Cooking With Claire: Four ingredient recipes

Rusty Beer Battered Fried Shrimp (Jason Lam/ Flickr, Creative Commons)

“Cooking with Claire” is an introduction to dining beyond the dining hall using easy, fast and cheap recipes.

As I settled back into my apartment, I tried to piece together lunch from what was left over from last semester. I did not do too badly, but I will definitely have to head to the grocery store soon. You might also be scrambling to put something together. That is why I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce four ingredient recipes.

A good friend of mine let me borrow a cookbook called “The Ultimate Cooking with Four Ingredients.” True to its name, the cookbook features recipes with only four ingredients. Most of the recipes are incredibly easy and quick, because how long does it really take to put something with four ingredients together? The recipes include breakfast, sandwiches, pastas, salads, entrees, desserts and even drinks. Here are four of my favorites:

 

Sticky Pecan Rolls

One (12 count) package of brown and serve dinner rolls

Four tablespoons margarine

Two-thirds cup packed brown sugar

24 pecan halves

1. Place one roll in each of 12 well-greased muffin cups.

2. Cut an “X” in top of each roll.

3. Combine the sugar and margarine together and melt, mixing well. Spoon mixture over rolls.

4. Tuck two pecan halves in the “X” on each roll.

5. Bake at 350 ˚ for 50 minutes or until slightly brown.

 

Beer-Batter Shrimp

One (12-ounce) can beer

One-cup flour

Two teaspoons garlic powder

One-pound shrimp, peeled and veined

1. Make batter by mixing beer, flour and garlic powder and stir to a creamy consistency.

2. Dip shrimp into batter to cover and deep fry in hot oil.

 

Apple-Topped Tenderloin

One-and-one-half cup hickory marinade, divided

One (three to four pound) pork tenderloin

One (20-ounce) can apple pie filling

Three-quarter teaspoon cinnamon

1. In a small bag combine one cup marinade and tenderloin. Seal bag. Marinate in refrigerator for at least one hour.

2. Remove tenderloin. Discard used marinade.

3. Cook tenderloin uncovered at 325˚ for one hour, basting twice with one-quarter cup marinade. Let stand 10 or 15 minutes before slicing.

4. In a saucepan combine pie filling, the last one-quarter cup marinade and cinnamon. Heat.

5. For Food Network level presentation, serve thinly sliced heated apples over tenderloin.

 

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

19 ice cream sandwiches

One (12-ounce) carton whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed

One (11¾-ounce) jar hot fudge ice cream topping

One cup salted peanuts

1. Cut one ice cream sandwich in half. Place one whole and one half sandwich along the short side of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan. Arrange eight sandwiches in opposite direction in the pan.

2. Spread with half of the whipped topping.

3. Spoon fudge topping onto whipped topping.

4. Sprinkle with one-half cup peanuts.

5. Repeat layers with remaining ice cream sandwiches, whipped topping and peanuts (pan will be full.) Cover and freeze.

6. To serve, take out of freezer 20 minutes before serving.

All recipes modified from “The Ultimate Cooking with Four Ingredients” by Jean Coates.

With less ingredients, you can usually be sure that substituting an item or two will not have a disastrous effect. For example, if you only have walnuts on hand for the breakfast rolls, use those instead. If you are having a party with a guest with a peanut allergy, obviously omit the peanuts in the dessert cake recipe. Try substituting chocolate chips, chopped Oreo cookies or M&M’s. Adding extra spices to the shrimp or pork would be a great way to take it to the next level.

The cookbook assumes you have some very basic ingredients in your kitchen. For example, the oil is omitted from the first two recipes. However, I would still recommend the cookbook for anyone who likes to keep it simple.


Claire Galvin is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.