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

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cranberry Orange Upside Down Cake

     What could taste more like Christmas than a cranberry-orange topped cake laced with cinnamon and ginger?  It may look complicated but if you make this cake from Midwestern Living magazine in steps it's very easy to assemble.  One little hint, you need to melt two different measurements of butter, one for the topping and one for the cake.  In my 10 inch dutch oven the cake baked for a total of 35 minutes with 10 coals placed around the bottom of the oven, 14 briquettes placed around the edge of the lid with 4 spaced evenly in the center.  Keep an eye on it, with all that butter, it will brown quickly.  The aroma wafting from your oven is worth the effort of making it alone.  Allow the cake to cool for a good 20-25 minutes before inverting onto a plate.  The tart but sweet topping melds perfectly with the buttery, spiced cake.  Leave a piece out for Santa and hide the rest for yourself, with a cup of tea, it's just what the doctor ordered after a long day of holiday activities. 

Cranberry Orange Upside Down Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tblsp butter, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 11 oz can mandarin orange sections, drained
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 eggs
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt OR sour cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 Tblsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; set aside.
     Place 3 Tblsp melted butter in parchment lined dutch oven, swirl to completely cover bottom of oven.
     Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter.
     Arrange orange sections over brown sugar.
     Top evenly with cranberries.
     In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, granulated sugar, the 6 Tblsp melted butter and the vanilla.
     Add flour mixture to egg mixture, one-third at a time, stirring just until combined after each addition.
     Spoon batter into dutch oven, spreading carefully to cover fruit.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
     Let cake cool for 20 minutes before lifting from oven and inverting onto plate.
     Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cover bottom of oven with 3 Tblsp melted butter, sprinkle
with brown sugar then top with oranges and cranberries

Carefully spread thick batter over fruit

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before inverting onto plate

Tart, sweet, spicy and incredibly moist, a new holiday favorite

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pulled Pork Tortilla Pie

     Seems like I'll never learn, I get so excited about trying something new that I sometimes dive right in without actually reading the recipe.  I mistakenly doubled the recommended amount of sour cream in the original recipe but it was so light and creamy, you can definitely stick with the full 16 ounces.  Once you have all of your ingredients lined up and ready to go, all you need to do is light your coals and assemble the pie.  Pillsbury gives you the step by step instructions here.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, the pie baked for 30 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 20 briquettes on the lid.  I then sprinkled on the final topping of cheese and let it bake for an additional 5 minutes.  This is a great way to use up any leftover pulled pork you may have made from scratch.  The smoky barbecue sauce pairs very well the the green chiles, a unique, somewhat quirky combination of flavors and like lasagna allow the pie to sit before serving so it will firm up and become easier to slice.

Pulled Pork Tortilla Pie
1 11 oz can corn, drained
1 4 oz can chopped green chiles, drained
12 corn tortillas
1 16 oz package hickory smoked pulled pork
1 16 oz container sour cream
1 10 oz can mild green chile enchilada sauce, divided
8 oz (2 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Reserve 2 Tblsp. enchilada sauce.
     In small bowl, mix corn and chiles; set aside.
     In prepared dutch oven, layer 4 tortillas, half each of the pork, corn mixture, sour cream, enchilada sauce and 1/2 cup of the cheese.
     Repeat layering once.
     Top with final layer of tortillas, spread with reserved 2 Tblsp of enchilada sauce.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until pie is bubbling around edges.
     Top with remaining one cup of cheese, bake 5 more minutes or until cheese has melted.
     Allow to sit in dutch oven for 20 minutes before serving.
     Makes 6 servings.

Layer ingredients ending with a final topping of
enchilada sauce

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes before adding cheese

Continue baking until cheese has melted

Allow pie to sit for 20 minutes before serving

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cranberry-Pear Cobbler

     Adapted from a Gooseberry Patch recipe, this cobbler is the perfect way to end your Thanksgiving dinner.  The pears and applesauce combine with the tapioca to produce a thickened, sweet layer of fruit and the topping of buttery biscuits melts in your mouth.  I could not find the smaller cans of pears so substituted with the larger 29 ounce size and only added half the liquid.  The original recipe calls for the syrup from both cans but it seemed a bit watery to me so I scaled it back.  The secret to any biscuit topped recipe is to have the bottom layer hot and bubbling before you add the biscuits.  The fruit also needs to cook long enough for the tapioca to work it's magic and thicken the sauce.  In my 10 inch deep oven, the cobbler baked for 25 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 22 briquettes on the lid.  Once the fruit was thick and bubbling I added the topping, in 12 minutes the biscuits were golden brown and ready to serve.  This needs to be eaten while it's still warm and the biscuits are fluffy and soft so be sure to save some room for a big helping of cobbler.  Have a safe, blessed and very Happy Thanksgiving! 

Cranberry Pear Cobbler
2 15 1/4 oz cans sliced pears in syrup
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup applesauce
1/4 c. instant tapioca, uncooked
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon, divided
1 cup sugar
1 12 oz tube refrigerated Grands Jr buttermilk biscuits
1/4 cup butter, melted

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Pour pears with juice from only one can into prepared dutch oven.
     Sprinkle with cranberries and tapioca; set aside.
     Combine applesauce with nutmeg and one tsp cinnamon, mix well.
     Spoon applesauce over pears and cranberries.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbling.
     In a shallow dish combine sugar and remaining cinnamon; mix well.
     Separate biscuits.
     Dip each biscuit in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar to coat both sides.
     Arrange biscuits over hot fruit mixture.
     Continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until biscuits are golden.
     Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
     Serve warm; top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
     Makes 6 servings.

Spoon applesauce over pears, cranberries and tapioca

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until hot and
bubbling before adding sugar-coated biscuits

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving