Sunday , 27 May 2018

Kyra’s Kitchen: Desperation Dinners

You have just survived Thanksgiving – Black Friday and Cyber Monday….

In a few more days you will be facing Christmas….

And you are no mood to cook – or spend money!

In the interest of saving you from hours in the kitchen and too much month at the end of your money, I scoured the freezer and deli sections of the supermarket to find inexpensive prepared foods that would be quick to cook, easy to customize, and still be healthy and delicious.

Here is what I came up with….

1 pkg bologna sliced
1 can sweet corn
1 pkg ready-grated cheese

Set 4 slices of bologna, red plastic strip removed, on a microwaveable plate.
Microwave on High for 1½ minutes.

Magic! The bologna slices curl up into cups!

Fill the cups with sweetcorn and microwave again on high for another minute.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Repeat….with the rest of the bologna and sweetcorn and cheese.
Serve 2 cups per person
Serve with a green salad and rolls and you have a meal



1 plain frozen cheese pizza [I found one in Walmart for $1.97] 1 fresh zucchini, sliced
½  pkg frozen asparagus
½  pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 tomatoes thinly sliced
½ pkg pre-grated cheese [your choice] 2-3 tablespoons oil [olive or canola]

Pre heat oven according to directions on the pizza package.
Remove pizza from packaging – set on a baking sheet.
Arrange the vegetables evenly over the top.
Sprinkle on the cheese.
Drizzle the oil over the pizza.
Bake according to package directions.

Note: you can substitute vegetables of your choice.


1 pkg frozen Garlic Bread Sticks
1 pkg hot dogs

Defrost the garlic sticks for 10 minutes and set them on a microwaveable plate.
Split them and set a ‘dog’ in each.
Microwave 4 at a time on High for three minutes or until the sausage is cooked.
Serve immediately with mustard and/or ketchup, chips and a salad of tomato slices with chopped basil and crumbled feta cheese, drizzled with your favorite store-bought dressing.

Now how difficult was THAT?

Note: The package directions are for baking the bread sticks but microwaving seems to work fine.



1 pkg frozen shrimp
Buttermilk dressing
Chili sauce

Cook the shrimp according to package directions.
Set the platter of cooked shrimp on the table [I usually cover the table with newspaper].
Let everyone help themselves, dipping the shrimp into the sauce of their choice.
This dish can be served hot or cold.

Note: Good idea to have wet cloths for wiping one’s hands – OR give each diner a bowl of water to wash their fingers.  Please explain to them that this in NOT to drink as one poor soul did when dining with Queen Victoria. There was a gasp of horror by the assembled diners.  But Queen Victoria – being a woman of supreme tact and mother of 12 – calmly picked up HER water bowl and drank it too.


And to finish….


1 pkg plain cookies, round or rectangle
1 pint ice cream or sherbet [your choice]

Line a small rectangular dish – with sides – with saran wrap
Allow the ice cream to sit out for about five minutes then press ice cream into the lined dish – smoothing it out to a slab.
Cover with saran and freeze

Remove from freezer.
Lift the saran lining with the ice cream slab out of the dish.
Remove the saran.
Cut rounds or rectangles to fit the cookie you have chosen.
Set on one cookie and top with a second.
Set on a cookie sheet and return to the freezer.
Note : if you are making this ahead – wrap the ice cream bars in foil or saran before refreezing.

Another Note: Oh and I am sure I don’t have to tell you this but you must remove the saran covering on the ice cream – before filling the cookies!

About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.   She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?

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