Monday, August 29, 2011

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin

I don't think I've kept it much of a secret, but I am really not a fan of pork (except bacon of course).  We raised pigs for so many years that it just turns my stomach.  The thought of a pork chop makes me want to hurl.  But after many years, I'm finally to where I can enjoy a nice pork tenderloin, in fact, I've actually been looking for tenderloin recipes because I like it so much.  Crazy!  Anyway, I'm attracted to recipes that have different/weird spice combinations, and when I saw the cumin and cinnamon together, I knew I had to try it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chicken Cakes

This is one of the recipes I made when I didn't have an oven.  I was thinking about it and realized that I had never actually done any frying in my dutch ovens and it was time to give it a try.  Of course, its as easy to do in the dutch oven as it is on the stove top.  Maybe easier since I didn't have any oil splatters to clean off my stove.  :)  I love dutch ovens!!

Chicken Cakes
12" dutch oven

2 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil  (Add more as needed when frying)
1 Tbs. Creole seasoning (I used Tony Cachere's)
1 Tbs. Creole mustard (Or spicy brown mustard.  Just don't use yellow mustard)
2 Tbs. Mayonnaise (Not Miracle Whip)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 clove minced garlic
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup Italian bread crumbs

Remoulade Sauce
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 green onions, sliced
2 Tbs. creole mustard (Or spicy brown.  Not yellow)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbs. chopped parsley
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

Melt the butter in a dutch oven over a full spread of coals.  Add the bell pepper, green onions and garlic and saute until tender.  Stir together the bell pepper mixture, chicken, egg, mayo, mustard, creole seasoning and bread crumbs.  Form the mixture into about 8-10 patties.

In the same dutch oven, add the oil and heat until shimmering.  Fry the patties about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and sightly crispy on the outside.  Serve immediately with remoulade.

For the remoulade, mix all ingredients together and refrigerate 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend

The Finished Product

The Review

I can't even tell you how good these were.  My hubby (who is notorious for complaining if we have the same meal twice in 6 months) asked me to make these every week for a month.  And we still didn't get sick of them.  They are delish!  They are pretty spicy, so adjust the creole seasoning if you need to.  I think I only used 2 tsp. and it had a nice bite.  Don't skip the remoulade or you'll be missing the best part of the meal.  The sauce puts these over the top!  You'll love 'em!

Source:  Tasty Kitchen

Friday, August 19, 2011


**Disclaimer**  I am not a Southern gal.  I was born in Tahoe, California and spent most of my life in Northern Utah.  The closest thing I've ever even come to the South is spending 2 weeks in Dallas with a friend in college, but I'm not sure that counts.  So please forgive me if this Gumbo recipe is not remotely authentic.  Not authentic, but yummy nonetheless.  I did a little looking for Gumbo recipes (because I'd never had it before and had no idea what was in it).  After I had a fairly good grasp of what it actually was, I set about making my own recipe. (See what I mean by not authentic?)

First, a little about the roux that this recipe calls for.  A roux is super simple to make.  It is a mixture of a fat (butter or my favorite bacon grease)  and flour.  All you do is melt the butter, stir in the flour and cook and stir for a minute or two.  Roux is something that I always have stocked in my fridge.  I use it when I need to thicken soups, stews and anything else that needs thickening.  I keep it in a plastic container in my fridge so I always have it ready.  It stores up to 4 months.

12" dutch oven

2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 lb. chicken, cut into chunks
1 onion, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
1 stalks sliced celery
8 oz. kielbasa, sliced
4 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 Tbs. Creole spice blend (I used Tony Cachere's)
~1/4 cup roux (more as needed to reach desired thickness)


1/2 cup butter (real butter)
1/2 cup flour

Heat the oil in your dutch oven over a full spread of coals.  Add the chicken, brown and remove.  Add the onion, red pepper and celery to the pot.  Saute until the onion is golden.  Add the cooked chicken, sausage, stock, bay leaves, garlic and creole spice.  Cover and simmer 30 minutes.  Move about 1/2 the coals to the lid to simmer.

While the pot is simmering, make the roux.  In a small dutch oven over a full spread of coals, melt the butter.  Add the flour and stir until smooth.  Continue to cook and stir for about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

To thicken the Gumbo, add 1/4 cup of roux and stir until thickened.  Season with additional creole seasoning, salt and pepper if needed.  Serve over hot cooked rice.  Serves 6.

The Finished Product

The Review

This was really good if I do say so myself.  My kiddos loved it and my oldest son had 3 heaping plates full.  That's a winner in my book.  It was just spicy enough to be interesting, but not too spicy for my little kids.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I've hit a major milestone today.  I'm officially OLD!  Yep, the big 4-0.  Time to start my mid life crisis.  I'm thinking sports cars (maybe a yellow 2011 Camaro) and younger men.  On second thought, I think I'll stick with the sports cars, I finally got the man I have trained and I don't want to start over.  :)  I hope you all have a wonderful day and I'll try not to cry when they have to call the fire department to put out the candles on my cake.  See you tomorrow!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Super Simple Apple Cobbler and Cooking with Coals From a Fire

This is a fun and delicious recipe!  It came from Cyndi Boyer and was printed in the Spring 2011 Dutch Oven News.  We had a hot dog roast on the back of our property and it was the perfect way to end the evening. 

I have to admit, I did have a few problems when I made this.  Not with the recipe, but with the fact that it was my first time trying to cook with coals from a fire.  Talk about an eye opening experience.  I thought I was pretty good at gauging heat by feel, but it turns out I'm not.  Truth be told, I was just nervous about trying it so I didn't get my oven hot enough.  It was the same feeling I had when I first started this whole dutch oven adventure last year, and look how that turned out.  I'll only get better.

Here is what I learned my first time out.  

First, the coals you use should look a lot like charcoal do.  Not in shape, but in color.  Some will be covered in ash, some black and grey and some glowing red.  The key is that they are all hot.

Next, you have to figure out how many coals to use.  This is where I think the Dinwiddie method comes in handy.  The main premise behind it is that if you cover a certain amount of surface area your oven will get hot enough to cook with.  So I tried to make sure that the coals I used from the fire covered roughly the same surface area that the rings of charcoal would.  Easier said than done, I know, but it was a good place to start.

Finally, just check your food as it cooks.  If it isn't cooking as fast as it should, grab a shovel and add some more coals, if its cooking too fast, remove some.  Just like when you use briquettes.

Its really not that different from using charcoal.  You just have to pay attention and make adjustments when necessary.  I won't be nearly as intimidated next time I use coals from a fire.  And I'm pretty sure I'll be raiding the wood shed again soon!  I'd love to hear how you have adjusted to using real coals!

I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures while this was cooking, but I was so preoccupied with the real coals that I completely forgot.

Super Simple Apple Cobbler
12" dutch oven

3 large (21 oz.) cans apple pie filling
2 cans refrigerated cinnamon rolls (Like Pillsbury) with icing

Dump all three cans of pie filling in your dutch oven.  Open the cinnamon rolls and separate into individual rolls.  With kitchen shears, quarter the cinnamon rolls and sprinkle in a single layer over the pie filling.  Bake at 350° until the cinnamon rolls are golden brown.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Drizzle with icing and serve.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Herbed Chicken and Pasta

This has been one of my family's favorite meals forever.  I've been making it long enough that I can't even remember where I got the recipe.  The best thing about this is that its one of those things I can have on the table in about 30 minutes and I know everyone will be happy.

Herbed Chicken and Pasta
10" dutch oven

1-2 tsp. salt free seasoning blend (I used Mrs. Dash)
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
4 Tbs. butter, divided
2/3 cup water
2 Tbs. teriyaki sauce
2 Tbs. onion soup mix (I used Lipton)
1 envelope savory herb and garlic soup mix, divided (I've used both Lipton and Knorr brands)
8 ounces of your favorite pasta
2 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

Combine the seasoning blend and  poultry seasoning and sprinkle over the chicken.  Saute the chicken in oil and 2 Tbs. butter over a full spread of coals until juices run clear.  Add the water, teriyaki sauce, onion soup mix and 2 Tbs. herb and garlic soup mix.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and move about 1/4 of the coals from the bottom of the dutch oven to the top, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and add to the chicken mixture.  Add the cheese, Worcestershire sauce, remaining butter, and remaining herb and garlic soup mix.  Toss to coat and serve immediately.  Serves 4.

The Finished Product

The Review

I haven't made this in a long time, and I'd forgotten how good it is.  The herb and garlic soup mix can be a little hard to find.  My local grocery store will randomly quit carrying the Lipton brand, which I like best, but the Knorr brand makes a good substitute.  This was super easy in the DO, and the DO flavor really adds that something extra to this meal.  We love it!

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