Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chili Sausage Bake

     Bisquick was on sale this week at my local grocery store, I stocked up so thought I'd give this cornbread bake a try from Betty Crocker.  If you were hungry and camping this would be a 5-star meal.  It was tasty but there are similar dutch oven recipes that probably have more flavor and more of a cornmeal taste in the topping.  You could add some ground beef to this with the sausage to make it more substantial or even some canned corn.  I added a handful of cheese at the last minute and garnished it with chopped scallions and a spoonful of sour cream.  File this under good, filling, basic campfire grub. 

Sausage Chili Bake
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon garlic salt or powder
1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can kidney beans, undrained
2 cups Original Bisquick or baking mix
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup milk
2 eggs

     Spray or lightly oil a 12 inch dutch oven.
     Cook sausage and onion over a full spread of coals, stirring occasionally until onion is tender.  Stir in garlic salt, chili powder, tomatoes and beans.
     In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients until blended.  Pour over sausage mixture.
     Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees or until crust is light golden brown.

Saute sausage and onion

Stir in tomatoes and beans with their juices

Pour on cornmeal topping

Sprinkle on some cheese at the last minute

A campfire gourmet meal

Monday, May 30, 2011

Baked Corn on the Cob

    Today, not only do we honor our fallen heroes but officially celebrate the beginning of summer.  Like hamburgers on the grill, corn on the cob is a staple at cookouts all over the country. What could symbolize the warm, lazy days of summer better than a salty ear of corn sitting in a pool of butter on a paper plate?  While thumbing through a 1984 copy of "1001 Recipes From your Favorite Hometown Newspaper"  I came across a recipe for 'Corn Baked in the Husks'.  Basically it calls for removing the silk from corn, tying and soaking the husks then baking for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  The more I researched baking corn this way the more I found comments from cooks who once having tried this method swore they would never go back to boiling corn again.  I got to thinking how easy this would be to do in a dutch oven.  I tried it today and was blown away by how amazingly good it was, I felt like I was eating corn for the very first time.  The sweet kernels were tender and crisp, the color a brilliant yellow and the flavor intense.  I was only able to fit 4 ears in my 12 inch shallow oven, next time I will try stacking a few more in my deeper one.  Soaking the corn keeps the husks from burning and adds moisture to the cooking process.  However, I have found recipes where this step is eliminated and you bake the corn as is with the same results.  I turned my Camp Chef trivet over in the bottom of the oven, just to make sure the ears were slightly elevated.  When the corn is ready just peel back the husks and silk, roll it in butter and enjoy one of the greatest pleasures of summer living.

Baked Corn on the Cob
     Lightly spray or oil a 12 inch or larger dutch oven.
     While you are waiting for the coals to light soak corn, husks and all, in cool water.
     Place a trivet in the bottom of your oven.
     Place corn side by side on trivet or stack in opposite rows in a deeper oven.
     Cook for 35-40 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and as many as will fit on the lid.

Soak corn while waiting for coals to light, place side by side on trivet

After 40 minutes in a hot oven

Unveiling an ear or corn baked to perfection and loaded with flavor


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Not Rolled Rolled Cabbage

     I have been itching to make stuffed cabbage in my dutch oven.  When I ran across this recipe from Mr. Food it looked like it had all the flavor of cabbage rolls minus the work involved in making them.  This recipe is made for dutch oven cooking.  The oven works somewhere between a crock pot and pressure cooker, steaming the cabbage to perfection while browning the meatballs at the same time. Shred your cabbage in the food processor and it's even easier. After assembling the dish in my 12 inch oven I placed it over 12 coals and covered the lid with around 22-24 coals.  I left it alone for 45 minutes then gave it a gentle stir and let it cook for 15 minutes more.  Sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar if you like it on the sweeter side.  If you love cabbage you have got to try this wonderful casserole, finish it off with a spoonful of sour cream and you'll feel like you are dining in a 5 star Hungarian restaurant.

Not Rolled Rolled Cabbage
1 1/4 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium head green cabbage, shredded (12 to 14 cups)
1 (16-ounce) can jellied or whole-berry cranberry sauce
5 gingersnap cookies, crumbled (about 1/4 cup crumbs)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (28-ounce) jar plain spaghetti sauce

     Spray or oil 12 inch dutch oven well.
     In medium bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, salt, and pepper.  Form mixture into 1-inch meatballs (about 1 tablespoon each).
     Place half the shredded cabbage in bottom of dutch oven; add meatballs.  Spread cranberry sauce over meatballs, sprinkle with gingersnap crumbs and lemon juice then add remaining cabbage.  Pour spaghetti sauce over mixture and do not stir.
    Cook for one hour in your dutch oven.  Stir after 45 minutes, being careful not to break up meatballs.  Serves 8.

Form meatballs and place on cabbage layer

Sprinkle with cranberry sauce, lemon juice and gingersnap crumbs

Cover with another layer of cabbage and spaghetti sauce

Ready in an hour

Juicy meatballs enveloped in tender cabbage

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Caramel Apple Gingerbread

     Here is another great 3 ingredient recipe, well maybe a couple more if you count the egg and water needed for the gingerbread.  Make the gingerbread according to package directions, dump in the can of apple pie filling, mix and bake.  The result is a spicy, pudding like cake that soothes on the way down and reminds you of the holidays.  I baked this in my 10 inch oven with 10 coals in a circle around the bottom and 16-18 on the lid.  Drizzle some ready made caramel sauce over the top and your guests will be singing your praises and pleading for more.  This nifty recipe is from the Lucky Leaf company website. 

Caramel Apple Gingerbread
1 package (14.5-ounce) gingerbread mix
1 can (21 oz.) apple pie filling
1/4 cup caramel-flavored ice cream topping
Whipped topping

     Lightly oil or spray a 10 inch dutch oven.  Line with parchment paper.
     In a large mixing bowl prepare gingerbread mix according to package directions.  Fold the apple pie filling into the batter.
     Spread batter into prepared dutch oven.  Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let cool for about 20 minutes before removing from oven.
     Serve cake with caramel and whipped topping.  Makes 8 servings.

Just the right size for a 10 inch oven

Thirty minutes later

Moist, dense cake falls as it cools

Eat it with a spoon so you won't miss a drop

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cowboy Coffee Cake

      I was lighting the coals in the backyard at 5:30 this morning. Not only was I was trying to beat the rain but a warm slice of homemade coffee cake sounded like the perfect way to start a gloomy day.  This is a tried and true recipe that has been around for a long time and can be found in many cookbooks.  It is also called Buttermilk Coffee Cake.  Bake it in your 12 inch dutch oven lined with parchment paper.  It took 30 minutes to bake with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and about 20 on top.  Rotate the oven halfway through and check to make sure the cake isn't browning too quickly.  I moved a few coals from the center of the lid to the outside during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.  Cutting the butter or shortening into the brown sugar does require a little elbow grease but it is well worth the effort.  The smell of cinnamon will bring everyone running and this light, moist cake will be sure to brighten your day. 

Cowboy Coffee Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, margarine, or shortening
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.  Line with parchment paper.
     In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and salt.  Cut in butter or shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside 1/2 cup of crumb mixture.
     Stir baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into remaining crumb mixture.
     Add eggs and buttermilk to flour mixture and mix just until combined.
     Spoon batter into prepared dutch oven.  Combine reserved crumb mixture with nuts (if desired) and sprinkle over batter.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
     Let cool in dutch oven for 10-15 minutes before removing.  Serve warm.

Sprinkle topping on batter

Done when tester comes out clean

Parchment leaves creases on the side of the cake but makes life a whole lot easier

Cinnamon and brown sugar make this cake a winner

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Duke's Souffle

     John Wayne is my all time favorite actor.  In honor of his birthday I thought it was fitting to make his favorite casserole.  His wife Pilar wrote that he was first served this cheesy, chili souffle at a brunch in honor of President Miguel Aleman of Mexico.  She would often make this for him when he went on location.  He would carry a copy of the recipe wherever he went, sometimes making it for his cast and crew.  I have made it twice, once in my 12 inch dutch oven and again in my 10 inch oven with the addition of evaporated milk and flour.  I am posting the recipe with the milk as it was a bit more stable and rose higher.  For a 12 inch oven place 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 16-18 on top.  Check it halfway through to make sure it isn't browning too quickly.  Throw a wire whisk in your chuck box to beat the egg whites at your campsite.  It may seem like a lot of cheese but it melts down with the chilies making a rich base for the light and puffy egg souffle.  Put a John Wayne film in your DVD player and treat yourself to a plateful of this unbelievably delicious dish.  Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  This is taken from The Great Entertainer Cookbook from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.  Supposedly John Wayne gave this recipe to one of the women who worked there in 1976.

Duke's Souffle
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 lb. Cheddar cheese, grated
2 4 oz. cans green chilies, drained, seeded, and diced
4 eggs, separated
1 Tblsp. flour
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 medium tomatoes, sliced and halved

     Lightly oil or spray a 10 or 12 inch dutch oven.
     Layer cheeses and chilies in bottom of oven. 
     Beat egg yolks slightly, then mix with flour, milk and seasonings.  Beat whites until soft peaks form, then fold into yolk mixture.
     Spread evenly over cheese layer in dutch oven.  Form an overlapping border around the edge of the dish with tomatoes, pushing slices halfway into mixture.
     Bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Layer chilies and cheese in bottom of oven

Whip egg whites until soft peaks form

Fold in egg yolk mixture

Place sliced tomatoes around edge of casserole

Eggs puffed and golden

Eggs rose higher with the addition of milk in a 10 inch oven

Rich and definitely delicious

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Touch of Grace Biscuits

     My search for the ultimate biscuit is over.  Shirley Corriher is a food chemist, writer, Food Network TV personality and cook.  Growing up in Georgia, her grandmother used to bake these featherlight biscuits three times a day.  When Shirley was young, as hard as she tried, whenever she followed her grandmother's recipe they would never come out quite the same.
     "I used her bread bowl, her flour, her buttermilk - I did everything the same, and I shaped the biscuits just as she did. But mine always turned out a dry, mealy mess. I would cry, "Nannie, what did I do wrong?" She would lean down and give me a big hug and say, "Honey, I guess you forgot to add a touch of grace." It took me twenty years to figure out what I was missing."
     Her secret was rolling spoonfuls of wet batter in flour then placing them close together in the pan to allow the steam and biscuits to rise.  Make them with White Lilly or another low protein, soft winter wheat brand of self rising flour and they will taste even better.  I used a generic, local brand and these heavenly biscuits were still far superior to any biscuit I have ever tasted.  They are in a league of their own.  I dropped the wet batter into the flour with a spoon then snuggled 15 of them together in my 10 inch oven.  If you don't have a 10 inch dutch oven bake them in an 8 or 9 inch cake pan or pie plate inside your larger oven.  They need to be placed close together for them to rise properly.  I started baking them in a cold oven with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 22-24 on top.  Also, I brushed the melted butter on them before baking, I think biscuits brown better that way in a dutch oven.  Mine were ready in about 18 minutes, check them after 15 minutes to make sure they aren't browning too quickly.  Whatever you do, run, don't walk to your grocery store and pick up the ingredients to make yourself a batch.  Life is too short to deprive yourself of the chance to taste these sweet, delectable biscuits.  From "Cookwise" by Shirley O. Corriher.

Touch of Grace Biscuits
2 cups self-rising flour, preferably a low-protein Southern flour like White Lilly
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tblsp vegetable shortening
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tblsp butter, melted

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven. 
     In a large mixing bowl, stir together the self-rising flour, sugar, and salt.  Work shortening in with your fingers until there are no large lumps.  Gently stir in the cream, then enough buttermilk so that the dough resembles wet cottage cheese.  If you are not using White Lilly flour, you may need to add more buttermilk.
     Spread one cup all-purpose flour on a plate or pie pan.  Using a medium ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop a biscuit-size amount of dough and gently drop it into the flour.  Sprinkle with flour to coat.  Pick it up and gently shape it into a round, shaking off the excess flour as you work.  Place biscuit in prepared dutch oven or pan.  Repeat.  Crowd biscuits in pan as close to each other as possible; this helps them rise.
     Bake at 425 degrees until lightly browned, 18-20 minutes.  Brush with melted butter.  Cut with knife or spatula and remove.  Serve warm with butter or jam.  Makes 15 biscuits.

Wet batter with texture of cottage cheese

Gently drop spoonfuls of dough into flour and shape into round biscuits

Shake off excess flour and place closely together in dutch oven

Light and golden after 18 minutes

The ultimate biscuit, thank you Nannie

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Heinz 57 Chicken

     This simple, 4 ingredient chicken recipe was on the back of the Heinz 57 bottle for many years.  I saw it on a message board and couldn't wait to try it in my dutch oven.  What a great camping recipe and you could easily double it in a larger oven or cut it in half for just the two of you.  The chicken melts in your mouth and the silky sauce has a buttery, tangy flavor.  Sear the chicken over as many coals as will fit under your oven and put enough on the lid to keep the sauce at a steady simmer.  Serve it over rice, it's easy, economical and delicious.

Heinz 57 Chicken
2-2 1/2 lbs. chicken pieces
2 Tblsp. butter or margarine
1/2 cup Heinz 57 sauce
1/2 cup water

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Melt butter in dutch oven over full spread of coals.  Brown chicken, skin side down, for 10 minutes in melted butter.
     Turn chicken over.  Combine 57 sauce and water; pour over chicken.  Cover oven with lid and coals.  Simmer, basting occasionally, for 20-25 minutes. 
     Remove cover and continue cooking chicken over coals for 10 minutes or until sauce has reduced and thickened. 
     Spoon sauce over chicken.  Serves 4.

Remove lid during last 10 minutes of cooking to reduce and thicken sauce

This chicken is finger lickin' good

Monday, May 23, 2011

Too Easy Peach Cobbler


     This sublime cobbler is one of the best desserts I have ever made.  Slices of white store bought bread are transformed into a delicate, crispy mantle of golden sweetness.  The canned peaches are bathed in a thick buttery syrup and the elegant topping is perfectly light and delicious.  I think I like it so much because it reminds me of the butter and sugar sandwiches my grandmother used to make for me when I was a child. The butter-sugar mixture is thick and grainy but when baked fuses the bread slices while melting into the layer of peaches below.  Add more sliced bread if you decide to make it in your 12 inch dutch oven.  I made this on a cool, windy day so it took almost 50 minutes to bake.  I replenished the lid with 6 or 7 fresh coals during the last 10 minutes of baking to help brown off the crust.  It cooked with 10 coals in a ring around the base and 20 coals on top.  Add a little cinnamon to the topping mixture if you so desire.  Serve it with a big spoon to scoop up all those wonderful juices and plan on your friends and family coming back for seconds.

Too Easy Peach Cobbler
2 29 oz. cans sliced peaches, drained
6-7 slices white bread
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tblsp. flour
1 egg, beaten
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
cinnamon (optional)

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Place fruit in bottom of oven. 
     Cut crust from bread and cut each slice into 4 strips.  Place strips in rows over peaches so they are completely covered.
     Mix sugar, flour, egg, and butter.  Blend well and pour over bread strips.  Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. 

Line up bread slices to cover fruit

Topped with melted butter and sugar

Cobbler is ready when crust is brown and peaches are bubbling

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mexicali Mac and Cheese Bake

      This is another one of those magical one pot recipes that doesn't look like much when you pour it into your dutch oven but miraculously comes together in a luscious, creamy macaroni and cheese.  Ideal for camping or as an easy, inexpensive dinner you can make at the last minute.  If you don't have fresh tomatoes, use the drained, canned, diced variety.  I baked this in my 10 inch oven with 10 coals in a circle around the bottom and completely covered the lid.  After 20 minutes I gave it a stir and at 30 minutes it was ready for the final topping of cheese.  I found this at the Ragu company website.  Simple and good, give it a try!

Mexicali Mac and Cheese
1 jar (1 lb.) Ragu® Cheesy Double Cheddar Sauce
1-1/2 cups water
1 can (4.5 oz.) chopped green chilies, undrained
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 4 oz.)
8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni

     Lightly oil or spray a 10 inch dutch oven.
     Combine Double Cheddar Sauce, water, chilies, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cheese in a large bowl.  Stir in uncooked macaroni.
     Spoon macaroni mixture into dutch oven, cover and bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until macaroni is cooked and liquid is absorbed.
     Sprinkle with remaining cheese, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
     Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 4-6.

Might not look that appetizing at first

Macaroni soft, tender and creamy

A bowl full of Mexicali comfort