Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 242: Company Potato Casserole

Good morning everyone!  I just sent my 5 year old daughter Brylie on the bus for her first day of kindergarten.  I'm so sad to see her go I could cry, and I did a little.  But its quite a milestone in a child's life and I don't think I've ever seen her more excited.  Now its just me and my baby until lunchtime.  Its going to be a quiet day!  I'll have to make some treats to celebrate her first day.  I know just the recipe!

Speaking of recipes, I found today's recipe in a Taste of Home magazine.

Company Potato Casserole
10" dutch oven

5 cups cooked cubed peeled potatoes
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese, divided (I used cheddar)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tbs. dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

In a bowl, combine the potatoes, sour cream, 1 cup cheese, carrot, onion, parsley, salt, dill and pepper.  Transfer to a dutch oven.  Sprinkle with paprika and remaining cheese.  Bake at 350° for 25-35 minutes or until bubbly.  Use 1 ring on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 8.

The Finished Product

The Review

The only company I would serve this to is someone I didn't like.  This was not good at all.  When I made it I hoped the herbs would give it good flavor since the sour cream wouldn't help out in that department.  It didn't happen.  It just tasted like potatoes and sour cream.  Not to mention that the sauce broke and was gross and lumpy.  If you're smart, you'll just skip this recipe all together.  Grade D.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 241: Chicken Cordon Bleu Bundles

One thing that I'm discovering as I try so many new recipes is that the best recipes are simple, even if they look complicated.  It takes as much time to make something like these bundles that look difficult and fancy as it does to make a casserole.  And the reality of it is that these didn't cost much more to make than a casserole would.  Its changing my thinking as to what an inexpensive meal could be.  These bundles probably cost just over $2 each.  If you add some fresh seasonal veggies and some bread you have a very nice and relatively inexpensive meal. I found this recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bundles
10" dutch oven

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1 1/4 cups milk
1 Tbs. minced fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed
8 thin slices deli ham
4 slices provolone cheese

Put the chicken in a 10" dutch oven, cover with water and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.  Use 1 ring on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  After the chicken is done, drain and keep warm.  Wipe the dutch oven clean.
In your 10" dutch oven over a full spread of coals saute the onion and mushrooms in  2 Tbs. butter until tender.  Combine the cornstarch and milk until smooth; stir into the mushrooms.  Add seasonings.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened.
Cut the pastry sheets in half width wise.  On one side of each half, place a chicken breast, 1/4 cup mushroom mixture, two ham slices and 1 cheese slice.  Fold pastry over filling and seal the edges.
Place each bundle in a greased 10" dutch oven and bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden.  Serves 4.

The Finished Product

I had an extra sheet of puff pastry so I made 6 bundles that completely filled up a 12" dutch oven.

The Review

These little bundles were really good and really easy.  I'm surprised by how easy they were.  They took me about 20 minutes to put together, but they look and taste like they were much more difficult to make.  I was surprised by how easy the puff pastry was to work with and how good it was.  After cooking in water, the chicken was so tender that you could cut it with a fork.  I have to warn you, these were huge!!  We had to cut them in half because they were too much for one person.  Next time I'll cut the chicken in half and make 8 bundles instead of 4.  I'll be making these again.  Grade A.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 240: Buffalo Chicken Pizza

I've seen recipes for this pizza before, but I didn't have one when I made it, so I'm going to call it mine.  Before today I've never had Buffalo Chicken Pizza before.  I've never even had buffalo wings before.  Not because I haven't had the chance, but because I don't like eating wings.  There just isn't enough meat on them to make it worth the effort it takes to get it off.  My hubby thinks I'm nuts, and he may be right.  :) 

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
12" dutch oven

1 cup buffalo wing sauce, divided (I used Frank's)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. oregano
2 green onions, sliced
blue cheese salad dressing
Pizza dough (recipe below)

Prepare the pizza dough and allow to rise while preparing the chicken.  In a 12" dutch oven, cook chicken, garlic salt, pepper and chili powder in butter until chicken is browned.  Add all but 3 Tbs. of the buffalo wing sauce and cook and stir until the chicken juices run clear, about 5 minutes.  Remove chicken from the pot and wipe the pot clean.
Press the pizza dough into the bottom of the greased dutch oven.  Bake at 400° for about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and brush the dough with the remaining 3 Tbs. of buffalo wing sauce.  Combine the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese over the crust.  Spoon the chicken over the cheese, sprinkle with oregano, remaining cheese and green onions.
Bake at 400° for 20-22 minutes or until crust is golden and the cheese is melted.  Serve with blue cheese salad dressing.  Makes 1 12" pizza.

Pizza Dough

1 Tbs. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup scalded milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbs. melted butter
4 cups flour
1 Tbs. oil

Dissolve yeast in water. Scald milk and add salt, sugar, butter, and oil and cool.  Add yeast and flour a little at a time until dough is stiff.  Knead well.  Allow to rise.  Makes 2- 12" pizza crusts.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was smokin' hot!  I think we could have breathed fire at each other.  But it was really good.  I'm glad I made a cheese pizza for my little kids, because there is no way they could have eaten this.  I had smoke coming out my ears.  I like spicy foods, but this was a little to much even for me.  I think I'll try to find a milder sauce next time.  The blue cheese dressing really finished this off and added a great flavor.  I'll make a milder version of this one again.  Grade B+.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 239: Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Today's recipe comes from a Taste of Home cookbook.  Its one I've eyeballed forever, but just never tried.  I have some homemade raspberry jam that will make this taste even better!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
10" dutch oven

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold butter
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract


1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup slivered almonds

 In a large mixing bowl, combing the flour and sugar.  Cut in the butter until crumbly.  Remove 1 cup and set aside.  To the remaining crumbs, add baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, egg and almond extract; mix well.  Spread in the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a 10" dutch oven.  For the filling, beat cream cheese, sugar and egg in a small bowl; mix well.  Pour over batter; spoon raspberry jam on top.  Sprinkle with almonds and reserved crumbs.  Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Serves 9-12.

The Finished Product

The Review

Delicious!  We loved this!  The almond extract makes it taste and smell so good.  I used a raspberry-blackberry jam in this one, but you really could use just about any flavor you want.  This will go in my tried and true file.  It would be a good breakfast cake or dessert.  Grade A.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 238: Camping Chicken Pot Pie

Whew!  I'm glad that today is over.  I hate having car problems.  I wish we could go back to the horse and buggy days, then when my horse gave me problems I could just shoot it.

I have a friend that is going camping for Labor Day weekend and wanted some help practicing DO cooking so she didn't mess up.  So we made this easy pot pie. 

Camping Chicken Pot Pie
10" dutch oven

2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 - med/large potato diced and cooked
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 Cups Biscuit Baking Mix (Bisquick or Jiffy)
1 cup milk
1/2 - Stick Melted Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In your dutch oven, layer the chicken, carrots, and peas. Mix the soup, chicken broth, thyme, rosemary and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Pour over the layers. Stir together the biscuit mix and milk, and pour this over the casserole. It will be very thin.  Drizzle butter over the topping. Bake until the topping is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

The Finished Product

Sorry, we forgot to take a pic of the inside of this one!

The Review

For a camping meal, we agreed it was pretty good.  For a make at home for dinner meal, not so much.  I think I lower my standards when I cook at camp because everything just tastes better outdoors.  So in my opinion, take this one camping.  The only way I'd make it at home is if I had absolutely nothing else to make.  For camping, we give this a B, for at home it gets a C.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 237: Cheesy Hashbrowns with Ham

Hopefully this will be the last simple casserole for a while.  I'm casseroled out!  But its helpful to know some simple recipes for camping or busy nights or times when money is tight.

Cheesy Hashbrowns with Ham
12" dutch oven

1 32 oz. bag frozen hashbrowns, partially thawed
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb. cubed ham
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Stir all the ingredients together.  Place into a lightly greased dutch oven.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 8.

The Finished Product

The Review

For as quick and easy as this was it was pretty good.  Not my favorite by any means, but my kids liked it.  It would be a great camping meal because its so easy.  This gets a B.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 236: Zucchini Brownies

Good morning everyone!  I had some huge zucchini sitting on my counter that really needed to be used.  I happened across this recipe and I knew I had to try it.  It was my kids first day of school yesterday and I needed a treat for them to celebrate.  What could be better than healthy brownies?  How's that for an oxymoron?  How about healthier brownies.  These are still loaded with sugar and chocolate, but I like to think the zucchini cancels some of that out.  :)  I found this recipe here.

Zucchini Brownies
12" dutch oven

1 ½ C. sugar
½ C. oil
2 C. grated or puréed zucchini
2 t. vanilla
2 C. flour
1 t. salt
1 ½ t. baking soda
½ C. cocoa
½ C. pecans or walnuts

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, zucchini, and vanilla. Mix well.  Add the flour, salt, soda, and coco. Mix well.  Pour into your greased dutch oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Allow to cool completely.  Frost with chocolate frosting (recipe below) and top with nuts.


1/2 C. butter; softened
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 C. cocoa
1 t. vanilla
1/4 cup + milk

In a mixing bowl combine the butter, sugar and cocoa.  While mixing add the milk until the frosting reaches desired consistency.  If you accidentally add too much milk, add more sugar to compensate.

The Finished Product

The Review

I dare you to find the zucchini in these brownies!  My kids had no clue.  Talk about sneaky.  I have a couple of kids that won't touch zucchini with a 10 foot pole, and they loved these brownies.  They even packed them in their lunches this morning.  I have to keep this a secret, so don't tell!  I'm going to find some more ways to mix zucchini with chocolate.  I feel less guilty about eating 4 brownies since they're "healthy".  These get an A!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 235: Roasted Cauliflower

If  have to eat one more stinking casserole I think I'm going to barf!  I may go on a hunger strike too.  We've been so spoiled by what we've been eating.  Normally I can make it through the lean times without to much complaint, but right now, I've about had it with the food.  I'm actually enjoying making a menu and looking forward to going grocery shopping.  I must have a fever!  Can you tell I'm kind of on a food downer?  We're used to eating a variety of meals, so when we are stuck with one type of meal (read casseroles) for very long it gets boring and semi disgusting.  Thank goodness I get to go shopping in 2 more days!  But enough of my griping!

I  made this cauliflower to go with yet another (gross) casserole last night.  I won't subject you to the casserole, but you do get the cauliflower.  I found this in a stack of handwritten recipes I've had laying around.

Roasted Cauliflower
14" dutch oven

5-6 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite sized pieces (I used two 1 lb. bags of frozen cauliflower)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs. sliced garlic
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Add the cauliflower and stir well.  Pour into a 14" dutch oven and spread out into a single layer.  Bake at 500° for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Use 3 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serve with fresh Parmesan cheese.  Serves 6-8.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was just okay.  I could be good if it had more flavor.  There was a TON of garlic, and I never thought I'd say this, but it was to much.  If I make this again, I'll use less garlic, more salt and add some spices to give it more flavor.  We gave this a C.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 234: Mom's Meatballs

I don't know what it is about meatballs.  All the recipes are pretty similar, but none of them taste the same.  I never get tired of them.  My kids love them, especially my 2 year old.  I always know she'll eat them.  Its weird.  This is another recipe I've had forever and not made in almost as long.  It was time to try it again.

Mom's Meatballs
12" dutch oven

1 lb. ground beef
2-3 carrots, shredded
1 large potato, shredded (raw)
1 yellow onion, grated
1 egg
1/2 c. bread crumbs
red pepper flakes, to taste
salt and pepper to taste


1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
1/2 c. sour cream
1 can milk
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

Mix meatball ingredients together. Roll into meatballs and put them in your dutch oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350° using 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom. Mix sauce ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl and mix with a whisk until creamy. After meatballs are browned, pour sauce evenly over the meatballs and place back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes (or until sides are hot and bubbly). Serve over rice.

The Finished Product

The Review

These were yummy!  I loved the red pepper flakes, they gave it a really nice kick.  Even the sauce was good, and I don't care much for canned cream soup.  The veggies in these were good too.  There was almost as many veggies as there was meat.  Its a great way to sneak in veggies for my kids.  These were also quick.  I had them done start to finish in about 40 minutes.  These would be really good for camping.  These get a B.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 233: Paula Deen's Cheese Biscuits

Here's another Paula Deen recipe.  I needed a quick bread to go with dinner since I let the rolls I was making burn.  :P  I remembered seeing this one on the food network site, and thank goodness I found it in time for dinner!

Paula Deen's Cheese Biscuits
12" dutch oven

2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 stick butter, melted

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together using a fork; cut in shortening until it resembles cornmeal. Add cheese. Stir in buttermilk all at 1 time just until blended. Do not over stir. Drop by tablespoonfuls, or use an ice cream scoop, onto a well greased baking sheet. Brush dough with melted butter. Bake at 350° for 15 to 18 minutes.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.

The Finished Product

The Review

These were pretty good.  They worked great in the dutch oven, just like everything else you could possibly want to cook.  They weren't my favorite biscuits, but we liked them. I probably won't make them again because I have a recipe for a knock off of Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay biscuits that I like better.  We gave these a B.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 232: Creamy Chicken Noodle Bake

This is a recipe I've had forever.  I ran across it the other day while I was organizing my recipe files.  I've changed it over the years to suit our tastes.  It originally had a cracker crumb topping, but we found we like it better with cheese on top.  This is a fast and easy weeknight meal.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Bake
12" dutch oven

3 cups. cooked chicken, cut up into bite size pieces
2 - cans cream of chicken soup (10 3/4 oz cans)
1 1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 - 10-oz. pkg. frozen peas
1 - 12 oz - package wide egg noodles, (cooked al dente)(I use no yolk dumplings)
2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter

In a large bowl, mix together cut up chicken, soup, milk, melted butter and peas. Add cooked noodles & 1 cup cheese; stir to coat. Transfer to your dutch oven. Top with the additional 1 cup cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 8.

The Finished Product

The Review

This would be another good camping meal.  It is quick and easy and pretty tasty.  I normally try not to use much cream soup, but its good in this.  I like how simple this recipe is and I always have the ingredients on hand if I get short on time.  We gave this a B.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 231: Bobby Deen's Favorite Goulash

As you probably guessed, this is a Paula Deen recipe.  I love her recipes and I use them often.  I love that they are the ultimate in comfort foods.  Most of them are also simple and delicious!

Bobby Deen's Favorite Goulash
12" dutch oven

1/2 tablespoon Paula Deen’s House Seasoning (recipe below)
3 tablespoon soy sauce
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
3 cups water
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large onion, chopped
2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 tablespoon Paula Deen’s Seasoned Salt
2 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked (I used rotini)
1 - cup frozen mixed veggies or frozen corn  (I used an entire 1 lb. bag and it wasn't to much)

In a Dutch oven over a full spread of coals, saute the ground beef until no pink remains. Break up the meat while sauteing. Spoon off any grease. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and saute until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, House Seasoning, and seasoned salt. Stir well. If adding mixed veggies or corn add them now. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 15 to 20 minutes. I put about 6 coals on top at this point.  Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from heat, remove the bay leaves, and allow the mixture to sit about 15 minutes more before serving. Serves an army-probably 10-12 adults.  You'll want to cut it in half for smaller groups!

Paula's House Seasoning:

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

The Finished Product
The Review
Growing up, my mom used to make goulash.  It was very simple and could be made in about 15 minutes.  I really didn't like it.  Mom's didn't have a lot of flavor.  So I was hesitant to try this recipe.  But I have to say, this is the best goulash I've ever had!  It was perfectly seasoned and totally delicious.  My 15 year old son, Colton,  was praying for leftovers so he could take it to school and have it for lunch.  My kids scarfed it down.  It did take a little while to make, but it was mostly cooking time, not prep time, so this is a great weeknight or camping meal.  Even my goulash hating hubby liked it.  I gave it an A, my hubby gave it a B, so we will meet in the middle and go with an A-.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 230: Pizza Pasta

This recipe is from my friend Holly.  I helped her cook this for our church's dutch oven social a few days ago.  It was one of many DO dishes we made that night!  It was a lot of fun.

Pizza Pasta
12" dutch oven

16 ounces rotini pasta
2 (6 oz) cans olives, sliced
3 (14 oz) jars pizza sauce
8 ounces sliced pepperoni sausage
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Any Pizza toppings you prefer

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over a full spread of coals.  Add pasta and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Combine pasta with pizza sauce, pepperoni, olives and any other pizza toppings you prefer. Pour into your dutch oven. Top with mozzarella.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden. Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 8-10.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was really good.  The kids really loved it.  It was one of the few foods at the DO social that my 2 little ones would eat.  I think it would be a great camping meal or a busy night dinner.  Add some crusty bread and your done!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 229: Spicy Chipotle Cornbread

Last night our church had a dutch oven social.  I had 2 friends who had never dutch ovened before and wanted to try it so they came to my house and I helped them cook.  Altogether we had 7 dutch ovens going at once.  I helped my friend Amy come up with this recipe, she wanted to do something nice and spicy.  Its a combination of 3 different recipes, so I'll call it my own.

Spicy Chipotle Cornbread
10" dutch oven

1 cup flour
1 cup 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 Monterrey jack cheese
1 cup milk
3 Tbs. ketchup
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 lg. egg white, lightly beaten
1 (8 oz) can corn, drained (can use cream style or whole kernel)
canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to taste, chopped (we used 1/2 can)

In a bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, chili powder and minced onion.  Add the milk, ketchup, oil and egg white, stirring just until moistened.  Carefully stir in the cheese and chipotle peppers.  (At this point we tasted the batter to make sure it wasn't to hot.)
Preheat the lid for 5 minutes or until hot.  Bake at 400° with 1 1/2 rings of coals on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 8-10.

The Finished product

The Review

This was gooood!  Not too spicy, but enough that you felt the burn in the back of your throat.  It surprised a lot of people at the social.  As we talked about this recipe we thought it would be really good baked over a mild chili.  You could also use jalapenos instead of chipotles.  Some of the kids thought it was a little to spicy, but you could always use fewer peppers to tone it down a bit.  We all agreed this got an A.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 228: Easy Mexican Rice

I spent the last week getting my 3 oldest ready to go back to school.  After school clothes and fees my wallet is considerably lighter.  So the next week or so we will be having very simple, frugal meals.  But simple and frugal don't have to be boring.  Last night, for instance, we had Tex-Mex Haystacks.  They are tortilla chips topped with taco meat, re fried beans, cheese, salsa, lettuce, sour cream and so on.  They are super simple.  But to make them a little more hearty we added a layer of this rice.  At just pennies a serving its a great way to add texture and flavor.  I've also used it in tacos, burritos and enchiladas.  I got this off the Internet, but I can't remember where, so my apologies for not giving credit!

Easy Mexican Rice
10" dutch oven

1 cup rice
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small can tomato sauce (about 1/2-3/4 cup)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cumin

Heat the oil over a full spread of coals and saute the rice until lightly browned.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, remove a few coals, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender.  Serves 4.

Everyone was starving so I couldn't get a picture of this one!

The Review

I wouldn't make this recipe to use as a side dish.  I have much better Mexican Rice recipes.  However, it was perfect to use as another layer in this dish or in burritos and such.  It adds texture and flavor without being overpowering.  In that way, its a great recipe.  My family really liked adding the rice to the dish.  I'm going to give this one a B.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 227: Easy Dutch Oven Roast

I have a confession to make.  In the last 15 years I haven't cooked a roast anywhere but the crock pot.  I've been totally spoiled by roasts that are so tender you can't get them out of the slow cooker in one piece.  I was a little apprehensive about how a dutch oven roast would turn out.  Not that it wouldn't be good, just that it wouldn't be very tender.  I thought I'd try a recipe that a friend gave me a while back.  This roast makes its own gravy.  I also figured the soups in this one would keep it nice and moist.

Easy Dutch Oven Roast
10" dutch oven

2 lb. roast  (use a good cut of beef.  I used a sirloin tip roast)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 envelope brown gravy mix
salt and pepper

Place the roast in the dutch oven and lightly salt and pepper it.  Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the roast.  Bake at 350° for 2 hours or until the roast is tender and cooked through.  Serve with mashed potatoes or bake with potatoes and carrots.

The Finished Product

The Review

This roast was good.  It was tender and juicy and the gravy was yummy.  I used a 4 lb. roast and cut it in half to help it cook faster.  I cooked mine for 3 1/2 hours and added carrots and potatoes during the last 1 1/2 hours of cooking.  Like I said, it was good but it didn't "wow" me.  It was just your average roast.  I must admit that I have finally found something that I would rather cook somewhere other than the dutch oven.  I know I could get a roast "fall apart tender" in the dutch oven, but it is just so much easier to do in the crock pot.  I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but I probably won't cook another beef roast in the dutch oven unless the power goes out or something.  I'm giving this a C+ because its not my preferred method to cook a roast.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 226: Ranch Flavored Roasted Chickpeas

I have to say, I've never eaten chickpeas (or garbanzo beans depending on what part of the country you hail from) before.  I've seen them at the store, but had no idea what to do with them.  I'm always looking for meatless ways to add protein to our diet (not that I have ANYTHING against meat) and for healthy snacks.  This recipe seemed like a great way to do both.  I've seen roasted chickpea recipes floating around the Internet but never gave them a second look.  Then when I was at the grocery store I thought I'd give them a try. 

I'm pleased to say that I made this recipe up myself.  As I thought about what I wanted the finished product to be, I remembered Corn Nuts.  They were one of my favorite snacks back in high school.  In fact, I had a friend that ate so many of them that she started to smell like Corn Nuts.  As a result, we nicknamed her Corn Nut.  But I'm getting a little off subject...  Anyway, they came in lots of different flavors and were crunchy and yummy.  So, being inspired by Corn Nuts I decided to make ranch flavored roasted chickpeas.

Ranch Flavored Roasted Chickpeas
14" dutch oven

2 (15 oz.) cans Garbanzo beans
2 tsp. olive oil
1-2 tsp. kosher salt or to taste
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix

Drain the chickpeas and rinse well.  Pat dry with paper towels.  This step is really important!  If there is excess moisture they will take longer to cook.  In a Ziploc bag, combine the beans and the rest of the ingredients.  Shake well to coat evenly.  Transfer to a dutch oven and bake at 375° for 30-45 minutes or until the chickpeas are crunchy and not soft in the middle.  Use 1 1/2 rings plus a couple of coals on top and 1 ring on the bottom.

The Finished Product

The Review

These were really yummy!  They make a great snack.  We used them as bribery on the kids to get them to be good in church today.  I think they would add a great crunch to a salad or sack lunch.  I'm going to look for a big #10 can of chickpeas so I can make them in bulk.  BBQ flavor would be good too.  I have some smokey BBQ rub I might try on the next batch.  They would also be good with some chili powder and cumin or even taco seasoning for a southwest flavor.  We loved these!  Grade A.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 225: Lemon Chicken Pasta

Over the course of this year, I've really learned what a difference fresh lemon juice makes in a recipe.  I was always to lazy to squeeze a lemon so I'd just use the bottled stuff.  I didn't know what I was missing out on.  These days, when lemons are on sale I buy a whole bunch, squeeze them and zest them and freeze them.  That way I have "fresh" lemon anytime!  I tell you all that because you really need the fresh lemon juice in this recipe.  It would be a complete waste of chicken to use the bottled stuff.  This recipe is too good, so use fresh juice.

Lemon Chicken Pasta
10" dutch oven

2 lemons, divided
4 chicken breasts
2 T. olive oil, divided
1 t. each Cajun seasoning (or seasoned salt), freshly ground black pepper, tarragon, basil, thyme, and rosemary
1/2 t. sage
16 oz. package pasta, cooked
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. pepper

Place chicken breasts in your dutch oven; drizzle with 1 T. olive oil and juice from one lemon. In a small bowl, combine Cajun seasoning, black pepper, tarragon, basil, thyme, rosemary, and sage; pour over chicken breasts. Bake chicken at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through.  Use 1 ring on top and 1 ring on the bottom.

Meanwhile, saute garlic in 1 T. olive oil for 1 minute. Add sugar, pepper, and juice from half of a lemon; mix. Add cooked pasta and toss to coat.

To serve, cut chicken breasts into thin strips and arrange over pasta. Garnish with slices from the remaining lemon half.  Serves 4.

The Finished Product

The Review

This is my new favorite lemon chicken recipe.  Seriously, it was amazing.  My kids loved it!  The Cajun seasoning gave it a nice kick that surprised me, and I loved all the herbs.  This was also super easy.  30 minutes start to finish.  Talk about an easy weeknight meal.  Its also nice enough for company!  Next time, the only change I'll make is to add a little more lemon to the chicken.  This will go into my "tried and true" file!  Grade A.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 224:Snicker Doodle Bars

As if we didn't have enough treats yesterday with 2 birthdays, we had these bars too!  My kids wanted to make me a treat for my birthday all by themselves.  I found them this recipe that was easy enough that my little ones could help.  I found this recipe here.

Snicker Doodle Bars
12" dutch oven

2 1/3 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Cinnamon Filling

1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. cinnamon


1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbs. milk

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the sugars until fully incorporated. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

Spread half of the batter on the bottom of a greased dutch oven. Mix together the cinnamon filling ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the batter in the pan. Dollop the remaining batter in teaspoonfuls over the cinnamon filling. Don't worry about it not completely covering the filling- everything will spread out in the oven and have a great marbled look.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely then mix together the glaze ingredients (adding more milk if it's too thick- or more sugar if it's too thin) and drizzle over the top of the bars.

The Finished Product

The Review

Snicker doodles are one of my kids favorite cookies.  I hate making them because its a pain to roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  These solve that problem nicely.  They were easy and yummy!  Everyone loved them and they'll replace regular snicker doodles at my house.  We gave these an A.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 223: Curried Chicken Shepherd's Pie

Happy birthday to me!  Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday dear me, happy birthday to me!  Yep, its my special day.  I'm 39 today, 1 more year before I hit the first stage of being old.  I'm lucky enough to get to share my birthday with my daughter Brinlee who turns 8 today.  She was the best birthday present ever!  I get to spend today renewing my drivers license (since I've put off doing it for 3 months and now it expires today) and pulling apart my shower that is experiencing the effects of old age and has exploding pipes.  Is that what I get to look forward to?  Exploding pipes?  Yeah, not going to think about that today!

Since I was dealing with shower issues yesterday, I had to have a quick and easy dinner last night.  I've only used curry a couple of times.  I've stayed away from it because I thought it would be to spicy for my kids.  But au contraire, they love it.  I was intrigued by this shepherd's pie curry and a little bit nervous, but it got a good review, so I gave it a try. This is from a Taste of Home magazine.

Curried Chicken Shepherd's Pie
10" dutch oven

1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
1-1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups mashed potatoes (with added milk and butter)
1/4 teaspoon paprika

In a 10" dutch oven, saute onion and celery in 1 tablespoon butter until tender over a full spread of coals. Add frozen vegetables and remaining butter; cook 2 minutes longer.

Stir in flour and curry powder until blended; gradually add broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Add the chicken, parsley, salt and pepper.

Top with potatoes; sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Use 1 1/2 rings of coals on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Yield: 4 servings.

The Finished Product
The Review
I was really surprised by how good this was.  My hubby, my pickiest eater, had 2 plates.  All my kids loved it and there were no leftovers.  That smells like a successful meal to me.  This would be a good camping meal because its really easy.  Its the perfect weeknight meal.  I'll be making this again.  Grade B+.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 222: German Meatballs with Buttermilk Gravy

Last night's dinner was a cook and run.  I had to have my daughter to a cross country work out at school so I didn't get to see dinner until it was cold.  Its days like those that I'm really glad my oldest son can cook.  I started it and he finished it.  I found this recipe here, and it looked pretty good.  Caramelized onions are always a plus in my book.

German Meatballs with Buttermilk Gravy
14" dutch oven

2 lbs Lean Ground Beef
1 Egg
1/4 cup Milk
1/3 cup FRESH Bread Crumbs
1 Small Onion, diced small
2 tsp Spicy Brown Mustard or Regular Yellow Mustard
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Vegetable or Canola Oil
1 Medium Onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Flour
2 cups Buttermilk
1 tsp Brown sugar
2 Tbsp Butter

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10" dutch oven and melt together over a full spread of coals. Add the 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar to the melted butter/oil, add the sliced onion and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until onions begin to brown. Remove a few coals to lower the heat and continue to cook onion stirring occasionally until softened and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes.

While the onions cook, mix the egg, bread crumbs, milk, salt, pepper, and mustard together in a bowl. In a medium bowl add the ground beef, diced onion and bread crumb mixture together. Mix gently until the onions and bread crumbs are evenly incorporated. Shape into walnut sized meatballs. After the onions are caramelized add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the onions to deglaze the pan and set aside. Put the meatballs in a 14" dutch oven and bake them at 400 for about 30 minutes or until they are no longer pink.

Remove meatballs from the pot and add 2 tablespoons of butter to it, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk the buttermilk into the flour, continue whisking until the gravy is smooth. Taste gravy and season with salt and pepper if needed. Add the caramelized onions and meatballs back to the skillet and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. Serve over hot spaetzle noodles or rice. Serves 8.
I couldn't get a picture of this since I was gone.  Sorry!
The Review
These were just okay.  The gravy was bland even with the caramelized onions.  Some beef bouillon or even some nutmeg would have helped.  They weren't difficult to make, just a little time consuming.  I most likely won't make these again, especially since I have so many other good recipes for meatballs.  Grade C.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 221: Parmesan Chicken Crepes

Since helping Kris make crepes at the cook off and seeing how easy they are in a dutch oven I finally tried this crepe recipe that I've had bookmarked forever.  I'd been a little intimidated by crepes, but now I think that was just silly.  Just like everything else, they are as easy to make outdoors as indoors.  I found this recipe here.

Parmesan Chicken Crepes
10" dutch oven

Crepe Batter

1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
1 Tbs butter, melted
1 cup flour
dash of salt

Combine in blender until smooth. Pour a scant 1/4 cup of crepe
batter onto an inverted dutch oven lid over a full spread of coals.  A flat lid works best.  (See pics below)  Spread until the batter is about 6-8 inches across. Brown crepe on one side only. Remove by inverting pan over a plate. Stacked crepes do not stick together, and refrigerate well - so you can get a head start by making the crepes the day before.

 My 5 year old daughter and future IDOS world champion helping cook crepes.

Parmesan Chicken Filling

5 Tbs butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/4 lb mushrooms, sliced (My hubby ate all the mushrooms so I used sliced carrots)
3 Tbs flour
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb asparagus spears, in 2” slices - cooked/drained
1/4 tsp crushed rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp salt
Shredded Parmesan cheese
grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a 10" dutch oven over a full spread of coals, adding onion and mushrooms. Stir fry until limp. Set aside. Boil asparagus for a few minutes until tender/crisp (I cheated and did this in my kitchen). Drain and rinse with cold water. Add flour to mushroom/onion mixture, stirring until well distributed. Stir in broth, then cream - stirring over heat until it thickens. Stir in a handful or two of shredded Parmesan, rosemary leaves, and salt to taste.  Add chicken and asparagus, then additional cheese as desired. Place a heaping Tablespoon of filling down the center of a prepared crepe. Roll tightly, and place in greased baking dish. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan if desired, then cover with sauce. Bake at 350° 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.  Use 1 1/2 rings of coals on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 6.


1/3 cup butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1 2/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a small dutch oven, melt butter over a full spread of coals. Then add flour and mix until smooth. Mix in cream, milk, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil and then simmer until sauce begins to thicken. Stir in Parmesan cheese until melted.

The Finished Product

The Review

My kids exact words were "Mom, these are the best crepes you've ever made."  And they were delicious!  I loved the filling and the Alfredo sauce.  Even Boey, my 2 year old daughter, loved them.  They were really easy and didn't take very long to cook.  When you make the crepes, use a 12" DO lid if you can.  You can fit more coals under it and it will get hotter than a smaller lid will.  It helps the crepes cook faster.  This recipe will go into my tried and true file and I will be making these again.  Grade A.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 220: Baked Zucchini with Mozzarella

I needed a fast and easy side dish for dinner last night.  I got busy playing board games with my kids and forgot all about dinner so I had to come up with something quick!  I had seen these on Real Mom Kitchen a while ago and thought I'd give them a try. 

Baked Zucchini and Mozzarella
12" dutch oven

3 medium sized  zucchini
Johnny’s Garlic Spread & Seasoning (I found it at Costco)
kosher salt
2 C shredded mozzarella cheese

Slice your zucchini up into 1/2 inch rings.  Lay them out flat on a large cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Johnny’s Garlic Seasoning and a bit of salt.  Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes or until crisp tender.  Use 1 1/2 rings of coals on top and 1 ring on the bottom.

Sprinkle the zucchini with cheese. Move all the coals from the bottom of the oven to the top, and continue to cook until the cheese gets all bubbly and a bit browned.  This won't take very long.  Serves 6.

The Finished Product

The Review

We were really disappointed by these.  They had kind of a weird taste.  None of my kids would eat more than 1 or 2.  They weren't gross or anything, they just weren't that good.  Its to bad because they were really fast and easy to prepare.  We decided that these get a C.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 219: Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Normally I only make one kind of Chicken Enchiladas.  I posted them a while back, and you can check them out here.  I've really been spoiled having such a great recipe.  Before I really learned to cook I used to make those super creamy enchiladas made with cream of chicken soup.  I made them so often (because it was one of the few things I could actually cook) that now I can't stand the look of them.  It really gets my gag reflex going!  But the other day when I was stalking food blogs I ran across today's recipe.  It is one of the few creamy enchilada recipes that don't use cream of chicken soup, so I thought I'd give them a try.  I found them here.

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
10" dutch oven


1-2 chicken breasts (boiled and shredded)
2 (4 oz.) cans of green chiles (lightly drained)
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese (softened and cubed)
1 can white or black beans (rinsed and drained)


2 tablespoons butter
1/2 yellow onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup chicken broth
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can (10 ounce) green chile enchilada sauce
½ cup sour cream

8 ounces Monterrey jack cheese (shredded)
8-10 medium flour tortillas
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add the chicken and black beans. Mix to combine. Set aside.

In a 10" dutch oven over a full spread of coals, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. Whisk until the mixture becomes smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened. Remove the dutch oven from the heat and stir in the enchilada sauce and sour cream.

Remove all the sauce except for a very thin layer on the bottom of the oven. Fill each tortilla with a scant ½ cup of the chicken/cream cheese filling. Top with a small handful of shredded cheese, a couple tablespoonfuls for each enchilada. Save at least 1/2 cup cheese for the top of the enchiladas. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down in the dutch oven. Continue filling enchiladas until you use all the filling.  This should make 8-10 enchiladas.

Pour the white sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top and serve.  Serves 8.

The Finished Product

I don't know how anyone gets an enchilada to look good out of the pan! 

The Review

This is a hard one for me to grade since all enchiladas are compared to our favorite recipe.  I'll try to be as objective as possible.  First, this was really easy.  Easy enough to make while camping.  I loved that it had black beans.  I also liked that the cream sauce is really light and has a nice flavor.  The whole family thought these were really good.  I'll be making these again, though not often.  Not because we didn't like them, but because we have a favorite enchilada recipe that the kids request over and over.  If you like creamy enchiladas but don't like to use canned soups then this is the recipe for you.  Its not at all spicy, it just has a great green chile flavor.  We give this one a B.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 218: Crepe Cake with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

Today's recipe is the Crepe Cake we made at the Wasatch County Fair Cook Off.  I originally found the recipe at a site called And Now for Something Completely Delicious and we adapted it with a raspberry chipotle sauce.  It is really a pretty cake, and we thought it would be really challenging in a dutch oven.  We also wanted to use a raspberry chipotle sauce in our dessert to make it memorable.  We had practiced this recipe and felt like we could make it work and make it beautiful.  Unfortunately, everything doesn't always go as planned.  These pictures are from the site where I found the recipe to give you an idea of what it should look like.

It is crepes layered with a yummy cream filling.  When we practiced this recipe we had problems with the crepes being all different shapes, and as you can see, they really need to be the same.  We solved that problem by cutting down a #10 can and cooking the crepes in it to get a nice round shape.  I'm sorry I forgot to take a picture of it, but I'll be making some savory crepes  in the next few days so I'll have some pics then. 

When you make crepes in a dutch oven, you can't do it in the oven itself.  There is no way to turn them over and have them look nice.  You have to make them on a lid turned upside down.  Most dutch oven lids are concave so the crepe batter runs into the center of the lid.  For crepes, you need a flat lid.  Camp chef makes a really nifty oven that has a flat lid with little short legs on it.  It is perfect for crepes or pancakes or cookies.  It doesn't even need to be propped up with bricks.  This is what the lid looks like.

On a normal day, crepes cook pretty fast, but in the rain it took forever.  One tip is to make sure you're using a hot pan and that the coals stay hot.  Don't be afraid to add coals.  Each crepe should only take a couple of minutes to cook so they are tough to burn if you watch them.  Another tip, spray the lid with Pam.  It works better than butter or oil.

Okay, on to the recipe.

Crepe Cake with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
10" dutch oven lid

Crepe batter

6 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cups whole milk
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoon sugar
pinch salt
about 1/2 tsp. lemon extract  (you just want a hint of lemon flavor)

In a small dutch oven over a full spread of coals, heat the milk (do not bring to a boil). Pour out of the dutch oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Wipe out the oven with a paper towel and then cook the butter until it turns a light brown color.  Meanwhile, in a stand mixer mix together the flour, sugar, eggs, and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and the brown butter while mixing. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.  (We just put ours on ice until it was cold.)

To make the crepes, bring the batter to room temperature. Place a flat dutch oven lid over a full spread of coals.  Allow the lid to get nice and hot. Brush with oil or melted butter or spray with Pam non-stick cooking spray. Add a 1/4 cup of batter and swirl it around until it completely covers the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges turn light brown, loosen with a spatula and flip over. Cook the other side for only 10 seconds. Flip out onto a plate lined with parchment paper. Repeat until you have 20 crepes, or run out of batter.

Pastry cream:

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoon sugar

Bring the milk just to a boil over a full spread of coals. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour out of the dutch oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Wipe out the dutch oven with a paper towel and combine the egg yolks, sugar, and corn starch. Slowly add all of the hot milk, whisking continuously. Place the pan over high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, still continuing to whisk. The mixture will thicken in 1-2 minutes. Once it is thick, immediately remove from heat, pour into a shallow dish and refrigerate until chilled (can be chilled overnight along with the batter).

Sweetened whipped cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

When ready to assemble the cake, make sweetened whipped cream. Beat the heavy whipping cream at high speed for several minutes until stiff. Add the sugar and vanilla. Fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream and mix until smooth and incorporated.

 Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (thaw and drain if using frozen)
chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped

In a bowl, mash the berries and sweeten to taste.  Add enough chipotle peppers to give it a nice kick.  You want to bite into the cake and say "wow".  Make it hotter than you think you should because once it is mixed with the pastry cream the heat will be milder.  Mix the raspberry sauce into the pastry cream right before assembling the cake.  Add enough to give it a nice pink color and a spicy kick.  You can always add more peppers if you need to.

To assemble the cake, begin by placing a crepe down on your display plate or cake stand. Spread a thin layer of the pastry cream onto the crepe. Cover with a crepe and repeat with all twenty crepes, ending with the prettiest crepe on top. Chill for at least 2 hours. Bring the cake back up to room temperature slightly before slicing. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with berries and mint leaves.

The Finished Product

The Review

If the pastry cream would have worked and not been so runny, I think we could have won the dessert category.  This is a really good recipe, it was just a bad day for us to make it.  Even the way it was it tasted good.  I love the kick the chipotle peppers gave it.  It is also a very elegant and pretty dessert.  I don't know if I'll do it in a dutch oven next time, but I'll make it again.  It would be super easy on the stove top.  Grade A.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 217: Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

The more I think about it, the more fun I had at the cook off on Wednesday.  I just laugh at how miserably fun it was.  Yesterday's post was a novel and I didn't even include everything that went on.  So today I have to thank Jan from the Dairy Keen in Heber.  It was fun to meet you and thanks for lunch and for the cook book.  You are such a sweetheart!  When any of you pass through Heber stop at the Dairy Keen for lunch.  They have awesome burgers and the trains that run along the ceiling of the restaurant are adorable!

Today's recipe is for the potatoes that we made with the pork tenderloin at the cook off on Wednesday.  They are really easy and would go with almost any entree.  I found these at epicurious and there is a picture of them on yesterday's post.

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
14" dutch oven

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 large boiling potatoes (3 1/2 pounds), peeled and quartered lengthwise
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

Sprinkle cheese on wax paper or foil and dry 1 hour. Transfer to a large sealable bag with flour, salt, and pepper, then shake to mix.

Rinse potatoes and drain in a colander. Add potatoes to flour mixture, tightly sealing bag, and shake to coat well.

Melt the butter in a 14" dutch oven.   Lift potatoes from bag and arrange in 1 layer in butter. Roast at 350° turning twice, until browned and crisp, about 1 1/4 hours.  Use 1 1/2 rings on the top and 1 ring on the bottom.

The Review

These were a big hit.  They are so simple its ridiculous.  We cubed our potatoes so they would cook quicker and they worked great.  We ran out of time so the potatoes never got golden like they should have, but they were still really tasty.  These will be making regular appearances on our table.  Grade A.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 216: Wasatch County Fair Cook Off and Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Wrapped with Prosciutto

Good morning everyone!  We (my cook off partner Kris and I) had a very eventful day yesterday.  We arrived in Heber around 2 pm.  Kris was the first one there to set up and bless her, she was able to get us a spot in a baseball dugout so we would be out of the sun.  Now, a normal July day in Heber is between 85° and 90° and sunny, so we were prepared for everything we'd need to beat the heat except for an awning to stay out of the sun.  So the dugout was very nice.  It would have been even better if the sun has been yesterday's biggest problem.

The cook off started at 3 pm, so when they gave us the shout we started coals and started the food prep.  Well, Mother Nature must have heard the shout as well and felt she needed to contribute something to the cook off, because at 3 pm she sent a down pour.  When I say down pour, I mean down pour!  It rained cats and dogs and little children with lightening and thunder added in for good measure.  It rained until there were little lakes everywhere.  At first we groaned and moaned a little but once we realized that its all just part of the cook off fun we were laughing about it.  And I dare say we enjoyed it a little.  I can tell you that I've never been so glad to be cooking in a dugout.  I'm also glad that it wasn't my first time cooking in the rain/wind/bad weather in general.  As all of you know, I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt.  : )  With that much rain you can imagine how hard it was to start coals.  God bless the man cooking 2 dozen pots of potatoes next to us for having a big propane torch.  The rain put everyone at least 30 minutes behind schedule.

The baseball field behind our dugout.

Pots of potatoes cooking in the rain.

Heres Kris freezing in the rain!

We spent the next few hours cooking, cooking, cooking.  Kris made crepes for the crepe cake, while I got the pork tenderloin and potatoes going.  Thankfully, the worst of the rain only lasted about 45 minutes, so once it stopped we could really get cooking.

Unlike other cook offs I've been to or watched, the judging here was staggered.  Because we were the first team to set up we had to present our dishes at 6:00.  The next team was at 6:10, the next at 6:20, and so on.  Even though we has less time to cook than everyone else, we were very happy to take our food to the judges.

Let me tell you about all our cook off blunders.  There were many!  First, do you know how long it takes to cook 20 crepes on a DO lid in the rain?  We do.  It takes about 2 1/2 hours.  At a 3 hour cook off, that only leaves a 1/2 hour to make the filling and put it all together.  About the cake filling...  What do you do when the filling that is supposed to be creamy and delicious turns out watery and thin?  I'll tell you, you find a way to use it anyway and hope to heaven it tastes okay.  Kris ended up spreading each crepe with raspberry chipotle sauce and drizzling each one with the filling.  We ended up with a bit of a runny mess at the bottom of the cake, but we covered it up with some canned whipped cream and fresh raspberries.  It turned out okay, just not as good as we'd hoped.

Kind of a runny mess!  : )
Next was the pork tenderloin.  When I made the filling I forgot to add the chicken broth and the mozzarella cheese.  But those were minor compared to the fact that as it cooked the whole thing opened up to reveal the filling instead of staying in a nice roll.  But never fear.  We had some nice leafy kale leaves to use as a garnish so we just put the open side down on the leaves so no one would ever know!  Pretty tricky, huh?

Next was the cornbread.  It turned out well, except that I forgot to run a knife around the edges to loosen it from the pan so the edges didn't look as nice as I wanted.

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for!  I know your thinking "this is all very interesting, but how did you do?"  Well, we did GREAT!  We came expecting to have a great time, but not to win.  But we ended up taking Second place in the main dish category and FIRST PLACE in the bread category!!!!  We were so surprised!  You should have seen the dishes the other teams cooked!  They were beautiful and delicious!  Some of them were worthy of the world championships, and I know because I got to help with the world championships last spring! 

All in all, it was a great experience.  I hope I can go back and do it again next year.  It was very well organized and I met some really amazing people.  I've said it before, dutch oven cooks are some of the greatest people I've ever met.  I have to say thanks to Kris, my partner!  She is a great cook and a lot of fun to be around!  We are looking forward to competing at the state fair next month!

So today's recipe is our second place pork tenderloin recipe.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Wrapped with Prosciutto
12" dutch oven


1 Tablespoon neutral oil such as canola or safflower
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
3 slices white bread, crusts trimmed and cut into ½” cubes
1teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
¼ cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon white wine (optional)
5 Swiss chard leaves, chopped (I used chopped spinach)
1 slice prosciutto, cut into small dice
¼ cup (packed) shredded mozzarella or smoked mozzarella


1 lb.  whole pork tenderloin
4 to 5 slices prosciutto, sliced paper-thin
1 piece dry spaghetti
1-1/2 Tablespoons oil
2 large pieces of plastic wrap

To make stuffing: In a 12" dutch oven, heat 1 Tablespoon of oil over a full spread of coals. Add onion and garlic and sauté until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add bread cubes and toast for 1 minute. Add herbs and cook for another minute.
Pour in chicken stock and wine. Add Swiss chard and cook until the chard goes limp, about 2 minutes. Stir mixture and continue to cook for a couple of minutes, until all liquid has been absorbed.
Remove stuffing from the heat. Stir in diced prosciutto and mozzarella. Set mixture aside until ready to stuff the pork (stuffing can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 24 hours).

To Prepare Pork: Slice open and pound out pork between sheets of plastic wrap.
Lay the prepared pork flat and spoon the stuffing in a line down the middle. Roll up the tenderloin and secure with pieces of dry spaghetti or toothpicks.
Wrap the entire tenderloin with prosciutto slices. Pour 1-1/2 Tablespoons oil on the bottom of  your 12" dutch oven and place the tenderloin inside.
Roast pork for about 30 minutes at 425° or until the meat is just faintly pink when sliced into. Use 2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Let cool slightly and slice. Serves 6-8.

The Finished Product

The Review

As you can tell by the fact that it won second place, this was fabulous!!  The pork was tender and moist, the filling was perfectly spiced, and the prosciutto was browned and crispy.  This is also really easy to make.  Even in the rain I made it in just over an hour start to finish.  It would be a perfect meal to serve to company or for a nice Sunday meal.  This is definitely an A recipe.

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