Monday, March 2, 2015

Mediterranean Chicken Casserole

     I'm posting this basic but good casserole from Campbell's because it's an easy camping recipe and makes just the right amount for your 8 inch dutch oven.  It's one of those mix it all in one bowl and pour in your oven to bake recipes.  If you dined on this casserole under the stars, as is, it would pass as a tasty and filling dinner. If you want to elevate it to greatness and give it some oomph think about adding chopped roasted red bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, canned artichoke hearts, black olives, pine nuts and even some feta cheese.  In my 8 inch dutch oven it baked for 35 minutes with 8 coals in a ring around the bottom and 12 on the lid.  After 30 minutes, or when the orzo is tender, give it a stir, add the final topping of cheese and let it bake until the cheese has melted.  It's a warm and creamy casserole that comes together in a jiffy and if you're a vegetarian, leave out the chicken and load up on more vegetables. 

Mediterranean Chicken Casserole
1 10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup water
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp ground black OR lemon pepper
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
2/3 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In medium bowl, combine soup, water, oregano, pepper, spinach, chicken and pasta.
     Pour into prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until orzo is tender and mixture is hot and bubbling.
     Sprinkle with cheese.
     Cook for 3-5 minutes more or until cheese has melted.
     Makes 2-4 servings.

Stir everything together except cheese and pour
 into your 8 inch dutch oven

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes then
sprinkle with cheese

Bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese has melted

Top with crumbled feta to give it some zing

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Classic Strawberry Shortcakes

     Since I've had such good luck baking scones and biscuits in my dutch oven I thought I'd give this classic shortcake recipe from the back of the Bisquick box a try.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, they baked for 15 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 22 briquettes on the lid, basically when you can smell them baking they're probably done.  Adding seedless raspberry preserves makes the strawberries glisten and thickens the juices.  Double the recipe and bake them in your 12 inch oven if you're feeding a crowd.  An All-American classic and a recipe I grew up with, for an airy center and a perfectly crispy crust, try baking these shortcakes outside in your camp oven.

Classic Strawberry Shortcakes
1 quart (4 cups) strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tblsp seedless raspberry preserves (optional)
2 1/3 cups Original Bisquick mix
1/2 cup milk
3 Tblsp sugar
3 Tblsp butter, melted
Whipped cream or frozen whipped topping

     In large bowl, mix strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar and raspberry preserves; set aside.
     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, 3 tablespoons sugar and butter until soft dough forms.
     Drop dough by 6 spoonfuls into prepared oven.
     Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
     Allow to cool in dutch oven for 10 minutes.
     Split warm shortcakes; fill and top with strawberries and whipped cream.

Spoon shortbread dough into well oiled oven

Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes

An All-American classic

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Block Party Barbecued Baked Beans

     Kraft brings us this very tasty pot-luck bean casserole.  Meaty, smokey and a little sweet, it's the kind of dish you could serve on the side or even as a main course with a big helping of cole slaw.  Saute the beef and onions, drain off any excess grease, add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer until hot and bubbly.  I browned the beef over a full spread of briquettes then left about 10 coals in a ring around the bottom with 18 on the lid.  If you let the beans sit for a while they'll thicken and soak up some of the flavorful juices.  A good hot dog topping, you could also serve them in a bun like a Sloppy Joe.

Block Party Barbecued Baked Beans
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 16 oz can pork and beans
1 15 1/2 oz can mild chili beans
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tblsp mustard

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Brown beef and onion over a full compliment of coals, drain off excess fat.
     Move bottom coals to a ring around base of oven.
     Stir in remaining ingredients.
     Cover and cook with enough coals on lid to keep beans at a steady simmer.
     Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring halfway, until bubbling and heated through.
     Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.
     Makes 6 one cup servings.

Brown beef and onion over a full compliment of coals

Stir in remaining ingredients

Simmer for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly

A very filling side dish or main course

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cornbread Chili Casserole

     From Wolf Brand Chili, as this hearty casserole cooks, the chili and cheese sink down and bake right into the cornbread.  A very easy recipe and good for camping, just be sure to oil your dutch oven well so you'll have a nice crispy crust on your cornbread.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, the casserole baked for a total of 40 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven, 14 briquettes around the edge of the lid with 6 spaced evenly in the center.  This is bound to become a campfire classic, serve it while it's hot and garnish with your favorite chili toppings.

Cornbread Chili Casserole
1 2.5 oz package corn muffin mix (Jiffy brand)
2 eggs
1 11 oz can whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained (Mexicorn)
1/2 cup regular OR reduced-fat sour cream
2 Tblsp sugar
1 15 oz can Beef with Beans Chili
1 cup shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     In large bowl, combine corn muffin mix, eggs, corn with peppers, sour cream and sugar.
     Spread batter in bottom of prepared dutch oven.
     Spoon chili evenly over top of batter, up to 1/2 inch of sides of dutch oven.
     Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
     Top with remaining half cup of cheese.
     Bake for 10-15 minutes more or until bubbly and edges are brown.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Leave 1/2 inch between chili and sides of dutch oven

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes before adding
remaining 1/2 cup of cheese

Bake for 15-20 minutes more or until bubbling in the center
and brown around the edges

Cornbread and chili conveniently bake together
in one very tasty casserole

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cast Iron-Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Onion

     Having all the ingredients leftover from the holidays, I thought I'd put my trusty dutch oven to good use and whip up a batch of these Cast Iron Roasted Potatoes.  The original recipe calls for making them in your cast iron skillet in a 350 degree oven, but I decided to pile on the coals and roast them outside in a searing hot oven.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, they roasted for 45 minutes with 12 briquettes in a ring around the base of the oven and the lid piled with roughly 22 coals. Roasting them in a blazing hot oven will allow the crispy crust to form on the potatoes.  Stir them only once, you need to allow the bottom heat to work it's magic.  Serve them for breakfast, lunch or dinner with red, white or blue potatoes, every spud lover should have this classic in their recipe file.  From The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook, A Treasure of Timeless, Delicious Recipes.   

Cast Iron-Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Onion
1 1/2 lbs unpeeled red potatoes, cut into one inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper 

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Add potatoes and onion, drizzle with olive oil.
     Add the rosemary, salt and pepper to taste; stir until well combined.
     Roast at 400 degrees, stirring halfway, until the potatoes are browned and tender when tested with a knife, about 45 minutes.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Toss potatoes and onions with olive oil, rosemary
salt and pepper

Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring halfway

A blazing hot oven ensures brown and crispy potatoes

Friday, January 9, 2015

Upside-Down Banana-Walnut French Toast

     I apologize for tempting you with this luscious recipe so soon after making your resolutions to eat healthier in the New Year, but it was so incredibly delicious I just couldn't wait to share it with you.  This French Toast from Betty Crocker is by far, one of the best things I've made in my dutch oven.  They need to invent an Upside-Down Banana-Walnut French Toast candle because the scents and smells lingering in your dutch oven and kitchen will positively delight you.  After assembling the dish, I let it sit for a good hour before lighting the coals.  On a cold and blustery day it baked for a total of 45 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 24-26 briquettes spaced evenly on the lid.  Pack a spatula and a big spoon in your chuck box, after you dish it up you won't want to waste a drop of the sugary nuts and topping. 

Upside-Down Banana-Walnut French Toast
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup chopped walnuts OR pecans
3 bananas, sliced
1 loaf (about 1 lb) sliced, unfrosted, firm cinnamon bread
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Powdered sugar, if desired

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven, line with parchment paper if desired.
     In large bowl, stir brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and walnuts until smooth.
     Gently stir in bananas.
     Spoon mixture evenly into prepared dutch oven.
     Reserve ends of bread for another use because they don't soak up the egg mixture very well.
     Arrange 2 layers of bread over banana mixture, tearing bread slices to fit if necessary.
     In medium bowl, beat eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla with wire whisk until well blended.
     Pour egg mixture over bread.
     Allow to sit in a cool place in dutch oven for 30 minutes to an hour.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
     Serve portions upside down, spooning sauce from bottom of dish over each serving.
     Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
     Makes 6-8 servings.

Spoon banana mixture evenly in bottom of 12 inch dutch oven

Place two layers of bread slices over bananas

Pour egg mixture over bread and allow to sit for
30-60 minutes in a cool place

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until knife '
inserted in center comes out clean

The ultimate French Toast bake and don't forget a big
spoon for the topping

Monday, December 29, 2014

Blackeye Pea Gumbo

      For good luck and prosperity in the upcoming year, my Southern friends traditionally eat blackeye peas on New Year's Day.  More like a jambalaya than a gumbo, this very easy recipe from Bush's can be tweaked and adapted to suit your needs.  If you're a vegetarian, substitute with vegetable broth and if you want a heartier more stick to your ribs kind of meal, add sliced, cooked kielbasa and raw shrimp during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time.  Ramp up the heat and flavor by adding your favorite spices.  In my 12 inch dutch oven I sauteed the vegetables with a full mound of 24-26 coals underneath my dutch oven.  Once the onions were translucent I moved the coals to a ring of 12 around the base of the oven with 26 briquettes on the lid.  It took a good 45 minutes for the rice to cook and absorb some of the liquid.  So ring in the New Year with a big bowl of lucky blackeye peas and I hope all your dreams come true in 2015! 

Blackeye Pea Gumbo
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup rice
2 cups chicken stock
4 15 oz cans blackeye peas with liquid
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tblsp Cajun spice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste    
     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch or larger dutch oven.
     Saute olive oil, onion, pepper, garlic and celery over a full compliment of coals until softened.
     Move bottom coals to a ring around the base of dutch oven.
     Add remaining ingredients, stir until well combined.
     Cover dutch oven with as many coals as needed to bring gumbo to a strong bubble.
     Simmer for 45-50 minutes, stirring halfway, or until rice is tender.
     Makes 8 servings.

Saute onions, pepper, celery and garlic over high heat
until softened

Add remaining ingredients, stir until well combined

Simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is tender

A great warming, filling game day dinner and don't
forget the cornbread