I would like five delicious lunch or dinner recipes that require NO ingredients to be chilled or refrigerated. We do not have refrigeration on our boat, and usually do not carry any ice in the icebox. It is a challenge to prepare nutritious meals using only items that keep well at room temperature.
Ellen Dawson, s/v Jolie Brise, a 28’ 1985 Bristol Channel Cutter
Five Recipes Requiring No Refrigerated Ingredients
This challenge was especially appealing because I love the concept of simplifying our boating experience but I have always been wary of the old can of beef stew lingering in the cupboard season after season.
We rarely eat canned prepared meals, but we always carry canned veggies, beans, fruits, seafood and fish plus an assortment of rice, pasta, noodles, grains and sauces to make easy and quick meals. We also carry fresh onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, cucumbers, green beans, broccoli, salad greens, and cabbage along with fruit that are left unrefrigerated. And, the vinegar, oil, mayonnaise, mustard, jams, shelf stable milk, anchovies, canned ham, wax-wrapped hard cheeses and summer sausages we carry are all shelves stable and live unrefrigerated aboard. Of course, once opened we do refrigerate milk, seafood, meats and cheese.
The recipes below are all made with ingredients that do not require refrigeration; however, I’m assuming that you will not have leftovers, because once cooked, they should be refrigerated for safety. Each recipe serves 4-6 adults.
Asian Noodle Salad
Quesadillas with Corn and Black Bean Salsa
Clam, Shrimp and Crab Bouillabaisse
Classic Stove-Top or Microwave Risotto
Asian Noodle Salad
This is one of the most delicious salads I make on the boat. It requires no refrigerated ingredients. The noodles may be served plain with sauce and garnish; made into lettuce wraps with the addition of a head of iceberg lettuce, or as a main course with shrimp, tuna, salmon, chicken or tofu (all available in shelf stable form)
1 1/3 cups lime juice
1 cup fish sauce (or soy in a pinch)
1 cup water
8 tbsp sugar
1 tspn crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic; minced
2 cups diced or sliced cucumbers
4 scallions, thinly sliced in rounds
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves whole
1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
½ cup fresh basil leaves
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced, sliced thin
1 small cabbage, cored, halved and shredded fine (any kind you like)
1 cup shredded or julienned carrots
1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
2 tbsp of chopped unsalted nuts (any kind, although peanuts are traditional)
Cook noodles for 5-6 minutes until al dente, rinse and drain. Mix sauce ingredients until sugar dissolves. Add to noodles and mix gently. Garnish with cucumbers, scallions, mint, basil, jalapenos, cabbage, carrots, sprouts, nuts and cilantro (or let everyone make their own salad by placing garnishes in individual bowls or mounds on a plate).
Variations: Use as the basis for “make your own” lettuce wraps by gently separating lettuce leaves (in cup shape) and making separate mounds of “undressed” noodles, diced cucumber, sliced scallion, mint, cilantro, basil, sprouts, nuts and a bowl of sauce above . Give each person a lettuce leaf cup and they can fill with a tiny bit of each ingredient, drizzle with the sauce and roll up cup into a cylinder to eat.
Vegetarian Dinner Salad: Add thin sliced assorted veggies and tofu.
Seafood Salad: Top with shrimp, oysters, tuna or salmon
Meat or chicken salad: Top with shredded shelf stable chicken, beef or ham.
Fruity Salad: Top with thin sliced mango, papaya, peaches, pineapple, nectarines or plums or peeled and seeded citrus fruit.
Quesadillas with Corn and Black Bean Salsa
I love quesadillas, they are warm, delicious, flexible and very easy to make on the stove-top, in the oven or on a grill! Here’s a corn, cheese, onion and jalapeno version I love. Serve with the wonderful black bean and corn salsa below.
1 ½ cups cheddar or other shelf stable cheese (Velveeta, jack, etc.) grated
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 scallions sliced
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp chopped canned chipotle chillis in adobo or pickled jalapeno peppers
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 tbsp oil
Stir together cheeses, corn, scallions, cilantro, and chills in a small bowl. Lightly brush tortillas with oil. Turn tortillas over and spread 1/2 cup filling over half, then fold each in half.
Grill: Place quesadilla on pre-heated medium high direct heat, turning after 2 minutes until cheese is melted (4 minutes total). Cut in half and serve.
Stove-top: Heat skillet on medium high. Add quesadilla, turning after 2 minutes until cheese is melted (4 minutes total). Cut in half and serve.
Oven: Place cookie sheet in oven. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Add quesadilla to cookie sheet and bake for 3 minutes. .
Turn and bake another 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted and tortilla is browned/crispy on edges.
Variations: You can make endless variations of quesadillas but here are a few of my favorites:
Replace corn with 1 cup or any one of the following or a mixture:
• Diced tomatoes, sweet peppers, mushrooms
• Chopped salami, summer sausage or pepperoni
• Canned shrimp, crabmeat or salmon
• Canned chicken or canned chili with ground meat
• Refried beans
• Sliced canned black olives
Corn and Black Bean Salsa
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 11-oz can shoe peg corn (white corn)' drained
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 oz Feta cheese, crumbled
2 scallions, diced
1 red pepper, diced
Mix first 3 ingredients together in a bowl. Blend well . Add all other ingredients. Blend well*. Serve as a side to quesadillas or with Frito corn chips or taco scoops.
* Better if allowed to "sit". A few hours before serving, place all ingredients, except oil, in a small bowl. Whisk and slowly add oil to mix. Toss diced veggies, cilantro, beans, and vinaigrette in a large bowl.
This is the most versatile dish I make. It can be used as a stew on its own with warm bread and a green salad. It is a great side to a protein, delicious pasta or polenta sauce, a salad (cold and dressed with a little oil and red wine vinegar), a base for baked eggs or a warm filling for sub rolls or pita bread with a little Parmesan. It is also very flexible, tasting equally good made in the oven, microwave or stove-top. In the oven, the vegetables melt into each other while on the stovetop and microwave; the vegetables maintain their shape and distinctive colors.
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small eggplant, unpeeled and cubed
1 medium zucchini, unpeeled and cubed
1 green or red pepper, cubed
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1 large or two small tomatoes, sliced or 1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Basil or oregano to taste (optional)
Oven: Mix garlic, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, onion and jalapeno in covered oven-proof pot. Add garlic, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Slice tomatoes over the top of casserole, and then pour olive oil over the top. Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 2-3 hours, stirring every hour. Add basil or oregano during the last half hour.
Microwave: Cube eggplant, pepper, zucchini and onion and mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper, minced garlic cloves and minced jalapeno pepper. Place in Microwave proof shallow pan or bowl and slice tomatoes over the top. Cover and microwave for 5 minutes at 50% power, stir. Microwave at 30% power for 20 minutes, then stir and take off cover to microwave for 5 minutes more. Finally, microwave at full power for 1-2 minutes and add fresh herbs. Let the ratatouille rest for 10-15 minutes, and then serve.
Stove-top: Heat covered soup pot and add oil. Sauté garlic, jalapeno and onion for 5 minutes. Add eggplant, zucchini and pepper. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer another 30 minutes on low. Let the ratatouille rest for 10 minutes covered and serve.
Clam, Shrimp and Crab Bouillabaisse
Bouillabaisse comes from the French word “bouilli” or boil. The basic flavorings are quickly boiled together with wine and tomatoes to emulsify, and then seafood is cooked at the last minute.
4 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, minced
2 ribs of celery, minced
2 leeks or shallots or small onions minced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp each of fennel seeds, dried thyme
2 tsp minced parsley
2 bay leaves
Pinch of cayenne
6-8 saffron threads (optional)
1 tbsp grated orange peel
½ tsp salt and pepper
1 ½ cup white wine
28 oz. can tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 - 6 ounce cans clams
2 - 6 ounce cans crabmeat
2 - 6 ounce cans shrimp
Heat oil in large saucepan; add carrots, celery and onion to sauté for 4 minutes. Add garlic, fennel, saffron, peel, cayenne, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and bay leaves. Sauté 2 minutes, then add wine and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and add cans of seafood, cover and cook for 2 minutes until seafood is just warmed through. Serve in large shallow bowls with toasted slices of French bread spread with rouille. You may use any kind of canned fish or shellfish – salmon, tuna, oysters, squid, and lobster with or without the clams, crab and shrimp.
3 tbsp water
3/4 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (preferably from a baguette, crust removed)
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 whole canned pimento pepper or 10 slices canned roasted red peppers
A Gallic tradition for good reason, rouille is French for "rust," after the rich color of this sauce. Pour water over bread crumbs in the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic, salt, pimento pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add oil in a slow stream, while food processor is running, until well combined. It should have texture of mayonnaise. You may also mix this by hand if you don’t want to use a food processor.
Classic Stove-Top Risotto
Risotto is another dish I will often make on the boat if I had bits of leftover veggies or seafood. I like Arborio rice, but if you can't find it, use any type of short-grained white or brown rice. Serves 4
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 tsp salt
3 cups chicken broth or water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat 3 cups of broth or water in a saucepan. Heat oil in another 3 quart pan. Saute onions 3-5 minutes until soft. Stir in rice and salt and sauté for 2 minutes then add 1 cup broth to rice and bring to a boil, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Add wine, stirring often until absorbed. Then add 1/2 cup of the remaining broth/water at a time, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed. Cook until rice is creamy but still somewhat firm in center (15-20 minutes). Stir in cheese. Serve on a wide platter or individual plates with additional cheese passed separately. You may need to stir in a little extra liquid to make it creamier when served.
Seafood Risotto: add 12 oz. shrimp, clams, crab, salmon, oysters or a mixture
Vegetable Risotto: add 2 cups chopped asparagus, green beans, summer squash, cherry tomatoes or fresh peas (or a mixture) for last 10 minutes of cooking
Microwave Risotto - Mushroom
Microwave risotto turns out a bit less creamy than stove-top but it is wonderfully cooked with only one stir during the cooking process. This is appealing on the boat as it dirties fewer dishes and allows me to wander away from the galley to be with my guests.
2 tsp oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ¼ cup Arborio or brown rice
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup white wine
1 bay leaf
½ cup mushrooms sliced (fresh, dried reconstituted or canned)
2 tbsp fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
¼ grated Parmesan cheese
5 green onions chopped
In a large casserole, combine oil, onion, garlic. Cover and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until onion is soft. Stir in rice, stock, wine, bay leaf and mushrooms. Cover and microwave on high about 4 minutes. Stir, then continue to microwave on medium power until stock is absorbed and rice is tender (about 10 minutes). Stir in green onions, basil, cheese and scallions; then cover and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper as desired and serve warm.
Photos by Claire Wyngaard