Monday, January 30, 2012

Better Baked Beans

     This recipe for Better Baked Beans was contributed by a reader to the Bush's Beans website, the site is a treasure trove of delicious looking bean recipes.  A little on the sweet side but not overly so, this is a good basic recipe and a great way to doctor up a can of baked beans.  In my 10 inch oven, I baked them for 35 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom of the oven and 20 on the lid.  I partially cooked the bacon before placing it on top of the beans, you could even use the pre-cooked, unrefrigerated variety if you are camping.  Let the beans sit for 15 minutes or so before serving so they can soak up some of the liquid, this will serve 8-10 hungry campers.

Better Baked Beans
2 28 oz. cans or 1 55 oz. can baked beans
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tblsp brown sugar
3 Tblsp maple syrup
2 Tblsp ketchup
2 tsp prepared yellow mustard
4 slices bacon, partially cooked

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In a large bowl, stir together the baked beans, onion, brown sugar, syrup, ketchup and mustard.
     Pour beans into prepared oven; lay bacon strips over top.
     Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
     Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Mix beans with onion and flavorings then top with bacon

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Granny Smiths in a Blanket

    The days are getting longer and February is right around the corner, it's a month of chocolate, flowers and of course heart shaped candies.  This recipe for Granny Smiths in a Blanket bathes dough crusted apples in a syrup colored with cinnamon flavored Red Hot candies.  It requires a little effort in that you need to peel, core and wrap the apples then cook the syrup separately on your stovetop or even in a smaller dutch oven.  Oil your dutch oven well, arrange the blanketed apples in the bottom of your oven, spoon over the syrup and bake.  I baked five apples in my 10 inch dutch oven with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 24 on the lid.  After 20 minutes I spooned the hot syrup over the top of the apples and covered them with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent them from burning, their total cooking time was 45 minutes.  Like individual apple pies baked in a sweet, blushing pink syrup, top with whipped cream or your favorite ice cream.  From White Trash Gatherings: From-Scratch Cooking for Down-Home Entertaining, by Kendra Bailey Morris.

Granny Smiths in a Blanket
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups water, plus more as needed
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
20 Red Hots candies
1 Tblsp unsalted butter, plus 1 Tblsp for sprinkling
2 (9-inch) unbaked refrigerated pie crusts, preferably the roll-out kind
6 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Combine sugar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg and Red Hots in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
     Bring to a boil, then immediately remove from the heat and add the tablespoon of butter.
     Mix well until all the candies are dissolved and the butter has melted; keep warm.
     Cut each pie crust into 3 wedges.
     Use 1 wedge to wrap each apple all the way around, leaving the cored part of the apple exposed on the top.
     Arrange apples in prepared dutch oven.
     Sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon on each apple, then using the remaining tablespoon of butter, place a small amount into the cored center of each apple.
     Pour the hot cinnamon-candy syrup evenly over the apples.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, basting with the hot syrup halfway through cooking time.
     If the syrup begins to get too thick, add water as needed to thin it.
     Serve apples warm; garnish with Red Hots if desired.

Hot cinnamon candies melt into sweet syrup

Spoon pink syrup over dough covered apples

Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, baste apples with syrup halfway through cooking time

A warm, mini apple pie dripping with cinnamon

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Roasted Balsamic Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

     One of my favorite ways to cook chicken in a conventional oven is to place it on a sheet pan, sprinkle it with balsamic vinegar, garlic powder and herbs then bake at 350 degrees until darkened and tender.  It's a great quick, weeknight meal, the chicken bakes up crispy and brown and the concentrated vinegar adds just a hint of sweetness.  This is the very same recipe only with the addition of cherry tomatoes and Kalamata olives.  In my 12 inch oven, the chicken baked for 45 minutes with 12 coals in a circle around the base of the oven and 28 briquettes on the lid.  Serve it with a side of rice or with thick slices of toasted French bread to soak up the salty, sweet juices. The measurements are just a suggestion, you can add as many herbs or as much garlic powder as you like just be sure to sprinkle on the vinegar before you add the spices.

Roasted Balsamic Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives
8 chicken pieces
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
2-3 Tblsp balsamic vinegar shaken from the bottle
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil OR dried rosemary
Cracked black pepper

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Place chicken pieces, skin side up, in single layer in prepared oven.
     Scatter olives and cherry tomatoes over chicken.
     Sprinkle balsamic vinegar from bottle over chicken until completely coated.
     Sprinkle with garlic powder, basil and pepper.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until chicken is browned and cooked through. 
     Serve with rice, spoon sauce over all.
     Makes 4 servings.

Place chicken in one layer in oven then sprinkle with vinegar, garlic, herbs and pepper

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes

Sweet, salty chicken as tender as can be

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ginger Scones

   You're probably thinking, oh no, here comes another scone recipe.  Before you close your browser, take my word for it, these Ginger Scones from Nancy Silverton at La Brea bakery in Los Angeles are positively out of this world.  Nancy says they are still the best selling scone at the bakery.  I thought the amount of candied ginger might make them too hot and spicy but the ginger melts into the buttery layers and leaves just a subtle hint of warmth followed by the fresh taste of lemon.  The original recipe calls for a stick and a half of butter, I used only 1 stick and they were moist beyond belief.  The air was bone dry here today so I added an extra 1/4 cup of cream, start with 3/4 cup and add more if you need it.  I patted the dough into a 10 inch circle and cut out the scones with my biscuit cutter.  You can also slice them into wedges.  In my 10 inch oven they baked in 18 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and the lid completely covered with coals, maybe 24-26.  Also, refer to the link for the original recipe if you want to make them in your food processor, I prefer to cut in the butter by hand.  Every bite of these light and flaky scones is infused with the essence of ginger and lemon, pour yourself a cup of tea and savor their amazing flavor and aroma.

Ginger Scones
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tblsp baking powder
1 tsp finely chopped OR grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
1 stick (8 Tblsp) unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into small pieces
4 1/2 oz. candied ginger, finely chopped into 1/4 inch pieces, about 2/3 cup
3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream, plus extra for brushing the tops of the scones

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Combine flour, sugar and baking powder in large bowl.
     Add cold butter and cut in with pastry cutter or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
     Add the lemon zest and mix well.
     Stir in the ginger.
     Make a well in the center and pour in the cream, stir in dry ingredients until just combined.
     Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead a few times to gather dough into a ball.
     Roll or pat dough into a circle about 1 inch thick.
     Cut into circles with 3 inch round cutter.
     Place side by side in prepared dutch oven, brush tops with remaining cream.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cut dough with biscuit cutter and brush with cream before placing in oven

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes

Serve with some apricot preserves and you will feel like you died and went to heaven

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Anita Lo's Mother's BBQ Spareribs

      In honor of the Chinese New Year I decided to make these spareribs from chef and New York restaurateur Anita Lo.  This five ingredient recipe comes from her mother and is so amazingly simple you won't believe something so easy can taste this juicy and good.  Mix the sauce, coat the ribs, place in your dutch oven and bake.  In my 12 inch dutch oven they baked with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and the lid completely covered with 28-30 coals.  I left them alone for one solid hour and when I lifted the lid they were glazed, browned and tender.  Serve them with a side of rice and spoon some of the sauce over the ribs, it is simply too good to waste.  This recipe is from the Martha Stewart show, you can view the recipe and watch the video here.  Usher in the Year of the Dragon with these succulent and easy ribs. 

Anita Lo's Mother's BBQ Spareribs
1 rack (about 2 1/4 pounds) pork spareribs
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ketchup
1 cup hoisin sauce

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Cut spareribs into individual ribs.
     Season with salt and pepper; transfer to a large bowl.
     In small bowl combine ketchup and hoisin.
     Pour ketchup mixture over ribs; turn to coat evenly.
     Place ribs in single layer in bottom of prepared dutch oven, meat side up.
     Bake at 400 degrees for one hour or until meat begins to pull away from the ends of the bone.

Coat ribs with sauce then place in a single layer in well oiled dutch oven

Bake at 400 degrees for one hour

Not overly sweet and incredibly juicy

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blackberry Apple Upside Down Cake

     I made this fabulous dessert in my dutch oven last winter and when I saw packages of plump blackberries on sale today for 99 cents a box I knew this recipe was calling to me again.  What makes this upside down cake so good is the addition of honey in the topping.  The luscious berries and tart apple slices are baked in a sweet, golden nectar that tops a moist, buttery cake.  In my 10 inch dutch, the cake baked with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 24 on the lid.  After 15 minutes I peeked and saw the middle of the cake was browning quickly so I removed 4 or 5 center coals and moved the rest to a ring around the outside.  The total cooking time was 35 minutes.  Let it sit for 30 minutes or so before lifting with the parchment paper and inverting onto a plate.  Food of the gods, this Blackberry Apple Upside Down Cake is from a September 2010 issue of Southern Living.
Blackberry Apple Upside Down Cake
3/4 cup butter, softened and divided
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 large Gala apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries*
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
* Don not thaw blackberries if using the frozen variety.

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     Melt 1/4 cup butter, pour into prepared oven.
     Sprinkle melted butter with brown sugar; drizzle honey over brown sugar.
     Arrange apple slices in concentric circles over brown sugar mixture, overlapping as needed.  Sprinkle with blackberries.
     Beat granulated sugar and remaining 1/2 cup butter at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended.
     Add eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
     Stir together flour and baking powder. 
     Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
     Beat on low speed just until blended after each addition.
     Stir in vanilla.
     Spoon batter over blackberries in pan.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
     Cool in dutch oven for 30 minutes before inverting onto plate, spoon any topping in pan over cake.

Arrange apple slices and blackberries over melted butter, brown sugar and honey

Spread buttery batter over fruit

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes

Let cool in oven for 30 minutes before inverting onto plate

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Ranch Sauce

     This recipe for Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Ranch Sauce from Pillsbury is bound to put a smile on the face of Buffalo Chicken lovers everywhere.  Creamy, cheesy and with enough heat to warm you all the way through, they're a snap to make and kids will love them.  They baked in my 12 inch dutch oven with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and 24-26 briquettes on the lid.  I added a sprinkling of blue cheese with the chicken to really round out the flavor.  I forgot to buy the green onions but added some chopped red onion instead and they were equally as good.  Serve with celery sticks for an easy and filling campfire dinner.

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Ranch Sauce
1 10 3/4 oz. can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup purchased sour cream ranch dip
2/3 cup chopped green onions
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
3/4 cup purchased buffalo wing sauce
8 7-8 inch flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In medium bowl, mix soup, dip and 1/3 of green onions.
     In large bowl, mix chicken and buffalo wing sauce until well combined.
     Spoon 2-3 Tblsp soup mixture down center of each tortilla; set remaining mixture aside.
     Reserve 1 cup cheese for garnish.
     Top each tortilla with about 1/3 cup chicken mixture and 1/4 cup cheese.
     Roll tortillas over filling; place seam side down in prepared dutch oven.
     Spoon remaining soup mixture over filled tortillas.
     Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until hot and bubbly.
     Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and remaining onions; bake for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
     Makes 8 enchiladas.

Spoon soup mixture over rolled tortillas

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly then top with cheese

Like a Buffalo Wing wrapped in a creamy tortilla

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chili Pie Peppers

      The blast of Arctic air we're feeling today had me craving a hot, cheesy Chili Pie.  The package of red peppers in my fridge was past the sell by date which got me to thinking of a way to combine the two and use the hollowed out peppers as individual serving cups for the Chili Pie.  Since the peppers require more time to bake than the cornbread, I filled the peppers halfway with the canned chili, let them bake for 10 minutes in a hot oven, then topped them off with the cornbread batter.  After 15 minutes, or when the cornbread was puffed and lightly brown, I sprinkled them with the grated Cheddar and in 3 minutes they were ready to take off the coals.  Even if I do say so myself, these were pretty tasty and like a mini fiesta on your plate.  I used Hormel bean chili but whatever canned brand or homemade version you use, just make sure it is not too runny.  I should know better by now, as with all stuffed peppers, they're best made in a deeper oven.  The cornbread will rise so make sure there is enough clearance between the pepper and the lid, also oil your oven well as the melted cheese will run down the side of your peppers.  You can have fun with this recipe, try it with poblanos, make your favorite cornbread, add chilies, a can of corn or some chopped jalapenos.  The peppers baked in 30 minutes in my 10 inch oven with 10 coals around the bottom and 26-28 briquettes on the lid.  This is such an easy camping recipe, by the campfire or at a cook-off, give these Chile Pie Peppers a try. 

Chile Pie Peppers
4-6 bell peppers, cleaned, seeded and tops removed.
1 15 oz. can chili
1 8.5 oz. package cornbread mix (I used Jiffy) plus ingredients needed to prepare cornbread.
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Stand peppers in bottom of prepared dutch oven.
     Fill peppers no more than halfway with canned chili.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
     Prepare cornbread mix according to package directions.
     Spoon cornbread into peppers; be careful not to overfill, cornbread will rise.
     Bake for 15 minutes or until cornbread has puffed and is lightly brown.
     Sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese; cover and heat for 3-5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
     Serve while warm; garnish with your favorite toppings.

Fill peppers halfway with chili

Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees

Fill with cornbread batter

Bake for 15 minutes or until cornbread has puffed then top with cheese

Heat for 3-5 minutes or until cheese has melted

Garnish these mini chili pies with sour cream and cilantro or your favorite toppings

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cornbread With Bacon Crust

      Seems like I'm on a bacon roll lately, this Cornbread with Bacon Crust from a Nov. 2009 issue of Bon Appetit not only makes enough to feed an army but is topped with crispy pieces of bacon.  If you have the patience, cook the bacon in your dutch oven otherwise use your cast iron skillet.  Coat your 12 inch dutch oven with the bacon drippings, pour in the batter and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon.  The cornbread was cooked through and golden in 30 minutes with 12 briquettes in a ring around the base of the oven and 28 on the lid.  Very moist, speckled with corn and brimming with bacon flavor, remember this recipe next time you're looking for something good to make for a crowd.

Cornbread with Bacon Crust
10 thick-cut bacon slices
1 1/2 cups medium-grind cornmeal
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 Tblsp light brown sugar
1 Tblsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 2/3 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
3 Tblsp honey
2 Tblsp unsalted butter, melted
2 cups frozen corn kernels (unthawed) OR 1 15 oz. can corn, drained

     Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until just crisp; drain on paper towels.
     Reserve 2 tablespoons of drippings from skillet.  Crumble bacon into small pieces.
     Coat 12 inch dutch oven with bacon drippings.
     Whisk cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.
     Whisk milk, eggs, honey, and butter in medium bowl.
     Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients.
     Mix in corn.
     Pour batter into prepared dutch oven.
     Sprinkle bacon over batter.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until cornbread is golden and tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
     Cool at least 30 minutes.  Makes 12-16 servings.

Right before baking sprinkle bacon on thick batter

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through

This bacon crusted cornbread makes enough to feed a troop of hungry campers

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Fajitas

      I love roasting vegetables, the high heat concentrates the flavor, the colors remain vibrant and the caramelized sugars add a touch of sweetness.  For those of you who are trying to shed a few pounds after the holidays, this is a healthy way to eat your vegetables without feeling deprived.  Use low fat sour cream and cheese if you want to trim the calories even more.  Slice the vegetables, toss with a little olive oil and seasoning and blast in a hot oven.  I use my 8 inch oven when I make these with 8 coals in a ring around the bottom and the lid completely covered with briquettes.  You can easily multiply the ingredients if you're feeding a larger group, just be sure to keep your oven really hot.  Wrap the roasted veggies in soft flour tortillas and adorn with your favorite toppings.  If you're a dyed in the wool carnivore, add cooked chicken or leftover thinly sliced steak.  Add some scrambled eggs for an easy outdoor breakfast.  Prepare your vegetables at home, toss with the oil and seasonings in a zip lock bag and when you get to your campsite you're ready to go. 

Roasted Vegetable Fajitas
2-3 red, yellow or green bell peppers, cleaned and cut into strips
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1-2 Portabello mushrooms, sliced
1-2 Tblsp olive oil
1 tsp fajita seasoning
1/2 tsp cumin
8-10 flour tortillas, fajita sized
Sour cream
Fresh chopped cilantro
Grated Cheddar cheese
Black beans, rinsed and drained

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Add vegetables; toss with olive oil and seasonings.
     Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until softened and slightly charred.
     Serve in flour tortillas.
     If desired, top with sour cream, fresh cilantro, Cheddar and black beans. 

Toss vegetables with oil and seasonings in dutch oven

Roast in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes

Great camping finger food

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chili Relleno Casserole

     I can't recall where I first ran across this recipe but I remember it being very popular at bridal and baby showers I attended over twenty years ago.  It's a cross between a crustless quiche and a chile relleno souffle and couldn't be easier to make.  Just mix the ingredients together in a large bowl, pour into your dutch oven and bake.  To simplify things even more, use a 2 cup package of shredded Cheddar Jack cheese.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, this baked with 10 coals around the bottom and 24-26 on the lid.  After 25 minutes, or when the eggs are set and puffy, sprinkle on the remainder of the cheese and continue heating until melted.  It will be much easier to slice into wedges if you let it sit for a good 15 minutes before serving.  Add an extra can of chilies if you want to bump up the heat but do give this light and airy casserole a try, it's an ideal camper's dutch oven breakfast.

Chili Relleno Casserole
3 cups (24 oz.) cottage cheese
6 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup finely crushed Ritz (or buttery) crackers
1 4 oz. can chilies, drained and chopped
1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Monteray Jack cheese shredded
OR 2 cups Cheddar Jack cheese, shredded
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Combine eggs, cottage cheese, cracker crumbs, chilies and half the cheese in large bowl.
     Pour into prepared oven.
     Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set.
     Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese; bake for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
     Let rest in dutch oven for 15 minutes before serving. 
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Pour egg mixture into well oiled 10 inch dutch oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until eggs have set

Sprinkle with remaining cup of Cheddar Jack cheese

Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes or until cheese has melted

Allow casserole to sit for 15 minutes before serving and top with cilantro