Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 303: Honey Mustard Chicken

Sorry I'm late today.  We had a late night with all the Halloween festivities.  Because of the predominant religion, anytime a holiday like Halloween or the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday we celebrate either the day before or the day after.  So here we are, in the midst of a complete sugar high.  :)

I made this recipe for my hubby to eat cold on a salad, because he likes that kind of thing.  But we ended up eating  a lot of it when it came out of the pot.  I found this at

Honey Mustard Chicken
12" dutch oven

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup prepared mustard (I used 1/4 cup yellow and 1/4 cup Dijon)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste, and place in a lightly greased 12" dutch oven. In a small bowl, combine the honey, mustard, basil, paprika, and parsley. Mix well. Pour 1/2 of this mixture over the chicken, and brush to cover.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350°.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Turn chicken pieces over and brush with the remaining 1/2 of the honey mustard mixture. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.   Serves 6.

The Finished Product

Can you tell this pic was an afterthought?  Oh no!  We forgot to take a picture!  Throw it on a plate and....Click!

The Review

Of all the Honey Mustard Chicken recipes I've tried, I like this one the best.  It is more than just honey and mustard.  My only beef with it is that the chicken wasn't as tender as I would like.  Next time I'll flatten it with a meat mallet to solve that problem. We gave this a B+.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 302: Chicken Bacon and Spinach Pizza

Okay, make-up post #2.  I'm going to overload you all today!  I made this last week for dinner and I was really nervous about how it would be received.  When my kids saw me cooking spinach for a pizza they all moaned and groaned.  But thankfully, this year has taught them to at least try the food before they pass judgement.  I found this recipe here.

Chicken, Bacon and Spinach Pizza
12" dutch oven

Pizza Dough

1 packet active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix yeast with warm water and allow to get foamy – about 15 minutes. In a large bowl, mix flour (about 2 1/2 cups to start), salt, and seasoning, making sure it is well combined. Once yeast is foamy, add to dough and mix with hand. If more flour is needed, add it. Cover and let rise in a cool, dark place for 2 hours.

Sauce and Toppings

3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
8 slices bacon, fried and torn apart
4 cups fresh spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/2 block (4 oz) cream cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked cheddar cheese

Divide pizza dough in half and spread out in 2 well greased 12" dutch ovens. Bake alone for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

In a 10" dutch oven over a full spread of coals, sautee spinach in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, with one minced garlic clove until it is cooked down. While it is still warm, combine it with cream cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Brush dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread spinach mix on dough. Top with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Add on grilled chicken and bacon. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan, cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses.

Bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.  Use 2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  If it is cold outside add a coal or 2 to the top of the oven.

The Finished Product

The Review

I officially love this pizza!  Most of my kids loved this pizza.  The younger ones were totally put off by the spinach, but I thought that was the best part (besides the bacon).  I didn't love the dough, however.  It was a little tough once it was cooked and when I'm making pizza I don't usually have time to let dough rise for 2 hours.  Next time I'll use my regular dough recipe and add Italian seasoning to it.  This is a recipe you really should try.  Grade A.

Day 301: Pumpkin Biscuits

I'm finally having a chance to write these make-up posts.  I've had the cooking done, but no time to sit down and write.  So I'm going to take advantage of some free time!  :)  I'm currently having a love affair with pumpkin.  It happens every fall.  But my homemade pumpkin puree has put me over the edge.  (You can make it in the dutch oven, but I haven't tried it yet.  I do have some little pie pumpkins left....hmmm.)  I saw these on Real Mom Kitchen and I knew I had to try them.

Pumpkin Biscuits
12" dutch oven

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and shaping
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen, plus more to spread
3/4 cup pumpkin puree, chilled
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together.

With a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture. With a pastry blender or a fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal this should not take very long because the butter is already grated well.

In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin purée, buttermilk, and brown sugar; stir quickly into flour mixture until combined (do not over mix).  Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and gently bring together, folding once or twice and adding a Tablespoon or two of flour as needed so the dough is not too wet. Shape into a disk, and pat to an even 1-inch thickness . With a 2-inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut out biscuits as close together as possible Gather together scraps, and repeat to cut out more biscuits (do not reuse scraps more than once).

Arrange biscuits in a well greased dutch oven. Smear a bit of butter on the top of each biscuit. Bake until golden, rotating once, 20 to 24 minutes.
The Finished Product

The Review

Yum and double yum!!  These were perfect!  As I was making them I was tempted to add some cinnamon or nutmeg or something, but I'm glad I didn't.  They were just right.  I'm going to have to double them when I make them next (which might be tonight!).  Mine turned out a little on the thin side, so next time I'll make sure I don't roll the dough quite so thin.  Other than some operator error, these were fabulous!  Grade A.

Day 300: Pumpkin Stew

This is a recipe I've wanted to make for years, but I've been to chicken to actually try it.  I was worried that my kids would hate it.  Now, I'll admit that I got some strange looks when I brought a whole cooked pumpkin to the table.  But it was a really fun meal.

Making this in the dutch oven presented some challenges.  I did the first step outside in my 12" oven.  The stew has to cook for 2 hours before it is put in the pumpkin.  Be sure to replenish the coals when they need it.  Since you want this to simmer, place about half of the coals on top and half on the bottom.  Keep an eye on it and add or remove a few coals as you need to in order to keep it simmering.  Don't be afraid to move the coals from bottom to top if it is boiling to much. 

The second challenge was that the recipe calls for this to be cooked in a 10-12 pound pumpkin.  I don't know about you, but I don't have a dutch oven that will hold a squash that big.  So I solved that by finding the shortest, squattest pie pumpkins I could.  I was able to barely fit 3 of them in my 14" dutch oven.  The others I baked indoors.

I found this in a Taste of Home magazine.

Pumpkin Stew
14" dutch oven

2 lbs. boneless beef roast, cut into 1" cubes
3 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided
1 cup water
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large green pepper, cut into 1/2" chunks
4 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. beef bouillon granules
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 10-12 lb. pumpkin, or several pie pumpkins

In your 12" dutch oven, brown the meat in 2 Tbs. oil over a full spread of coals.  Add the water, potatoes, carrots, green peppers, garlic, onion, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 2 hours with about 15 coals on top and 10-12 on the bottom.  Adjust the heat as needed to keep the stew at a simmer.  Stir occasionally. 

Stir in the bouillon and tomatoes.  Wash the pumpkins and cut a circle around the top stem.  Remove the top and set aside; remove and discard the seeds and fibers from inside the pumpkin.  Make sure it is nice and clean inside.  Place the pumpkins in a 14" dutch oven (or a shallow baking pan if cooking indoors).  Spoon the stew into the pumpkins and replace the top.  Brush the outside of the pumpkins with remaining oil.  Bake at 325° for 2 hours or just until the pumpkin is tender (do not over bake).  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serve the stew from the pumpkin, scooping out a little pumpkin with each serving.  Serves 8-10.

The Finished Product

The Review

I was really surprised by how good this was.  There is very little liquid in the stew to begin with, and the pumpkin soaks up the rest as it cooks, so it is very thick.  I was shocked at how much my kids liked it.  My 2 youngest wouldn't even touch it, but everyone else liked it.  I will say that I liked the ones I cooked in the pie pumpkins best.  I used a small carving pumpkin for the stew I cooked indoors, and it didn't taste as good as the pie pumpkins.  So next year I'll use the pie pumpkins again.  I think there is a better stew recipe out there though.  Don't get me wrong, we really liked this, but we like stew with a little more liquid.  And maybe the lack of liquid is just inherent in baking stew in a pumpkin.  But I'm going to do some experimenting for next year!  We gave this a B+.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 299: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I'm sure I've mentioned at some point how much I love pumpkin.  I totally go overboard on it this time of year, but there are so many ways to use pumpkin that I never get bored of it.  I'm going try a pumpkin and black bean soup this week, so be looking forward to that!  I made these yesterday for my kids to eat after school.  Once again, I got this off the Internet and forgot to write down where.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
10" dutch oven

1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 (1/4 ounce) package dry yeast
2 cups bread flour (you can use regular all purpose flour but bread flour makes them lighter)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter


1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 dash salt
3/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar

In small dutch oven, over a full spread of coals, heat milk and 2 tablespoons butter just until warm and butter is almost melted, stirring constantly. In large mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add milk mixture and beat with electric mixer until well mixed. Beat in egg and yeast.

In separate mixing bowl, combine flours. Add half of flour mixture to pumpkin mixture. Beat mixture on low speed 5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly (dough will be very soft). Turn into lightly greased bowl, then grease surface of dough lightly.

Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Spray a surface with cooking spray or turn onto floured surface. Knead a few turns to form a smooth dough, sprinkling with enough additional flour to make dough easy enough to handle. Roll dough into 12x10 inch rectangle.

In small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Brush surface of dough with melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jellyroll style. Pinch seam to seal. Cut roll into 12 1- inch slices using dental floss. Place rolls cut side up in a well greased 10" dutch oven. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake rolls at 350 degrees about 20-25 minutes or until golden. Use 1 ring on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Remove from pan to waxed paper-lined wire rack. Cool 10 to 15 minutes. Drizzle with Caramel frosting. Makes 12 rolls.

Caramel Frosting:

In small saucepan, heat butter until melted. Stir in brown sugar and milk. Cook over medium low heat 1 minute.

Transfer to small mixer bowl and cool mixture. Stir in vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and confectioners' sugar. Beat with electric mixer until well blended. If necessary, add more confectioners' sugar for desired consistency.

The Finished Product

The Review

I am so glad I tried these.  They are delicious!  Just the right amount of pumpkin makes them perfect.  Be careful not to over bake them.  Mine got a little too done, so start checking them at about 15 minutes.  These were so good, that I had a hard time saving some for my hubby.  They were a real winner!  Grade A.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 298: Philly Cheesesteaks

First, a disclaimer.  I've never been to Philadelphia.  (Well, I've been to the airport there on my way to New Jersey, but I don't think that counts.)  I've also never had a Philly Cheese steak, so I can't vouch for the authenticity of this recipe.  But I did spend a lot of time on the Internet looking at recipes and reading their comments.  So I picked a couple of recipes that had the most good reviews and kind of combined them.  A lot of the recipes called for cheez wiz, which quite frankly scared me a little so I stayed away from those and went for the provolone.  This one is slightly adapted from a Bobby Flay recipe.

Philly Cheese Steaks
12" dutch oven

For the onions:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, sliced very thin
Coarse salt and pepper 

For the meat:

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, if necessary
1 1/2 pounds lean deli roast beef (get the good stuff)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 slices provolone cheese
6 soft Italian sandwich hogie rolls. split lengthwise

In a dutch oven over a full spread of coals, saute the onions in oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes or until onions are soft and caramel in color.  Set aside.

In the same dutch oven, cook the beef until heated through, adding more oil if necessary.  As it cooks, cut into meat with the side of your spatula. When the meat is heated through sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. When the meat is cooked, mix in the onions and top with cheese slices.  Put the lid on the dutch oven and allow the cheese to melt.  Pile the meat and onions into rolls.  Serves 4-6.

The Finished Product

Whoa!  Bad pic--sorry, it tasted good!
The Review

These were delish!  And they were easy!  This was a perfect quick meal that my whole family loved!  These would also be a great camping meal.  Start to finish in about half an hour.  Like I said, I don't know how authentic they are, but they are delicious.  Grade A.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 297: Parmesan Baked Artichokes

I love artichokes, much to my children's dismay.  I knew they would hate these, so I made them mostly for myself.  I adapted this from a recipe I found on the Internet.

Parmesan Baked Artichokes
10" dutch oven

1. 1 14oz can artichokes in water, drained
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Layer artichokes in a dutch oven. Drizzle olive oil on top. Season with salt, garlic and Italian seasoning. Add bread crumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan on top. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°.  Use 1 ring on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 4.

The Finished Product

The Review

I didn't like these as much as I'd hoped.  They are good, but they aren't great compared to other side dishes I've made.  I may make these once or twice a year, but its not something I'll make very often.  Grade B-.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 296: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread

When I saw this recipe I KNEW I had to try it.  Talk about the food of the Gods!  The only way a recipe like this could sound better is if I found a way to add bacon to it!  I adapted this from a site called Chez Us.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread
10" dutch oven

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
4 large bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream the butter, cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth.  Add the brown sugar, egg and vanilla, mixing well for 2-3 minutes.  Mix in bananas and heavy cream until smooth.  Add the flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour batter into a greased dutch oven and bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or utnil a toothpick comes out clean.  Makes 1 large loaf.

The Finished Product

The Reveiw

This is soooo good!  I've found my new favorite banana bread recipe.  Next time I make it, I'm going to be sure I'm home all alone so I can eat the whole thing myself!  As soon as my kids found out what it was they started devouring it.  It was like watching hogs being slopped.  You'd think I hadn't fed them in a month.  Seriously, you have to try this!  Grade A.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 295: Baked Chicken Chimichangas

I wanted to try something I'd never done before for dinner last night.  I found this recipe while I was browsing on the Food Network site.  This is supposedly a knock off recipe of the chimis they served at a Mexican restaurant called Chi Chi's.  This was one of my family's favorite restaurants when I was a kid.  We were so sad when they shut down.  That was easily 20 years ago, and I'm still finding copycat recipes today.  Talk about staying power.  The thing that attracted me to this recipe is that they are baked instead of fried.  I'm all for shaving off a few calories, heaven knows I need it after all the dutch oven food this year!  I will give you a tip that will make these easier.  Use the largest, thinnest tortillas you can find.  Next time, I'll use the uncooked tortillas from Costco.  They are thin and since they have to be cooked they are nice and warm and easy to work with.

Baked Chicken Chimichangas
12" dutch oven

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (remove seeds for less heat)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
sea or kosher salt
1 small tomato, chopped, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
1 (15-ounce) can re fried beans
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese, plus more for topping
Mexi-sauce, for topping (recipe below)
Shredded lettuce, for topping
Mexican rice, for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a dutch oven over a full spread of coals and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno, cook over until soft. Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon salt; toast 30 seconds. Add the tomato and cilantro and cook until slightly dry, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken and sour cream and warm through. Remove from the pot and set aside.

On each tortilla, spread 2 tablespoons re fried beans down the center of each tortilla, leaving a 2-inch border on both ends. Top with chicken mixture and 1/4 cup cheese. Fold in the ends and roll up.

Put the chimichangas seam-side down in the dutch oven.  Melt 2 Tbs. of butter and 2 Tbs. oil together and brush over the top of each chimi.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes per side, brushing again after you flip them over. Top with the Mexi-sauce, more cheese, lettuce and tomato. Serve with rice and the remaining beans.

Chi-Chi's Mexi-sauce:

1/2 cup onion, chopped2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of each: chili powder, cumin, sugar and salt
2 (4 ounce) cans green chiles, drained and rinsed
1 cup chicken broth

Saute 1/2 cup chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves in a 10" dutch oven over a full spread of coals in a tablespoon or two of vegetable/olive oil. Add a pinch each of chili powder, cumin, sugar and salt; cook 30 seconds. Stir in two 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles and cook 2 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken broth and simmer until thickened, then puree. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.   Serve over chimichangas.

The Finished Product

The Review

My entire family loved these.  I was surprised by how easy they were.  I made the chicken and the Mexi-sauce earlier in the day to avoid the rain and then put them together later.  The tortillas I used were pretty thick so they didn't crisp up as much as I would have liked, but they were still delicious.  Be sure to use thin tortillas.  These are going into our regular meal rotation.  Grade A.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 294: Baked Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I think garlic mashed potatoes are one of my favorite side dishes.  Add bacon and they would be perfect, but that's beside the point.  I've tried a ton of recipes looking for the perfect one.  Since my hubby won't eat potatoes with gravy I've had to get creative with my favorite mashable veggie.  I found this recipe at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Baked Garlic Mashed Potatoes
12" dutch oven

5 pounds russet, red or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 ounces light or regular cream cheese
3-4 green onions, chopped (I didn't have any)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup whipping cream

Place the cut potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by one inch. Add 1 teaspoon salt and boil the potatoes over a full spread of coals for about 10 minutes or until they are tender. 

Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Mash them a few times and add the rest of the ingredients. Mash and mix well to desired consistency.  Dot with 1-2 tablespoons butter. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are lightly browned on top and heated through.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 6.

The Finished Product

The Review

These were really good, and they didn't last long at my house.  But I have to say that they aren't my favorite garlic mashed potatoes.  I prefer real garlic over garlic powder any day of the week.  My family would never be able to tell the difference, but I could.  Regardless of how good these are, I probably won't make them again.  You can find my favorite recipe here.  Grade B.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 293: Honey Baked Ham

I've had this ham in the freezer just waiting to be cooked.  I wanted to do it in my dutch oven, but I don't have one big enough.  I was talking to a friend about it and she told me she has this big dutch oven that she got as a wedding gift and has never taken out of the box.  So she brought over a 12" deep oven.  I'm so jealous!  I've been wanting a deep oven forever.  Anyway, I seasoned it up and broke it in. 

I found this ham recipe on the Internet.  Most of the recipes I looked at were pretty similar and they all got rave reviews.  Just like with most knock off recipes, I really didn't expect this to taste exactly like a Honeybaked Ham.  Often the taste is in the method as well as the ingredients.  But even if it only tastes a little like a Honeybaked Ham it would be worth it.  Any it would save me $60 or $70 bucks every year.

Honeybaked Ham
12" or 14" deep dutch oven

1 cooked half ham, bone in (presliced)
1 cup sugar
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t paprika
1 dash ground ginger
1 dash ground allspice

Mix everything but the ham together in a small bowl.  Spread waxed paper on your workspace and place the ham on it.  Spread the sugar mixture over the ham with your hands and roll it in the sugar until it is well coated on all sided except the flat side.  You won't use all the sugar.  Place ham on a plate with flat/cut end down.
Use a blow-torch or créme brulée torch with a medium-sized flame to caramelize sugar on the outer surface of the ham. Wave the torch over the sugar with rapid movements, so that the sugar bubbles and browns, but does not burn. Spin the plate so you can torch the entire surface of the ham.   Place the ham inside the dutch oven and cook according to package directions.

If you don't have a torch you can add water to the sugar to form a paste and coat the ham during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

The Finished Product

This ham was so tender it was falling off the bone.  I almost couldn't get it out of the pot!

The Review

Sadly, this didn't taste like a Honeybaked Ham.  That being said, it was absolutely delicious and I'll make it again.  It was fun to watch the sugar caramelize.  All my kids gathered around to watch and point out the spots I'd missed.  As long as you keep the torch moving you don't have to worry about burning it.  I was really surprised at how easy it was to do.  Grade A.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 292: Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

It must be fall because everything I make lately has pumpkin in it.  This year I even made my own fresh pumpkin puree.  Yummy!!  This is another recipe that is a great marriage of summer and fall.  I would have never thought to put pumpkin and zucchini together, but here you go!  We are expecting our first hard freeze on Monday, so I figured I'd better use the last of my neighbor's zucchini (since the squash bugs killed all mine) and enjoy the last of the fresh summer produce.  I found this recipe on the Internet, but I can't remember where.

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread
10" dutch oven

3 cups self rising flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup pumpkin puree

Sift together the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the regular and brown sugar and set aside. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, mix together the oil, applesauce, eggs, water and vanilla extract. Add the pumpkin puree and the shredded zucchini and mix again. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix until combined.

Pour batter into a well greased dutch oven.  Bake at 350 degree for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.   Use 1 ring on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then remove to a baking rack to cool completely. 

**Be sure to use self rising flour.  If you don't have any, for each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix to combine.**
The Finished Product

We had a Halloween party last night and I left my camera in my hubby's car.  I'll post the pic around lunch time!

The Review

This bread was really good!  I love the texture the zucchini gives it and it is nicely spiced.  This is definitely a keeper.  This is the kind of thing I would make a ton of and take to the neighbors.  It lasted about 14 minutes once my kids got home from school.  We gave this an A.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 291: Enchilada Lasagne

First thing this morning, I have a little info for all the new readers.  My followers have doubled in the last 4 months so welcome to all of you.  I've gotten a few emails from readers wondering what the references to the rings in the recipes are.  I've found what I think is the best way to figure the temperature of the dutch ovens.  It is the Dinwiddie method of temperature control.  Its different than coal counting and uses rings of coals to determine temperature.  I did a post a while back dedicated to this method.  You can get to it with this link.  It should explain everything, but if you still have questions, feel free to shoot me an email and I'll help!

I know in the past I've mentioned my unhealthy obsession of Mexican food.  I don't know what it is about re fried beans, spicy sauce, tortillas and mountains of cheese that I love so much.  This week I "somehow" (wink, wink)  managed to plan a bunch of Mexican dishes into our menu.  I've been craving it so much lately that if I didn't know better I'd think I was pregnant. (Which I'm not, by the way.)  This is a recipe I just made up as I went along.  I've done something similar in the past, so it is loosely based on that.

Enchilada Lasagna
10" dutch oven

8-12 corn tortillas
3 shredded chicken breasts
1 tsp. cumin
dash cayenne
3/4 cup black beans
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (10 oz.) can enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheese (I don't usually measure cheese, as long as its gooey, its good)

Saute the onions and peppers in olive oil over a full spread of coals.  Add the chicken, cumin, cayenne, black beans, 1 cup of cheese and half of the enchilada sauce.  Heat until it is hot and the cheese is melted.  Remove from the pot and set aside.
In the same pot, layer 2 or 3 tortillas in the bottom.  Top with the chicken mixture and top with part of the filling.  Repeat layers until the tortillas and chicken mixture are gone.  Top with remaining cheese and enchilada sauce.  Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until it is hot and bubbly.  Use 1 ring on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 4-6.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was good, but there are a few things that I would change about it.  First, I would probably add some corn to it, just because I like corn.  Second, I won't mix the cheese in with the chicken mixture.  I'll just sprinkle it over every layer for added gooeyness.  Finally, the whole dish was a little dry, so next time I'll mix some chicken broth in with the enchilada sauce to make it go farther.  I know that sounds like a lot of changes, but like I said, I was making this up as I went along.  This would be a great camping meal too.  It was a really easy one pot meal.  Grade B.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 290: Chocolate Picnic Cake

What is the one thing you need after you get over the stomach flu?  Yep, you guessed it, chocolate cake!  And not just any old boxed cake, but a moist made from scratch chocolate cake!  That's what I need anyway.  :)  Yesterday ended up being busier than I thought it would be, so I put the cake together for a snack for my kids.  I found this in a Taste of Home cookbook.

Chocolate Picnic Cake
10" dutch oven

2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

In a small dutch oven, over 5-6 coals, melt the chocolate and then allow it to cool for 10 minutes.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, beat the egg and sugar.  Beat in the water and oil.  Stir in melted chocolate and dry ingredients; mix until blended.  Pour batter into a well greased 10" dutch oven.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  Serves 8-10.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was moist and delish!  I really didn't expect much out of this cake, especially since I overcooked mine.  But it was really good.  It is also as simple as can be.  It would be great with ice cream.  You could also use butterscotch or peanut butter chips instead of chocolate chips.  Oooh- toffee chips would be good too!  We all gave this an A.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 289: Dutch Apple Bread

I'm trying really hard to get caught up from being sick!  For the next couple of days you'll get 2 recipes a day.  One in the morning and one in the evening (or after my kids are in bed).  I live in a big fruit producing area.  Across the street there are 10 acres of apple trees and about 60 acres of cherry trees behind our house.  Then I have my measly 10 trees.  :)  They just finished picking the apples last week, so now its our turn to glean whats left on the trees.  I love finding new ways to use apples.  They are one of the ultimate flavors of Fall.  I found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine.

Dutch Apple Bread
10" dutch oven

1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped, peeled apple
1/3 cup walnuts (I left these out)


1/3 cup of flour
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbs. butter

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Fold in apple and nuts. Pour into a greased 10" dutch oven. For topping, combine the first four ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until bread tests done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. (If you want to make it in a bread pan, use a 9 x 5 inch pan and bake it for 55-60 minutes.)
The Finished Product

The Review

This bread was delicious!  It is so soft and moist.  The streusal topping gives it just a bit of crunchiness on top with a great cinnamon flavor.  I wish this made more.  I'm definitely going to have to double this next time.  Grade A.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 288: Butternut Squash, Rice and Sausage Bake

I've finally rejoined the land of the living!  I've spent the last couple of days as a zombie, laying in bed and wanting to die.  This is a refreshing change!  Its hard to get over being sick when you're taking care if 4 other sick people.  But I think I'm on the down-hill side of this thing. 

I made this for dinner a few nights ago.  I have a lot of sweet winter squash recipes, but I rarely use them.  I really like the more savory squash dishes.  I also wanted the squash to be the main dish, rather than relegated to a side dish.  I found this at

Butternut Squash, Rice and Sausage Bake
12" dutch oven

1 butternut squash
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. mild sausage crumbled
1 cup diced onions
1 small sweet apple, diced  (I used a Gala apple)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup uncooked arborio rice or 1 cup of other short grain rice
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used chicken stock)
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (I used 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Cut the squash in half, remove seeds, place squash in a dutch oven and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until tender.  Allow to cool.  Peel and cut into 1/2" cubes; set aside.
In a small dutch oven over a full spread of coals, bring broth, water and sage to a simmer without allowing it to boil.
In the same dutch oven that the squash was baked in, saute the onion in olive oil over a full spread of coals.  Add the sausage and cook until it is no longer pink.  Add the apple and garlic and cook for two minutes.  Add the rice and saute for a minute more.  Stir in the broth mixture, wine (or broth), thyme, salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Bake at 400° for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir gently and sprinkle with cheese.  Replace lid and allow the residual heat to melt the cheese.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 6-8.

The Finished Product

I've been taking some dandy pics lately!  Sorry about that!

The Review

This was really good!  I liked the sausage and the apple added just a bit of sweetness.  My kids liked everything BUT the squash.  Their plates were clean except for the little piles of squash.  It was actually pretty funny.  This takes a while to make in the dutch oven.  I cooked the squash earlier in the day so the rest was pretty easy.  If it was just me and my hubby to cook for (or other assorted adults) I'd make this again.  But my kids complained quite loudly about having to eat squash as a main dish.  If you love squash or are cooking for adults, then you should try this.  But if my kids are any indicator, yours probably won't love it.  :)  Grade B.

Sorry Everyone!

I've spent the last day and a half not being able to get out of bed and it seems like a miracle that I can even stand up!  As soon as I feel up to it I'll get a post up.  Thanks for bearing with me!  You are all wonderful!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'll write today's post as soon as I can!  Four of us, including me, are about as sick as we can be.  Hopefully by this afternoon I'll be feeling better.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 287: Noodle Rice Pilaf

I found this recipe in a church cookbook, and it seemed like just what I needed.  We had a pretty flavorful main dish, and I didn't want to overwhelm the meal with a spicy side dish. 

Noodle Rice Pilaf
10" dutch oven

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup uncooked fine egg noodles or vermicelli (break the vermicelli into 1" pieces)
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbs. fresh minced parsley

In a dutch oven over a full spread of coals, melt the butter.  Add the rice and noodles and cook until lightly browned, stirring often.  Stir in broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and  simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender.  Move about 6 coals from the bottom of the pot onto the lid.  Stir in the parsley when cooked.  Serves 4-6.

The Finished Product

Still no camera!  I hope I can get it back soon, but my mom lives kind of far away!

The Review

This was pretty good.  If you are having a more heavily flavored main dish and need something a little more bland to round out the meal, then this is what you want.  We all liked it, but it really isn't anything to write home about.  I'll make it again, but not often.  Grade B-.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 286: Stuffing Bread

With Thanksgiving sneaking up more quickly than I would like, I've been looking for new recipes to include in this years feast.  I always try to start early because I like everything to be perfect.  I always make homemade stuffing, and I have a really great recipe.  But I wanted to try making a bread that already had all the herbs in it rather than adding them to the butter and broth.  I think it would just help me be more prepared on the big day.  I mean, I usually start cooking at about 3 a.m., so anything that lets me sleep just a little longer will be very welcome!  I adapted this recipe from a Taste of Home cookbook.

Stuffing Bread
12" dutch oven

3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
2 Tbs. yeast
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. rubbed sage
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 egg

In a mixing bowl, combine the yeast, oil, sugar and warm water and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.  In another bowl, mix 2 cups of flour and seasonings.  Add to the yeast mixture and beat just until moistened.  Add the egg and beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.  Punch the dough down and shape into a large round loaf.  Place in a well greased dutch oven.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Bake at 375° for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  Use in any stuffing recipe!

The Finished Product

I left my camera at my Mom's house yesterday after our family outing, so I'll post the pic later tonight when I get it back!

The Review

This is a really great bread!  I'm really looking forward to making my stuffing with it.  (I'll be sure to share that recipe before Thanksgiving.)  I like that I can make it ahead of time and even freeze it until I need it.  This may simplify my life just a little.  You can also adjust the herbs to suit your tastes.  I think I'll use more rubbed sage and less poultry seasoning next time, but be creative and add what your family likes.  I think this will be a very useful recipe.  This one gets an A!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 285: Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

My kids are out of school for a long weekend, so we are headed out to have some fun.  The weather will be perfect to spend it out doors!  I love it!!  Yesterday, my 14 year old son, Wyatt, informed me he wanted to learn to cook.  I certainly won't be the one putting a damper on that desire, so we tried a new cake recipe.  I forget that beginners don't know that you have to cream butter and sugar, or even what it is to cream something, or that someone who has never cracked an egg will make a colossal mess!  But it was fun and he wants to keep learning, and that's the important thing.  So here is today's recipe, it comes from a Taste of Home cookbook.  I do have to admit that it got dark so I made the frosting in my kitchen.

Cream Cheese Sheet Cake
14" or 16" dutch oven

1 cup plus 2 Tbs. butter or margarine
2 (3 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 eggs
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour


1 cup sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, cheese and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each one.  Beat in vanilla.  Add flour and mix well.  Pour into a well greased dutch oven (or 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan).  Bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.   Cool completely.
For the frosting, combine the sugar and milk in a pan.  Bring to a boil over a full spread of coals.  Cover and cook 3 minutes without stirring.  Stir in butter and chocolate chips until melted.  Cool slightly.  Stir and spread over cake. 

The Finished Product

The Review

This cake is really good.  It is dense and soft and moist. I didn't like the frosting though.  It was just too sweet for me.  Next time I'll use a different frosting recipe.  As far as making this in a dutch oven, I think the recipe was designed to be made in a larger pan.  I made mine in a 14" and it was really thick and took nearly 50 minutes to bake completely, so keep that in mind if you use a 14" oven.  It still works, but you have to make time adjustments when you bake it.  But other than that it was really easy and yummy!  Grade B+.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 284: Chipotle Chicken Pasta

I absolutely love chipotles!  I'm always looking for new ways to use them.  They just have such a great smokey flavor and a really nice kick!  I've been looking forward to trying this recipe.  I would have never thought to use chipotles in a pasta dish.  I adapted this recipe from Recipe Shoebox.

Chipotle Chicken Pasta
12" dutch oven

1 pound fusilli pasta (I used rotini)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-lbs.)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 canned chipotle chiles, seeded and finely diced
1/2 tsp. adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers)
2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 (4 oz.) cans sliced olives, drained
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro

Over a full spread of coals, cook noodles in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, cut chicken into 2 x 1/2 x 1/2-inch strips. Heat oil in a 12" dutch oven over a full spread of coals. Add chicken; saute 5 minutes or until it begins to brown. Add onion; cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; cook 1 minute.

Add chiles, adobo sauce, tomatoes, cream, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add cilantro. Add pasta to sauce; toss. Stir in reserved pasta water as needed for a creamier consistency. Serves 6.

The Finished Product

The Review

We loved this pasta dish!!  It was really different from the pasta I've been making.  Its sort of Mexican meets Italian.  My kids ate this like there was no tomorrow.  There wasn't enough chipotles in it for me though.  I did add some extra peppers and sauce, but not enough for my tastes.  But my kids wouldn't have been able to eat it if I had added what I thought was enough.  My suggestion is start with what is in the recipe and add more if you need to.  This makes great leftovers, but the pasta does soak up the sauce and it gets a little dry.  My solution was to stuff it in a pita pocket with a little mayo and lettuce and have it for lunch.  Yum!  Grade A-.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 283: Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls

I thought I'd try something really different for dinner last night.  We had Chorizo with Black Beans and Rice for dinner and I wanted an unusual side dish.  I found this at a food blog called My Favorites and I thought it would be fun to try.

Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls
14" dutch oven

2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 (4oz) can diced green chiles, drained
4 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 package egg roll wrappers (about 24 total)

In a large bowl, combine everything but the egg roll wrappers. Mix well to blend. Lay an egg roll wrapper out on a work surface so that one of the corners is pointing toward you and place 1/4 cup of the filling in the center. Fold the tip closest to you up over the filling, roll a bit, then take the points pointing outward and fold them in toward the center. Continue rolling into an egg roll shape until a small part of the remaining point is still free. Dip a finger in water and lightly brush on the edges of the free corner. Finish rolling and press to seal closed. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

Lightly grease your dutch oven with shortening. Place the sealed egg rolls on the baking sheet seam side down and spray the tops of the egg rolls with cooking spray (I brushed them with olive oil). Bake at 425° for about 15 minutes, or until lightly brown, turning halfway through baking. Use 2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serve warm with salsa.

The Finished Product

The Review

These were awesome!  They were really easy to make too!  I was skeptical about baking them, but they turned out great.  Mine suffered from operator error.  I started baking them at the wrong temperature and then I had to wait for more coals to be ready, so they don't look as good as they should, but they tasted great.  My  kids loved them.  I'll be making these again!  Grade A.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 282: Caramel Cashew Brownies

We're headed out to cut firewood, so just a quick post today!  I found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine. 

Caramel Cashew Brownies
10" dutch oven

18 caramels
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2 Tbs. milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped salted cashews

In a 10" dutch oven over about 6 coals, cook and stir the caramels, butter and milk until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in the sugar.  Combine the eggs and vanilla and stir into the caramel mixture.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into caramel mixture until blended.  Fold in the cashews.  Pour into a well greased dutch oven.  Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Use 1 ring on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Cool completely before cutting.  Serves 9.

The Finished Product

The Review

Oooh!  These were good!  I absolutely love cashews, so I take any chance to bake with them.  These can hardly be called brownies because they are so chewy and gooey.  These only lasted about 10 minutes.  I purposely over cook mine because my hubby loves the crunchy edges, so if they're cooked for the proper time they will be even more gooey.  These are delicious!  One warning though--be sure to use Crisco to grease the pan, and don't be shy about it.  These are pretty sticky.  Grade A.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 281: Skillet Chicken with Mexican Rice

I found this recipe at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I really love skillet meals, especially with how crazy life has been the past few weeks.  These kind of meals are quick, easy and yummy.  I'm so glad I had my dutch oven to cook this in.  There is no way my skillet would have held everything since I had to double the recipe to feed my crew.  Thank heaven for my dutch ovens or I never would have tried this recipe.

Skillet Chicken with Mexican Rice
10" dutch oven

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 poblano peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (10 oz.) cans green enchilada sauce (I recommend mild for those who don’t want much heat)
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves

Gently pat the chicken dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. In your dutch oven, heat the oil over a full spread of coals until it is rippling and hot. Brown the chicken on each side for 1-2 minutes until it is golden but not cooked all the way through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

In the same dutch oven, add the onion and poblano peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cumin and cook for 30 seconds. Add the enchilada sauce, rice and water, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and set the chicken breasts in the simmering rice mixture, nestling them in a bit. Cover the skillet, and transfer about 1/4 of the coals to the lid.  Simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes, until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through, stirring every five minutes or so to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom.

Stir in the cilantro and spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

The Finished Product

The Review

I really liked this.  I also really liked that I could do the whole thing in one pot!  My hubby and I and our older kids really liked the peppers and spinach, but my kids weren't super thrilled with it.  I had a hard time getting them to even try it.  I think it has something to do with the fact that it was green.  It takes years to overcome the hatred of all things green!  I would make this really often if my kids would eat it!  Grade B.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 280: Super Simple Brownies

With everyone that's been sick the last few days we decided to have our favorite chicken noodle soup for dinner last night.  But for those of us that aren't under the weather, I made these brownies!  These are so easy, fudgy and delish!

Super Simple Brownies
10" dutch oven

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour
chopped nuts, chocolate chips, M&M's or any other extras you want to add

Melt the butter in your dutch oven over about 6 coals.  Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.  Add the sugar and stir until well mixed.  Add eggs, beating until well combined.  Stir in vanilla, flour, salt and any mix-ins until just combined.  Pour into a greased dutch oven (just use the same one you melted the butter in) and bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Use 1 ring on top and 1 ring on the bottom.

The Finished Product

My camera and blogger aren't communicating very well lately.  I think they need couples counseling!  :)  As soon as they are speaking again, I'll post the pic.

The Review

These are really yummy and fudgy, just the way I like them.  There is nothing fancy about them, just chocolaty goodness.  This isn't my "go to" recipe, but its a good one.  Grade A-.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 279: Vegetable Noodle Casserole

What a day yesterday was!  My 2 year old daughter, Boey, had a 103° fever all day and my 14 year old son, Wyatt, came home from school with a broken arm!  I swear he'll have broken every bone in his body before he leaves home.  Anyway, by the time dinner rolled around I really didn't care what we ate, as long as it filled the empty spot!  So I opened up a cookbook and made the first thing I found that I had all the ingredients for.  This comes from a taste of home cookbook.  It can be served as a side dish, but I added a little canned chicken and made it a meal.

Vegetable Noodle Casserole
12" dutch oven

1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of broccoli soup
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbs. dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (16 oz.) pkg. wide egg noodles, cooked and drained
1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrot blend, thawed
2 cups frozen corn, thawed

In a bowl, combine soups, milk 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley,pepper and salt; mix well.  Add the noodles and vegetables and mix until well combined.  Pour into a greased dutch oven and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until heated through. Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom. Serves 12.

The Finished Product

With the days getting shorter, I'm losing what little natural light I have in my kitchen.  This really is better than it looks.  Sorry about the bad pic.

The Review

Okay, so this wont win any awards, but it was all right.  I was so frazzled by dinner last night I really didn't care!  :)  I did add some canned chicken to make it a little more hearty.  It wasn't my favorite meal, but my kids really liked it.  They all had seconds, which surprised me.  I even got a few "thank yous" out of it!  That has to count for something!  We decided this gets a B.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 278: Deer Camp Stew

Okay, so this recipe didn't start out as deer camp stew.  Its humble beginnings were as a skillet stew from Betty Crocker.  But I think poor Betty would find my version almost unrecognizable.  This recipe is so very easy.  It also comes together very quickly.  Its just the sort of thing a man who doesn't cook much would be able to make in the mountains on the deer hunt (which is going on right now around here, by the way).  The original recipe was more skillet meal than stew and it wasn't very interesting.  So I changed things up a bit.  As its written in only feeds 4, but its a cinch to double or triple.

Skillet Ground Beef Stew

12" dutch oven
1 lb ground deer or elk (I used elk, but you could also use ground beef)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 package (8 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms (about 3 cups  I hate mushrooms so I left these out)
2 1/4 cups beef-flavored broth
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbs. heavy whipping cream
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 lb unpeeled Yukon Gold or red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 medium)
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (1 cup)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 cup frozen peas

In 12"dutch oven, cook meat and onion over a full spread of coals, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain if necessary. Stir in salt, pepper and flour. Add mushrooms; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a bowl, mix broth, whipping cream and mustard with wire whisk. Add to beef mixture. Stir in potatoes and carrots.  Bring to a boil, then move about 1/4 of the coals to the lid and allow the stew to simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and sauce is slightly thickened. Add the peas and allow to cook a few more minutes or until they are heated through.  If the sauce is too thin at the end of the cooking process, cook uncovered another few minutes until the liquid reduces and is slightly thickened. Sprinkle with parsley. I found it needed a bit more salt and pepper, so be sure to have a shaker there so you can add more if you need to.  Serves 4-5.

The Finished Product

The Review

I was really surprised by how good this was.  My kids had seconds, and even my hubby (my pickiest eater) had 2 bowls.  Its also a very simple recipe that just about anyone can make.  Add some dutch oven biscuits and some peach cobbler for dessert and you've got yourself a meal.  Deer camp food never tasted so good!  For a weeknight meal we gave this a B, but for a camping meal it gets an A.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 277: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Since canned pumpkin has been a little hard to find, and very expensive it you can find it, I've been making my own pumpkin puree from fresh pumpkins.  I have a dozen bags in the freezer that I've been itching to try.  I found this bread recipe on the Internet, and it is supposed to be a knock off of Kneader's version.  Since I've never been to Kneader's, I can't vouch for how authentic it is, but I can vouch for its yummyness!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
10" dutch oven

3 1/3 cups unbleached all purpose Flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 2/3 cups Sugar
2/3 cups Softened Butter
4 whole Eggs
1 pound (or 1 30oz can or 2 15oz cans) Mashed Pumpkin
2/3 cups Water
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Cream sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the mashed pumpkin and mix well. Whisk the dry ingredients together and add to the pumpkin mixture alternating with water. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour into three well greased dutch ovens and bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.  Use 1 ring on the top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Allow to cool completely before cutting.

**This makes three 10" loaves.  I cooked 2 in my dutch ovens and 1 in my kitchen.  I haven't tried baking a larger loaf in a 12" dutch oven, but it should work!**

The Finished Product

The Review

This is really good pumpkin bread.  I doubt its as good as Kneader's, but it is definitely delicious.  Those 3 loaves didn't even last until dinner time.  The bread is very soft.  So soft that it is a little hard to handle and cut.  I would wait until its completely cool before cutting it.  Also, the chocolate chips stuck to the bottom of the pot, so next time I'll use parchment paper on the very bottom of the pan (don't run it up the sides or the sides will be lumpy and ugly).  We all loved this and gave it an A.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 276: Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

Whew!  My to do list keeps getting longer and longer!  I'm glad I can finally cross today's post off it!  Its canning season at my house and I have bushels and bushels of fruit in my mudroom just waiting to be put into jars and made into jams.  I'm so glad my kids like to cook, because they've been picking up my slack!  My oldest son, Colton, made this for dinner last night.  He is really getting to be a good cook and he has really gotten the hang of the dutch ovens!  I'm one proud Mama!

Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce
10" dutch oven

1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbs. butter or margarine
1 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth, divided
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (4 oz.) jar diced pimentos
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh minced basil (I used 1 1/2 Tbs. dried)
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cornstarch

Place milk and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls.  Dip chicken in milk, then coat with bread crumbs.  In a dutch oven over a full spread of coals, brown the chicken on both sides in butter and olive oil.  In the same pot, bake the chicken at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until juices run clear.  Use 1 ring on the top and 1 ring on the bottom.  When chicken is cooked, remove from the pot and keep warm.
In the pot the chicken was cooked in, bring 1/2 cup of broth to a boil over a full spread of coals.  Stir to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Stir in the cream and pimento; boil and stir for 1 minute.  Remove about 1/4 of the coals and stir in the Parmesan, basil and pepper and cook until heated through.  Mix the cornstarch and 1/4 cup chicken broth and stir into the pot to thicken the sauce if needed.  Pour sauce over chicken and serve.  Serves 4.

The Finished Product

Wow!  That's a bad picture.  It tastes a lot better than it looks!

The Review

This was really good.  I was sad that my basil plant died and I had to use dried basil.  It would have been even better, and prettier, with the fresh herb.  I was really proud of my son to try making a dish like this!  I helped him figure out how to do it in the dutch oven, but he did all the cooking.  We gave this a B+.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 275: Apple Peanut Butter Crisp

We made this dessert on Saturday in St. George.  We went up Snow Canyon and found a nice picnic area that was close to the sand dunes and some hiking areas.  While the kids played I cooked.  It was a lot of fun!  It made for a really relaxing afternoon.  My poor hubby, who had just finished the marathon a few hours earlier sat in a chair and tried not to be in pain.  :)  This dessert was the second place winner at the Youth Cook Off back in April.

Apple Peanut Butter Crisp
10" dutch oven

6-8 tart apples, peeled and sliced, with 1/4 cup white sugar stirred in
1/2 cup water
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. cinnamon
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup margarine

Arrange the apple slices in bottom of a lightly greased dutch oven.  Mix lemon juice and water and pour over apples.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top.  Mix remaining ingredients until crumbly.  Spread evenly over the apples.  Bake at 350° for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 6-8.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was DELISH!!  I would have never thought of putting peanut butter in apple crisp.  It was sweet and tart and just peanut buttery enough.  Next time I'm going to have to double this one.  My kids couldn't get enough.  This was a great twist on traditional apple crisp.  Grade A.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 274: Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Focaccia

I apologize for not being able to post yesterday's recipe!  My family took a weekend trip to beautiful St. George, Utah and we forgot the power cord for the laptop!  I just got home, so I'm playing catch up!  The first weekend in October is the St. George Marathon that my hubby runs every year.  So while he runs, we spend the morning climbing on the beautiful red rock hills.  It's rough duty, I know!  :)  If you're wondering, my hubby ran the marathon in 3 hours, 8 minutes and 52 seconds.  Its his 3rd best time, so we are very proud!

I made this bread as a snack for the kids before we headed out on Friday.  It is adapted from a Taste of Home magazine.

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Focaccia
12" dutch oven

6-6 1/2 cups flour
2 (1/4 oz.) pkgs. yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tbs. milk

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Add the salt and vegetable oil and enough flour to form a soft dough.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.  Place in a greased bowl and allow to rise 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and divide in half.  Pat each portion flat, cover and let stand 10 minutes.  Press the dough into 2 well greased dutch ovens.  Prick the top of the dough with a fork.  Brush with butter.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the dough.  Top with chocolate chips.  Let stand 10-15 minutes.  Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.  Combine powdered sugar and enough milk to achieve a glaze consistency; drizzle over warm bread.  Makes 2 round loaves.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was really good.  I was hoping the chocolate chips would melt and leave little puddles of chocolate on the bread, but the chips kept their shape.  My kids gobbled this up!  Its a really good dessert bread.  You could use nuts instead of the chocolate chips, or maybe even M & M's.  Just use your imagination.  This made a great snack for my kids.  Grade B+.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 273: Spinach Rice Bake

Just a quick post today.  I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off!

Spinach Rice Bake
10" dutch oven

1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, cooked according to package directions
1 cup cooked long grain rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup milk
3 Tbs. finely chopped onion
1 Tbs. dried parsley
2 Tbs. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Combine spinach with the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Place into a greased dutch oven and bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Use 1 ring on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves 4.

The Finished Product

I'm having some problems with my camera so I'll add the pic as soon as I can!

The Review

I really love spinach, but I wasn't impressed with this recipe.  I won't make this again.  It had okay flavor, but it was nothing to write home about.  I have better recipes.  I think I'll skip this one next time.  Grade C-.

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