Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 272: Blueberry Sausage Cake

Today I have a breakfast recipe.  For some reason, breakfast recipes seem harder to find.  Its probably because mornings are busy and there never seems to be enough time to make anything good!  That's my reasoning for not trying this recipe sooner.  We finally decided to have "Brinner" (breakfast for dinner) just so I could try this recipe.  I got this from Randy Goodman.  He says this dish is one of the most requested meals at a bed and breakfast run by his relatives.

Blueberry Sausage Cake
12" dutch oven

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1 lb. pork sausage, cooked and well drained
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and baking powder; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the flour mixture and sour cream, beating until combined.  Fold in the sausage and berries.
Pour the batter into a greased dutch oven.  Sprinkle nuts on top.  Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serve warm with blueberry sauce (recipe below).  Serves 12-15.

Blueberry Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and cornstarch.  Add the water and blueberries.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir 2 minutes more.  Stir in lemon juice.  Cool slightly.  Makes 2 cups sauce.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was SERIOUSLY good!  The combination of sausage and blueberries may sound weird, but it is delicious!  I ate way more of this than I should have.  The 9 of us ate all but 2 pieces.  We had this with scrambled eggs and it was a hearty meal.  This is a perfect Sunday breakfast, and it would be awesome to wake up to this when you're camping.  We ran out of sauce, so you'll want to double it for sure.  This gets an A.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 271: Turkey Lattice Pie

Yesterday was our last night of soccer--thank heaven!  I love watching my kids play, but it makes my evenings very hectic!  It will be nice to be back on a normal schedule.  So last night I had to make something that was really fast and easy.  And even with something simple we still didn't eat until after 7 pm.  My poor kids were starving!

Turkey Lattice Pie
14" dutch oven

3 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
4 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/3 cups milk
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten

Unroll two tubed of crescent roll dough; separated into rectangles.  Press them into the bottom and 1/4 inch up the sides of a dutch oven to form a crust, sealing seams and perforations.  Bake at 350° for 7-10 minutes.  In a bowl, combine the turkey, cheese, broccoli, soup, milk, mustard, onion, salt and pepper; mix well.  Spoon over the crust.  Unroll remaining dough; divide into rectangles and seal perforations.  Cut each rectangle into 5 strips.  Using the strips, make a lattice design on top to the turkey mixture.  Brush with egg.  Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until top crust is golden brown and filling is hot.  Serves 12-16.

The Finished Product

I forgot to brush mine with egg, so it didn't brown as well as it should have.

The Review

This recipe is just okay.  The gravy was really thin, almost soupy.  I would cut the milk down to 3/4-1 cup.  I also wasn't super thrilled with the crescent roll dough.  The flavor of it kind of overpowered everything else.  I would have liked it better with a pie crust.  It also needed some spices, maybe a little thyme.  That being said, it was still good.  It was very easy to make and since I already had some cooked chicken it only took a few minutes to put together.  But since I probably won't make this again, I'm giving this one a C.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 270: Easy Chicken Curry

This is the first curry dish I've ever made.  Come to think of it, I really haven't eaten a lot of curry dishes.  I wasn't sure what to expect from this recipe.  It was very mild and had a very unique flavor.  I need to make more of these kinds of foods.

Easy Chicken Curry
10" dutch oven

1 1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
Salt to taste
2 tsp. curry powder
1 (14 oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk (In the Asian section at the grocery store)
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 cups packed fresh baby spinach

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over a full spread of coals.  Add the onion and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Cook the onion, stirring often, until soft.  Add the curry powder and continue stirring for one minute more.  Stir in the coconut milk, tomatoes and tomato paste.  Continue cooking the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
Add the chicken, stir well, and cook until the meat is cooked through.  Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted.  Add more salt to taste.  Serve over rice.  Makes 4 servings.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was good.  I haven't quite acquired a taste for the coconut milk yet.  But sometimes all it takes to like a food is getting used to the flavor combinations.  Everyone except my 2 youngest children ate this and liked it.  But none of us loved it...yet.  I think after I exposed my kids (and myself) to these kind of flavors more they will really like it.  I'm giving this a B.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 269: Southern Sunday Chicken

We had a really nice day yesterday!  We had some unexpected company, but we had a wonderful time visiting with old friends.  This is one time I'm extra glad I learned to cook in my dutch ovens.  I would never have been able to find a pot big enough to cook this meal for 16 people.  God bless my 14" dutch oven.  I tripled the recipe and it worked out perfectly.

Southern Sunday Chicken
10" dutch oven

1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 fresh mushrooms, sliced (I left these out)
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
3 Tbs. flour
1 cup evaporated milk
Hot cooked noodles or rice

In a large resealable bag, combine the first 6 ingredients.  Cut the chicken pieces into thirds; place in the bag and shake to coat.  In a dutch oven over a full spread of coals, melt the butter.  Brown the chicken on all sides; remove and keep warm.  Add the onion, celery and mushrooms to the dutch oven and cook until tender.  Return the chicken to the pan and add the broth.  Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk the milk and flour until smooth.  Add to the pot and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.  Serve over noodles or rice.  Serves 4.

The Finished Product

Sorry this pic is so bad.  Its is the last 2 pieces of chicken that I had to reheat for the picture. 

The Review

We really liked this dish.  It was very simple and didn't have a lot of flavors going on.  The chicken was also really tender.  The only thing I'd change is to add a little more in the way of vegetables.  I'll probably double the amount of celery and onion, and maybe add some shredded carrot.  Other than that, it made a really nice meal.  Our guests really liked it as well, and went home with the recipe.  I'll be keeping this one.  Grade B+.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 268: Cheesy Skillet Vegetables and Bacon

I'm so sorry about the late post!  I was running behind and almost didn't make it to church, then we had unexpected company.  I finally have a few minutes to sit down and write this post!  But I can't complain, it was a great day!

Cheesy Skillet Vegetables and Bacon
12" dutch oven

1 lb. bacon
2 (16 oz.) pkgs. frozen broccoli and cauliflower blend
1 lb. baby carrots
1 small onion
2 cloves minced garlic
6-8 potatoes
2 cups grated cheese

Brown bacon in a dutch oven over a full spread of coals.  While the bacon is cooking, cut the onions, carrots and potatoes into bite sized pieces.  When the bacon is done, place on a paper towel to cool.  Brown the onion in the bacon grease.  When brown, add the vegetables and garlic.  Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  While the vegetables are cooking, crumble the bacon.  When the vegetables are cooked, sprinkle with cheese and bacon.  Place a lid on the dutch oven and allow to sit until cheese is melted.  Serves 6-8.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was really good!  Even my picky eaters ate this well.  I wasn't expecting this to be as good as it was.  The bacon really put this over the top.  I'll be making this again.  While mine was cooking, it was taking forever, so I put the lid on and put 8 or 10 coals on top to keep in the heat and help it cook faster.  This was really simple and easy.  Grade B+.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 267: Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

Its menu planning time again, and I can't seem to find anything that sounds good.  I hate those kinds of weeks.  I told my kids they may be eating nothing but treats for the next 2 weeks, which was just fine with them.  I really need to get on the ball!  Speaking of treats, I'm not sure where I found this recipe, but I don't know why I haven't made it before now.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies
12" dutch oven

1 package brownie mix
6 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tbs. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups mini marshmallows
12 regular size Reese's Peanut Butter cups, cut into cubes
1/2-3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, melted

Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions and spread in the bottom of a well greased dutch oven.  In a separate bowl mix together the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.  Drop by tablespoonfuls evenly over the brownie batter.  Use a knife or toothpick to swirl the cheese mixture through the brownie batter.  Bake for 30-32 minutes or until cooked through.

When the brownies are finished, remove the pot from the heat and sprinkle marshmallows, Reese's PB cups and chocolate chips over the brownies.  Replace lid and allow them to melt, about 3 -5 minutes.  Remove lid and allow brownies to cool.  Drizzle with melted peanut butter and allow to cool completely before cutting.

The Finished Product

For some reason I'm having problems uploading pics into Blogger lately.  I'll get the pic up as soon as I can figure out what the heck I'm doing wrong.

The Review

Oooh these are good!  Brownies, chocolate, marshmallows,peanut butter and cheesecake?  This must be what they eat in heaven.  These didn't last half an hour with my family!  I will be making these again, but it will probably be when no one else is home so I can have them all to myself!  ;)  Grade A.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 266: Chicken Fajita Pizza

Last night my hubby wanted something new for dinner.  Something different, that we hadn't had in a while.  I laughed because we have something new and different every day!  Since we had soccer games I needed something quick and easy, so I came up with this pizza.

Chicken Fajita Pizza
12" dutch oven

1 pkg yeast
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
4 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. sugar
1 lb. chicken cut into strips
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups sliced green onions
2 cups sliced peppers (green, red, yellow, orange)
1 cup salsa
1 cup each shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese

Dissolve the yeast in water.  Add the flour, 2 Tbs. oil, 1 tsp. salt, and sugar.  Mix well.  Let rest 15 minutes.  While the dough is resting, heat the oil in a 12" dutch oven over a full spread of coals.  Add the chicken and cook about 5 minutes.  Add the peppers, onions, garlic powder and remaining salt and cook until peppers are tender and chicken is no longer pink.  Remove from the pot and wipe the pot clean with paper towels.  Press the pizza dough into the bottom of 2 greased 12" ovens.  Bake at 450° for 6-8 minutes.  Remove lids, spread toppings over crust and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake 14-18 minutes longer or until crust is golden and cheese is melted.  Serves 6-8.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was pretty good if I do say so myself.  It came together pretty quickly and my kids loved it.  My 14 year old son had 6 pieces and still wanted more.  It wasn't spicy at all so my little ones liked it too.  It would be an easy camping meal if you bought a roll of pizza dough, use pre-cooked chicken strips and frozen peppers.  That would be a snap to make.  We gave this a B.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 265: Baked Cinnamon Chips

I was making Cinnamon Chips for my kids as a treat for their lunches at school and I thought "what the heck" I'll bake a batch or two in my dutch oven.  This is probably one of the most simple and yummy recipes I have.  And my kids absolutely love them.  I put them in lunches, and have them for after school snacks.  I even have to hide them if I want them to last more than 5 minutes.

Baked Cinnamon Cinnamon
12" dutch oven

Flour tortillas (I like to use the 6" tortillas)
Melted butter
Cinnamon and sugar blend

With a pastry brush, coat one side of each tortilla in melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Don't skimp on either the butter or the cinnamon mixture.  This is one place where more is definitely better. Cut into wedges or strips.  Transfer to a dutch oven and bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes.  They should be crispy and curling on the egdes, but not browned.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Cool on a wire rack.

**If you are using the larger tortillas its easier to cut them into strips rather than wedges.

The Finished Product

This is my 5 year old, Brylie, making the Cinnamon Chips.  Normally she doesn't have five o'clock shadow, it was Pirate Day in kindergarten and she didn't want to wash off her beard!  So cute!!

The Review

So, so, so easy.  Its amazing how such a simple recipe can be so yummy.  This is one of my kid's favorite treats and I make them all the time.  They are delish dipped into a fresh fruit salsa or a strawberry marshmallow dip.  But most of the time we just eat them plain.  And just like everything else in the world, they work great in the dutch oven!  Grade A.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 264: Breaded Garlic Chicken in Lemon Butter Sauce

I saw this recipe on My Kitchen Cafe a while ago and knew I had to try it.  I was attracted by the fact that it used a nice light sauce instead of a lot of heavy cream.  Now I'm all for heavy cream, but this was a nice change.

Breaded Garlic Chicken in Lemon Butter Sauce
12" dutch oven

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup seasoned flour (1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper)
5 cloves of garlic, finely minced (see garlic tutorial here)
1 tablespoon parsley flakes or 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 1 lemon
3 eggs
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 tablespoons butter

Place the seasoned flour in a large gallon-size ziploc bag. Set aside. In a shallow pie plate, beat the eggs until mixed and add the Parmesan cheese. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a dutch oven over a full spread of coals, melt one tablespoon butter and one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Let it begin to heat and sizzle while you prepare the chicken but be careful not to let the butter burn and turn brown.

Put the four chicken breasts in the bag with the seasoned flour, close the bag, and shake to coat the chicken in the flour. One by one, take the chicken out of the bag and dip into the egg/Parmesan mixture. Place the chicken carefully in the skillet with the hot oil/butter. Repeat with the other chicken breasts. Let the chicken cook on the first side, without moving or flipping the chicken, for 1-2 minutes until a nice, golden crust has formed. Carefully, using a wide spatula, flip the chicken and let it continue to cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side until it is golden brown. The chicken will flip easiest if it has had time to sizzle and cook to form a nice crust.

Remove the chicken from the pot and keep warm.

In the same dutch oven that you browned the chicken, melt the remaining four tablespoons butter. Add the minced garlic, lemon juice, and parsley. Simmer the sauce for 1-2 minutes, stirring and scraping up any browned bits that were on the bottom of the skillet.

Return the chicken breasts to the pot and spoon the sauce over the chicken.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 4.

The Finished Product

I didn't get to take a picture of this one because everyone was starving and well, I just forgot.  This pic is courtesy of  My Kitchen Cafe.

The Review

My husband doesn't generally comment on what I make for meals.  With him, I know he likes it if he eats and doesn't say much about the food.  About half way through the meal he stopped eating and said "This is one of the best chicken recipes you've ever made."  I almost fell off my chair.  But I have to agree with him.  The garlic isn't at all overpowering.  In fact, its very subtle and the lemon is just out of this world.  I will give you 2 words of advice about this recipe.  First, double the sauce.  We didn't have nearly enough sauce.  Second, for the love of all that is holy, use fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Please, I'm begging you, don't use the stuff from a bottle.  That would be the perfect way to ruin an otherwise fabulous recipe!  Grade A.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 263: Best Biscuits

I had some great responses to my query yesterday about making a Dutch Oven Madness Cook Book.  Thanks to everyone who chimed in.  I think I'll take every one's advice and have the cook book available in January.  As soon as I know the cost I'll let everyone know and I'll set up a Paypal link for pre-orders.  I think it will be a great resource--and not just for outdoor cooking since any of the recipes can be made indoors as well!  I'm open to suggestions, so let me know what you think!

I'm not sure where I ran across today's recipe.  I found it handwritten in the back of one of my menu planners.  It comes from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday.  I'll warn you, this recipe is a little fussy.  It's something I'd expect to see Martha Stewart make.  I'll also tell you, its worth the fuss.  Don't be intimidated by how long the instructions are, its really very easy.

Best Biscuits
12" dutch oven

1 cup (8 oz) buttermilk
1/2 cup (4 oz) frozen unsalted butter (needs to be in the freezer for at least 30 minutes)
1 cup  all purpose flour
3/4 cup pastry flour (you can use all purpose flour)
1 tablespoon  sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons  baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt or 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.

Place a cheese grater over the bowl of dry ingredients. Remove butter from freezer, unwrap it, and grate it through the large holes into the dry ingredients.  Use your fingertips to separate and distribute the butter pieces evenly, breaking up any clumps but not working the butter so much it disappears or melts into the flour. Add the buttermilk and stir with a large spoon until all of the flour is hydrated and the dough forms a coarse ball. Add a tiny bit more buttermilk if necessary to bring the dough together.

Transfer the dough to a generously floured surface, then dust the top of the dough with flour. Working with floured hands, use your palms to press the dough into a rectangle or square about 3/4 inch thick. Use a metal pastry scraper to lift the dough and dust more flour underneath. Dust the top of the dough with flour as well, then roll it out into a rectangle or square about 1/2 inch thick. Then, using the pastry scraper to help lift the dough, fold it over on itself into three sections as if folding a letter.

Rotate the dough 90 degrees, then once again lift the dough and dust more flour underneath. Dust the top with flour as well, the once again roll it out into a square or rectangle about 1/2 inch thick and fold into thirds. Give the dough another quarter turn and repeat procedure again. Then, repeat one final time (four roll outs in all).

After the fourth rolling, dust under and on top of the dough one more time, then roll the dough out to just under 1/2 inch thick, in either a rectangle or an oval. Use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface.

Cut the biscuits with a floured pizza cutter. Transfer the biscuits to an ungreased sheet pan (lined with parchment paper) placing them about 1/2 inch apart.

Let the biscuits rest for 15-30 minutes before baking. Even better, place the pan in the refrigerator to chill.

Preheat the dutch oven to 500 degrees.  I just started my coals and dumped all of them on the lid to preheat it.

Transfer the biscuits to the dutch oven.  Properly distribute the coals  to bake at 450° with 2 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pot and bake for another 6-10 minutes. until both the tops and bottoms of the biscuit are a rich golden brown.  The biscuits should rise about 1 1/2 times in height.

The Finished Product

This picture just doesn't do these justice!

The Review

The name accurately describes these biscuits.  They are buttery, light and flaky!  I think if I worked with this recipe I could easily turn it into a restaurant quality biscuit.  These are that good.  Even with all the rolling and folding these were really easy and not time consuming.  I'll warn you, the dough is VERY soft and a little bit hard to handle the first few times you roll them out.  But its a small price to pay for biscuits this good.  As far as my favorite biscuits go, these rank right up there with the cream biscuits we loved so much!  Grade A.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 262: Amazing Butternut Squash

I need some input from everyone on whether you would be interested in a cookbook that would have all the best recipes from this year.  I've started sorting through the best recipes and organizing them, but I want to see how much interest there is before I really get started on the project.  And if you are interested, would you like to have it before Christmas so you could give it as gifts?  The down side to that is that none of the December recipes would be included in the book.  The other option is to include the December recipes and have the book available in January.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think.  On to the recipe.

I have quite a few butternut squash in my garden, so I've been trying to find new ways to use them.  I did an Internet search and I found a ton of recipes, so I chose the ones that got the best reviews.  I found this one at 

Amazing Butternut Squash
10" dutch oven

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1/4 cup mayo or plain yogurt
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs  (I used Panko)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
12 Tbs. butter, melted

In your dutch oven over a full spread of coals, boil the squash until it is very tender.  Remove from heat and drain squash.  In the pot, mash the squash.  Add the mayo, onion, egg, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Mix well and spread in the bottom of the pot.  In a medium bowl, mix together the crackers, Parmesan and butter.  Sprinkle over the squash.  Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned.  Serves 6. 

The Finished Product

The Review

I wouldn't go so far as to call this squash amazing.  I wasn't really impressed.  I mean it was good, but it wasn't anything special.  I have enough recipes for squash that I like better that I probably won't make this again.  Grade C.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 261: Garden Vegetable Focaccia

This is an almost original recipe.  I used my favorite focaccia dough recipe, but the veggies on top are my idea.  So I'm just gonna call it an original.  Sue me!  Ha Ha!  Really, I've been trying to think of things to do with all the produce in my garden, that's how I came up with this bread.  I also wanted something that would be beautiful as well as delicious. 

I love making focaccia because it doesn't have to rise much and if I decide to make it at the last minute it still turns out great!

Garden Vegetable Focaccia
14" dutch oven

3/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. warm water
3 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. nonfat dry milk powder
3 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
Olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
Sliced tomatoes (make sure you use a meaty tomato, romas would work well)
Sliced green peppers (I used strips, but rings would be really pretty)
Sliced onions, separated into rings
Dried basil
Dried thyme
Parmesan cheese, shredded

In a bowl, combine the water and yeast. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. add remaining ingredients 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. Mix the olive oil and garlic together and brush over the dough with a pastry brush.  Arrange the vegetables on top.  Sprinkle with herbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400° using 2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom for 13-15 minutes or until slightly browned. Serves 8-10.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was delicious if I do say so myself.  The veggies softened up and complimented each other perfectly.  Next time I'll use more peppers and onions though.  I'm actually quite proud of myself for coming up with this one.  I'm not super great at making new recipes yet, I must have been inspired buy the last episode of "Chopped" on the Food Network.  :)  This will be a seasonal staple at our house.  Some of my kids even had it for breakfast this morning.  It was that good!  Grade A.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 260: Easy Chicken Fajitas

Yesterday I was feeling like a big lazy bum!  I've been cooking so much lately that I could hardly face the thought of making anything else.  Thank goodness for a friend that gave me a super simple recipe for Chicken Fajitas.  These are not authentic in any way, but they don't really have to be.  They just have to be good.  My kids actually made most of these!  There really isn't a recipe for this one, just throw together the amounts you need.

Easy Chicken Fajitas
10" dutch oven

Canned chicken (you can also use cooked shredded chicken, but like I said, I was feeling really lazy)
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
Sliced bell peppers (red, green, yellow, orange or any combination)
Sliced onions, separated into rings

Heat some vegetable oil in a 10" dutch oven over a full spread of coals.  Add the veggies and cook until crisp tender.  Remove from the pot and keep warm.  Put the chicken in the pot, add the BBQ sauce and heat through.  Serve with the veggies on tortillas. 

The Finished Product

The Review

These were pretty good all things considered.  Certainly better that any casserole I could have come up with.  These would be the perfect camping recipe since they are so simple.  This isn't something that I'll make often, but it will be on the list of super fast weeknight meals.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 259: Artichoke and Asparagus Chicken

I've neglected to tell you something important!  A week ago I was honored to be part of a podcast on dutch oven cooking with Andy from the Back Porch Gourmet.  I had a great time talking with Andy!  He is a very talented cook and I love his site and there is always something delicious there.  Check it out and be sure to check out the podcast.

On to the recipe!  I've done several of this type of recipe in the past in my search for a favorite, and I think I may have finally found it.  The artichokes give it that extra something special.  I adapted this recipe from Our Family Treat.

Artichoke and Asparagus Chicken
12" dutch oven

3 chicken breasts
1/2-3/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped  (I opted for the 3/4 cup)
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup of zucchini
1 pound of your favorite pasta, cooked according to package directions (I used bow ties)
garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Saute your chicken in olive oil over a full spread of coals. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then saute your veggies. Combine chicken and veggies and keep on low heat while you are cooking your pasta.


2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
salt and pepper

Saute garlic in the butter, over a full spread of coals,  just until fragrant. (I used the same coals I cooked the chicken over).  Then add cream. Slowly bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and add Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and parsley flakes. Make sure to stir often. Add more cheese if you want your sauce thicker. Then toss the pasta with chicken, sauce and veggies.  Serves 6-8.

The Finished Product

The Review

Oh artichokes!  Why did I wait so long to discover your goodness?  Artichokes are like Brussel sprouts, your only THINK you hate them when you're a kid.  But then you grow up and realize what you've been missing.  The artichokes are what really gives this its awesome flavor.  I also really liked that the sauce wasn't as thick and creamy as other similar recipes I've tried.  Even my little kids loved this and I was really disappointed that there weren't any leftovers.  Go ahead and use mushrooms (as they did in the original recipe), or any combination you'd like.  This is a recipe that is easy to adapt to your own tastes.  We gave this an A.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 258: Herbed Meatballs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Once again, I'm going to spoil the review by telling you now how amazing this meal was.  I found this at Rookie Cookie, a site I stalk regularly.  I made the meatballs in my DO, but I was running behind so I had to make the potatoes in my kitchen.  And I couldn't in good conscience leave the potato recipe out.
I know I've told you before that I really love meatballs.  I love them even more since I've figured out that it is sooo much easier to bake them than fry them.  This is my new favorite meatball recipe!

Herbed Meatballs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes
12" dutch oven

For the meatballs:

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs or 3-4 Tbs. dried herbs  (I used parsley and basil)
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp milk
1 lb ground beef
3 Tbsp grated onion
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine Parmesan, herbs and bread crumbs. Mix well. Stir in eggs and milk. Add ground beef, grated onion, salt and pepper. With your hands, gently mix. Do not over mix.
With a small cookie scoop, scoop the meat mixture and then with your hands, gently roll it into a ball.  Place in your dutch oven and repeat. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes.  Use 2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.

For the mashed potatoes:

6 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup half and half
4 Tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tsp kosher salt
A few grinds black pepper

Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until potatoes are fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes well and pour into a large mixing bowl. While the potatoes are boiling, add half and half, butter and garlic cloves to a small saucepan over medium heat and melt butter, stirring occasionally. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside.

With a potato ricer or hand mixer, mash potatoes until smooth. Discard garlic cloves and pour half and half mixture over the potatoes and add salt and pepper. Using a rubber spatula, fold the potatoes over themselves, combining all ingredients. Be sure to not over mix. Serve potatoes with a few meatballs over the top.

Serves 4.

The Finished Product

The picture just doesn't do this meal justice!

The Review

This is my new favorite meatball recipe, and the potatoes were amazing!  You won't need any gravy on these babys!  I may not be able to eat regular mashed potatoes ever again.  This recipe will definitely be in my top 10 favorites from this year.  Its nice enough for company, but simple enough to make everyday.  Even my 2 year old gobbled these up!  This is a must try recipe!  Grade A+.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 257: Apple Zucchini Bread

Apple season is in full swing in my neck of the woods.  I love this time of year!  There is a 10 acre apple orchard across the street from my house and after they're picked, we get to go through and glean whats left.  I make apple sauce, bottled apples, dehydrated apples, and everything I can think of with fresh apples.  When I ran across this recipe I knew I had to try it.  It comes from a Taste of Home magazine.

I have to give you one tip about making this in a dutch oven.  This recipe makes 3 loaves.  When I made this, I put one loaf in the oven and baked the rest of the batter (the equivalent of 2 loaves) in a 10" dutch oven.  I don't see any reason why you couldn't bake the entire batch in a 12" dutch oven.  When someone tries it let me know how it worked!  Thanks!

Apple Zucchini Bread

4 cups flour
1 Tbs. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini (seed the zucchini if its large)
1 cup shredded peeled apples
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (I left these out, I'm allergic to pecans)

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  In another bowl beat eggs.  Add oil, sugars and vanilla.  Pour over the dry ingredients; mix well.  Stir in the zucchini, apples and pecans (batter will be stiff).  Pour into a well greased dutch oven.  Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until it tests done.  Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing.  Cool completely.  3 loaves, or 1 12" dutch oven.

The Finished Product

So, apparently I forgot to take a picture of the one I cooked in my DO.  I think I need to go dye my hair a little lighter color-if you know what I mean.  This is the one loaf I made in my kitchen.  Why I have a picture of this one, I will never know.  :)

The Review

I really liked this bread.  Its not my favorite zucchini bread, but it has a nice flavor.  I was really hoping to taste the apples more.  I think next time I'll use 1 1/2 cups of zucchini and apples.  My hubby really liked that the crust was a little crunchy.  This is a delicious way to combine the flavors of summer and fall into one.  Grade A-.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 256: Chorizo with Black Beans and Rice

This recipe is a mixture several different recipes.  None of them had everything I wanted in them, so I took the best of each recipe and put them in this one.

Chorizo with Black Beans and Rice
12" dutch oven

1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 lb. ground chorizo sausage
1 29 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. thyme
1 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. fresh minced garlic
1 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese

Cook the rice according to package directions.  Heat the oil in your dutch oven over a full spread of coals.  Add the onion and cook until tender.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Remove the chorizo from the casings and add to the onions.  Cook completely.  Add thyme and salt.  Once the chorizo is cooked, add the black beans and tomatoes.  Stir and heat through.  Add the cooked rice.  (I just added enough rice to get the consistency I wanted.)  Sprinkle with cheese and serve.  These would be good in the homemade tortillas from yesterday.  Serves 8-10.

The Finished Product

The Review

This is the first time I've had chorizo and it was really good.  It has a nice little spicy kick on the back end.  This recipe made enough to feed an army, and there was almost nothing left over.  It was very quick and easy to make. My kids gave this an A-.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 255: Homemade Tortillas

This is the first time I've ever made homemade tortillas.  For some reason I always thought they'd be hard, or at least a pain to make.  They are actually really easy and doing them in the dutch oven is very simple.  My friend Marcene gave me this recipe.

Homemade Tortillas
12" dutch oven

3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
5-6 Tbs. vegetable oil
3/4 cup hot water

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Then cut in the oil until the mixture resembles crumbs.  Add the water and stir until it is crumbly.  If it is still too dry, add more water.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.  Cut the dough into 16 pieces, cover and let rest 15 minutes.  Roll out thin (you should be able to see through them).  Cook over a full spread of coals until lightly browned.  Don't use any to cook these.  16 tortillas.

The Finished Product

The Review

Not bad for my first time.  They tasted good and my kids loved rolling them out--hence the reason they aren't round.  The only thing I don't like about them is that they won't store, and they were a little dry.  I'll have to experiment with them more to see if I can make them better.  My kids loved them with honey butter and they are going to make them after school for a snack!  These were fun and they get an A.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 254: Apricot Chicken

A friend gave me this recipe last week.  She never tries anything new in the kitchen, so I was really surprised when she told me how much her family liked it.  I figured I'd better give it a try!

Apricot Chicken
12" dutch oven

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup apricot jam
1 cup Catalina or French salad dressing
2 Tbs. sugar
1 pkg. onion soup mix

Place chicken in your dutch oven.  Mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.  Bake at 350° for 1 hour.  Serves 6.

Sorry, I had to leave before this was finished so I couldn't get a picture. I'm lucky I even got to taste it! :)

The Review

This was good.  Its simple, but with such a mix of tangy and sweet.  The onion soup adds a really nice flavor.  My kids ate almost every bite.  They mercifully saved my 1/2 a piece of chicken--the little piggies!  I'll be making this again.  This would also make a good camping meal.  If I had one complaint it would be that the sauce was too thin.  But even thats not a big deal. Grade B+.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 253: Peanut Butter Bars

It was time for another treat at my house.  My kids go through withdrawals if they don't get homemade treats often enough, and I haven't made these peanut butter bars in a very long time.  This recipe comes from a friend who's mom worked as a lunch lady at our high school growing up.  They used this recipe in the lunchroom, and it was a favorite of everyone.  It brings back some fond memories of goofing off with friends back when life was more simple.  But for the record, you couldn't pay me enough to go back to high school!  College, maybe, but not high school!  :)

Peanut Butter Bars
14" dutch oven

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups oats


2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter

Cream butters and sugars.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.  Press into a greased dutch oven and bake at 350° for 15-28 minutes or until golden.  Don't over bake or they get dry.  For the frosting, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter together and spread over bars.  Serves 12-15.

The Finished Product

The Review

How could anyone not love these?  With chocolate and peanut butter they are perfect.  They never last long at my house.  We had them with ice cream for dessert and they were delish!  Grade A.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 252: Seasoned Baked Potatoes

I thought I'd try something ridiculously simple for dinner last night.  We had meatloaf the these baked potatoes.  I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, Tammy, and it has quickly become our favorite way to eat baked potatoes.  I apologize to all of you who live outside the U.S. because you may not be able to find some of the ingredients.  But for those who can, this potato rub is delicious. 

Seasoned Baked Potatoes
12" dutch oven

2 Tbs. Morton's Nature's Seasons
2 Tbs. Schilling's Salad Supreme
1 Tbs. Lawry's Season Salt
1 Tbs. Sugar
8 large baking potatoes

Mix spices together and store in an air tight container.  Scrub potatoes clean--you're going to want to eat the skins on these baby's.  Rub clean potatoes with olive oil and roll in spices.  Wrap in foil and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350°.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom. 

These are the 3 main ingredients.

The Finished Product

I wish you could see the spices.  :(

The Review

This is my "go to" baked potato recipe.  You really don't need anything else but butter and sour cream (and ranch dressing if you're my kids).  The rub adds such great flavor, you'll never want plain baked potatoes again.  Grade A.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 251: Easy Chicken and Potato Bake

Here is recipe #2 today.  Now I'm caught up from being sick!  This recipe is one that was brought to a church dutch oven social a few weeks ago. 

Easy Chicken and Potato Bake
12" dutch oven

4 chicken breasts cut into chunks
6-8 potatoes, peeled and sliced
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
seasoned salt
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream

Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a dutch oven.  Season with seasoned salt and parsley.  Layer the potatoes and carrots.  Heavily season with seasoned salt, pepper and parsley.  In a bowl, mix the soup, milk and sour cream.  Spread on top of potatoes and carrots.  Bake at 350° for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until chicken is cooked and potatoes are tender.  Serves 6-8.

The Finished Product

Sorry, my camera's batteries were dead and before I could charge them my family ate it all. 

The Review

This was really good.  It would be a great camping meal.  When you make this, use a lot of seasoned salt.  It really makes this good.  My family loved this, and there weren't any leftovers!  We gave this a B+.

Day 250: Braided Herb-Cheese Bread

Good morning everyone!  Thank you all for your kind comments and emails, I'm feeling much better now.  I appreciate all of you!
This bread recipe is one that I've wanted to try forever, but never gotten around to.  It comes from a church cookbook so I knew it would be good. 

Braided Herb-Cheese Bread
14" dutch oven

1 Tbs. yeast
3 Tbs. sugar
1 egg
3 1/2-4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded and cooled to 115-120°
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. Italian seasoning
2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese

Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, seasoning and yeast; mix well.  Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg and warm milk.  Mix well.  Add the shredded cheese.  Mix well and add the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic.  Knead no longer than 6 minutes.  Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning once.  cover and let rise in a warm place until double.  Punch down and divide into 3 equal balls.  Cover and let rise 10 minutes.  Roll each portion into a 12-15 inch long rope.  Join all 3 ropes at one end, pinching together tightly.  Braid and place in a well greased dutch oven.  Cover and let rise until double.  Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven, brush with 3 Tbs. melted butter and dust with 1 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese and dry parsley mixed together. 

The Finished Product

I got side tracked and let mine rise to long, so it doesn't look to great, but it tasted fantastic!

The Review

Now I really wonder why I waited so long to try this bread.  It tasted and smelled wonderful!  It was also soft and moist.  There wasn't even a crumb left over.  This recipe is a keeper!  Grade A.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I have to apologize to everyone today.  I spent yesterday in bed as sick as I've ever been.  Between the migraine headache and the sick stomach I could hardly stand.  So my dutch oven streak is broken.  :(  I couldn't cook anything yesterday.  But I'm feeling better now, so tomorrow I'll give you 2 recipes.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and I'll be back tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 249: Cheeseburger Buns

I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend!  The last weekend of summer always makes me sad.  I really hate winter!  :)  I hate even thinking about winter!  The really sad thing about summer ending is that I finally learn to dutch oven cook and we don't go camping one time.  How pathetic.  And sad.  And really disappointing.  Oh well, there's always next year.
I do have some good news to tell you though!  A few months ago I did a magazine interview with a writer from Airstream Life magazine.  He was doing an article on dutch oven cooking and he interviewed me and Jack Wallace from IDOS.  I was definitely in good company there.  I've been lucky to meet Jack several times and he is a fantastic DO cook and person.  If you're interested in reading the article, you'll find the online version of the magazine here.
On to today's recipe.  My hubby had to work late last night so I wanted to do something fun and different for the kids, so I came up with this recipe.

Cheeseburger Buns
12" dutch oven

2 (1/4 oz.) pkgs. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
1 1/2  lbs. ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
8 slices American cheese, quartered  (I used shredded cheddar because I don't think American counts as cheese)

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add milk, sugar, shortening, egg, salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
In a dutch oven, cook the beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in tomato sauce.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Punch dough down; divide into 16 pieces.  Gently roll out and stretch each piece into a 5 inch circle.   Top each circle with 3 Tbs. meat and 2 pieces of cheese.  Bring dough over filling and pinch edges to seal.
Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes.  Bake at 400° for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Use 2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serve warm.  Makes 16 sandwiches.

The Finished Product

The Review

I was instructed by my kids to make these everyday.  I doubled this recipe and there wasn't even 1 sandwich left over.  The kids ate like it was their last meal.  I thought they were okay, but lets face it, this is kid food.  And my kids gave these an A.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 248: Plum Streusel Kuchen

For the first time in several years my plum tree is absolutely loaded with fruit.  Usually a late frost will kill everything or the wind blows the all off the tree.  The only problem with having several bushels of plums is what to do with them.  Most get eaten fresh, some made into jam, and now some will get made into this cake.  I've already made this a couple of times, and it never lasts long.  Its a very simple recipe and I wasn't sure how it would taste since there aren't any spices in this at all, not even salt.  We were all pleasantly surprised.  I found this one in a Taste of Home magazine (again!)

Plum Streusel Kuchen
12" dutch oven

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbs. shortening
1 egg
1 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
6 fresh plums, halved and sliced


2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs. cold butter
2 Tbs. heavy cream (I used half and half)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder;  cut in shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  In another bowl, beat the egg and cream; add to the crumb mixture, tossing gently with a fork until mixture forms a ball.  Press into a well greased dutch oven and arrange the plums over the crust.
For the topping, in a bowl , combine flour and sugar; cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Add cream, mixing gently with a fork until moist crumbs form.  Sprinkle over plums.  Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned.  Serves 12.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was really yummy!  Like I said, it has no spices at all, and I was very tempted to add some cinnamon or allspice or nutmeg, but I'm glad I didn't.  This recipe really showcases the wonderful taste of the plums and it would be a shame to ruin that with too many spices.  I'll probably make this everyday until the plums are gone!  :)  It is also really beautiful.  The color of the plums is pretty against the white cake.  This ones a keeper!  Grade A.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 247: Szechuan Chicken

After cooking for company all day yesterday all I wanted to do last night was sit down and read a book.  But my family still had to eat dinner, so I chose a very simple and quick recipe.  I found this here.

Szechuan Chicken
10" dutch oven

1 lb chicken
1/4 cup cornstarch (I'm guessing here--may have been less)
1-2 Tbsp oil (I used olive oil but was thinking sesame oil might be good)
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
3-5 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1-2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 cup water
3 diced green onions
dash of cayenne pepper (I used red pepper flakes)

Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes and lightly coat with corn starch. Heat oil in a 10" dutch oven and add minced garlic. Add chicken and fry until all sides are white. Add soy sauce, vinegar and sprinkle with sugar. Add the water--more or less depending on how strong of a flavor you want and how runny you want the sauce. Add diced green onions and cayenne pepper. You can make it as spicy as you want. Serve with rice.  Serves 4-6.

Sorry, I wasn't able to get a picture of this one!

The Review

This was good, but i't wasn't anything special.  My family really liked it and there wasn't anything left after dinner.  I'll make this again, but probably not too often.  We gave this a B.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 246: Cheese Stuffed Focaccia

Sorry for the late post today.  I had some unexpected, but very welcome company today.  After cooking all day for guests, I'm exhausted and I still have to make dinner.  So, I'm off to the kitchen!  But I'll leave you with today's amazing recipe.  It comes from yet another Taste of Home magazine.

Cheese Stuffed Focaccia
14" dutch oven

1 3/4 cup warm water
6 Tbs. butter
4 Tbs. nonfat dry milk powder
6 Tbs. sugar
3 tsp. salt
6 cups flour
2 Tbs. active dry yeast
2 Tbs. olive oil
6-9 slices provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or Swiss cheese
1 1/2 Tbs. dried basil, divided
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded

In a bowl, combine the water and yeast. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. add remaining ingredients and knead well. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead for 1 minute. Roll out half of the dough 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.  Brush with 1 Tbs. olive oil.  Cover with provolone and mozzarella cheeses.  Sprinkle cheeses with 1 Tbs. basil, the oregano, Rosemary, thyme an garlic.  Roll out remaining dough into a 14" circle and lay on top of the cheese layer; pinch bottom and top layers together.   Brush with remaining oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and remaining basil.  Bake at 400° using 2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom for 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned. Serves 8-10.

The Finished Product

The Review

Holy Cow this was GOOD!  This is a must try recipe!  My family devoured it.  I don't think there was even a crumb left over.  The cheese layer was gooey and delicious and the herbs were wonderful.  This is going in my tried and true file and it will make regular appearances on our table.  Grade A.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 245: Tomato Florentine Pasta Bake

I was really intrigued by the spices in this recipe, especially the cinnamon.  I've added cinnamon to chili and some Middle Eastern dishes, but never to an Italian dish.  I knew I had to try this just because of the cinnamon.  This came from a Taste of Home magazine.

Tomato Florentine Pasta Bake
10" dutch oven

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 (15oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In your dutch oven, cook the beef and onion over a full spread of coals.  Drain if necessary and add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, oregano, sugar, cinnamon, garlic powder and red pepper.  Bring to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta until it is al dente; drain well.  Combine the pasta, spinach and sauce and mix well.  Spread half the pasta mixture in the pot.  Spread ricotta evenly over the pasta and top with remaining sauce mixture.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and it is heated through.  Use 1 ring on the top and the bottom.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 6.
The Finished Product

The Review

The spices in this were really good.  You could taste just a hint of cinnamon, but it blended really well with the garlic and red pepper.  It would be hard to identify if you didn't know it was there.  Except for the 1 spinach hater in my house, everyone really liked this.  It was different and spicy and full of flavor.  I served this with sourdough bread and salad.  This was also very easy.  I'll make this again.  Grade A-.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 244: Almond Crumble Twist

I've had this bread recipe for years, and I look at it all the time, but I've never made it until now.  I was a little intimidated by the twist part of the recipe.  It looks so complicated to make, but is really very easy.  This came from a taste of home magazine.

Almond Crumble Twist
10" dutch oven

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chopped slivered almonds
1 loaf bread dough  (Rhoade's works great)

Browned Butter Icing

2 Tbs. butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 Tbs. milk
1/4 tsp. almond extract

In a small bowl, mix butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Beat in flour, almond extract and cinnamon until smooth.  Stir in almonds.  Cover and chill 30 minutes.
Spray your work surface with nonstick cooking spray.  Roll out the bread dough into a 15 in. x 10 in. rectangle.  Cover with a towel and let rest while almond mixture is chilling.
Remove towel and sprinkle filling evenly over the dough within 1 inch of all edges.  Roll up tightly, jelly roll style, starting with the long side.  With a sharp serrated knife, cut roll in half lengthwise.  Turn each half so the cut side is facing up.  Carefully twist halves together so cut sides can be seen.  Form into a ring and pinch the ends together.  Place in your greased dutch oven.  Cover and let rise 30-45 minutes.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool slightly on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, lightly brown butter in a small dutch oven over a full spread of coals.  Do not burn.  Remove from heat and blend in confectioners sugar, milk and almond extract until it is smooth.  Drizzle over warm loaf.

The Finished Product

The Review

Oooh!   This was good!  The almonds gave it a nice crunch, and it just had great flavor.  Someone in my house kept sneaking little pieces until there was almost nothing left.   I will definitely be making this again.  I used homemade bread dough, but it would be really fast using frozen dough.  I'm thinking this would be nice for a Sunday morning brunch.  This gets an A.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 243: Baked Rice

Today's recipe is one I made up when I needed an easy, simple side dish.  And this is very simple. Its something I make when I don't have a lot of time or don't have a side dish planned.

Baked Rice
10" dutch oven

2 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 tsp. dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In an oiled dutch oven, combine the broth, rice, parsley, salt and pepper.  Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until rice is tender.  Use 1 ring on the top and bottom.  Sprinkle with cheese and replace lid to let the residual heat melt the cheese.  Serves 4-6.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was good.  It didn't knock my socks off, but it was a nice simple side dish.  When I serve an entree that has a lot of spices, I like to have a simple side.  My family likes it, except the 2 kids that don't like rice.  I don't make this often because there are other sides I like better, but this makes an appearance a couple of times a year.  Grade B.

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