Thursday, June 23, 2011

Taco Meatball Ring

With every day that passes without an oven I become more and more grateful that I can dutch oven cook.  Its not just for camping or emergencies!  Although I think that not having an oven could qualify as an emergency sometimes.  But not for me because I spent last year preparing for just such an occasion!  I'm actually quite pleased that we aren't eating out every night. (Not that we would, I'm way to cheap for that.)  Nor are we relegated only to what I can make in a skillet or slow cooker.  (Although there's been some of that.)  Nope!  Nothing has changed, oven or not!

This recipe is a fun twist on tacos.  It is also really easy.  This will go into the camping category for sure!  I used 1 dutch oven for the whole meal, but it would be faster if you used one oven to cook the meatballs and one to cook the actual dish.  But its up to you.

Taco Meatball Ring
12" dutch oven

2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

3 Tbs. water
4 Tbs. taco seasoning
1 lb. ground beef
2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
Shredded lettuce
Chopped tomato
Sliced green onions
Sliced black olives
Sliced jalapeno peppers
Sour cream and salsa

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of cheese, water and taco seasoning. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 16 balls.

Place the meatballs in a dutch oven and bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Use 2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Drain the meatballs on paper towels. Pour the grease out and wipe the oven clean.  (I let it cool for a few minutes so I could handle the oven.)

Arrange the crescent rolls in your dutch oven,  forming a ring with the pointed ends facing the outer edge of the pan and the wide ends overlapping.

Place a meatball on each roll. Fold the point over the meatball and tuck under the wide end of the roll. The meatball will still be visible. Repeat with all the meatballs. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown.  Use 1 1/2 rings + a few coals on top and 1 ring on the bottom.

Serve with lettuce, chopped tomato, olives, jalapenos, green onions, sour cream and salsa.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was really good.  Especially if you're a meatball connoisseur like I am.  Next time I'll just serve it out of the dutch oven instead of on a serving platter.  It took 4 large spatulas and a few extra arms to get it out in one piece.  It was totally not worth taking it out of the pan just to save a few dirty dishes.  But we'll be having this again for sure.  My kiddos loved it!  Grade A.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

Hi everyone!  I'm back dutch oven cooking with a vengeance.  Like I said before, my oven went the way of the dodo, so I have no way to bake anything in it  Thank goodness I spent last year learning to cook outdoors, because right now I have no choice.  I'd be in a panic if I didn't know how to dutch oven cook. 

Let me start out this recipe by telling you that this is an original recipe, but the idea came from the Food Network, specifically "Diners, Drive-In's and Dives".  I spend more evenings than I'd like to admit watching and taking notes on the program (and lets be honest, many other food shows).  I'm weird, I know.  My hubby just shakes his head when he sees me grab my notebook and plop down on the couch.  Anyway,  I took the idea for this pizza and ran with it. 

At first, I thought it would be more of a grown up pizza, but my kiddos loved it.  Even with the artichokes and sun dried tomatoes.  Maybe there's hope for their tasters yet!  So, here goes, I hope you love it as much as we did!

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza
2- 12" dutch ovens (thin crust) or 1- 12" dutch oven (thick crust)


3 cups flour
1 Tbs. honey, heaping
1 cup warm water
1 Tbs. yeast
1/2 tsp. garlic powder


Pizza sauce
Canned artichokes, coarsely chopped
Black olives
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 garlic bulb (not a clove, but the whole head of garlic)
Sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, patted dry and coarsely chopped

Garlic Butter:

1/4 cup butter or margarine
5 cloves minced garlic
Dried parsley (I used about a tablespoon)
Shredded Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup total)
Shredded Romano cheese
3 chicken breasts, seasoned, cooked and cut into chunks

To roast the garlic, cut the top quarter of the bulb off and discard.  (It is the pointy side you want to cut off.)  Drizzle about a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil over the bulb then wrap in foil.  Place a trivet inside your dutch oven and place the bulb on top of it.  (If you don't have a trivet, just roll up 4 small balls of foil and balance the wrapped garlic bulb on top of them.  The idea is not to let the garlic sit directly on the bottom of the dutch oven.)  Bake at 450° for about 40 minutes or until the garlic is very tender.  Use 2 1/2 rings on top and 1 on the bottom.  Remove from the oven, unwrap and allow to cool.  When cooled, squeeze the garlic cloves from the papery skin and mash.

To make the dough, mix all the ingredients together except the flour.  Add the flour a little at a time and knead or mix until a soft dough forms.  Press in the bottom of a greased dutch oven.

To build the pizza, spread the dough with your favorite pizza sauce.  Then add the chopped artichokes and sliced black olives.  Top with Mozzarella cheese, roasted garlic (you have to kind of spread it on or crumble it the best you can with your fingers) and sun dried tomatoes.  Bake at 475° for 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.  I used 2 1/2 rings + a couple of coals on top and 1 ring on the bottom.

While the pizza is baking, prepare the garlic butter.  In a small dutch oven over about 6-8 coals, melt the butter and add the minced garlic.  Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the parsley, cheeses and chicken and allow to melt together.  It may look like a gloppy mess, but that's what you want.  Keep it warm and stir often while the pizza cooks.

When the pizza is finished cooking, remove it from the heat and put the garlic butter/cheese mixture on top of the pizza.  Serve hot.  Makes 2 thin crust pizzas or 1 thick crust pizza.

The Finished Product

The Review

This is by far one of my favorite pizza recipes.  I'm so proud of it, I can't even tell you.  The richness from the roasted garlic and the bite from the minced garlic in the garlic butter are perfect together.  It has such complex flavors.  Talk about a party in your mouth!  I love how the garlic flavor gets infused into the cheese and the chicken when you make the garlic butter.  The smell alone with have your mouth watering.  I can't wait to make it again.  I don't mean to toot my own horn, but this gets an A+!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Oven Died--Good Thing I Have Black Pots!

Hi everyone!  I just thought I'd let you know that I'm back to some serious dutch oven cooking.  You'd think that after having an entire year off my oven would be ready for some action, but unfortunately, it bit the dust yesterday. So until I can save enough money for a new one, we're eating exclusively dutch oven food!  I'm having a bit of deja vu right now and converting every new recipe I find into a dutch oven recipe.  I'm really excited about it.  I'll start posting recipes again in a day or two!

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