Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 90: Penne Rustica

I really love Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica. It is my favorite thing to get when I go there. So I started searching for a recipe I could do at home. I know it will never be as good as you can it at the restaurant, but that's okay. So I found a few recipes, one was on Mark's Black Pot, and several from various other sites. I didn't have all the ingredients for any of them, so I just improvised a little from each recipe. I did use the sauce recipe from Mark's post though.
Penne Rustica
12" dutch oven
1 lb. penne pasta
1/2 lb. bacon
2 clove minced garlic
3 chicken breasts, cubed
1 large red pepper, diced
16 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
healthy shakes of rosemary, salt, thyme, ground cayenne pepper
healthy shakes of oregano and paprika
First I cooked the bacon in my 12" DO until it was nice and crisp. Then break it into pieces and set aside. Drain off most of the grease, and cook the chicken, garlic and bell peppers in the same pot. In my 10' DO, I cooked the penne on my camp stove, according to package directions. When the pasta is done, drain it and set it aside while you make the sauce. Combine all the sauce ingredients and stir well. I used a 10" DO with about 12 coals underneath. You don't want to boil the sauce, just heat it through. I also threw in about a quarter of the shredded mozzarella.
When the chicken and peppers are cooked, drain off any liquid. Add the pasta, bacon and stir in the sauce. Top with the mozzarella cheese. I baked mine at 350*, with 14 coals on top and 10 on the bottom, for about 20 minutes. Serves 8-10.
The Finished Product

I really wish I could make it look as good as it tastes!

The Review
I think I died and went to heaven! I ate WAY more of this than I needed to! It was so good. I was really unorganized in my preparation since I had never made this and I was combining a couple of recipes. It was worth the effort! Next time it will be easier, and there will be a next time, probably many next times. This is probably one of my favorite recipes so far this year! It made a lot and there were no leftovers. The whole family gave it an A.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 89: Broccoli Ham Ring

I thought I would try something a little more daring in my DO. This recipe is really easy to prepare, and looks really pretty. I was a little nervous to bake it because I didn't want to burn it. It used refrigerated crescent rolls, which can burn pretty fast, so I was careful to check it often while it cooked.

Broccoli Ham Ring
14" dutch oven

2 tubes refrigerated crescent roll dough
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 lb. fully cooked ham, diced
2 1/4 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
Unroll crescent roll dough and place triangles in your DO, forming a ring with pointed ends facing outer edge of the pan and wide ends overlapping. Lightly press the ends together. (See pic.)
Combine the remaining ingredients; spoon over the the wide ends of the rolls. I used clean hands to do this, spooning it was to hard. Fold the points over the filling and tuck under the wide ends (filling will be visible). Bake at 375* for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. I used 22 coals on top and 12 on the bottom. Serves 6-8.

This is how the dough should be positioned.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was good. Most of the kids liked it. It was easy to put together and turned out really pretty. I really started keeping an eye on it after the first 15 minutes of cooking, and it ended taking less than 20 minutes to bake. Any longer and it would have burned. Just a word to the wise. We liked this recipe, and it is one I will make a couple of times a year, but probably not more often than that. So this one gets a B.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 88: Cauliflower Poppers

Cauliflower is one of the most overlooked veggies I can think of. It happens to be one of my favorites. Last year I tried growing my own with some success. I think it will be a major player in my fall garden this year. It was on sale, so I bought a bunch to try out some new recipes. Normally when I eat cauliflower, it is slathered in butter and sprinkled in salt, and generally not very healthy. One of my goals this year is to learn to appreciate veggies that aren't dressed up with goopy sauce. Now that's not to say that I won't cover them with cheese or some other deliciousness, but once in a while, I'll have them without. This recipe dresses it up in spices. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I gave it a try. I found this recipe at On My Menu.

Cauliflower Poppers
12" or 14" dutch oven
1 head cauliflower
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Place all the ingredient into your oiled DO. Bake a 400 degrees until tender, but not mushy, stirring halfway through. Mine took about 15 minutes. I used a 14" oven with 24 coals on top and 12 on the bottom. Serves 6-8.
The Finished Product

The Review
These were good! I loved them. My kids--not so much. None of them ate more than the required 1 bite. They were light, but spicy. Not at all what I was expecting. They would be a great side with any Tex-Mex or Mexican meal. They would go well with a grilled steak or something along those lines as well. These will make many encore performances at my house, even if the kids didn't like them. I may try mixing in some other veggies too! These get an A-.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 87: Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

I've been having problems with my Internet since last night. I haven't been able to get online at all for almost 24 hours. I've been waiting not so patiently for the problem to be worked out. I finally called my ISP. It turns out that the problem is not with my ISP at all. It is with a k-i-d. Apparently, one of my little monsters unplugged something important. So, now that I am back online, I can post today's recipe, albeit 12 hours late.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
10" dutch oven
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pecans (I left these out, I'm allergic)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and 1 1/4 cups sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into an oiled dutch oven. Combine the pecans (I used extra chocolate chips), cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over the batter.
Bake at 350* for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. I used 7 coals on the bottom and 13 on top. I got side tracked and forgot about it and just let mine cook for 1 hour without changing coals, and it was perfect (luckily). Serves 10-12.
The Finished Product
The Review
This was Gooood! It was really rich. I would recommend a glass of milk along with this cake. It wasn't super chocolaty, which was good considering how rich it was. This I one I will make to take to the neighbors when we have a service baking day at our house. My kids love doing that! The top was nice and crispy thanks to the sugar topping. We really liked it. This gets an A.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 86: Chicken Lasagna

Healthy DO recipes can be hard to find. It seems the more fat and calories in a recipe the better it tastes! It's hardly fair. I was surprised at how low cal this lasagna is. It only has 240 calories per servings. Now if you are on a low carb diet, steer clear of this one.
Chicken Lasagna
12" dutch oven
10 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (12 oz.) tomato paste
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tbs. dried basil
1 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
3 cups low fat cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley (I used 2 Tbs. dried)
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Cook noodles according to package directions. I did this in my DO on my camp stove. Meanwhile, cook the chicken. I fried mine in my 12" oven over 20 coals. Let the chicken stand until cool enough to handle. Shred the chicken (I did this in my DO). Drain the noodles and set aside.
In your DO, combine the shredded chicken, tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, onions, basil, 3/4 tsp. salt and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes. I used the same coals that I cooked the chicken with and put half on top and half on the bottom. In another bowl, combine the cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, pepper and remaining salt.
Remove the sauce from the DO into a bowl. Don't worry about cleaning out the oven, you are just going to put it back in. Layer half of the noodles in the bottom of the DO, overlapping them. Layer with half of the cottage cheese mixture, chicken mixture, and mozzarella. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. I used 10 coals on the bottom and 14 on top. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serves 12.
The Finished Product

The Review

This was good! You would never know it was healthy. My sauce ended up really thick, so I added another can of tomatoes to get it the way I like it. You could also add chicken broth to thin it if you want to. My family loved it. It was hearty and comforting just the way lasagna should be. I will make this one again. I still liked the traditional lasagna better. My favorite recipe is here. But give this one a try. The family gave this one a B+.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 85: Italian Bread Wedges

I've spent the last 2 days trying to plan a menu for the next 2 weeks. It used to be pretty easy to do, but now that I have to come up with something new to try every day, its been more of a challenge. Even though I have a million recipes, I haven't tried most of them. I wish the "menu planning fairy" would just drop by every 2 weeks.
I've been really encouraged by my small successes with yeast breads. It makes me want to try a whole bunch of them. I really need to experiment with some recipes. I think I need to make a trip over to Mark's Black Pot for some tried and true recipes and some great instruction on making loaves. He has some really great resources. If you are experimenting with breads, it is worth the time to visit his site.
Today's recipe is another bread stick recipe. I have been in search of the perfect bread stick recipe. There are some really good ones out there, but I have to say, this is my new favorite! Read on...
Italian Bread Wedges
14" dutch oven
3 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbs. oil
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2-3 cups flour
1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
dash pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour; mix until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Pat dough flat. Let rest for 5 minutes. Press into an oiled 14" dutch oven. Spread with salad dressing. Combine the garlic powder, oregano, thyme and pepper; sprinkle over the dough. Top with cheeses. Bake a 450* for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. I used 26 coals on top and 14 on the bottom. Be sure to preheat the lid of you DO. Cut into wedges and serve warm. Serves 10-12.
The Finished Product

The Review
These are my new favorite bread sticks--bar none! These were so good. Next time I'm going to have to make at least 2 pans of these. My kids fought over the last few. The Italian dressing added great flavor. I didn't have enough mozzarella cheese, so I used half cheddar. You could also use a blend of Parmesan, Asiago and Romano instead of the straight Parmesan. I just can't say enough about how good these were. You have to make these--tonight! Easy A.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 84: Chicken Tortilla Casserole

I promise this is the last of the "I'm too sick to cook" recipes. I'm finally feeling better so there will be some better recipes ahead. Nothing makes you appreciate good health like being sick.
This would actually be a good camping recipe. If you cooked your chicken ahead of time. it would be a snap to put together. Add some salsa and chips and your done. It is also a great recipe for busy days.

Chicken Tortilla Casserole
12" dutch oven
2-3 cups diced cooked chicken
12-15 corn tortillas
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can diced green chilies
1 14 oz. can green enchilada sauce
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup sour cream
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Tear tortillas into chunks. Put the torn tortillas and the remaining ingredients, except 2 cups of cheese, in a DO. Mix until the chicken and tortillas are well distributed. Bake at 350* for 40-45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. I used 10 coals on the bottom and 14 on top. Sprinkle with remaining 2 cups of cheese during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve with salsa and corn chips. Serves 8-10.
The Finished Product
The Review
This was really easy and turned out better than I expected it to. My kids put the whole thing together, bless them. Like I said before, it would be a good camping meal because it is so simple. I like this recipe better than any similar ones I've tried. That being said, it is something I'll probably make once or twice a year. Partly because I love trying new things, so only the best recipes go into our normal rotation, and partly because the hubby doesn't like these kinds of casseroles. I'll give this one a B-.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 83: Lemon Bread

My oldest son, who loves to bake, helped me out with this one since I'm feeling better, but still not back to normal. I've wanted to try some DO quick breads for a while now. I wasn't sure quite how to go about it. I didn't know if I should bake it in a bread pan inside the DO, or just pour the batter in and start cooking. So when I was at the world championship cook off, I picked a few brains. I found out that it will work either way. I chose to bake it directly in my DO just because it is one less step. This recipe comes from a family cookbook.

Lemon Bread
10" dutch oven
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at time and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Bake at 350* for 1 hour. I used 8 coals on the bottom and 12 on top and mine only needed about 20-25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from DO. Poke holes in the top with a fork and pour the glaze over the bread while it is still warm. Serves 8-10.

The Finished Product

The Review
This was pretty good. I liked the almond extract, but I thought it needed more lemon to be called lemon bread. Next time, I may add some lemon zest to the batter. I'll also rub some shortening inside my DO before I do quick breads. I couldn't get it out of the DO without tearing it apart. My family liked it, and it didn't even last an hour. I know there are better lemon bread recipes out there, so I'll give this one a B.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 82: Blueberry Dump Cobbler

Since I'm still feeling awful, my 3 oldest kids took over the dutch oven duties for me yesterday. Bless them for wanting to help! They have all watched me cook DO, but not done it themselves. So they put everything together and started the coals. I told them when the coals were ready and how many to use and they did the rest!

Blueberry Dump Cobbler
12" dutch oven

2 bags frozen blueberries
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2-1 cup brown sugar
1 box white cake mix
1 can cream soda
Pour both bags of blueberries into your DO. Sprinkle them with the white sugar. Sprinkle the cake mix on top of the berries. Gently pour the cream soda over the cake mix. Then sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes using 15 coals on top and 9 on the bottom or until it is hot and bubbly. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Serves 6-8.
The Finished Product
The Review
The kids did a great job on this. I am really proud of them. The only thing I would change is next time I will use 2 boxes of cake mix. The cake all sunk into the berries and I wanted more of a crust. Other than that, it was great. This gets an A just because my kids are great!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 81: Chicken Cacciatore

Boy--This cold is kicking my butt! It has been a long time since I felt this crappy! Of course I can go all winter without being sick, but when Spring hits... Oh well, at least it can't last forever. :) I'm glad last nights dinner was so easy to put together. I'm really thinking that DO cooking is easier than cooking indoors. I can't believe that came out of my mouth! After how intimidated I was to start this whole process, its nice to feel that way. I still get told that I'm crazy for doing this, and I can't help but agree, but it sure has been a learning experience!
Today's recipe was originally a slow cooker recipe, but it worked pretty well in the DO.

Chicken Cacciatore
10" or 12" dutch oven
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 1/2-3 lbs chicken (I used boneless, skinless breasts, cut up)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 can (4 oz.) mushrooms stems and pieces, drained
1/4 cup water or white wine
Hot cooked pasta or rice
Put the onions in the bottom of your DO. Add the chicken, seasonings, tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms and water. Cook at 350* for 45 minutes to 1 hour. I used a 12" oven with 14 coals on top and 10 on the bottom.
The Finished Product

The Review

This was pretty good, but it was missing something. The sauce that wasn't on top of the chicken turned out really thin. Next time I will thicken it with cornstarch or tomato paste. Maybe mix in some cream cheese. It was okay, but it won't go into our regular meal rotation until I can tweak it a little bit. But it does have the potential to be really good. This gets a B- for now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 80: Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ugh! I woke up this morning sicker than a dog!! God bless my hubby, he got everyone up and cooked bacon and eggs for the whole crew. I knew there was a reason I married him! LOL! I was back up at the International Sportsman's Expo again yesterday. I was able to see the dishes prepared by the finalists at the dutch oven cook off. They really pulled out all the stops! The presentation was flawless, and everything smelled wonderful! Congratulations to everyone involved. It was a great event! And a special congratulations to Brian and Lisa Blodgett! They are the 2010 International Dutch Oven Society's World Champions!! They cooked Bacon Herbed Wrapped Tenderloin, Raspberry Pineapple Sweet Bread and Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusal Topping. You can find their recipes, and many more, in the 2010 World Championship Cook Off recipe book. It is available here, so get your copy now! You won't be sorry you did! I can't wait to start cooking out of my copy! I just read my email of the final results, and I saw that Bev Shepard and Pamela Lane, the two amazing ladies that I helped on Friday took Second Place!!! Congratulations! You are both awesome!
Today's recipe is one that I've had for a while. I can't remember where I got it, but it is safe to say it probably came from a Taste of Home magazine. I had one last spaghetti squash that needed to be used, so we gave it a try.
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
10" Dutch oven
1 small spaghetti squash (1 1/2-2 lbs.)
1/2 cup water
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 clove minced garlic
1 8 oz. can tomatoes with liquid
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place them cut side down in your DO and add the water. Bake at 375* for 30 minutes or until it is easily pierced with a fork. I used 16 coals on top and 7 on bottom. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop it out and separate the strands with a fork. In your DO, brown the beef, onion, red pepper and garlic. Drain if necessary and add tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and squash. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes. I used 20 coals on the bottom for this step. Cover and bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes with 12 coals on top and 8 on the bottom. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley, cover and let stand a few minutes (until the cheese is melted). Serves 6-8.
The Finished Product

The Review

I really didn't expect much from this dish. My family isn't big on casseroles, but I was surprised that everyone ate this. My 7 year old hates squash, but loved it when I told her it was thin spaghetti noodles. She didn't even notice the difference. It was better than I thought it would be. This won't go into our regular meal rotation, but I will probably make it a couple of times a year. I'll give this one a B-.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 79: Parmesan Seasoned Breadsticks

I got to spend yesterday at the WCC in Salt Lake. Talk about a great group of people! You won't find friendlier people than dutch oven cooks. They treat everyone like family! And the chefs competing in the cook off were so talented and creative. That is the thing that struck me most is their creativity. The flavor and presentation of their dishes was beautiful. I got to be a cook's assistant. That meant I could be in the cooking area with the chefs and I was their runner for hot water and coals. I couldn't help cook at all, but I could ask a lot of questions. I was assigned to work with Bev Shepherd and Pamela Lane. They are a mother/daughter team from B.C., Canada. They were so talented. They prepared Stuffed Cornish Game Hens with Glazed Carrots, Maple Butter Twist, and Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake. Bev is superwoman. She bakes hundreds of pies and breads every week to sell at the farmers market in the summer. She is what I want to be when I grow up! I learned so much from watching them and asking questions. Here is a picture of the three of us. Yes, that's me in the middle. I hate pictures of myself. :(

After all the food was ready and presented, the judges did their thing. I would have hated to be a judge. The food was beautiful and delicious. The best part came after the judges finished. All the cooks assistants helped move the food to a different room, cut it up, and then we got to sample every dish. The main dishes were all so different, that there is no way I could pick a favorite. The breads were amazing. My favorites were the Smokin' Love Knots, Chicken Artichoke Bread and the Roast Beef and Horseradish Cheddar Twist. As for the desserts, can you ever have a bad dessert? I mean really... These were exceptional. My favs were the Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake, Pull Apart Orange Cake and the Raspberry Double Cream Coffee Cake. So, after we ate, we got to hear the announcement of the finalists. I am happy to say that my team, Bev and Pamela, are moving on to the finals! I really hope that I can go do this again next year. Hint, Hint Ranes! It was a great day--my face hurts from smiling!

Here are some pictures of some of the dishes. My team did the Cornish game hens.

I was also excited to meet many of you; Ranes Carter (who we got to listen to all day long-I can't believe he still has a voice), Ron Clanton (go visit rogue dutch oven cookers), Dave Herzog (who taught clinics), and so many of you who follow me everyday. I also got to meet Coleen Sloan, author of Log Cabin Grub cookbooks. What an amazing and talented lady she is!! Thanks to all of you! And good luck to everyone competing today!

Now for the recipe. I was so encouraged by my success with the Focaccia that I had to try another bread to make sure it wasn't just a fluke. This recipe comes from Mark's Black Pot.

Parmesan Seasoned Bread sticks
12" dutch oven

1 Tbs. yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
1/4 cup melted butter
Salad Supreme seasoning
Parmesan cheese
In a bowl, put the water, honey and yeast and let the yeast activate. Add the salt and the flour, adding just enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes. Pour the melted butter in a 12" oven, and spread the dough over it. Cut the dough into strips and sprinkle with seasoning and cheese. Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes. Preheat your lid and then put the bread on the coals for about 20-30 minutes. I used 22 coals on top and 12 on the bottom. Be sure to rotate your lid during cooking. Serves 6-8.

The Finished Product

The Review

These bread sticks were good. They were soft and the salad supreme seasoning gave them a great flavor. I really like the fact that they only have to rise once. It would make them easy to do if you were ambitious enough to bake breads while camping. I let the cheese get to brown on top, but other than that, they turned out perfectly! There certainly weren't any leftovers! Grade: A.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 78: Herbed Focaccia Revisited.

Just a quick post today since I am off to get ready for the World Championship Cook offs. It should be a great day! Last night I decided to try more yeast bread in the DO. My last attempt failed miserably and I totally lost confidence so I haven't tried them since day 43. You can see that disaster here. If you remember, it was like eating cardboard but with less flavor. So I'm redeeming myself by trying it again. I made a few changes that I will add here.
Herbed Focaccia
14" dutch oven

3/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. warm water
3 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup potato flakes
3 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
2 Tbs. olive oil (I used melted butter)
3 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary or 3/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
In a bowl, combine the water and yeast. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, using enough flour to make a soft dough, and knead well. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead for 1 minute. Roll out into a 14 inch circle (or a 15x10" rectangle if cooking indoors). Put dough in the DO and press it up the sides just a little. Cover and let rise 20-30 minutes. With a wooden spoon handle, make indentations a 1" intervals. Brush the dough with olive oil; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, rosemary and garlic salt. Bake at 400 degrees using 24 coals on top and 12 on the bottom for 13-15 minutes or until slightly browned (mine took closer to 20 minutes). Serves 8-10. It would probably be a good idea to take it off the bottom coals partway through cooking.
The Finished Product
What I Learned
Preheating the lid made all the difference this time. This wasn't the least bit stressful now that I have some experience under my belt. It is amazing how important the little thing are when you cook with DOs. Something very simple can make a big difference.
The Review
I AM TRIUMPHANT!!! This bread turned out light, soft and delicious. Compared to this version, the last one is an insult to cardboard. It was better in the DO this time than it has ever been indoors. This success has renewed my confidence in myself and my bread making abilities, so I predict more breads in my future! I'm giving this bread a B, but only because I've found one that I like even better. I'll post it soon!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 77: Cranberry Chicken

Tomorrow is the big day for me. I get to go to the World Championship Cook offs in Salt Lake City. I can't wait to see how the pros do it. I am still such a newbie but I know I will come home a much better DO cook. I'm also looking forward to meeting some of you there. I'm going to try to go back up on Saturday for some of the clinics. It should be a good time all around. Hopefully I'll have some good pics to share for everyone who can't go!
Today's recipe comes from Brett Lybbert. He left this in the comments on one of my posts. You have all been so generous with your recipes, and I will try to get to all of them before the year is out! This recipe has a strange combination of flavors. I wasn't sure what to think when I read it, but I figured "what the heck", I'll give it a try.
Cranberry Chicken
10" or 12" dutch oven
1 can cranberry sauce (I used the whole berry sauce)
1 cup french salad dressing
1/2 pkg. onion soup mix
2 lbs chicken breasts, cut up
Put everything in the DO and cook with 12 coals on top and 12 on the bottom for about 1 hour. Serve over rice and noodles.
The Finished Product

The Review
The first thing my oldest son said was "this gets an A." There were several other comments made around forks and full mouths, and I took the fact that I couldn't understand them to mean it was good. The flavor isn't as strange as you would have thought. Its actually a nice combo of sweet and tangy, and the onion soup is really subtle. I'd had my doubts about how this would turn out, and I was pleasantly surprised. I'll make this one again. It would also be an easy camping meal, especially since it is so simple. Grade A-.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 76: Mint Cocolate Cake

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! I hope you are all wearing green, if not, consider yourself pinched! I spent the morning at the orthodontist with my oldest son. He is walking on air because after almost 3 years in braces he will be metal free in a month. I warned him that the train tracks jokes will increase because now his days are numbered. He was too excited to care about a little teasing.
Today is treat day at dutch oven madness. I decided we needed more chocolate in our lives and some mint mixed in makes it even better. Baking just gets easier and easier in the DO. Cakes are really simple to bake and mine turned out perfectly. My 7 year old daughter's favorite color is green, so she especially loved the frosting on this cake.
Mint Chocolate Cake
14" dutch oven
1 box chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbs. water
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
3 drops green food coloring
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
6 Tbs. butter
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
Prepare cake batter according to package directions. Pour into an oiled 14" DO. Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. I used 11 coals on the bottom and 17 on top. Let cake cool completely.
In a large bowl, combine the frosting ingredients until smooth. Spread over cooled cake.
For the topping, melt the chocolate chips and butter; stir until smooth. Stir in the extract. I cheated and used my microwave for this. Spread over the frosting. Allow to set before cutting. Serves 12-15.
The Finished Product

The Review

These were yummy. I wish there had been more frosting. It was really soft, creamy and smooth. I will make a little more next time. These didn't last long-nothing in my house ever does! These could be made at Valentine's Day with white cake, strawberry flavoring and pink food coloring, or at Christmas you could add a little orange extract along with the mint. Heck, these would be good for the 14th of September, the 9th of April, or any time! I have to give these an A.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 75: Chef Gordon Ramesy's Shepherd's Pie

One of my favorite TV shows is Kitchen Nightmares on BBCA. I love watching these stupid people fight with a world famous chef about why their restaurants don't suck. It makes me laugh that anyone in the restaurant biz wouldn't take advice from someone as successful as Gordon Ramsey. Don't get me wrong, he's a jerk, but still... One of the dishes he is always teaching on the show is his Shepherd's Pie, and every time he does, I want to try it. So after my last Shepherd's Pie fiasco (seriously, don't make the other recipe) I searched the Internet for Gordon Ramsey's. Not only did I find the recipe, but several videos of him making it. His recipe uses lamb and red wine. I used ground beef and extra chicken stock. The wine would give it more flavor, but my kids would all have strokes if we had any kind of alcohol in the house. I also converted the measurements from metric to standard so you won't have to.

Gordon Ramsey's Shepherd's Pie
10" dutch oven

1 lb. lean ground beef
sea salt and pepper
1 large onion, finely grated
1 large carrot, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp. Worcestershire
1 Tbs. tomato puree (I used tomato paste)
Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves picked (I used about a tsp. dried thyme)
1 sprig rosemary, needles chopped (I used about a tsp. of dried rosemary)
8 oz. red wine (I used chicken stock)
10 oz. (1 1/4 cup) chicken stock
2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Tbs. butter
2 egg yolks
Parmesan for grating
sea salt and pepper
Fry the ground beef in your DO over high heat for 3-5 minutes. I used 15-18 coals for that. Add the onions, carrot and garlic. Continue cooking until the beef is browned. Drain if necessary. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and herbs and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the red wine and reduce until almost evaporated. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened.
Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. I used a 10" oven with as many coals as I could fit under it. Drain then return to the hot pan over low heat to dry out briefly. Pass them through a potato ricer (I just mashed mine) then beat in the egg yolks, followed my about 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese. Check for seasoning. Spoon the potatoes over the meat mixture starting from the outside and working your way into the middle. Grate some extra Parmesan cheese over and season with salt and pepper. Fluff up the mashed potatoes with a fork to make rough peaks. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until bubbling and browned. Serves 4.

The Finished Product

Sorry this pic is so terrible. It was all I could do to take one because everyone was starving!

The Review

Yum, Yum, Yum. The difference between this Shepherd's Pie and the last one is laughable!! This tasted so fresh and was perfectly seasoned. I should have cooked it a little longer to brown the cheese, but we ate late and were starving. My potatoes were also a little to thick so next time I will add a little milk to them to make them spread easier. Over all, this is a really simple and delicious dish. It will become a regular in our winter menu. Grade A.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 74: Garlicky Baked Butternut Squash

Winter made another appearance by "blessing" us with 3" of new snow. It was the wettest, stickiest stuff we've seen all year. I just groaned because I knew it was going to be a pain to light coals. And I was right. I guess it would have helped if I had brought my charcoal inside the house instead of forgetting and leaving it under the picnic table. My bad! Oh well, it all worked out okay, and everything cooked beautifully.
I know I have mentioned my current love affair with butternut squash. I can't get enough of the stuff. It is so easy to cook, so nutritious and very delicious. My kids hate it. I mean really hate it. They all have a fit when they have to take one bite whenever we have it. I tell them it will build character, make them better people. They just roll their eyes and try to gag it down while I stifle a giggle. This recipe was adapted from one I found on allrecipes.
Garlicky Baked Butternut Squash
10" dutch oven
2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley ( I used 1 Tbs. dried)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 cloves minced garlic
3 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used about 1/2 cup)
In your DO, combine the parsley, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the squash and toss to coat. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until squash is just tender. I used 17 coals on top and 9 on the bottom. Serves 6.
The Finished Product
The Review
Oh this was good. My hubby and I loved it. The garlic is perfect with the squash. I cooked mine a little too long so it browned a little to much on the bottom, but it still tasted great. The original recipe calls for the squash to be cut into 1" chunks and cooked for 1 hour, but I didn't have that much time, so I cut mine smaller so they cooked faster. This recipe will go into my Tried and True file. I will make this again. Grade A.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 73: Shepherd's Pie

I thought with St. Patrick's day coming up I would try some St. Patty's Day recipes. Shepherd's Pie is a classic English/Irish dish. It is pure comfort food. I went online to the Taste of Home website and did a search. The picture of this recipe looked really good, so I thought I would give it a try.
Shepherd's Pie
12" dutch oven
2 1/2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cooked
1-1 1/2 cups sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs. melted butter
I cooked the potatoes in my DO with about 25 coals. Remove them to a bowl and mash with sour cream. Add the salt and pepper; set aside. In the same DO, cook beef, onion and red pepper until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. I used 20 coals. Stir in garlic salt. Stir in soup, corn and milk
Spread the meat mixture in the DO and top with mashed potatoes; drizzle with butter. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Use 10 coals on the bottom and 14 on top. Serves 8-10.
The Review

Don't waste your time. Seriously, don't. It wasn't even worth taking a picture of. This recipe was a total waste of ground beef and charcoal. I thought it would at least be edible, but I was wrong. In all fairness, a couple of my kids liked it, but overall, it was a flop. So I did another Internet search and found another one that looks really good. I will post it in the next few days. I wouldn't make this again if I were starving to death! Okay, maybe I would, but I'd probably try eating bugs first. Grade D-. I'll save the grade F recipe category for the food even the cat won't eat.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 72: Tomato Upside-down Cornbread

I have received recipes from so many of you! I appreciate them a lot. In a few months, I'll appreciate them even more! I'm a little worried about finding new recipes to try. By the end of the year it is going to be really hard. I have a lot of grade A and grade B recipes right now, but when I run out of my good recipes, I'm afraid there will be a lot more C and D recipes. My family may start to think that I'm regressing in my cooking skills. Speaking of my cooking skills, I can't believe how much I've learned. I used to think I was a pretty good cook for someone who learned to do it on my own. But I have come a long way in the last 72 days. I can't think of anything really specific, (except that keeping roux in the fridge is the best idea EVER) I just cook smarter and I am so much more confident now. After learning to adapt recipes for the DO (which isn't that hard) and sharing my mistakes with all of you, nothing intimidates me anymore. So a big thank you to all my readers for helping me become better!!
This is a recipe I have wanted to try for a while now. I was going to wait for summer and garden fresh tomatoes, but I just couldn't. I adapted it just a little based on my experience with it. But the changes were very minimal. It comes from Rogue Dutch Oven Cookers. It is one of the sites I follow and there are some good recipes there. So go check it out!
Tomato Upside-down bread
10" dutch oven
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
3 Tbs. ketchup
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 lg. egg whites, lightly beaten
In a bowl, combine flour and next 7 ingredients. Add milk, ketchup, oil and egg whites, stirring just until moistened. Preheat you DO with about 20 coals on the lid. I just set my lid on top of my chimney for about 5 minutes. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in your oven over about 15 coals. Add the Italian seasoning and garlic; saute 1 minute. Remove from heat and arrange the tomato slices in a circular pattern in the bottom of the oven. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the batter into the DO, slowly, over the tomatoes. Put your DO back on the heat with 8 coals on the bottom and 16 on top. Bake at 400* for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Mine took about 25 minutes. Remove the lid you are cooking with. Place a clean bandanna or dish towel over the oven and a cool lid (not the one you cooked it with) over the bandanna and oven. Then invert the oven to drop the bread on the bandanna or towel covered lid. I used a cookie sheet to invert mine. A 12" pizza pan would work too. Serves 8.
The Finished Product

The Review
This was SO GOOD!!! I can't believe how good this was. It is moist and delish! I really liked the onions and cheese, and the ketchup gave it a nice reddish color. I only used 1 Tbs. oil to saute the garlic and Italian seasoning, and it wasn't quite enough, because the bottom of the bread stuck to the pan. I think 2 Tbs. would be better for me. My family loved it, even my tomato hating 7 year old thought it was the bomb! I think this is my new favorite cornbread recipe. It is delicious and beautiful! Grade A+.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 71: Apple Crisp

It is treat time at my house again. My kids are always so hungry after school, and they hate having the same old snacks every day. I try to have semi-nutritious snacks at home, but sometimes I have to justify all the sugar by saying "its healthy, there's apples in there!" They were really excited to come home and smell this as they walked past the door. I don't really like to bake. I love to cook meals, but I'm not a baker, so when I do bake my kids are in heaven!

Apple Crisp
12" dutch oven
6 cups apples, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbs. water
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
Combine apples, lemon juice and water. Arrange in your DO. Sprinkle apples with sugar. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, salt, cinnamon and mix well. Sprinkle mixture over apples and dot with butter. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes. I used 18 coals on top and 9 on the bottom. Serves 6.
The Finished Product

The Review

This was pretty good. I liked the topping and I wish there was more of it. It also needed more apples, or a smaller DO, maybe a 10". We all ate it and enjoyed it, but I know there are better apple crisp recipes out there. I probably won't make this one again for that reason. It was good, but I know I can find better. Grade: B-.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 70: Pancit Guisado

No, the name of today's recipe is not a typo. Pancit is a Filipino food. My hubby spent 2 years in the Philippines as a missionary. Not only did he learn to love the people, he also loved the food (well, some of it anyway). When we were first married we used to go to a Philippine restaurant in Salt Lake. Unfortunately, it is now closed. So I've turned to cookbooks and the Internet to get my Filipino fix. Filipino food is always fresh and flavorful without being too spicy or overbearing. Some of it definitely has a unique mix of ingredients. I once had a "shake" made with mango juice, jack fruit, crushed ice, milk and beans. Yes, beans, like pinto beans. Weird but good. Pancit is not a weird food. It is made with everyday ingredients that you can get at your local market. Pancit will use one of two kinds of noodles; rice sticks that you can get anywhere, or canton noodles that come from an Asian market. I used rice sticks for this recipe.

Pancit Guisado
12" dutch oven

4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 onion, slice thin (I used 1 whole onion)
1/2 cup chicken breast, sliced thin
1/2 cup peeled shrimp (I forgot to buy them, so I left it out)
1/2 cabbage, sliced into thin strips
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced thin
handful of green beans, julienned
1-1 1/2 cups chicken broth
8 oz. rice sticks (I used a 6.5 oz. bag)
1/4-1/2 cup soy sauce
In your DO, saute the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, then add the chicken and shrimp and cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add cabbage, carrots, celery and beans. Pour in the chicken broth and simmer until vegetables are crisp/tender. I used 18 coals for this. Meanwhile, soak the rice sticks in water to soften (about 10 minutes). Drain the rice sticks and add the soy sauce. Mix with the vegetables and cook about 10 minutes more. Serve with rice. Makes 4 servings.
The Finished Product
The Review
This was delicious. It tastes a lot like I remember it from the restaurant. My kids thought it was really good, which is a miracle considering there is cabbage in it. The noodles and cabbage were my favorite part. I really wish I had remembered the shrimp, it would have been even better. The flavor is a lot like a stir fry, but I like this a lot better, and it is nearly as easy. This will most certainly be reappearing on our table. Grade: A.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 69: Barbecue Smothered Chicken

I have a lot of good recipes and I've made a lot of good recipes, but there are only a handful of really memorable recipes. Sometimes they are memorable because they are really different or very comforting. Some have good memories attached to them, and some are just so dang good that you can't forget them. This recipe falls into the latter category. I've had this recipe for months, and never tried it because I really don't like mushrooms. I can't stand the taste or texture of the gross little things. Some of my problem is because they're fungus. Disgusting! Anyway--I finally bit the bullet and decided to try it. Now I am kicking myself for not doing in sooner.
Barbecue Smothered Chicken
12" dutch oven
3 Tbs. butter
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup BBQ sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup pre-cooked bacon crumbles
In your DO melt the butter over high heat and add mushrooms, garlic and onions and cook until soft. I used 22 coals for this. Add the kosher salt and pepper and mix well. Remove from the DO and set aside. In the same DO heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, don't fully cook them, just brown them. When they are browned, remove them from the DO and drain off the oil and juices. Put the chicken back in the DO. On top of each breast put the mushroom mixture, BBQ sauce, cheese and bacon crumbles in that order. Bake at 375* for about 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Use 18 coals on top and 9 on the bottom. If you work fast, you can use the same coals for the entire cooking process. Serves 6.
The Finished Product
The Review

Wow! All I can say is WOW! These were amazing! I can taste them right now they were so good. These flavors mix perfectly. How can you go wrong with bacon, onions, BBQ sauce and cheese. Delicious on their own, but they fit in the "food of the Gods" category together. I want to make this again tomorrow! It was really easy too. With a total cooking time of 35 minutes, it went together in a snap. These rank up in my "top 10 favorite meals ever". You really need to try them! Grade: A+.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 68: Utah Moist Supreme Cornbread

After my last cornbread post, I got a lot of emails with cornbread recipes--thanks to everyone, by the way. There were several that were similar in that they used a cake mix as an ingredient. I have heard about these recipes, but never tried them until now. I am told that it is a lot like the cornbread at a national restaurant chain whose initials are M.C. The problem I had with this particular kind of recipe is that they make A LOT, even by my standards. So I chose to try the one that was the easiest to cut in half. It is from Jan Olpin.
I still can't believe how easy corn bread is in the dutch oven. I turns out so moist and yummy and so much better than in my oven. You haven't eaten corn bread until you've had it DO style.
Utah Moist Supreme Cornbread
12" dutch oven
1 box yellow cake mix
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. baking powder
3 1/4 cups milk
4 eggs
1 cup oil
Mix the dry ingredients and whisk together. (If you are cutting it in half, take out half of the dry ingredients and store in a Ziploc bag. I think I took out just shy of 4 cups. Of course you will also cut the wet ingredients in half.) Combine the wet ingredients and add to the dry. Mix until moistened. Pour into an oiled 12" DO. Bake at 400* for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I used 19 coals on top and 10 on the bottom. Serves 12-15.
Honey Butter
1 cup butter
3/4 cup honey
Beat togther until smooth.
The Finished Product
The Review
This was really moist, sweet cornbread. The cake mix really made a difference. This is the kind of cornbread that you can eat all by itself. It is good as is. If I am making cornbread to go with a spicy soup like chili or taco soup I will make a traditional cornbread, but for any other meal, I will make this one. If you make the full recipe it makes 2 12" ovens full. Even my big family can't eat that much in one day. However, it will still be nice and moist tomorrow and maybe even the next day. I liked it a lot, and it would be great with honey butter. This one will go into my tried and true file. Grade: A-.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 67: Best BBQ Meatballs

I don't think I've mentioned what I have coming up in a couple of weeks. I get to go to the World Championship Cook off in Salt Lake City. The event runs March 18-21 at the South Towne Expo Center. Not only do I get to go, but I get to be a cook's assistant (read: "Go-Fer"). I can't wait to get to watch some of the best DO chefs in the country cook. I am going to learn so much! I've never really watched anyone use DOs before. I just started doing it without any real background at all. So this is going to be a real treat! I will be there on Friday helping out, and I may go back up on Saturday to attend some of the clinics. So if any of you are going to be there, let me know, and I would love to meet you! I think it will be a lot of fun, and definitely worth the time.
Okay--today's recipe is meatballs. Have I ever mentioned that I love meatballs? (Have I ever mentioned that I love food?) There is just something about those round little chunks of meat that I can't resist! I have a dozen recipes for them, and a few that I make quite often. These are now being added to the list.

Best BBQ Meatballs
12" Dutch oven

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 cup rolled oats
2 eggs
2/3 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup milk
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tsp. mustard
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Combine the first 7 ingredients. Form into balls and put in your DO. Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove meatballs and drain grease if necessary. Combine the sauce ingredients and mix well. Pour over cooked meatballs and and bake at 350* for 20 minutes. I used 10 coals on the bottom and 14 on top. Serves 6.

The Finished Product

The Review

These were really good. This is probably my favorite BBQ meatball recipe. The sauce is the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, and the meat was tender and juicy. I like to bake meatballs rather than fry them. It is easier, and less messy. Next time I will double the sauce because it really needed more. It would also be better over rice, just because its what we like best. These get a B+.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 66: S'mores Bars

If you haven't noticed, I am trying to keep treats to a minimum. I really don't need the calories. Having 7 children has wreaked enough havoc on my body, I don't need to give chocolate a turn as well! But there are some combinations that I just can't resist. Chocolate and peanut butter is one, and chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallow is another. I love s'mores, I mean really, who doesn't? So when I found this recipe on one of the food blogs I frequent, I knew I needed to give it a try. This recipe comes from Rookie Cookie.

S'mores Bars
10" dutch oven
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 6 crackers)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 1.5 oz milk chocolate bars (I used 6 oz. milk chocolate chips)
1 cup marshmallow cream
In a medium bowl, combine flour, graham crackers, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Press half the dough into the bottom of your oiled DO. Put the chocolate bars on top of the dough, breaking them to make them fit. Spread marshmallow cream over the top of the chocolate. Gently press the other half of the dough on top of the marshmallow cream. Bake at 350* for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. I used 8 coals on the bottom and 12 on top. Let cool 10 minutes before cutting.
The Finished Product

The Review

These were pretty good, but I was just a little disappointed. I was hoping there would be a layer of marshmallow, but it all seemed to get absorbed into the dough. When I make these again, I will use mini marshmallows instead of the marshmallow cream, and I will also use chocolate bars instead of chocolate chips. The idea behind these is really good, the results just weren't what I hoped for. I know they can be better with just a few changes. I did like the graham crackers in the dough, that was really nice. I also liked making a peanut butter and marshmallow cream sandwich with the leftover marshmallow cream. What can I say, it's a throwback from my childhood! As is, I will give this recipe a B...for now.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 65: Chipotle Chicken Nachos

I think I have found another great camping recipe. This is so easy. The meat could be made ahead of time and just reheated at camp. The best part about it is the chipotle peppers. I have never used them before, but boy am I glad I discovered them. You can get them at any grocery store in the Latin foods section. They come in a little unassuming can and you would never know they packed such great flavor! Just one whiff and I was hooked. They are sweet, spicy and best of all smokey. I have to find some more recipes for these little babys.

Chipotle Chicken Nachos
10" dutch oven
3 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1 1/2 medium onions, sliced thin
3 med. tomatoes
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbs. oil
1 can black beans, drained
I boiled my chicken in a DO on my propane camp stove. When it is cooked, drain and shred it. Add some oil and the onions to the DO and cook until the onions are tender. I used 12-15 coals for that. In a blender, puree the tomatoes and peppers with adobo sauce. Add to the chicken mixture and add salt, pepper, garlic powder and black beans. Cover and let simmer a few minutes. Serves 8-10.

The Finished Product

The Review
Wow, these were good! They had such great flavor. Those chipotle peppers are the bomb! They have quite a kick on the back end. The first bite isn't too spicy, but by the time you get to the second bite, you can feel the heat. But don't be afraid, even my 4 year old loved them, so they are pretty family friendly. She said they were "spicing my neck so I had to get a drink". This recipe would also be great in tacos or on tostadas. You could even get those individual bags of Doritos, crush them up and add the meat and toppings and eat them right out of the chip bag. I may try this as a enchilada filling. The possibilities are endless. Grade: A.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 64: Pigs in a Blanket

Whew! I just got home after being gone since 6:30 this morning. My kids had a million places to be this morning! I really can't wait until November when my oldest can drive. Then he gets to play chauffeur! Oh well, such is the life of a mom of 7, and I wouldn't change a thing!!
Yesterday was my baby's 2nd birthday, so we did something fun for lunch. I have to say, I am a bad mom, I have only made pigs in a blanket a couple of times. They were not that great, but that could be because of my aversion to hot dogs. So I thought I would try something a little different than the traditional hot dog (barf) and crescent rolls. These would also be great for lunch when we go camping. I threw them together with 3 ingredients in about 5 minutes.

Pigs in a Blanket
12" dutch oven

1 16 oz. pkg. Lil' Smokies (I used the ones with cheddar cheese inside)
1 roll refrigerated bread stick dough
BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's)
Unroll the bread stick dough and cut each bread stick into thirds. Roll each piece of dough around a sausage link. Place seam side down in your oiled DO. Preheat the DO lid and then bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. I used 18 coals on top and 9 on the bottom. Serve with BBQ sauce. Makes about 36.

The Finished Product

I probably should have cooked them a few minutes longer.

The Review

I have 2 words for these, de lish. I will never make pigs in a blanket with hot dogs again. These were really good. My hubby came home for lunch and ate half of them. These will be a perfect lunch when camping. Just add some chips and a drink and voila--lunch! They would also make good Superbowl fare. I think I will be making these pretty regularly for my kids. Grade: A.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 63: Sweet and Sour Chicken over Rice

When I got home from running a million errands yesterday, I had a surprise sitting on my porch. No, it wasn't the prize patrol (don't we all wish), it was my new dutch oven camp table. Hooray! No more cooking on the ground! I opened it up to see how many DOs I could fit on it. The answer is 3; 1-14" and 2-10" ovens. That is an entire meal on one table. I searched the Internet for the best price and I found it here. It is lightweight and portable, and has side shelves that are sold separately. For me, it is a must have. But like I've said before, you don't need anything like this to cook DO. A 16" paver from Home Depot will do! I wouldn't recommend heating coals in your chimney right next to your cooking food. I put it there so you could see the size. :)
Okay, recipe time. I have several recipes for Sweet and Sour Chicken, most of them I've never tried. This is one of those. My oldest son loves this stuff, so I had to make extra for him. I also cooked some rice in my DO. It is so easy to do. I've done it several times, but never posted it until now.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
12" Dutch Oven
3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup vinegar
1 Tbs. soy sauce
3 1/2 Tbs. ketchup
Mix the flour, garlic powder and pepper in a bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. I also cut up my chicken breasts into strips. Dip the chicken into the egg, then roll in flour. Place in your oiled DO and fry until golden brown on both sides. I used 18 coals for this. While the chicken is cooking, mix together the sauce. When chicken is browned, add the sauce. Bake at 350* for 1 hour or until the sauce thickens. I used 10 coals on the bottom and 14 on top.
White Rice
10" dutch oven
1 cup long grain white rice
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt, optional
1 Tbs. butter, optional
Boil the water with the salt and butter in your DO. I used 15 coals. Stir in the rice. Remove about half the coals. You want it to cook over low heat. Cover and cook 15-18 minutes or until the rice is tender.
The Finished Product

I started out with too much heat, so the breading pulled off my chicken.

Perfectly cooked DO rice!

The Review

This recipe was just okay. It had good flavor, but the sauce never thickened like the recipe said it should. We all ate and enjoyed it, we just like a thicker sauce. I had to double the sauce because it needed more. Maybe if it was thickened with some cornstarch it would be better. I have better recipes for this, so I probably won't use this one again. Grade: B-.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 62: Saucy Hamburgers over Rice

My hubby is taking my boys camping in a few weeks, so I have been teaching him the basics of DO cooking. We are experimenting with some easy, but still hot and hearty dishes. Since it will only be in the 30's at night they want some warm, comfort type foods. I've had variations of this recipe, but this one can be at least partially prepared ahead of time by mixing the meat and veggies. It's fun to watch them learn to DO. They make all the same mistakes I made. Things like setting out the coals too early, forgetting how many to use, and not keeping an eye on things. But now I can just laugh with them instead of getting frustrated because I know what they are going through. Watching them is also hilarious because not one of them can cook! I really need to get some of it on video!

Sauce Hamburgers over Rice
12" dutch oven

1 lb. ground beef
1 large carrot, shredded
1 medium potato, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 envelope onion soup mix
Mix the ground beef, carrot, potato, salt and pepper and shape into patties. Put them in your DO and brown them on both sides. I used 22 coals for this. When they are browned, drain any grease. I used 93% lean beef and there wasn't any. Mix the soup, milk and onion soup mix. Pour over the meat patties. Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Use 10 coals on the bottom and 14 on top. Serve over rice. Serves 4-6.
The Finished Product
Trust me--it tastes better than it looks!
The Review
This was pretty good. For and easy camping meal by a hubby who doesn't know how to cook, I think it turned out great! Definitely serve it over rice, which is super easy in the DO. For camping I will prepare the meat ahead of time and then they can shape and cook it. It will be so much better than tinfoil dinners. I'm not sure how to grade this one. In my kitchen it would be just okay, maybe a B-, but for camping I have to give it a higher grade just because it is easy and hearty, probably a B+.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 61: Cheeseburger Soup

I love soup. I love soup so much that I could eat it everyday and probably never get tired of it. My hubby, however, does not like soup. Since the weather is warming up and his days on the night shift are numbered, I really need to get in all the soup I can. Soup seems so much better in the DO. I really should say that everything seems so much better in the DO. I don't know if I will be able to give up that great flavor. I may end up cooking in my DO forever! Here is today's recipe!

Cheeseburger Soup
12" dutch oven

1/2 lb. ground beef
4 Tbs. butter, divided
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups diced potatoes
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
8 oz. processed American cheese, cubed
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
In your DO, over about 18 coals, brown the beef, drain and set aside. In the same DO, saute the onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 Tbs. butter until the veggies are tender. Add the broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Remove a few coals, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, in a small DO, melt the remaining butter. Add the flour; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add to the soup, bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. I had some roux in the fridge that I used, so I skipped making it. Remove a few more coals, you want a low heat now. Add the cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the cheese melts. Makes 8 servings.

The Review
I have to say, this soup was just okay. I really didn't expect to be blown away, but I thought it would be better than it was. About half my kids ate it, the other half tolerated it. I'm glad I didn't double the recipe. This is the kind of recipe I will maybe make once a year, but no more often than that. Maybe I could spice it up with just a little hot pepper sauce. I have to give this recipe a C+.

Day 60: Moist Garlic Chicken

Day 60! I can't believe it has already been 2 months! So far, I still love using my DO. It is not super convenient sometimes, but I have really learned how important it is to plan ahead. I rarely have those hectic evenings where I don't know what's for dinner. Come to think of it, I haven't had one of those nights for about 2 months now.
You might be noticing that things at dutch oven madness are looking a little bit different today. Well, that's because I was up until about midnight figuring out how to change the HTML code to a three column design. After much trial and error and a lot of Internet searching, I finally did it. Over the next while, I will be adding a few things to make the site more interesting and easier to use! So stay tuned.
I've been on a chicken kick lately. Normally, we don't eat quite this much chicken, but it is so easy to cook in the DO, and it tastes really good. This is another recipe I have been making for years. I was scared to try it at first because it has a lot of garlic in it, and I wasn't sure if my kids would eat it. But once again they surprised me with their willingness to try something new! Hmmm...I wonder where they got that from...
Moist Garlic Chicken
10" or 12" dutch oven
1/3 cup melted butter (use real butter)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbs. shredded Parmesan cheese
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
In a bowl, combine the butter, garlic, garlic powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the bread crumbs and cheeses. Dip chicken in butter then in bread crumbs. Place in your oiled DO. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes or until juices run clear. Use 14/6 (top/bottom) coals for a 10" and 16/8 (top/bottom) coals for a 12".
The Finished Product
I really need to work on my photography!
What I learned
When I've cooked meat without any sauce, I've needed to redistribute the coals a little. If I use the normal formula for coals I tend to burn the bottoms. So for this I took 2 coals from the bottom and put them on the top and they cooked better.
The Review
This was more delicious in the DO than when it is cooked indoors. I don't know why that should surprise me! It was easy and cooked beautifully. My kids love this enough that they will eat it without slathering it with BBQ sauce. I think that is the highest compliment kids can give a meal! I love garlic, so it follows that I would love this dish. I give it an A.

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