Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Orange Cornbread

      When I stepped out onto the deck this morning the scent of a warm spring rain lingered in the air.  Although it's technically still winter I instantly became infected with a serious case of spring fever.  The brilliant yellow batter for this Orange Cornbread from Central Market in Texas reminded me of a field of daffodils.  The subtle orange flavor is what sets this one apart from other recipes.  In my 10 inch dutch oven it baked for 25 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 18-20 on top.  A very nice change from your average recipe and extremely moist, give this Texas orangy cornbread a try. 

Orange Cornbread
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 15 oz. can corn, drained OR 2 cups fresh or frozen corn

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     In medium bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
     Add eggs and orange juice; mix just until combined.
     Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in separate bowl.
     Fold flour mixture into orange juice mixture; mix just until combined.
     Stir in canned or frozen corn.
     Pour batter into prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown and springs back when touched in the center.

Pour golden batter in well oiled 10 inch dutch oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until firm in center

Very moist, brimming with corn and scented with orange

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Zesty Chicken

     I found this recipe in a Real Simple magazine years ago and it has always been one of my favorite crock pot dinners.  The flavors are so unusually good and seeing as how it's made with 3 ingredients I thought it would be a great thing to try in my dutch oven.  Ridiculously easy, mix 2 cans of Petit Cut Diced Tomatoes with Jalapenos with a half a cup of creamy peanut butter, pour over the chicken and bake.  Mix the peanut butter with the tomatoes with a whisk if you can, the mixture doesn't actually emulsify until after it cooks.  In my 10 inch dutch oven I baked it with 10 coals around the base of the oven and 22 on the lid.  In my crock pot I usually cook it on low for 6-7 hours but in my dutch oven I left it alone to bake for one hour and fifteen minutes.  Don't bother relighting your coals, just let it keep simmering as the coals burn down.  I usually top it off with some chopped fresh cilantro but forgot to buy it today.  Everybody loves this dish, the chicken is so tender it falls apart with a fork.  Serve it with rice and a loaf of crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.

Zesty Chicken
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 14.5 oz. cans Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes with Jalapenos, undrained
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Place chicken thighs in single layer in dutch oven.
     Mix canned tomatoes with peanut butter in medium bowl until well combined.
     Pour sauce over chicken.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through.
     Garnish with fresh cilantro.
     Makes 4 servings.

Combine peanut butter with tomatoes and pour over chicken

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes

This recipe will really surprise you

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Red Lobster's Cheddar Biscuits

      If you've ever eaten at a Red Lobster Restaurant you probably remember the steaming basket of Cheddar Biscuits that were served alongside your meal.  This recipe is a dead ringer for those scrumptious, flaky biscuits.  Red Lobster says it is the number one most requested online recipe.  Well here it is in all it's glory, they couldn't be easier to make and bake beautifully in your dutch oven.  In my 10 inch oven I baked them with 10 coals around the bottom and 24 on the lid, in 17 minutes they were brown and ready for their final brushing of garlic-parsley butter.  Eat 'em while they're hot, they are melt in your mouth delicious.  From "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2" by Todd Wilbur.

Red Lobster's Cheddar Biscuits
2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
3/4 cup cold whole milk
4 Tblsp (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 heaping cup grated Cheddar cheese
Brush on top:
2 Tblsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch salt

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In medium bowl, using two knives or pastry blender cut butter into Bisquick until dough resembles small crumbs.
     Add 1/4 tsp garlic powder, Cheddar cheese and milk; mix until well combined but don't over mix.
     Drop approximately 1/4 cup spoonfuls of the dough into prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until tops of biscuits begin to turn light brown.
     Combine 2 Tblsp melted butter, parsley flakes, salt and remaining garlic powder.
     Remove dutch oven from heat and brush tops of biscuits with flavored butter.
     Serve warm, makes 12 biscuits.

Drop biscuit dough by spoonfuls into well oiled dutch oven

Bake for 15-18 minutes at 400 degrees or until lightly browned

Brush with garlic-parsley butter and serve these savory biscuits piping hot

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hearty Roasted Winter Vegetables

     This recipe for Hearty Roasted Winter Vegetables from Seneca Foods is colorful, easy, healthy and loaded with flavor.  Cooked in your dutch oven this medley of vegetables roasts and steams to perfection, tender but not mushy and the vinegar from the beets adds a touch of tanginess.  In my 12 inch oven they baked for 35 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 26-28 on the lid.  With such a variety of vegetables in one pot you don't need much to round out your meal, you could even make it a complete dinner by tossing in some sliced smoked sausage halfway through cooking time.

Hearty Roasted Winter Vegetables
1 16 oz. jar whole pickled beets, well drained
1 medium red onion, cut into 12 wedges
2 cups mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
2 cups Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and scored with a cross cut
3 Tblsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Place all vegetables in prepared oven, drizzle with olive oil; add garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and toss to coat.
     Roast at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until vegetables are tender and browned, stirring once.
     Makes 6 servings.

Toss vegetables with olive oil and herbs

Roast for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned and tender

A meal in itself

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jean Anderson's Oven Fried Chicken

      When the Cooking Channel first started out, Sara Moulton had a daily live cooking show.  I used to watch her faithfully, she did a terrific job of cooking and teaching, all the while answering questions from callers.  One of my favorite recipes she made on her program is this Oven Fried Chicken  from her friend and fellow cookbook author, Jean Anderson.  Everybody loves this chicken and it's excellent served cold from your picnic basket.  All you have to do is dip the chicken in the melted butter and garlic, coat with the fresh bread crumbs and bake.  In my 12 inch dutch oven, the chicken cooked for a full hour with 12 coals around the base of the oven and the lid completely covered with 26-28 briquettes.  If you bake it in your 14 inch oven the chicken won't be swimming quite so much in the butter.  Be sure to take the time to whirl up some fresh bread crumbs in your food processor, it really does make a difference.  Crispy and golden, you'll never miss frying with this rich, buttery recipe.

Jean Anderson's Oven Fried Chicken
12 Tblsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
One 3 1/2 pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces (or all thighs, wings, or breasts if desired)

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In small saucepan, combine the butter and garlic.  Heat over medium heat until the butter has melted.  Pour into a large bowl and cool to room temperature.
     In a large bowl mix the bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper.
     Dip each chicken piece, one at a time, into the melted garlic butter.
     Transfer to the bread crumb mixture and turn until coated on all sides.
     Arrange chicken in single layer in dutch oven.
     Drizzle on any of the remaining melted butter.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through.

Dip chicken in garlic butter then coat with crumbs

Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees

Crispy, juicy dutch oven fried chicken

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cherry Cobbler For Two

     I really love cooking in my 8 inch dutch oven, not only is it lighter to carry, uses fewer coals and is easier to clean but I am always amazed by how efficiently it bakes for it's smaller size.  To honor the Father of our Country's birthday I decided to bake a scaled back version of a cherry cobbler/dump cake.  Oil your oven well, dump in the pie filling, sprinkle with the cake mix, pour over the soda, pat with butter and bake.  I placed 8 coals in a ring around the base of the oven, 10 coals around the rim of the lid and two in the center.  In about 40 minutes the cherries were bubbling away and the cake was puffy and golden.  Celebrate George Washington's big day with this sweet and classic dutch oven dessert.

Cherry Cobbler for Two
1 21 oz. can cherry pie filling
1 9 oz. package yellow cake mix (I used Jiffy brand)
3/4 cup raspberry ginger ale
3-4 Tblsp butter, cut into 7 or 8 slices

     Lightly oil or spray 8 inch dutch oven.
     Spread pie filling in prepared oven.
     Sprinkle cake mix evenly over pie filling.
     Pour ginger ale over cake mix, covering completely.
     Dot with butter.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until top is lightly browned and pie filling is bubbling.
     Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Layer pie filling, cake mix, raspberry ginger ale and butter in dutch oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until brown and bubbling

I cannot tell a lie, this is really good

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower and Pancetta Parpardelle

     Sometimes I stumble upon recipes by typing food that I have in my refrigerator into a Google search.  Since I hate to let anything go to waste I've found it's a great way to use up those odds and ends before they pass the sell by date.  This recipe for Roasted Cauliflower and Pancetta Parpadelle used a few items I had on hand and seemed like a fun thing to try in my dutch oven.  I roasted the cauliflower under high heat in my 10 inch oven with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and the lid completely covered with 26 or more coals.  Next time I'll use my 12 inch oven, it's better to give the cauliflower more room while roasting.  After 15 minutes stir in the Panko crumbs and roast until they are golden brown, about 15 minutes more.  If I was camping I would cook the pasta on my camp stove but use another dutch oven if you're a purist.  Substitute spaghetti or linguine if you can't find the parpardelle, any full bodied pasta will do the trick, with every twirl of your fork you'll get a mouthful of garlic, toasted crumbs and crispy pancetta.
Roasted Cauliflower and Pancetta Parpadelle
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
4 oz. panchetta, finely diced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tblsp butter
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Place cauliflower in dutch oven, toss with chili flakes, garlic, pancetta and 1/4 cup olive oil.
     Season with salt and pepper to taste.
     Bake at 450 degrees; after 15 minutes stir in panko crumbs.
     Continue baking for 15 minutes more or until crumbs are golden and cauliflower is tender.
     Prepare parpardelle according to package directions; drain and toss with butter.
     Add pasta to cauliflower in dutch oven; add parsley and gently toss until well combined.
     Serve with grated Parmesan.
     Makes 4 servings.

Mix cauliflower with oil, garlic, chilies and pancetta

Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then stir in Panko crumbs

Continue cooking until crumbs are brown and cauliflower is tender

Toss with parsley and cooked pasta

Top with shaved or grated Parmesan

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nacho Cheese Soup

      When you first stir the ingredients for this Nacho Cheese Soup from Sargento together you'll wonder what you ever got yourself into.  Fear not, after you let it bubble away for 20 minutes or so it magically transforms into a creamy base for the rest of the ingredients.  Once you add the milk and cheese you'll be bowled over by the thickness and richness of this hearty soup.  I don't think I've ever even made au gratin potatoes out of a package but believe me when I tell you, they really make this soup and it sure beats slicing potatoes at your campsite.  This is a perfect campfire meal, you could probably get away with using canned evaporated milk if you don't want to lug a carton in your cooler.  You can make the soup as spicy as you like, use hot or mild salsa and if you opt for the Rotel it's guaranteed to have a real kick.  Toss in some smoked sausage and make it a cheesy, stick to your ribs, stew.

Nacho Cheese Soup
1 5 oz. package dry au gratin potatoes
1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 cup salsa OR 1 10 oz. can Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies (Rotel)
2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Taco flavored cheese
1 2 oz. can sliced black olives, drained (optional)
Crumbled tortilla chips for garnish

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Combine potatoes, dry au gratin mix, corn with liquid, salsa OR canned tomatoes and 2 cups water in dutch oven.
     Heat over a full compliment of coals with as many briquettes on the lid as you'll need to bring it to a strong simmer.
     Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
     Add milk, cheese and olives.
     Cook until cheese is melted and soup is heated through, stirring occasionally.
     Garnish with tortilla chips and more cheese if desired.
     Makes 4 servings.

At first you'll think, yuck, when you combine the corn, salsa, water and potatoes

Simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender

Stir in the milk and shredded taco cheese

Cook just until cheese is melted and soup is heated all the way through

A great campfire recipe

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chocolate Banana Cake with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting

 Valentine's Day just wouldn't be the same without a little chocolate in your day.  This brownie-like cake from food.com has the subtle flavor of bananas and is so rich it doesn't even need frosting, just give it a light dusting of confectioner's sugar.  In my 12 inch oven the thick, dense batter baked in 30 minutes with 12 coals around the base and 24-26 briquettes on the lid.  I found the Peanut Butter Frosting recipe on Allrecipes.com, it is undoubtedly one of the best and lightest frostings I have ever tasted.  If you don't have a chance to try the cake, save the frosting recipe because it's definitely a keeper.  Be sure to soften the butter in your microwave if you can to eliminate any lumps when you whip it with the peanut butter.  So lasso your favorite Valentine and celebrate the day with something sweet and delicious. 
Chocolate Banana Cake
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour milk (put 1 Tblsp vinegar in 3/4 cup measuring cup, fill with skim milk) OR buttermilk

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     Cream butter with sugar and eggs.
     Mix in banana and vanilla.
     Mix flour with remaining dry ingredients.
     Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with sour milk; begin and end with flour.
     Spread batter evenly in prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
     Cool completely before frosting.

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, well softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tblsp milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioner's sugar

     Place butter and peanut butter in medium bowl; beat with electric mixer until well combined.
     Gradually mix in the sugar and when it starts to get thick, add milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable.
     Continue beating for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. 

Spread thick batter in parchment lined oven, bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes

Cool completely before frosting

Light peanutty frosting is the perfect compliment to this rich, moist cake

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shrimp and Mango Tacos

      Convert your dutch oven into a wok with this simple stir fry of Shrimp and Mango Tacos.  A Recipe for Health from Martha Rose Shulman and the New York Times, all you have to do is place your dutch oven over a full spread of coals and in under ten minutes, dinner is ready.  My 8 inch dutch oven, minus the lid, was plenty big enough for this recipe.  Assemble all the ingredients and have them close by because once the cooking starts you'll want to add everything in a quick succession, when the shrimp turn pink they are done.  Fold flour tortillas around the cool, fresh filling and you'll have a perfect outdoor dinner.  Serve with a side of rice or better yet, eat with your fingers, no clean up and no paper plates to throw in the fire.

Shrimp and Mango Tacos
2 Tblsp Canola oil
1 pound medium or small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
salt to taste
2 serrano OR bird chilies, OR 1 large jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 large mango, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 Tblsp lime juice
8 flour tortillas, taco size

     Heat oil in dutch oven over a full compliment of coals until sizzling hot.
     Add the shrimp, salt to taste and garlic.
     Saute, stirring until the shrimp begins to color, about two minutes.
     Add the cumin, chilies, mango and cilantro and continue to cook until the shrimp is pink and opaque, about 4-5 minutes.
     Stir in lime juice.
     Place 2 tortillas on each plate, fold over tortillas and serve with rice.
     Makes 2-4 servings.

Heat oil over a full compliment of coals

When oil is hot add shrimp and garlic

Add mango, cilantro, cumin, lime and jalapeno, cook until shrimp is pink and cooked through

Serve hot with flour tortillas

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cheese Artichoke Oven Omelet

      A different spin on a classic Mountain Man breakfast, this Cheese Artichoke Oven Omelet from The Heartstone Inn and Cottages in Eureka, Arkansas is a wonderful way to start your day in the great outdoors.  Like a fluffy, crustless quiche only you layer the ingredients in your dutch oven before pouring over the beaten eggs.  In my 10 inch oven, this baked in 30 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 20 or so on the lid.  The only thing I would suggest is packing a whisk if you're making this at your campsite, you really do need it to incorporate the sour cream into the beaten eggs.  Other than that, this is a good beginners recipe and an easy one pot brunch or breakfast entree. 

Cheese Artichoke Oven Omelet
3/4 cup picante sauce OR salsa (hot or mild)
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and roughly chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup Monteray Jack cheese, grated
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
OR 2 cups Cheddar Jack shredded cheese blend
6 large eggs
1 8 oz. carton sour cream (1 cup)
Tomato wedges and parsley for garnish

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Spread the picante sauce OR salsa in the bottom of oven.
     Distribute chopped artichokes evenly over the picante sauce.
     Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the artichokes.
     Cover with Monteray Jack and Cheddar cheeses.
     Beat eggs in medium bowl until well blended.
     Whisk in sour cream until smooth.
     Pour egg mixture over the cheeses.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until set.
     Cut into wedges and serve garnished with tomato and parsley.
     Makes 6 servings.

Layer ingredients in well oiled dutch oven then pour over egg mixture

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until puffy and golden

Garnish with diced tomato, chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Easy Pleasing Meatloaf

     I have been dying to try this new Pan Lining Paper from Reynolds Wrap and thought cooking a meatloaf would be a good way to put it to the test.  The paper has foil on one side and parchment paper on the other, it says it is tear resistant on the package so thought it would a good product for dutch oven cooking.  Where parchment paper might not hold up to heavier meals, this product definitely does.  For those of you who are new to my blog, here's a link to an easy way to cut liners for your oven.  The lined paper costs around $4.00 a box but you get 30 square feet, more than enough to cut 15 liners and at least half the price of the pre-cut ones you can buy online.  Also, some people don't like their food coming in contact with aluminum foil as it's cooking, this might make you feel a bit safer.  If you're interested in giving it a try, here's a link to the Reynold's site where you can print out a coupon for $1.00 off a box.
     This recipe from the Kraft company seemed like a very quick and easy way to mix up a meatloaf, especially if you're cooking outside.  Just combine the ingredients in a large bowl, form into a loaf and bake away.  I cut up some potatoes to go along with it, but you can also toss in some quartered onions and carrot chunks to make it more of a one pot dinner.  In my 12 inch oven the meatloaf cooked for one hour with 12 coals around the base of the oven and 28-30 on the lid.  After 30 minutes I moved the center coals to a double ring around the outside of the lid.  This is an outstanding recipe, the meatloaf was moist and juicy but still held together beautifully.  The new lining paper performed like a champ, there was no leakage and clean up was a breeze.

Easy Pleasing Meatloaf
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 6 oz. package Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 cup water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven; line with Pan Lining Paper if desired.
     Combine meat, stuffing mix, water, eggs and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce in large bowl; mix just until blended.
     Shape into loaf in prepared dutch oven.
     Top with remaining 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes until done or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
     Makes 8 servings.

The foil sided lining paper easily conforms to your dutch oven

Bake meatloaf for one hour at 375 degrees

This is an excellent dutch oven meatloaf and clean up was a snap