Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cha-Cha-Cha Chicken

     I was instantly drawn to this Cha-Cha-Cha Chicken recipe from Campbell's because not only is it one of those layer in your dutch oven and bake away kind of dinners but don't you just love the name?  Can't you see yourself saying Cha-Cha-Cha Chicken at a dutch oven gathering while you do a little dance step?  Be sure to spray or oil your dutch oven well because of the tomato based sauce.  In my 10 inch dutch oven it baked for 45 minutes with about 22 briquettes on the lid and 10 in a ring around the base of the oven.  Next time I think I'll try it in my 12 inch oven.  Don't be put off by the amount of onions, they cook down and flavor the sauce nicely.  The chicken is very tender and I would describe the sauce as piquant Tex-Mex meets Asian sweet and sour, nothing too overpowering, this tasty dish has a little bit of something for everyone.

Cha-Cha-Cha Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
1 16 oz. jar Pace Picante Sauce
2 large onions, cut into rings
1 20 oz. can pineapple slices in juice, drained
2 Tblsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 Tblsp packed brown sugar
1 Tblsp grated fresh ginger root
1 Tblsp cooking sherry (optional)
1 tsp soy sauce
2 cups hot cooked regular long-grain white or jasmine rice

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Layer the chicken, onions and pineapple in prepared oven.
     Stir the picante sauce, cilantro, brown sugar, ginger root, sherry and soy sauce in a medium bowl.
     Pour the picante sauce mixture over the pineapple.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
     Serve the chicken and sauce with the rice.
     Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.
     Makes 4 servings.

Layer chicken, onions and pineapple then cover with sauce

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

A light but tasty dinner

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lemon Cheesecake Coffee Cake

     This simple little Lemon Cheesecake Coffee Cake from Pillsbury is bound to knock your socks off.  As easy as can be and the prep work can even be done at home, make the lemony filling beforehand, store it in a zip lock bag in your cooler, then snip a corner off of the bag and pipe the filling right into the cake at your campsite.  Basically, it's a giant cinnamon roll but as you rewind it leave enough space between the layers for the filling.  The recipe calls for 4 oz. of cream cheese but I added a couple more.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, it baked for 20 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 22 on the lid.  When you unravel the cinnamon rolls and place them in your oven you'll wonder how something so scrawny looking could ever be so good.  Trust me, this is one of those luscious recipes that is not only fun to make but incredibly tasty as well.  I think it would be a great project for kids and the fresh lemon juice and rind really gives it a tart, summery flavor.  I served it right from my dutch oven but if you want to lift it out and serve it on a platter be sure to line your dutch oven with parchment paper.  If you don't have a microwave to soften the icing, just spread it on carefully with a knife, also you will need a whisk to eliminate any lumps from the filling mixture.

Lemon Cheesecake Coffee Cake
1 17.5 oz. can Pillsbury Grands Flaky Supreme or Cinnabon refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
4-6 oz. cream cheese (from 8 oz. package), softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Separate dough into 5 rolls; set icing aside.
     Unroll 1 roll into long strip of dough; reroll loosely and place in center of oven.
     Unroll second roll; loosely wrap around first roll, cinnamon side in, replacing any cinnamon that falls off.
     Repeat with remaining rolls, coiling dough in pan into spiral shape.
     In small bowl, beat remaining ingredients except icing with whisk or electric mixer until smooth.
     Spoon cream cheese mixture into zip lock bag; cut small hole in corner of bag.
     With corner of bag halfway down into rolls, pipe mixture between strips of dough, starting at center and working to edge of pan, using all of mixture.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until center is thoroughly baked and edges are deep golden brown.
     Meanwhile, remove cover from icing and microwave on medium for 10 seconds.
     Drizzle icing over warm coffee cake. 
     Cut into wedges; serve warm.

Separate cinnamon rolls, uncoil then rewind loosely in dutch oven

Pipe lemon filling between layers

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown

Drizzle on icing

Serve warm, lemon and cinnamon, a winning combination

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Spinach and Artichokes

     It's that time of year to start stocking up on quick and easy camping recipes.  This Cheesy Baked Pasta with Spinach and Artichokes from Real Simple Magazine can be tossed together in no time flat and before you can yell 'Come and get it' you'll be enjoying a hot, cheesy pasta dish.  Cook the pasta in your dutch oven, on your camp stove or even at home before you leave the house.  If you make it ahead of time toss it with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking.  Mix the ingredients with 1 cup of Mozzarella, bake until bubbling then top with the rest of the cheese.  I baked it in my 10 inch dutch oven with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 22 briquettes on the lid.  Lighter than your usual macaroni and cheese, the spinach keeps it moist and creamy.  If you're a fan of hot artichoke dip, you'll definitely like this recipe.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Spinach and Artichokes
8 oz. mezzi rigatoni or some other short pasta (1/2 box)
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, rinsed and quartered
1 9 oz. package frozen creamed spinach, thawed (I used Bird's Eye)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Cook pasta according to the package directions; drain.
     If cooking pasta in advance, toss with a little olive oil before placing in container.
     Add the artichoke hearts, creamed spinach, Parmesan, pepper and 1 cup of the Mozzarella; toss to combine.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until pasta is bubbling and heated through.
     Sprinkle with remaining cup of Mozzarella.
     Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted and is lightly browned.
     Makes 4 servings.

Toss pasta with spinach, artichokes, cheeses and pepper

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees then top with 1 cup of Mozzarella

Cover and cook for 5 more minutes or until cheese has melted

Like hot, cheesy pasta baked in spinach artichoke dip

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard

     Excuse me while I lap the last of this marvelous chili from the bottom of the bowl, I don't want to miss a single drop of the sweet, spicy broth.  The recipe for this Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard comes from a March 2006 issue of Bon Appetit.  Loaded with color and vitamins, you'll never feel deprived with this nourishing stew.  Saute the onions and garlic over a full compliment of coals, stir in everything but the chard and let it simmer until the squash is tender.  Add the chard and cook just until it's wilted, you still want it to retain it's color.  In my 10 inch dutch oven I cooked it over a full spread of coals with about 24 briquettes on the lid.  A great recipe for your Vegan guests but filling and flavorful enough for the carnivores in your family.    

Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 cups peeled butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Tblsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5 oz. can chicken OR vegetable broth
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
3-4 cups (packed) coarsely chopped Swiss Chard leaves (from 1 small bunch)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over a full spread of freshly lit coals until translucent, about 5 minutes.
     Add beans, tomatoes with juice, squash, broth, chili powder and cumin; mix well.
     Cover with as many coals as you'll need to bring chili to a strong bubble.
     Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until squash is fork tender but not mushy.
     Add Swiss Chard, mix well.
     Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until chard is tender.
     Season to taste with salt and pepper.
     Ladle into bowls, garnish with sour cream, chopped red onion and grated cheddar cheese.
     Makes 4 servings.

Saute garlic and onion until translucent

Add tomatoes, broth, black beans, spices and squash

Simmer until squash is tender then stir in chard

Cover and continue cooking for 5 more minutes or until chard has wilted

Garnish this sweet and spicy stew with your favorite chili toppings

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ah-Hing's Eggplant

      I really love eggplant, it's one of my favorite vegetables and something I often order at my local Chinese Restaurant.  This recipe piqued my interest because it seemed easily adaptable to dutch oven cooking and you don't have to salt the eggplant beforehand, the moisture helps the eggplant steam as it cooks.  The gentleman who posted this recipe on The Daily Meal wrote that when his family moved to Hong Kong in the eighties, the Chinese woman who lived with them, Ah Hing, made this delicious dish on a regular basis.  All you really have to do is mix the ingredients in your dutch oven and cook at a high temperature for 20-30 minutes.  You can peel the eggplant but you really don't have to, I like the skin on, especially with the smaller Japanese variety.  In my 10 inch oven, I baked it with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and the lid covered with 24 briquettes.  So tender and melt in your mouth good, serve this elegant dish with rice and garnish with a little chopped scallion.  I'm sure you could easily double the recipe, file this one away for when you have a bumper crop of eggplant in your garden.

Ah-Hing's Eggplant
1 large eggplant OR 4-5 small Japanese eggplant cut into 1 inch cubes
2 Tblsp sesame oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
1 packet or cube of beef bouillon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Toss eggplant in dutch oven with garlic, bouillon, sesame oil, salt and pepper.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until eggplant is tender.
     Serve with white rice and garnish with chopped scallions.
     Makes 2-4 servings.

Toss all ingredients in your dutch oven

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes

Melt in your mouth delicious

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cat Head Biscuits

      I haven't posted in a few days because this week has been a string of dutch oven cooking disasters, brownies that were raw in the middle, sudden downpours and a blackened cake.  Today the Dutch Oven Gods were smiling upon me, I was overjoyed to have made these wonderful Cat Head Biscuits from the PBS cooking show Cook's Country.  They were a smashing success and second only to the Touch of Grace Biscuits as my all time favorite biscuits.  What makes them so spectacular, apart from their huge size, is the addition of cake flour in the dough.  For those of you who aren't lucky enough to find White Lily soft winter wheat flour where you live, mixing cake flour with regular flour makes for a lighter and fluffier biscuit.  If you live in the South, by all means make them with 3 cups of White Lily.  I almost always cut iced cold butter into my biscuit flour but for some reason these are more tender when the butter is softened and mixed in by hand.  Be sure to bake them in your 10 inch dutch oven, they need to be snuggled closely together.  The original recipe calls for making them in a 9 inch round cake pan.  I started them with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and the lid completely covered with coals.  After 15 minutes I removed the center coals and baked them for 5 minutes more with only one ring of briquettes around the outside of the lid. Be careful when you remove the lid of your oven, these lighter than air biscuits might just float away.

Cat Head Biscuits
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 Tblsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 Tblsp (one stick) butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces and softened
4 Tblsp shortening cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
     Rub in butter and shortening with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.
     Add buttermilk, stir until just combined, do not overwork dough.
     Using a 1/2 cup measure or large spoon, transfer 6 heaping portions of dough into prepared dutch oven, placing 5 biscuits around the outside and one in the center.
     Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden.
     Check biscuits after 15 minutes to make sure they aren't browning too quickly.
     Cool in dutch oven for 10 minutes before serving warm.
     Makes 6 large biscuits.

Scoop 6 large portions of dough into well oiled oven

Bake at 425 minutes for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden

Lighter than air biscuits the size of a cat's head

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ice Cream Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

     I wish you could have been with me in my backyard when I made these so you could have tasted one of these indescribably delicious cinnamon rolls.  I have had my eye on this recipe from Tasty Kitchen for a while now but was waiting for a special occasion to make them.  Easter morning seemed like the perfect time to throw the diet out the window and splurge in a big way.  Without a doubt these are one of the most scrumptious things I have ever eaten.  I took the frozen cinnamon rolls out of the freezer at 4:00 in the morning and placed them in my well oiled 12 inch dutch oven.  By the time I got home from church they had doubled in size and were ready for their caramel bath and the hot coals.  They baked in 20 minutes with 12 briquettes in a ring around the bottom and about 28 on the lid.  They did start to brown a bit as the dough was rising so keep a close watch on them.  When I saw the steam pouring out of the oven and was bowled over by the scent of cinnamon and freshly baked dough I knew they were ready.  Be sure to frost them, it really puts them over the top.  If you want to make these away from home, don't worry about the ice cream, just spoon a cupful in a container and keep it in your cooler, it won't make a difference if it's melted.  Follow the directions on the package for thawing the rolls and don't be alarmed by how much caramel you are pouring over the dough, most of it will be absorbed while they are baking.  Oh, and they're still soft and gooey if you eat them when they're cold.

Ice Cream Caramel Cinnamon Rolls
1 bag of 12 Rhode's Frozen Cinnamon Rolls
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Place 12 rolls in prepared 12 inch or larger dutch oven.
     Spray a piece of plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray and place over rolls.
     Allow rolls to thaw and rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 3-5 hours.
     In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine ice cream, brown sugar and butter. 
     Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil.
     Let caramel mixture boil for 2-3 minutes or until light brown in color.
     Pour all of the hot caramel mixture over the rolls in your dutch oven.
     Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees or until they are golden brown on top and cooked through.
     Immediately frost with packets provided with the frozen rolls.
     Serve warm, prepare to die and go to heaven.

Place frozen cinnamon rolls in your well oiled dutch oven

Let thaw and rise for 3-5 hours or until doubled in size

When coals are ready, pour hot caramel over rolls

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes

Pile on the frosting

So good there ought to be a law against these sinfully delicious rolls

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jeanne's Lamb Shanks

     I must be dating myself because I can remember when short ribs and lamb shanks used to be considered cheaper cuts of meat.  Not so anymore, their prices have sky rocketed, at least at Easter time you might be able to find the lamb on sale.  This recipe has been in my family for years, my mother probably found it on a box of Knorr soup in the eighties.  It's another one of those foolproof, easy clean up, guaranteed to be moist and delicious ways of cooking lamb.  Like the corned beef and ribs I have posted on my blog, it's cooked the same way in a packet of aluminum foil inside your dutch oven.  If you can, try to use the Knorr Vegetable Recipe Mix, it is used for soup and dip and has good sized chunks of dehydrated vegetables.  It is perfectly seasoned and a great compliment to the strongly flavored lamb.  Place the lamb shanks on the foil, sprinkle with the soup mix, wrap tightly and bake in your dutch oven for 2 to 2 and 1/4 hours.  I completely replaced the coals halfway during cooking time, in my 12 inch oven they baked with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and 28 coals on the lid.  If you want to make them in your conventional oven cook them for 3 hours at 300 degrees, they will be fall off the bone tender and if you're making these away from home, don't forget to pack the mint jelly!

Jeanne's Lamb Shanks
2-3 lamb shanks (bone in)
1 package Knorr Vegetable Recipe (soup/dip) Mix
1-2 sheets of wide, heavy duty aluminum foil

     Lightly oil or spray a 12 inch or larger dutch oven.
     Place lamb shanks, side by side, in center of aluminum foil.
     Sprinkle evenly with packet of soup.
     Bring long ends of foil together as if you were wrapping a package and roll securely so packet is tightly sealed.
     Seal short ends of foil packet.
     To ensure an easier clean up, wrap the packet once again in an extra layer of foil.
     Place in center of dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 2 to 2 1/4 hours, replenishing coals halfway through cooking time.
     Makes 2-4 servings depending on the size of your lamb shanks.

Sprinkle lamb shanks with vegetable soup mix

Wrap tightly with foil and place in dutch oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 2 to 2 1/4 hours

Serve with rice pilaf and gobs of mint jelly

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pancho Villa Stew

      This recipe for Pancho Villa Stew from was originally written to be made in a crock pot.  Since all the ingredients, except for the onion, are already cooked, I thought why not simmer the stew in my dutch oven?  You could saute the onion before adding the rest of the ingredients but I was feeling lazy today and took the easy way out.  All you have to do is combine the ingredients in your dutch oven, stir and let it bubble away.  In my 12 inch dutch oven I cooked the stew with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom, loaded up the lid with 28 briquettes and left it alone for one hour.  For something so easy the flavors are complex, the cocoa really gives it a depth of flavor.  Easy, warming, smokey and a great way to use up that leftover Easter ham, this one is a South of the Border winner.

Pancho Villa Stew
3 cups cooked ham, diced
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 14 oz. cans chicken broth
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 7 oz. can chopped green chilies, drained
1 medium onion, chopped
2 15 oz. cans pinto OR black beans, drained
1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch or larger dutch oven.
     Combine all ingredients in dutch oven; stir well.
     Bring stew to a bubble and simmer for one hour.
     Makes 6 servings.
     Garnish with sour cream and fresh chopped cilantro.
     Serve with buttered flour tortillas.

Combine all ingredients in your dutch oven

Simmer for one hour

A warming smokey stew with lots of flavor

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Unstuffed Peppers

     If you love stuffed peppers like I do but aren't in the mood to make them from scratch, this recipe for Unstuffed Peppers from Campbell's gives you all the flavor without the fuss.  Brown your ground beef with the onions over a full compliment of coals.  Move the coals to a ring around the bottom of the oven, add the rest of the ingredients and cover with as many coals on the lid as you'll need to keep it at a strong bubble.  In my 10 inch oven I used 24 coals on the lid and the peppers were ready in 25 minutes.  Such an easy way to enjoy stuffed peppers and tailor made for camp cooking, this recipe is going to be filed straight away in my chuck box.

Unstuffed Peppers
1 Tblsp vegetable oil
1/2 to 1 pound ground beef OR turkey
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cups V8 Vegetable Juice
1/2 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
2 medium green peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Saute onions and beef OR turkey in vegetable oil over a full spread of coals until browned.
     Add basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
     Stir in rice, V8 Juice and peppers; mix until well combined.
     Move coals to a ring of 10 around the base of the oven.
     Cover with as many coals as needed to keep liquid at a strong simmer.
     Cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway, or until rice has absorbed liquid and peppers are tender.
     Makes 4 servings.

Saute beef and onions over a full spread of coals

Add seasoning, peppers, V8 juice and rice

Simmer for 25-30 minutes or until peppers and rice are tender

All the great flavor of a stuffed pepper without the hassle