Picture the scene: it’s the end of a long day, and you’re heading home through rush-hour traffic. You get home with just enough time to prepare a delicious, healthy meal for your family. But when you open the ref, you discover that you’ve forgotten to defrost the meat, or that your stash of pre-washed salad greens (complete with arugula) are now a soggy mess. Looks like that gourmet dinner (which you were worried would take too long to cook, anyway) will have to be postponed again—it’s corned beef and luncheon meat to the rescue!
Does this sound all too familiar to you? If you’re in dire need of more time in the kitchen, you’ll be glad to know that not all good meals take hours on end to prepare. To you’re you instant inspiration in this arena, Yummy magazine has come out with Quick & Good, a little book loaded with recipes that are easy to make, with ingredients and tools that most of us already have in our kitchens. The dishes show us how to stretch canned goods beyond the open-and-heat basics, and how to cook up a decent meal with our trusty old over toaster. A godsend to harried working moms and single girls living on their own (just reduce the portions proportionally, or cook up a batch and freeze the rest for a future meal), this book even gives us the answer to the question everyone with a refrigerator has asked at least once in their lives: “Should I throw this out?”
We went through the 75 recipes and chose our favorites—those that seemed easiest and most fun to make. Try them out when you get home today!
Luncheon Meat Katsudon
Forgot to thaw the meat? Do this quick, home-style version of the popular rice topping dish instead.
Serves 4 to 6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 15 to 20 minutes
1 can luncheon meat, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups Japanese breadcrumbs
Oil for frying
4 to 6 cups cooked rice
4 to 6 eggs
Thinly sliced carrots
Chopped leeks or spring onions
For the sauce
3 tablespoons Kikkoman soy sauce
¼ cup sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
½ of a beef bouillon cube (optional)
2 cups water
1. Dredge luncheon meat slices in flour. Dip in beaten eggs then coat with breadcrumbs.
2. Fry in hot oil until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.
3. In a saucepan, put all the ingredients for the sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Scoop rice into individual bowls and top with 2 to 3 slices of fried luncheon meat. While sauce is hot, ladle 3 to 4 tablespoons over each rice bowl. Break an egg over the sauce then top with onions, carrots, and spring onions.
(Photo by David Hanson, styling by Sharlene Tan)
Potato and Ham Soup
To make a chunkier soup where you can still see the pieces of the potato, don’t puree the mixture finely. Just pulse in the blender until you get the consistency you prefer.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 20 minutes
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 cup chopped potatoes
2 cups broth
¾ cup minced ham
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 cup milk
1. Melt butter in a pot then sauté onions and tarragon until onions are translucent.
2. Add potatoes and broth. Cook until potatoes are very tender.
3. Cool slightly then transfer to a blender to puree.
4. Return mixture to the pot and add ham. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour in milk and cook until creamy. Add more milk if the soup becomes too thick.
(Photo by Patrick Martires, styling by Elaine P. Lim)
Spicy Corned Beef Rice
A wok is the best pan for cooking rice as its depth and diameter gives you enough space to really toss the rice to blend it with the other ingredients. For easy clean-up, choose one that is nonstick, too.
Prep Time 6 minutes
Cooking Time 15 minutes
1 tablespoon oil
¼ cup sliced onions
1 regular-size can corned beef
1 can whole corn kernels, drained
1 bird’s eye chili (siling labuyo), chopped
4 cups cooked white rice
4 fried eggs, cooked to your liking
1. In a hot wok, heat oil and sauté onions until tender.
2. Add corned beef and corn. Cook until most of the corned beef juice has evaporated.
3. Add chili pepper and mix well.
4. Stir in the cooked rice and mix until it is well blended with the corned beef mixture. Cook until heated through.
5. Scoop rice into bowls then top with fried egg.
(Photo by David Hanson, styling by Elaine P. Lim)
Hoisin and Honey Pork Chops
The toaster oven is easy enough to use but remember it is important to preheat it before putting in the food to be cooked. It takes about 5 minutes on full power capacity for the oven to heat up sufficiently.
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cooking Time 10 minutes
4 pieces boneless pork chop, about ½ inch-thick
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon honey
Chili flakes (optional)
1. Marinate the pork in a mixture of hoisin sauce, honey, and chili flakes for a few minutes.
2. Preheat the toaster oven then put in the meat. Cook until the edges of the pork start to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
(Photo by David Hanson, styling by Carina Guevara)
(Recipes and photos courtesy of Yummy Quick & Good: Delicious Shortcuts in Everyday Cooking, available in bookstores nationwide)