From My RV Kitchen: Chickpeas in Curried Coconut Broth

Here’s an easy vegetarian dish bursting with exotic flavors, but without a long list of difficult-to-find ingredients.

Back in the day when my mom was the one doing the family’s cooking, it may have taken some persistent shopping to find things like curry powder, coconut milk, basmati rice, and fresh cilantro, but now it’s common to see more than one brand or variety of each on the shelves of even small-town grocery stores.

The best part is that this meal is prepared in a slow cooker, so it can simmer while you’re out exploring your latest camping destination.

I like to serve this dish with a garden salad and fresh fruit slices on the side.

Chickpeas in Curried Coconut Broth

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3-4 stalks celery, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (19-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk

1 tablespoon curry powder

2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeño pepper

1 teaspoon salt

6 cups hot cooked basmati rice

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, celery, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender.

Place onion mixture, chickpeas, and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a 3 1/2-quart electric slow cooker; stir well. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.

Serve over rice, and sprinkle each serving with cilantro.

My recipe is adapted from this original.


Author’s note: A version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.

From My RV Kitchen: Slow Cooker Cajun Pork Roast & Sweet Potatoes

Looking for something new to do with that pork in your freezer?

If you like the flavor combination of sweet and spicy, get it out, let it thaw, and make this.

I used a 2-lb boneless loin ribeye roast, but I think results would be equally pleasing with a tenderloin, shoulder roast, or even chops. You may need to adjust cook time depending on whether you’re using a boneless or bone-in cut.

Slow Cooker Cajun Pork Roast & Sweet Potatoes

2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

1 small onion, sliced

2-3 lbs pork

2 medium sweet potatoes, quartered

1 tsp Cajun seasoning

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

Honey or maple syrup

Place celery and onion in bottom of slow cooker.

Set pork roast on top of vegetables.

Arrange potatoes around meat, and sprinkle all evenly with Cajun seasoning, cinnamon, and salt.

Drizzle honey or maple syrup lightly over top.

Cook on low for 3-6 hours, depending on how tender you like your pork and how mushy you like your sweet potatoes. The longer it cooks, the more tender/mushy it gets, so check the texture at the 3-hour mark and adjust accordingly.

Slice roast, and serve meat and potatoes with a slotted spoon, drizzling with pan juices if desired. Sprinkle on additional Cajun seasoning if you like more zing.

Side dish suggestions: corn on or off the cob, cole slaw, tossed salad, corn bread, and/or your favorite steamed green vegetable

Recipe inspired by this one from Food Done Good, which is equally tasty, but without the spice!


Author’s note: A version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.

From My RV Kitchen: Baked Oatmeal Squares

Got a long driving day ahead? The kind that requires departing before dawn, and not enough time to stop for breakfast?

Here’s a tasty and hearty option that you can bake the day before, for eating on the road. It’s even driver’s seat friendly!

Baked Oatmeal Squares

3 cups quick-cooking or regular oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup plain, nonfat traditional or Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional: add 1 cup of mix-ins such as chopped dried fruit, nuts, and/or flavored baking morsels

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, and yogurt.

Stir into oat mixture until blended. Add mix-ins if using, and stir to blend.

Spoon into a greased 9-in. square baking pan.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until set, and allow to cool completely. Although there is no flour in the recipe, the bars bake to a moist, thick, cake-like consistency.

Cut into 9 squares, then zip into sandwich bags or wrap in plastic for individual servings.

My version is adapted from this original recipe.

Emily’s notes:

My most recent mix-in combo was chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips. Delicious!

I get perfect results by baking these in my RV’s Half-time Convection Oven at 350 degrees for 22 minutes.

For a filling and fuss-free “Front Seat Breakfast” for driver and passenger/s, serve the bars with hard boiled eggs and bananas.

No need to save them for travel days. If you’re sitting in a non-moving location, you can try serving these squares as originally intended: in a bowl, with milk poured over top. Eat like oatmeal!

(Author’s note:  a version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.)

From My RV Kitchen: Sinful Chocolate Fudge Pie

We encountered a bump in the road two weeks ago, with a catastrophic fuel pump failure in the BFT, stranding us just south of Dallas. Luckily, we were able to have The Toad towed to a park with hookups, so we could live somewhat normally for the duration.

But after five days of trying to keep my spirits up by making lemonade out of our proverbial lemons, I decided I needed something stronger to soothe my soul.

Chocolate.

There are times when only chocolate will do, and this was one of them.

Beware:  This pie is so sinfully rich and intense that you may want to draw the blinds and turn up the volume on the TV to disguise any embarrassing noises or facial expressions you might make while eating it.

Yes, it’s that good. Remember the “I’ll have what she’s having” scene from When Harry Met Sally? That.

Sinful Chocolate Fudge Pie

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels, melted

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp. instant coffee

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup flour

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Microwave chocolate in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted; set aside. (Alternate: melt over very low heat on stovetop in heavy saucepan, stirring frequently.)

I prefer melting chocolate on my gas stovetop to the microwave method, as I’m less likely to scorch it that way.
You use the method you’re good at.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.

It’s gonna look like this.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.

Add chocolate, coffee, and vanilla extract; mix well.

Chocolate going in.

I used my very precious pure Mexican vanilla, purchased in Mexico on a recent vacation.
You can find it in the states too, but read the ingredient list: if it has anything other than water, vanilla bean and alcohol in it, don’t waste your money. You’d basically be buying vanilla-flavored corn syrup.

Stir in flour and chopped walnuts.

I used walnuts.
You use whatever nuts you like, or leave them out.

Pour into pastry shell.

That nice glossy uncooked batter yields a nice glossy top crust after baking. Underneath it?
Gooey fudgy moan-inducing filling.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until pie appears set. (I used my gas oven for this pie. I have not tested it in my convection oven.) Toothpick test is unreliable. It will come out coated with filling, which is exactly what you want. Don’t be fooled into over-baking!

Cool pie on rack, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Top with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

My version is adapted from this original recipe.

(Author’s note:  a version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.)

Fridge Foibles: Dealing with the Tiny Space within our Tiny Space

Our 2008 Bighorn was built back in the day before residential refrigerators made it into luxury and four-season fifth wheels.

We’ve got one of the old “glorified dorm fridge” units, and its 8 cubic feet of storage is adequate for just the two of us in most cases, including the time we contributed half the dishes to the family Thanksgiving feast.

But there are occasions when that same amount of space can be either a frustrating curse or an unexpected blessing.

When our 19-year-old, 6’2”, 220-lb son lived with us in The Toad for two months over the summer of 2016: definitely a curse.

I had to play Refrigerator Tetris on the daily to make everything fit in there. Adding a third person to the mix — especially one that size — created an entirely new family dynamic, and not just in the kitchen storage department.

Full means full.

However, when we need to empty the fridge for extended non-RV travel or for a week-long service appointment: definitely a blessing.

If we’re willing to eat a few unusual meals (recently we ate ham and cream cheese sandwiches, because we’d already run out of cheese slices), the two of us can strip that baby down to condiments in less than a week!

Oh, and don’t worry about that wine bottle you see in the door.
I’ll make sure it does not go to waste.

Ta-daaaa!
See there? All that’s left is … ummmm… fruit.

(Author’s note:  a version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.)