I'm not talking about the pantry dinner where you have an excuse for the non-gourmet and/or non-time consuming ingredients you've just used. I'm talking about the recipes that are super easy (often made with easy to find, non-gourmet ingredients) that you PLAN to make simply because they are so good. Here's mine - passed down to me by my MIL, who had it passed to her by her MIL. We use this on flank steak mostly, but can also use it on any meat.

1/4 c honey
1/4 c prepared Italian dressing
1/2 prepared BBQ sauce (your favorite kind)
Make as much as you need (I usually double it for a flank steak) and marinate the meat for at least a day. Grill and enjoy!

I showed you mine. What are yours?

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  1. Salmon Croquettes with canned salmon, Chowhounds forgive me. I grew up on these and love them still.

    1 can canned salmon, drained
    4 Tbs. butter
    4 Tbs. flour
    salt and pepper to taste
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    1 Tbs. chopped dill
    1 egg, beaten
    2 cups saltine cracker crumbs
    enough oil to cover the bottom of a pan

    Melt the butter and mix in the flour to form a roux, mix with the salmon, dill, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Chill for an hour or two. Shape into patties after chilling, dip in beaten egg and then coat with cracker crumbs. Fry in oil over medium heat until browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side.

    1. 1 box rice a roni chicken flavor.
      Cook according to directions. Five minutes before it's done throw in as many raw, shelled shrimp as you want and some frozen peas. Cook until shrimp are done.

      As white-trash as this meal is, I still love the taste of it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: QueenB

        Wow! 2 of my secret favorites mentioned in topics in ONE DAY! Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat! and Little Smokies....now I'll have to come up with a combo recipe.

      2. Great topic! And personally, I like white trash food on occasion! And I haven't had salmon croquettes in ages....that might be kinda fun, too.

        Here's my absolute favorite quick and dirty recipe....I make this at least once a month, always have the stuff on hand, and it can be ready in about 15 minutes.

        Mom's Jambalaya:
        Saute coarsely chopped onion, red or green (or both) bell peppers, and some celery until soft and browned, in a splash of whatever oil you have handy.
        Add canned chopped tomatoes and juice - again, any kind you have handy: mexican style, whole tomatoes, home-canned, whatever. It should be kinda soupy.
        Add some sliced smoked sausage - hot or mild, whatever you like and have available; a couple spoons of brown sugar, and as much Tabasco Sauce as you can stand.
        Simmer for 10-15 minutes, add some fresh parsley if you have it, and serve over hot rice (or french bread if you don't feel like cooking rice). I don't have measurements, because I vary it depending on how many folks show up for supper. At times, I have added chicken, shrimp, or okra. If you feel like using two pans, you can slice and boil some of the grease out of the sausage before adding it.

        Dad says "hey buddy, 'ems good eats".

        1. I am canadian.. so it has to be Kraft Dinner, with extra cheddar stirred in.
          Also, gotta love a good grilled cheese.


          1. Canned meat, garlic fried rice + over easy eggs are my go to comfort food meal, suitable for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a midnight snack.

            Fried spam: open can, slice as thick or thin as you want. Fry over medium heat until as crispy as you like. Me, I like the spam as thin as possible, fried up crispy. Like bacon except cheaper!

            Fried corned beef with onions: Sautee some onions, add some canned corned beef. Fry the heck out of it until it's a little brown and crispy. Yum.

            Garlic fried rice: Oh this is really quick and dirty. Heat a skillet over medium high and add some oil. Open rice cooker from last night. Take day-old cooked rice, dump it in oiled skillet and fry the heck out of it. Season with garlic salt (with parsley! Easy to tell how much you've put in when you've got the parsley flakes guiding you!)

            And for the canned meat leftovers the next day? Re-fry up some of the left over corned beef (I hope there's some left over... any one that can polish off a whole can by themselves has a death wish!) and add rice. Fry together. Top with an over easy egg. Welcome to my childhood. Artery clogging began early!!

            Did I mention that this is great broke food, too? I blame my current cholesterol and weight problem from too many of these meals in college and immediately afterward! ;)

            6 Replies
            1. re: muimi07

              Sounds like Filipino food! I secretly love/crave friend SPAM or bologna sandwiches. Can't be beat. I have an unfortunate reputation as a picky gourmet so when my friend's mother served me "Frito Casserole," she apologized for how trashy dinner was going to be since the only thing un-processed was the ground beef. I ate nearly half the bowl and enthusiastically asked for the recipe and have added it my repertoire of most-loved foods, though I still haven't figured out where to find "dehydrated onions."

              1. re: JungMann

                Its a seasoning....Dried Minced Onions. I've seen it in the bigger spice containers at Costco.

                1. re: JungMann

                  I've seen (and bought) dehydrated onions with the spices in the supermarket, instead of onion powder it's little flecks of dried onion, if they have it it'll be right next to the onion powder.

                2. re: muimi07

                  My mother used to make fried Spam, and then dump a can of apricots over it, heat until hot and the juice is thickened a bit. We all loved it. It was from her childhood, I think it was her father's batchelor cooking (he was a railroad man, and often spent a night out of town at the far end of his run). Sadly, my husband and children would never eat this. And I guess I'm a little afraid to make it for fear it is one of those things I would no longer like.

                  1. re: muimi07

                    I was begining to think I was the only one that ate canned corn beef.. I like it fried on bread with ketchup and mayo. Or, crumbled into a white sauce with cooked ziti and peas and baked in the oven with crumbled ritz. YUM!!!!

                    1. re: muimi07

                      did you grow up near Daly City, b/c that's breakfast growing up for me!

                    2. Great Topic, where do I start, there are a few that I have since I've raised a family and often didnt' get dinner started until 6:30 with homework, baths you know the drill.
                      But I'd have to say the favotire is "Vals Slumgolian" its just macaroni, jar marinara sauce, canned corn with pimento, small can of sliced black olives, onion, garlic, and ground beef, red pepper flakes garlic powder, salt and pepper.heat the sauce, corn, olives and spices, the when the pasta is cooked a little al dente, drain then mix all together and throw in an oven at 350 for about 15-20 minutes with romano cheese on top. I have tried to dress it up my using papperdelle pasta these days. And we still love it!

                      1. Cheeseburger Pie off the Bisquick box.

                        I call it White Trash Quiche. My tummy calls is delish.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Oh Robin

                          My mother used to make this for us. I just looked up the recipe from the
                          Betty Crocker website and I can't believe that it is still so popular! I thought that we were the only ones to have ever eaten it.

                          I might actually have to try it out again -- my 2 year old will probably love it!

                          1. re: valerie

                            I forgot also... you must drown it in Lawry's Seasoned Salt & ketchup. :)

                        2. I did not grow up on this but I acquired it from my Wife's grandma. It's just a packet of lipton onion soup mix mixed with a can of cranberry sauce and poured over chicken pieces and baked for an hour. I would have it every now and then when we went for a visit. It's not bad, it makes a great gravy to serve over mashed potatoes. I have tried to update the recipe by browning first etc. I tried to add Jalapenos once but it was weird in that the occasional tang from a piece of jalapeno seemed almost metallic. Maybe a chipotle would be better suited..

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: King of Northern Blvd

                            Lipton onion soup is also great with roasted potatoes. Shake roasted potatoes in a bag with a packet of soup and a little water.

                          2. Mom's chicken enchiladas: Shredded poached chicken breasts rolled in corn tortillas and baked in a casserole covered with a sauce made of equal parts cream of chicken soup and sour cream with a can of green chilis stirred in. I top it with the preshredded mexican cheese from the grocery store. It only makes an appearance about once a year, but is delicious every single time.

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: Megiac

                                My mom used to make something like this with flour tortillas and several cups of Jack cheese not only grated and mixed throughout the sauce but piled on top. Yum!

                                1. re: Megiac

                                  My aunt makes this and calls it chicken chalupas but with flour tortillas. Yum!

                                  1. re: Oh Robin

                                    My mom called it chicken chalupas too.

                                2. One of my favorite super easy dishes to make, especially on a weeknight, is a honey-mustard glazed salmon. I just mix some honey, dijon mustard and olive oil with a bit of fresh sage and then lather it over my salmon fillet. Then I bake it (sometimes broil near the end to make the top extra golden brown). I always feel like I'm at some fancy restaurant when I make this for myself but it's so easy. I sometimes use this same glaze for chicken breast (just cooking it a bit longer in the oven than the salmon).

                                  Here's a photo and written out recipe: http://singleguychef.blogspot.com/200...

                                  1. This was a great favorite of my kids -- in a heavy iron pan, saute chopped garlic in a bit of oil, melt in some tasty cheese (I think the original Katzen recipe used Kaseri), when the cheese is melted, squeeze a lemon over all and dig in with baguette slices or chunks. Yum.

                                    1. Does Campbell soup tuna casserole count? I take a can of cream of celery, cream of brocoli, cream of mushroom (not all three at once) mix them with a couple cans of tuna and some grated cheese (whatever kind I have in the fridge). Then boil egg noodles, dump the cooked egg noodles in the soup mixture, stir and stick it in the oven (sometimes with crushed potatoe chips on top). yum

                                      1. So many great ideas for the quick and dirty dinner when you just don't want to put out the effort. Here are mine:

                                        Grandma's Baked Mac and Cheese. Boil macaroni til not quite done, drain. Layer with shredded cheese in a greased dish, sprinkle with pepper, pour a bit of milk over. Bake at 350 til melty. I like it with catsup/ketchup (the horror!!) Grandma served with steamed carrots and coleslaw.

                                        Quick Halibut caddy ganty - marinate halibut in leftover wine whil you make the topping of 1/2 sour cream, 1/2 mayonaise, chopped onions/shallots, chives. Put fish is greased dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, spread on topping. Bake. Broil at the end to brown if necessary.

                                        Thanks for this topic!!!

                                        1. I like to cook up a box of pasta, add a bunch of chopped vegetables like red peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, peas, whatever I've got in the fridge to the pasta with 2 minutes left to boil, then drain and toss with a jar of 4 cheese alfredo sauce. A cheap quick one pot, one dish meal using stuff from the closet and the vegetable drawer. I got the idea from a friend who used to do the same thing with Kraft Mac and Cheese in a box or Annie's mac and cheese shells.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Ellen

                                            The ONLY way I get my son to eat veggies! I usually eat a few "veggies" too while serving this to him.

                                          2. spaghetti with mashed up vegetarian hormel chili (i used to eat the meaty one) and tons of lawry's seasoned salt. i buy cans of that chili specifically for this.

                                            1. Something my family called "Mucky Gutchy"-have no idea why but it does suit.
                                              1 can Campbells tomato soup
                                              1 pound ground round
                                              1-2 cups elbow macaroni

                                              Brown the beef and put the pasta on to boil. Add the tomato soup and the pasta and let it mingle 5-10 minutes before serving.

                                              To get fancy, you can add, onion, garlic, basil...well, you get the picture.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: LJS

                                                Sounds like an "almost homemade" recipe on the Food Network! There was a whole thread on how wacked that chick is. But seriously, my 16 mo son would love this! As OP, I reserve the right to steal all recipes :)

                                                1. re: LJS

                                                  We used to call this "goulash", although Mom often used leftover spagetti sauce and roast beef that she would grind up in the meat grinder. It was one of my favorite meals, along with tuna casserole, which called for a can of Campbells cream of mushroom soup.

                                                  1. re: Ellen

                                                    Oh my goodness! We called this "goulash" in my family too. Except it was never elbows, but some other pasta, and a jar of Aunt Millie's sauce instead of Campbells soup. But every Monday night we could count on my Dad making his "goulash." And I still make it now sometimes. It is comfort food to me at its best. Easy and yummy!

                                                2. Chicken N Dumplings

                                                  1 lb chicken breast with or without skin
                                                  1 carton MSG free chicken broth
                                                  2 stalks cut up celery
                                                  1/2 a package of carrot chips
                                                  1 cut into rings onion
                                                  3 whole lightly smashed garlic cloves
                                                  Salt and pepper
                                                  Make the dumplings off the recipe on the back of the Bisquik mix and add them to my uber-basic stew.

                                                  Directions: Simmer until chicken is white and cooked. Add dumplings.
                                                  DINNAH IS SERVED!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Haughtywench

                                                    Whenever I make those dumplings, they come out gummy and disgusting. What is the secret??

                                                    1. re: WildSwede

                                                      Fresh Bisquick makes a huge difference. I also make sure the stew is SUPER hot, the dumplings smaller, the pot is big and the dough is drier and not too sticky. If it clings too hard to the fingers or spoon, then it is not going to rise very well. The stew needs to be boiling and then turned down to a simmer. Then let the dumplings sit on the hot stew uncovered for 10 minutes. Then cover the pot with a HEAVY lid and let them steam for 12 minutes. I just go longer than the normal 10 minutes to dry them out a little. That's a lot of instructions for quick and dirty. :)

                                                  2. Here's another one. This one's not quite as quick. I serve it alongside many of my "fancy" dishes at big meal and everyone loves it.

                                                    Corn Pudding Soufflé
                                                    2 sticks butter
                                                    2 boxes Jiffy corn bread mix
                                                    2 16 oz cans creamed corn
                                                    4 eggs
                                                    16 oz sour cream
                                                    2 T. vanilla

                                                    Preheat oven to 350. Beat everything except for the butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a large casserole dish in the oven. Pour the batter in the pan. It’s ok if melted butter pools on top. Bake for 45 min, until the top is golden brown. Serve hot.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: amyvc

                                                      I make this too, though I think my recipe just has two eggs and I use one can regular corn and one can creamed corn, and no vanilla. Everyone loves it!

                                                    2. Good topic. Here is a dessert. Delicious, but park your qualms about trans fats and cholesterol at the curb.

                                                      Cherry Crumble Pie
                                                      Pour 1 can of cherry pie filling into a greased 9x9 cake pan. Sprinkle over it 1/2 box of yellow cake mix( 2 layer size), OR, 1 whole box of Jiffy yellow cake mix, one layer size (small box, so less in it.) Then scatter over the cake mix 1 cup of chopped pecans. Dot the top with a whole stick of chopped up real butter, no substitutes allowed. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

                                                      1. Back when we were all still at home (the five of us kids) Mom would make something called "More" apparently, because folks wanted more of it. As best as I can recall, it was a bag of rigatoni pasta, cooked, ground beef, cooked, and that went into a large bowl and mixed with canned tomato sauce, canned black olives and canned creamed corn, and popped into the oven to back until bubbly.

                                                        1. Sausage (pork ones from the UK) and leek casserole. Had it last night, and it's quick, easy and always delicious.

                                                          Brown the sausages in a large cooking pot, take out and cut into bite size pieces. If they are ones which crumble slightly, all the better - it makes the sauce even nicer.
                                                          In the same pot, sweat the chopped leeks (If the sausages have stuck to the bottom, that's fine, but scrape it out first if it looks like it will burn).
                                                          When the leeks have softened put the sausages back in.
                                                          If you wish you can add some sliced carrots at this stage.
                                                          Add some flour and mix in.
                                                          Add tinned tomatoes - about one 1lb tin for 8 sausages
                                                          Add water till the sauce looks about the right consistency
                                                          Bring to the boil
                                                          Add LOTS of worcester sauce - if you're nervous, shake some in, and taste - keep adding it until it's the flavour you want.
                                                          Cook for 20 minutes/up to an hour - the longer the better.
                                                          Serve with mash or jacket spuds.
                                                          As with most stews, it tastes even nicer the next day

                                                          1. 1) Chicken pieces baked with a lot of soy sauce, garlic powder, and crushed pineapple. Put some whole sweet potatoes in oven to bake at same time, or serve with rice. 2) Chicken pieces with an undiluted can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken (or Celery) soup smeared on top---don't add extra salt. Forms lots of ravy as it bakes. 3) Deli counter sliced roast beef in a can of beef gravy. 4) Stuffing made from mix, put pork chops on top, put sliced onions on each pork chop, bake. 5) Canned corn beef hash in baking dish, heat in microwave while big oven is heating, make holes, drop raw egg in each hole, bake until eggs are as done as you like them. 6) Fake Peking duck: flour tortillas, leftover cooked poultry, scallions, hoisin sauce, all rolled up together. 6) Fake lasagna: leftover cooked pasta, Ragu from a jar, ricotta cheese, leftover odds and ends such as sliced meatloaf or a can of mushrooms---layer all in casserole after dinner using leftovers, bake tomorrow night for dinner.

                                                            1. I make a Carciofo Sauce that goes well over any pasta you like, it's unbelievable over gnocchi. Chop up some onions, shallots and garlic and sweat nicely on some good olive oil (I just posted in another recent thread how I like a bit of brown on my onions, so it's OK by me to go a little further than a sweat on these). Use quite a bit of onion as it's one of the main ingredients, I actually like to cut the onions in half and slice thinly rather than fine chop for this recipe. Add a large can of crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer, adding some rough chopped fresh thyme and oregano. When you've simmered everything for awhile, add either a whole box of frozen artichoke hearts, or a whole large can of artichoke hearts (in water, not oil). If you've used frozen, be sure that they sit and simmer for a bit until they're warmed through. Near the end of cooking (not less than 20 minutes, not more than 35) add a good drizzle of heavy cream and stir, add cream until the sauce turns a nice creamy orange, and a good fistful of parmesan or pecorino.

                                                              All the while, get your pasta ready and plate and spoon some sauce over. Serve with more cheese and freshly ground pepper. With a green salad and a bottle of good Italian red wine, and I'm a happy happy camper.

                                                              1. I LOVE THIS!!
                                                                Any flavor Top Ramen, cooked as indicated on package. However, drain the liquid. In the meantime, scramble some eggs. One almost cooked, add noodles to eggs and add flavoring packet. Stir and eat. YUM!! ;-)

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: WildSwede

                                                                  Try the noodles with a poached egg.

                                                                2. Not really quick, but probably dirty to most Chowhounds- it is quick prep though.

                                                                  Beef Stew
                                                                  This was in a magazine when I was little and it was a section with recipes from the Muppet Babies! I think this might have been called Gonzo's Beef Stew or something along that line! It's one of the first things I can remember making.

                                                                  1 lb. beef stew meat
                                                                  1 pckg. Lipton onion soup mix
                                                                  1/2 cup ketchup
                                                                  1 can cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
                                                                  1 large onion, sliced
                                                                  5- 6 carrots, cut in 1 in. chunks
                                                                  4- 5 small potatoes, cut about the same size as the carrots

                                                                  Combine meat and soup mix in a baggie and shake until meat is coated. Combine cream of something soup and ketchup. Put meat in the bottom of a dutch oven, and add carrot chunks and potatoes. Cover with sliced onions, and pour soup and ketchup mixture over the top. Place lid on dutch oven and bake for 3 hours at 350 degrees F. Still hits the spot after all these years!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                    Wow! My grandmother cut this recipe out of our local newspaper when I was 14 years old back in 197? something. It was "our" recipe to prepare for the family. She has since passed away and I've gone through her recipe box, but could never find it. I attempted to make this by memory, but it was missing something and now I know what it was - the Liption Onion Soup Mix. This makes a really good, flavorful Beef Stew.

                                                                  2. Tortellini in chicken broth. IE, box of asceptically packaged broth, boil, dump in a package of tortellini and lots of pepper...stare blankly at the pot for a few minutes, dump into bowl and scald mouth.

                                                                    Also, the ramen thing. I usually drop two or three raw eggs into the noodles/broth right before I take it off the burner.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ccbweb

                                                                      on the ramen, i did the eggs (beaten first), handful of frozen veggies, and maybe some chopped up leftover meat. yum!

                                                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                                                        Yeah I do the tortellini thing, and mouth scalding is compulsory.

                                                                        1. re: prunefeet

                                                                          It is compulsory...even if I manage to do something and let the broth cool, one of the tortellini will inevitably spew molten cheese. So tasty though.

                                                                      2. My dad dinner (or I get home from work at 8:30 and I'm hungry NOW) -- ground beef, crumbled and browned, plus a liberal amount of worcestershire sauce and a liberal amount of shredded cheddar cheese. Seriously -- try it. Bliss.

                                                                        1. Mexican Pile up

                                                                          1lb hamburger cooked and drained
                                                                          add 1 can of chili with beans

                                                                          Pile on top of frietos (sp) and add cheese, lettuce and whatever you like.

                                                                          We had this once a week when I was growing up.

                                                                          1. JDub's Quick & Dirty "Pizza Bianca"

                                                                            Heat gently together minced garlic to taste and an anchovy or two in a bit of olive oil. Don't let the garlic get too brown.

                                                                            Slice a piece of French-style bread in half lengthwise (as for "french bread pizza") and toast lightly (or not, as you prefer).

                                                                            Drizzle/smear the oil & garlic mixture on the bread. Top with fresh mozzarella and broil until melted.

                                                                            Try not to burn roof of mouth with molten cheese. Otherwise, mangia!

                                                                            1. Alpine Chicken

                                                                              This is super easy but takes some time to bake.

                                                                              2 pkgs, boneless skinless chicken breasts
                                                                              salt,pepper, garlic powder to taste to season breasts
                                                                              6 oz Swiss cheese, sliced
                                                                              1 can cream of chicken soup
                                                                              1/2 c sherry
                                                                              1/2 c butter
                                                                              1 (8- oz.) pkg herb seasoned stuffing mix

                                                                              Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken, once seasoned, in 9 x 13 dish. Cover with cheese slices. Mix soup and sherry together. Pour over chicken. Mix melted butter and stuffing mix together. Spread over chicken. Cover pan with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 1/2 hour more.

                                                                              1. spread a cup of rice in a 9x11 baking dish; mix 1 can of cream of chicken soup ; can of water; add 1/2 cup of mixed frozen veggies; top with 4 boneless; skinless chicken breasts; cover with shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and bake in 350 oven for an hour. Old school good; Only 1 pot to wash and I'm in front of the tv in time for idol with my glass of wine! lol!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: fooddiva

                                                                                  Oh yes, the campbell's soup recipe. The cheese is an extra I haven't ever used. But the rice/soup/chicken (i use frozen bonelss, skinless thighs, actually) is a favorite of mine. Its really kind of silly how tasty it is.

                                                                                2. Sloppy joes served on pasta instead of a bun and topped w/ a little grated jack cheese. Firm fleshed fish w/ Peas: Take about a half c. mayo mix in dill and S & P to taste, smear half the mayo on the bottom of an 8 x 8" baking pan. Smear other half of mayo on approx 1-1 1/2 lbs of fish like halibut or salmon steaks. Bake uncovered for 8 minutes at 450 then surround the fish w/ about 1 c. of defrosted frozen peas and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges. I love it even though I am not a mayo fan.

                                                                                  1. Oh yeah (now I'm thinking about the awful but wonderful stuff I eat on a regular basis when I'm not serving it to anyone but myself). Hormel chili (no beans) on spaghetti. And, no, I'm not from Cincinnati.

                                                                                    1. Canned veggie baked beans on toast, topped with a poached egg.
                                                                                      Potatoes (baked, roasted or mashed) with veggie chili/salsa and cottage cheese.
                                                                                      Frittata made with leftover Chinese takeout - usuall brown rice and stir-fried veggies (even better with eggplant in black bean sauce)