Cooking with what’s on hand is important skill

It is also good to know what to do to keep the kitchen running and the meals flowing when the oven stops working

Just as COVID-19 hit Canada, my oven decided to crash. I didn’t feel shopping for a new stove was an option because health officials were asking us to stay home.

So faced with many days ahead without an oven, I sought out my cookbooks and tried some new recipes.

Cranberry pork chops are one of the recipes that I tried for the first time and have made a few times since. I’m trying not to go to town more often than necessary, so I’ve been using what I have on hand.

Cranberry Pork Chops

  • 8 bone in pork chops1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
  • 16 oz tin cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 c. barbecue sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 c. water

Season pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown chops on both sides in oil; drain.

Combine cranberry sauce, water and barbecue sauce over chops. Cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes or meat juices run clear.

Remove chops and keep warm.

Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; add to skillet.

Bring to a boil; cook, stirring and bring to a boil; cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened. Spoon mixture over pork chops. Yields eight servings.

I found the sauce was thick without adding cornstarch, so I skipped that part of the recipe next time. You can make half the sauce, which I did and just cook enough pork chops for two people.

Cottage Cheese Meat Loaf

I tried this next recipe because I had a cup of cottage cheese in the fridge.

  • 1 c. small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 1/2 c. quick cooking oats
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

In a bowl, combine first eight ingredients. Add beef and mix well.

Press into an ungreased eight-inch (20 centimetre) square baking pan.

Bake at 350 F (190 C) for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until meat is no longer pink.

Drain, let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Yields four servings.

Apple Fritter Cake

Kelly from the Oak River Inn in Oak River, Man., posted this recipe on Facebook. As a lover of apple fritters I had to try the cake recipe.

The recipe turned out beautifully. Kelly and her husband, Richard English, farm in the area and bought the inn and made it family friendly so kids can enjoy a meal with their parents.

Please read all the instructions before you make the cake. I nearly screwed up the recipe by not reading the whole recipe before starting.

For filling:

  • 1 heaping c. sliced apples (peel, core and quarter then slice)
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • small pinch freshly grated nutmeg(I used ground)
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. water
  • Plus
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

For cake:

  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. apple sauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. Greek yogurt (you can use plain yogurt or sour cream)

For glaze:

  • 2 c. powdered sugar(icing sugar)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 tbsp. milk

For filling: make your filling by combining apples, sugar, water, cinnamon and cornstarch in a small pan.

Cook on low heat for five to seven minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and the apples are a bit soft. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together until well combined and set aside.

For cake: Preheat oven to 350 F (190 C). Grease and flour a nine by 13 baking dish. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add applesauce and vanilla and mix till combined. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Sift the dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the batter in three parts alternating with the yogurt in two parts beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Beat until just combined. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the cooled apple mixture over the batter carefully and spread as evenly as possible.

Sprinkle 2/3 of brown sugar cinnamon mixture over apples and cover with the rest of batter. Sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture over the top.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

For glaze: While the cake is baking, make the glaze. In a bowl, mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until the glaze is desired consistency. When the cake comes out of oven, immediately but carefully pour onto hot cake. Try to pour as evenly as possible. You might have to pick up the cake and tilt it to spread the glaze evenly.

Let the cake sit for the glaze to set.

This cake tastes great with a dab of whipped cream on top.

All recipes have passed my worst-critic’s taste test.

Stay safe.

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