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VOL. 39 | NO. 21 | Friday, May 22, 2015

No need to buy cookbook for one-pot dinners

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Have you been lucky enough to see the “As Seen on TV” infomercials of the lady with her “dump cakes?”

She can make every kind of meal you can imagine by dumping everything in one pot and baking it. My husband calls her “the dump-meister.”

She has cookbooks for dump desserts, dump cakes and dump dinners, all of which she claims you do in just two simple steps: dump and bake.

Then she makes it look even more appealing by showing the “old way” of preparing a cake or meal as some monumental challenge. Usually, the people in it are completely frazzled and so inept that you wonder how they even manage to get dressed in the morning.

For most of us “older” (or should I say “more experienced?”) cooks, dumping all of your ingredients into one pan to cook is not a new concept.

These recipes have been around a long time, we just didn’t call them “dump” anything; they were one-pot recipes.

In fact, our mothers taught some of us.

But it’s true that the lady doing the advertisement, Cathy Mitchell, has quite a collection of recipes.

If you’re interested in buying one of the cookbooks but unable to get the number off the infomercial, don’t fret. You can go to www.buydumpcakes.com and order it.

For a mere $10 plus $6.99 shipping and handling, you get the cookbook for dump cakes, dump dinners, and a non-stick oven mat. On the other hand, you can Google the web and get a few recipes.

I haven’t ordered the cookbooks. It just doesn’t sound that appetizing to me. Making a dump cake occasionally – even a dump dinner – is OK, but I don’t think I need a whole recipe book full of them.

That said, my daughter did share a few recipes with me not long ago for yummy chocolate cake (at least I made chocolate) and a one-pot dinner that I made and the family really enjoyed.

I don’t know if they are from the dump cakes or dump dinners recipe books, though. I think these recipes were found on Pinterest.

Kay Bona is an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.

Crawling bundt cake

This cake has been known to crawl out of the pan if you beat with an electric mixer or use a pan that’s too small. This is why the cake has been given the name Crawling Cake. So, to be on the safe side, put a cookie sheet under the cake pan to catch any overflow. If you have a hot oven, begin checking the cake after 45 minutes.

I box cake mix, any flavor

4 eggs

3/4 cup of oil

1 cup of milk

1 can of any flavored frosting

Mix first four ingredients together in medium bowl BY HAND. Add 3/4 of the tub of frosting and continue mixing by hand until well blended.

Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Remove from pan and place on cake plate. Melt remaining frosting and drizzle over cake.

Suggestions for cake and icing combinations: strawberry cake and cream cheese icing; spice cake and caramel icing; chocolate cake and coconut pecan icing; chocolate cake and chocolate icing; carrot cake and cream cheese icing; and orange cake and vanilla icing.

One-pot spaghetti

Now this one might sound a little strange, but it works.

1 pound Andouille Sausage, sliced into bite-sized rounds

1 pound spaghetti

(I used angel hair, but any type of pasta will work)

2 cups chopped basil

1/2 cup diced onion

3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

4 cloves garlic, diced

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

4 1/2 cups of water

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, over medium high heat, combine all ingredients except Parmesan cheese; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about eight to 10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan. Serve immediately.

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