Solving a Cooking Emergency

by David Bakke

cooking emergencyNow, this particular post may not have to do a whole lot with saving money, but it sure helped me out a lot in the past. And essentially, they are fairly cheap recipes so I think they do apply.

Anyways, we’ve all had them. Maybe you completely forgot about some dinner party you were invited to weeks ago, maybe you screwed up a recipe that you planned on bringing to an event and now you’re stuck with nothing, I don’t know, maybe the dog ate your homework.

Anyways, the bottom line is, it is the last minute, and you need to fix something fast or you’re in for a big social embarrassment.

Well, I actually have a variety of “fixes” for this particular dilemma, however, we’ll just go over two of them for now. One is a side dish and one is a dessert. If you’re in need of a fix for this situation and it is a main course, well, we’ll discuss that one later–that is a bit more involved.

OK, so it’s the last second and you need something to bring with you. How does 12 minutes sound?? Alright, here we go. Fill up a pot and get that sucker on the stove as fast as you can, heat on high and covered. Head to the pantry and pick out a box of any available (preferably smaller-sized) pasta. Once the water boils, throw the majority of the box in, add a little salt, and stir. Stirring moves the cooking process on a bit, so I stir stuff a little more often when I’m in a hurry. Get out your colander that you will drain the pasta in, put it in the sink and dump a bag of frozen veggies into it.

Yup, frozen. Dump them right in.

Now at this point, if you have a few spare minutes, you can cut up a tomoato or an onion to throw in also. If you want. OK, the pasta’s done. Take it off the stove and dump the water and the pasta right on top of your frozen veggies. You see, that is the brilliance of this recipe. The hot water from the pasta will thaw out the frozen veggies perfectly every single time. Now, mix. I prefer to mix with Creamy Italian Dressing, but you can do it with garlic & oil, Ranch, whatever you want. Chill it if you have time. You’re done.

OK, now for dessert. Pick out a generic cake mix. Meaning, nothing extravagent. Like a butter cake, a lemon cake, something simple. Mix according to instructions, except divide it in half into two baking pans and cook for approximately half the time. Usually, this is about 12-15 minutes (here is the magic of this, you cut you’re cooking time in half). When its ready, pop those guys right into the freezer, and if you’re talented enough, flip the cakes first. Meaning, put the down side up in the pan. This will allow it to cool faster, and work out better for the second step. Now, if you have a vanilla cake you can take any fresh fruit you want. Sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, sliced cherries, canned pineapples, whatever. If your cake is flavored, match your fruit accordingly. Take the cakes out when cool (usually about 5 minutes) and top with fruit. Top this with half a container of icing. The icing should be at least room temp to make this fast, I usually set the container on top of the oven for a few minutes to soften it. Add second cake and repeat.

There, now you have something that looks like it took you quite some time to make when it really only took you about 15-18 minutes.

And there you have it, two cooking emergencies solved!!!


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