Here are 4 dishes you can make with no more than 5 ingredients – Orange County Register

Here are 4 dishes you can make with no more than 5 ingredients – Orange County Register

Five-ingredient recipes have a long history of popularity with newspaper readers as people deal with busy schedules and hungry families. For decades I’ve overseen a column featuring easy-to-make recipes with five (or fewer) ingredients; Water, salt, pepper, or oil (or butter) didn’t count toward the five, nor did simple garnishes like chopped parsley.

In these difficult times, amid the shelter-in-place crisis, a kind of culinary revolution is beginning to take hold. Home kitchens are on fire producing three meals a day. They can’t all be complicated fare or sourdough loaves, right? So, it’s a good time to come up with some easy recipes that use five ingredients or less. Delicious and easy to prepare recipes.

Candy is a felony

Felony Fudge is a delicious dessert that’s easy to make — especially if you use the microwave to melt the few ingredients. (Photo by Kathy Thomas)

Let’s start with my all-time favorite, the Felony Fudge, an irresistible combination of chocolate, peanut butter chips, nuts, butter, and sweetened condensed milk, sent by Donna Zager from Ontario. It was commissioned on October 3, 1990. It takes less than five minutes to fix if you are using a microwave oven. It will take a little longer if you melt the ingredients over simmering water in a double boiler.

Zager gave the candy a sign of theft after a sweet-toothed thief stole a plate of candy from her car. Taste it and you’ll get the picture. My advice: Don’t leave it in your car. I’d hate to see a bystander led into a life of crime by Take Five.

fruit: About 20 pieces


One 10-ounce bag of peanut butter chips, see cooking notes

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup chopped peanuts, see cooking notes

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Cook Notes: If you do not have access to a microwave, the ingredients can be melted together in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir constantly, and do not let the water boil. The original recipe called for a 12-ounce bag of peanut butter chips, but over the years those bags have been reduced to 10 ounces, which is the amount that still works in the recipe. The original recipe called for unsalted peanuts, but over the years I’ve used what I have on hand, often salted roasted peanuts – either way irresistible.


1. Place all ingredients in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 50 percent power for 3-4 minutes, or until all ingredients are melted together when stirred; Stir until well combined. (Don’t be fooled if the chips look like they haven’t melted – stir them and more often than not they will melt.)

2. Pour into an 8-inch square dish. Cover and refrigerate until set.

3. Take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cutting it into squares or rectangles. Also make sure to cut around the perimeter between the pan and the candy. A small offset spatula is useful for removing pieces from the pan. The first piece is the hardest to remove, and then it becomes easier.

source: Donna Zager from Ontario

Triple tip top

All you need is a slab of tri-tip, Dijon mustard, French herbs, salt, pepper, and a hot oven to create a delicious main dish. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Topped with Dijon mustard and herbs, this tri-tip roast will require about 5 minutes of work to carve and prepare. It will take about 25 minutes in a very hot oven to produce a delicious, rare and very tasty dish. Leave it for 10 minutes to rest outside the oven.

The tri-tip or tri-tip roast is a small muscle located at the bottom of the sirloin. It is a fairly tender cut that is marbling and has a rich flavour. After generously brushing top and bottom with Dijon mustard, they are seasoned with salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence, a mixture of dried herbs found in the south of France (the basic theme is a combination of marjoram, oregano, thyme and summer savory). Other formulas may include basil, fennel, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, ground and salted bay leaves, chervil, sage, oregano, and mint.). Many supermarkets carry it, but if you can’t find it, substitute with ‘Italian herbs’. This glaze is great on lamb too.

Payout: 6 to 8, depending on what else you offer


1 tri-tip roast, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds, weight varies depending on amount of cut

About a third of a cup of Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons herbs of Provence

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove excess fat from the roast. Place in a shallow roasting pan. Cover both sides with mustard and season with herbs of Provence, salt and pepper.

2. Roast them in an oven at 450 degrees for 25 minutes for rare. (The meat should register 135 degrees on a meat thermometer when inserted at the thickest point.)

3. Remove from the oven to the cutting surface and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice thinly on a diagonal.

Thai style chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce

Few dishes combine peanut butter and jalapeños as delicious as Thai-style chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce. (Photo by Kathy Thomas)

Chef/TV personality Michael Symon has many tempting five-ingredient recipes in his cookbook “Michael Symon’s 5 in 5” (Clarkson Potter, $19.99). This simple recipe is a favorite. It calls for using fresh chopped chili peppers. When I don’t have fresh chili peppers at home, I substitute hot sauce to taste, which is the substitute I prefer because I can more carefully add the amount of spicy heat we desire.

fruit: 6 to 8 servings


2 tablespoons peanut butter

Grated peel and juice of 2 oranges

1 jalapeno, chopped, see cooking notes

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For garnish: a quarter cup of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Cook Notes: When working with fresh chili peppers, wash your hands and work surface when finished and do not touch your face or eyes.


1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, orange juice and peel, jalapeno, soy sauce, and oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the skewers, with two threads per skewer (do not crowd the meat together to form a large clump – let it spread out a bit). Place them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place half the sauce in a separate bowl and reserve for serving. Pour the other half of the sauce mixture over the chicken. Move the skewers to coat all sides, then flip them over.

3. Place the skewers on the clean, hot grill grate in a single layer. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn (I find a thin metal spoon helps here). Grill the meat, covered, until the meat is well caramelized and cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes more. Serve over rice, cover with reserved sauce and sprinkle with cilantro.

source: Adapted from Michael Symon’s 5 in 5 (Clarkson Potter, $19.99)

Jack’s Strawberry Summer Pudding

All you need are strawberries, bread, sugar, strawberry jam and whipped cream to make this delicious dessert. (Photo by Kathy Thomas)

Summer pudding is a classic British dessert made with slices of white bread, placed in a deep bowl with fresh berries and fruit juice. Leave to marinate overnight then turn out onto a plate. It takes some time and planning to set it up. Jacques Pépin, cookbook author and PBS television host, created this simplified version that comes together in minutes.

fruit: 6 servings


About 1 1/2 pints of ripe strawberries

1/2 cup sugar, divided for use

5 slices (6 ounces) of sturdy white sandwich bread, brioche, or French bread

3/4 cup strawberry jam

appetizers: Whipped cream or sour cream


1. Strawberries are clean and hulled. Cut 12 berries into thin slices and mix them with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Sit aside.

2. Place the bread in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; Process for a few seconds to make coarse breadcrumbs. You should have about 3 cups. Sit aside. You do not need to wash the working bowl.

3. Place the whole raspberries, jam and remaining sugar in the bowl of the processor and blend until smooth. Transfer them to a bowl and toss them in the breadcrumbs. Divide among six 1-cup containers. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours.

4. To serve, place the reserved raspberry slices on 6 dessert plates. We spread the pudding over the berries and decorate it with whipped cream or sour cream.

source: Excerpted from Jacques Pépin’s The Economic Kitchen (William Morrow, out of print)

Have a cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at

You may also like...

Leave a Reply