Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Chocolate Cherry Bars


     Celebrate Valentine's Day with these incredibly easy and delicious Chocolate Cherry Bars from Pillsbury.  More like a cake, these light and airy bars are made with only 4 ingredients.  If you're camping and don't want to go to the trouble of making the icing from scratch use the canned variety, just wait until the cake has cooled before lifting from your oven and frosting.
     If you follow the original recipe, once your cake is done remove it from the coals.  When you make the frosting, boil it for exactly one minute, add the chocolate and when the chocolate has melted and the icing is smooth, immediately pour it over your warm cake. As the icing cools it will be more difficult to spread.
     In my 12 inch dutch oven, the cake baked for 35 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 28 spaced evenly on the lid.  Be sure to let the bars cool completely before cutting and sharing with your favorite Valentine.  Have a sweet Valentine's Day!

Chocolate Cherry Bars
Cake Bars
1 15.25 oz package Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 21 oz can cherry pie filling
1 tsp almond OR vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
Frosting
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
5 tblsp margarine OR butter
1 6 oz package semisweet chocolate chips

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     In large bowl, combine all cake bar ingredients; stir until well blended.
     Pour into prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
     In small saucepan, combine sugar, milk and butter.
     Bring to a boil.
     Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
     Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips until smooth.
     Immediately pour frosting over warm bars.
     Cool in dutch oven for 1 1/2 hours or until completely cool.
     Cut into bars.

Pour thick batter into prepared 12 inch dutch oven

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees

Pour hot frosting over warm cake

Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Reuben Casserole


     Any time I can add pasta to my dutch oven without cooking it beforehand I am one happy camper.  This casserole from Hillshire Farm is not only easy to assemble, it will warm the cockles of your tummy.  In my 12 inch dutch oven, it cooked for a total of 55 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven, 18 placed in a ring around the outside of the lid, with 8 briquettes spaced evenly in the center.  It was a very cold and windy day so I rotated the lid halfway through cooking time.  Be sure to check your noodles to make sure they are tender before adding the final topping of cheese.  Allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving so the noodles can absorb some of the creamy liquid.  

Reuben Casserole
1 pkg. Polska Kielbasa
1 10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp prepared yellow mustard
1 14 oz can sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
8 oz. (about 4 cups) uncooked egg noodles
8 oz shredded Swiss cheese (2 cups), divided
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 Tblsp butter, melted

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.
     Cut sausage in 1/4 inch slices.
     In large bowl, mix soup, milk, onion and mustard until well combined.
     Spread sauerkraut on bottom of prepared dutch oven.
     Place noodles on top of sauerkraut, pressing down lightly.
     Pour soup mixture evenly over top of noodles.
     Lay sliced sausage on top of soup.
     Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese.
     Combine bread crumbs and butter in small bowl; sprinkle over cheese.
     Bake 50-55 minutes or until noodles are tender.
     Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese, continue cooking for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
     Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Layer sauerkraut, noodles, Kielbasa, cheese and breadcrumbs
in prepared 12 inch dutch oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until
noodles are tender before adding final layer of cheese

Bake for 5 minutes longer or until cheese has melted

Tangy, creamy, easy to make and especially filling,
try it you'll like it

Saturday, January 9, 2016

One-Hour Shrimp Paella


     This scaled back recipe for Paella from Bon Appetit might seem a little tame compared to the more authentic versions you may have tried but it is amazingly good and an ideal dish to prepare in your dutch oven.  Having your ingredients lined up and ready to go is essential.  In my 10 inch deep dutch oven, the Paella cooked for a total of 30 minutes from start to finish.  I sauteed the ham and vegetables over 22 coals then covered my oven with another 18 coals on the lid.  Once the broth and rice came to a boil I removed some of the center coals from the base of the oven.  After 15 minutes, when the rice was almost ready, I added the shrimp and olives.  In 7 minutes the shrimp were done and the rice was fluffy, fragrant and cooked to perfection.  Toss in some frozen peas and artichoke hearts with the shrimp for an even more colorful and filling dinner.

One-Hour Shrimp Paella
1 Tblsp olive oil
8 oz 1/2 inch cubes smoked ham (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 tsp (generous) saffron threads, crumbled
1/4 tsp hot Spanish paprika or hot Hungarian paprika
3 1/4 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
1 lb uncooked, peeled, deveined large shrimp
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, halved
Salt and pepper to taste

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Saute ham, onions and bell pepper in olive oil over a full compliment of coals.
     Cook for 8-10 minutes or until onions are translucent.
     Stir in saffron and paprika, add 3 cups broth and rice.
     Stir in salt and pepper.
     Cover with as many coals on the lid as needed to bring broth to a boil.
     Simmer until rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes.
     Nestle shrimp into rice, top with olives and drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup broth to moisten.
     Cover and cook until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 6 more minutes.
     Makes 4 servings.

Saute ham, onion and bell pepper over a full
compliment of coals

Add rice, broth and spices; cover and
bring to a boil

Simmer rice for 15 minutes before adding
shrimp and olives

Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes or until shrimp are opaque

I'd give this a five star rating

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Cornbread


     Adapted from a recipe I found on the Jiffy company's website, this one bowl cornbread is a fun and filling way to usher in the New Year.  Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is a Southern tradition that dates back to the Civil War, insuring prosperity and good luck in the upcoming year.  In my 12 inch dutch oven the cornbread baked for a total of 50 minutes with 12 coals around the base of the oven, 18 in a ring around the outside of the lid and 8 coals spaced evenly in the middle.  I omitted the jalapenos but I'm sure they would give it a real kick.  Somewhat like a spoon bread, the creamy peas, melted cheese and creamed corn make this a very moist cornbread.  Serve it with a tossed salad for a light dinner or New Year's Day brunch.  Happy New Year!

Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Cornbread
2 8.5 oz packages 'Jiffy' Corn Muffin Mix
1 lb spicy pork sausage meat, cooked and crumbled
5-6 scallions, chopped
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 8 oz. package Cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1 15 oz can black-eyed peas, drained
3/4 cup cream style corn
1 4.5 oz can green chilies, chopped
1/4 cup canned pickled jalapeƱos, chopped and drained

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.
     In large bowl beat eggs, buttermilk and oil.
     Add muffin mix, stirring until mixture is just moistened.
     Batter will be lumpy.
     Stir in sausage, scallions, cheese, black-eyed peas, corn, chilies and jalapenos.
     Pour into prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until lightly browned.
     Cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares.
     Makes 8-10 servings.

Spread batter into well oiled 12 inch dutch oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes

A 'lucky' cornbread chock full of flavor

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Coffee Cake


     This coffee cake from Susan Branch has all the flavors and smells of Christmas morning.  In my 10 inch dutch oven it baked for 40 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven, 13 placed on the outside of the lid with 5 more briquettes spaced evenly in the center.  If you decide to make this in your conventional oven, bake it in an 8 inch square pan.  Loaded with soft apples, crunchy walnuts and tangy cranberries, it's a moist and delicious cake that is perfect for a cold winter's day.  Have a very Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season!

Christmas Coffee Cake
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cored, peeled, chopped apple (2 apples)
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
powdered sugar for dusting

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     Sift together flour, soda and salt; set aside.
     Combine remaining ingredients and mix well.
     Stir in flour mixture.
     Spread in prepared oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
     Let sit 15 minutes before removing from oven.
     Cut into squares, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.

Spread batter into parchment lined 10 inch dutch oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Potatoes Wrapped in Bacon


     I was thinking of this recipe today while I was swimming, it's terrible, I know, to be obsessing about food while you're trying to burn off calories but since anything tastes good wrapped in bacon, I thought, why not potatoes?  I searched the Internet and found that various versions of this recipe have been around for a while now.  If you only have large potatoes you can cut them into wedges, wrap them tightly with bacon and basically cook them the same way.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, they baked for 55 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and the lid completely covered with briquettes.  I started with a blazing hot oven and left it undisturbed for almost an hour, when I smelled the bacon I knew they were done.  Double or triple the recipe if you're feeding a crowd.   Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, serve these dressed potatoes for breakfast, as an appetizer or as a side dish with dinner, I guarantee they will fly off the plate.

Potatoes Wrapped in Bacon
12 New or fingerling potatoes, washed and dried thoroughly
6 slices of bacon
Salt and pepper to taste

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Cut bacon strips in half.
     Wrap each potato tightly with halved bacon strip.
     Place wrapped potatoes side by side in dutch oven.
     Add salt and pepper to taste.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until bacon is crisp and potatoes are tender.
     Serve warm with sour cream, chives or softened butter.

Wrap potatoes with bacon and place in a single layer
in dutch oven.

Roast at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes

Serve these crispy spuds with your favorite toppings

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole


      If you're tired of reheated Thanksgiving leftovers in the microwave give this easy but oh so filling casserole from Kraft a try in your dutch oven.  More like a Shepherd's Pie, the layers of stuffing, turkey, vegetables and potatoes are topped off with melted Cheddar cheese.  If you're not a fan of mayo, mix the veggies and turkey with gravy before spooning over the stuffing.  In my 12 inch dutch oven the casserole baked for a total of 45 minutes with 12 coals around the base of the oven and 28 briquettes spaced evenly on the lid.  I added the cheese during the last five minutes of cooking time, dotting the potatoes with pats of butter would also be a good way to add even more comfort to this fluffy and creamy casserole.  Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole
1 6 oz package Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Turkey OR 4 cups leftover homemade stuffing
4 cups chopped cooked turkey
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 24 oz package of prepared refrigerated mashed potatoes OR 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1/8 tsp paprika

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.
     Prepare stuffing as directed on package; spread onto bottom of prepared oven.
     In large bowl combine turkey, mixed vegetables and mayonnaise; spoon over stuffing.
     Mix potatoes and 1 cup cheese; spoon over turkey mixture then smooth surface with back of spoon.
     Sprinkle with paprika.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until heated through.
     Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, continue cooking until cheese has melted.
     Makes 6-8 servings.

Layer stuffing, turkey and veggie mixture and
cheesy mashed potatoes in 12 inch dutch oven

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes before adding
remaining 1/2 cup of cheese

Bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese has melted

The perfect meal to come home to after a hard day of
Black Friday shopping