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
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.


• 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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