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Pat’s Pantry: Fast and easy lunches

By Pat Mills

Want to whip up a great lunch but you don’t have a lot of time? Try any of these recipes that take only 30 minutes to prepare. Bacon cheeseburger rice is kid-friendly, and they will eat it up. – Pat

Bacon cheeseburger rice
1 pound ground beef
1¾ cup water
2/3 cup barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
½ teaspoon pepper
2 cups uncooked instant rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped dill pickle
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink in a large skillet; drain. Add the water, barbecue sauce, mustard, onion and pepper. Bring to a boil; stir in the rice. Sprinkle with cheese. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with pickles and bacon.

Ham and cheese bagels
4 teaspoons butter, softened
6 plain bagels split
6 slices deli ham
6 slices cheddar cheese
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 large tomato, sliced
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

Spread butter over cut sides of bagels. Place buttered sides up on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil 4 to 6-in from the heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside bagel tops. Place a slice of ham and cheddar cheese on the bottom of each bagel. Broil 3-4 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Spread bagel tops with cream cheese; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer bottom halves with tomato and avocado. Replace tops.

Philly cheesesteak pizza
1 tube (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon beef bouillon granules
½ pound thinly sliced deli roast beef
1 tablespoons prepared Italian salad dressing
1½ cups (6 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Unroll crescent roll dough into one long rectangle; seal perforations. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 13 x 9 baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Sauté green pepper and onion in oil and bouillon in a large skillet until vegetables are tender; set aside. Arrange beef over crust. Brush with salad dressing; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 4-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Top with green pepper mixture. Cut into 12 pieces.

Apricot crisp
3 cans (15 oz each) reduced-sugar apricot halves, drained
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
topping:
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
2 tablespoons flaked coconut
¼ cup cold butter, cubed

Combine apricots, brown sugar and ginger in a large bowl; divide among four greased 8-oz baking dishes. Combine flour, brown sugar, oats and coconut in a small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apricots. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until filling is bubbly and top is golden brown.

FOOD FACTS

• Crushed dried cayenne peppers are also called red pepper flakes.
• Know the fastest way to slice green onions? Just use your kitchen shears and the job will be done in seconds.

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