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Two Ingredient Wonders

Three little words: beautiful to my ear and rich in emotion. Three little words I just don’t hear often enough: two ingredient recipes.

You’d think someone who writes a radio commentary for a food-related segment would like spending more time in the kitchen. And I do! Just on the tasting side of the counter, chatting with my husband as he stirs savory sauces or kneads artisan breads.

When it’s my night to cook, only succinct recipes make the cut. If I have to take a breath reading the ingredient list, it’s an automatic non-starter.

Casseroles and lasagnas exhaust me. Curries--while warm and comforting--remind me of the Neverending Story with their interminable lists of spices. Generally, I consider time in the kitchen well spent …  if it ends within 10 minutes with a nicely grilled piece of salmon and crisp green salad. Maybe a bowl of fresh berries on the side.

Imagine my excitement, then, to discover two ingredient recipes. Not just simple meals based on whole foods--salmon and salad or steak and potatoes--but, combinations of two ingredients to create a new, otherwise non-existent third.

Two ingredient recipes reward the impatient cook with undebatable simplicity. Don’t have time to make homemade English muffins for breakfast? Turns out you do. Can’t cook before rushing to a soccer game? Put two ingredients in the Crock Pot before lunch and you’re kicking off an effortless dinner. Even dessert is no sweat with insanely easy ice cream topping. You’ll wonder why you’d ever buy overpriced Magic Shell again.

I remember discovering these two ingredient wonders like I remember meeting a friend for the first time. In that spirit, I’d like to introduce you to a few pals. Some old, some new--all reliable and low maintenance.

Two ingredient English muffins:

Greek yogurt and self-rising flour. That’s it. Simply mash 2 cups of yogurt and 2 cups of flour together and knead for a few seconds. Shape into balls and pat into a puck a few inches across and one inch thick. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip and bake 10 to 12 minutes more until golden brown.

Not everyone has self-rising flour in the pantry, but it’s available at your grocery store. If you must, you can use all purpose flour with a tablespoon of baking powder and a teaspoon of salt, but that kinda steals the magic, doesn’t it?

Two-ingredients main dish:

Chicken and salsa. The slow cooker will do most of the work for you here: chicken breast and salsa will shred after four hours on high for a hot-and-ready taco filling or addition to a salad. Vegetarians can enjoy an easy meal by pureeing the same jar of salsa with a can of black beans and some vegetable stock for black bean soup. Not officially a two-ingredient recipe, but close.

Two-ingredient ice cream topping:

Semi-sweet chocolate chips and coconut oil. One cup of chocolate to 2 tablespoons of oil. Seems a little ho-hum until you pour it on a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream and it hardens to a decadent shell, inviting us to be little kids again. Or you can combine 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips with a can of sweetened condensed milk to melt in the microwave or over low heat on the stove for a fast hot fudge sundae.

While casting no aspersions to complex casseroles, trifles and sauces, a girl can love her two-ingredient recipes. Especially since it leaves more counter space for my husband’s gourmet platters.

This is Jenn Ashton for Bread and Butter. Hey, Bread and Butter--another two-ingredient dish! Way to go, UPR.