Monday, January 27, 2014

Hershey's One-Bowl Syrup Cake

     Today just happens to officially be National Chocolate Cake Day and if you're stuck in the winter doldrums, this One-Bowl Syrup Cake from Hershey's is guaranteed to lift your spirits and satisfy your craving for chocolate.  When I first read this recipe I scratched my head wondering how a batter using such little flour could possibly fill a 9 by 13 inch pan.  Made with only a few ingredients, this forgiving cake comes together easily, is a great recipe for beginning bakers and cooks beautifully in your dutch oven.  In my 12 inch oven it baked for 45 minutes with 12 briquettes around the base of the oven, 18 coals in a ring around the outside of the lid with 8 spaced evenly in the center.  Being a cold and windy day, I rotated the lid halfway through cooking time to even out the temperature.  I used a can of milk chocolate frosting but try your favorite recipe or even dust it with confectioner's sugar.  This delicious one-bowl cake is tailor made for outdoor cooking and you'll be surprised by how easy baking a cake from scratch can be.

Hershey's One-Bowl Syrup Cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups (1 16 oz. can) HERSHEY'S Syrup

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     In large bowl, beat butter, sugar and eggs until thoroughly blended.
     Add flour and baking soda, blending well.
     Add syrup; mix thoroughly.
     Spread batter in prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
     Cool completely before removing from dutch oven.
     Frost and garnish as desired.

Pour batter into parchment lined 12 inch dutch oven

Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees or until tester
comes out clean

Cool completely before removing from oven and frosting

A cake that's fun to make and amazingly good

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bacon Biscuits with Orange-Honey Butter

     The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was Google the word 'bacon'.  Having all the ingredients on hand, this biscuit recipe from Betty Crocker not only satisfied my craving for bacon but is perfect for a lazy morning when you need immediate gratification without a lot of effort.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, they baked for 15 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and about 22-23 on the lid.  Piling on the heat will help the biscuits to rise higher.  I cheated by using a 2 ounce package of ready-cooked applewood bacon and as usual, added a little extra liquid for a wetter batter.  The orange-honey butter is the perfect finishing touch and if you're a real bacon junkie, tuck a couple of slices between the biscuit halves for an exceptional way to start the day.

Bacon Biscuits
8 slices cooked bacon, drained and cut or crumbled into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cups baking mix (Bisquick)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk OR half and half plus extra if needed
Orange-Honey Butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 Tblsp orange marmalade
1 Tblsp honey

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In medium bowl, combine Bisquick, cornmeal, sugar and bacon.
     Stir in milk OR half and half, adding more liquid if necessary, until soft dough forms.
     Drop dough by 8 spoonfuls into prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
     In small bowl, beat butter, marmalade and honey with whisk until blended.
     Serve warm biscuits with orange-honey butter.

Drop batter into well oiled dutch oven

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes

You can't go wrong with bacon, marmalade, butter and honey

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Home Sweet Home Meatloaf

     The cold weather has had me craving meat and potatoes and what could be easier than a one pot meatloaf dinner cooked in your dutch oven?  This fairly simple, no-nonsense recipe from Hunt's makes a very tender and juicy meatloaf that everyone will like.  In my 10 inch deep dutch oven, the meatloaf baked for 55 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 22 on top.  In spite of it being a blustery day, I left it undisturbed and when I went to take it off the coals, it was perfectly done.  Scatter potatoes, carrots, onions or whatever root vegetables you like around the meatloaf to make the meal complete.

Home Sweet Home Meatloaf
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 Tblsp firmly packed brown sugar
1 lb ground beef (90% lean)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with celery, onions and pepper, well drained
1 cup dry unseasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Unpeeled tiny potatoes and sliced carrots, if desired.

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In small bowl, mix tomato sauce and brown sugar; set aside.
     In medium bowl, combine beef, drained tomatoes, bread crumbs and eggs.
     Shape mixture into a loaf in prepared dutch oven.
     Spoon tomato sauce mixture over meatloaf.
     Surround with potatoes and carrots if desired.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until meatloaf is cooked through (160 degrees F).
     Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Spoon sweetened tomato sauce over loaf then
surround with vegetables

Bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes

A mild, juicy meatloaf complete with tender spuds and carrots

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Skillet Corn Bread with Red Bell Pepper

      I found this corn bread recipe from a July 2002 issue of Bon Appetit to accompany the pot of Bloody Mary Chili I recently made.  Not overly sweet, with a touch of heat from the hot pepper sauce and a topping of roasted red pepper and scallions, it's pretty to look at and very tasty as well.  Be sure to oil your dutch oven with shortening to help give it a crispy, golden crust.  In my 10 inch oven it baked for exactly 25 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 22 on the lid.  The winds were gusting quite strong today, as a reminder, your coals will burn faster on windy days so it's a good idea to rotate your lid every 10 minutes or so to help them burn more evenly.  This is a perfect corn bread for mopping up the spicy juices of your favorite chili.

Skillet Corn Bread with Red Bell Pepper
1 jarred roasted red bell pepper, cut in 1/3 inch wide strips
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tblsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canned creamed corn
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
2 green onions, sliced

     Generously coat 10 inch dutch oven with vegetable shortening.
     Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl to blend.
     Whisk buttermilk, creamed corn, melted butter, egg and hot pepper sauce in medium bowl to blend.
     Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
     Transfer batter to prepared dutch oven.
     Arrange bell pepper strips in spoke pattern atop batter.
     Sprinkle with sliced green onions.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
     Cool in dutch oven for 15 minutes.
     Serve warm from dutch oven.

Arrange red pepper strips on corn bread batter then sprinkle
with green onions

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees

A dressed up corn bread with a little heat

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bloody Mary Chili

      The secret ingredient in this super easy chili recipe from The Detroit Free Press is bloody mary mix.  I used Mr. and Mrs. T's original recipe and it added more than enough spice.  This is a chili with a kick and it couldn't be easier or quicker to make.  Brown the beef and onion, add the remainder of the ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, I started out sauteing the beef over a full compliment of coals.  Once the beef had browned I placed 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and left it to simmer for 50 minutes with 22 briquettes on the lid.  Be sure to give it a stir halfway and if you let it sit a while it will thicken and the beans will absorb the liquid.  This chili may be short on cooking time but it's definitely long on flavor.

Bloody Mary Chili
1 Tblsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
2 cups bloody mary mix (spicy preferred)
2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (undrained)
2 14 oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
2 Tblsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Saute beef with onions, in oil, over a full compliment of coals until beef has browned and onions are soft.
     Drain excess fat.
     Add remaining ingredients and stir well. 
     Simmer for 45-50 minutes.
     Top with sour cream, shredded Cheddar, corn chips and sliced green onions if desired.
     Makes 8 cups. 

Brown beef with onion over a full spread of coals

Add remainder of ingredients and stir well

Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour

This chili has a definite kick

Friday, January 3, 2014

Canadian Bacon Upside Down Cake

      We can thank Marsha Gardner from Florala, AL for posting this wonderful Canadian Bacon Upside Down Cake recipe online.  She makes it in a cast iron skillet but it is perfectly adaptable to dutch oven cooking.  In my 10 inch oven, it baked for 28 minutes with 10 coals around the base of the oven, 14 briquettes in a ring around the outside of the lid and 6 spaced evenly in the center.  I used a 15 ounce package of Krusteaz Honey Cornbread and added a sprinkling of brown sugar to the melted butter.  Serve it hot out of the oven with maple syrup or even a drizzling of honey, warm cornbread topped with sweetened pineapple and Canadian bacon is a combination that just can't be missed.

Canadian Bacon Upside Down Cake
12 slices Canadian bacon
4 Tblsp unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 20 oz. can pineapple rings, drained
1 15 oz. package cornbread mix
Ingredients for preparing cornbread as listed on package
Maple syrup

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     Pour melted butter in prepared oven, swirl to cover bottom of oven completely.
     Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar.
     Arrange pineapple rings over brown sugar and butter.
     Layer Canadian bacon slices over pineapple rings, overlapping if necessary.
     Prepare cornbread mix according to package directions.
     Spoon batter over bacon and pineapple.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown and tester comes out clean.
     Let sit for 10 minutes before lifting out and inverting onto plate.
     Serve warm with maple syrup, makes 6 servings.

Overlap slices of Canadian bacon on top of pineapple layer

Cover with cornbread batter

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before lifting out and
inverting onto plate

Best served warm, doused with maple syrup