This stir-fry is one of my favorite, frequent, fast main dishes. It truly hits the spot. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

We all have those meals that we make on the fly and don’t even have to think about. A little of this mixed with a little of that, and we like it so much, we put it on repeat week after week, year after year. Quickie Shrimp Stir-fry is one of them.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

I first began a relationship with those grocery store chopped salad kits years ago when my go-to grab was a Caesar salad kit and ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken. This was a Tuesday night staple that my youngest daughter and I consumed at breakneck speed before running off to our separate activities.

For quite some time, I overlooked the other chopped salad offerings at the grocery store. That is, until at my sister’s house I was served a crispy salad made from a packet of shredded cabbage and complementary veggies with a secret sauce and added crunchies – that’s right, it was chopped Asian salad from a bag.

I used this as inspiration for a main dish in a bowl that can also be served over rice or soba noodles.

For something different, this concoction can be dolled up by wrapping it in or serving it on top of brown rice pancakes. These are also nice served as-is with your favorite dipping sauce.

Speaking of dipping, Apple Pie Fries are a fun way to get some seasonal flavor into your life. Add a couple to a bowl of softened vanilla ice cream with some caramel sauce. I promise this dessert will make your day better.

Quickie Shrimp Stir-fry

2 (12-ounce) packages chopped Asian Salad Kit
1 cup carrot, shredded
1/2 cup colored pepper, diced
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 pound frozen medium raw shrimp, cleaned and thawed
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
2 cups fresh spinach, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

In a wok or large skillet over medium heat, warm the canola and sesame oils. Add vegetable portion of Asian salad packets, setting aside sauce and crunchies. Working quickly, sauté and stir salad ingredients, adding pepper and scallions and cooking until tender-crisp. Add shrimp and continue sautéing until they are beginning to get pink. Add corn, spinach, and garlic, cooking until spinach is wilted. Stir in soy sauce and contents of salad sauce packets, allowing the liquid to thicken a bit. Remove from heat and garnish with crunchies. Add salt and pepper if needed. Yield: 4 servings

Brown Rice Scallion Pancakes

3/4 cup brown rice flour or short-grain brown rice
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil (plus more for frying)
Salt and pepper
4 scallions, green parts only, finely chopped
1 egg

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. If you don’t have rice flour, grind the brown rice in the food processor or blender until it’s the consistency of corn meal.

Whisk together flours, water, sesame oil, 1 tablespoon oil and salt and pepper. Let the batter rest for a few minutes.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Stir scallions and egg into batter, which should be thinner than pancake batter but coats the back of a spoon. Add more flour or water for the right consistency.

Add a thin film of oil to the griddle and allow it to get hot, then ladle some batter onto the griddle, making the desired size of pancakes. Cook until crisp and golden on the bottom for about 5 minutes, then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Transfer to a plate and keep warm in the oven. Serves 4.

Apple Pie Fries

Pastry for a 2-crust, 9-inch pie or 1 (2-count) package refrigerated pie crust
1 1/2 cups apple pie filling (cooked), homemade or canned
1 egg
Sugar for sprinkling
Caramel sauce for dipping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Process apple pie filling in a food processor to make it a bit smoother. (If using homemade filling, cook until the apples are tender before using.) Slightly roll out each crust on a floured surface. Spread the filling onto one of them, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edge. Place remaining pie crust on top and seal edges with wet fingers. Brush top crust with egg mixed with a splash of water. Sprinkle with sugar.

With a pastry cutter or sharp knife, cut into 1-inch wide “fries,” taking care that edges are sealed. Place on baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until golden and firm and filling is tender.

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