Thursday, May 29, 2014

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

     Like biting into a crunchy peanut butter and jelly sandwich, these bar cookies from Land O'Lakes are a breeze to make and bake up wonderfully in your dutch oven.  Line your oven with parchment, pat in the bottom layer of dough, spread with jam, crumble on the topping and bake.  In my 12 inch dutch oven, they cooked for 45 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven, 19 placed around the edge of the lid and 8 spaced evenly in the center.  Basically when you can smell the peanut butter coming from your oven and the top is golden brown, they're done.  Let them cool completely before lifting from the oven and cutting into squares.  I'll bet you could even mix the dough at home, spoon it in a zip lock bag and pack it in your cooler.  These PB&J bars will bring you back to your childhood and give you some quick energy and sustenance while you're hiking the trails. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
1 18.25 oz package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1 1/4 cups strawberry OR grape jam
1/2 cups chopped peanuts

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     Combine cake mix, butter, peanut butter and egg in large bowl.
     Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well blended.
     Stir in oats.
     Reserve 2 cups of oat mixture; set aside.
     Press remaining oat mixture evenly into prepared dutch oven.
     Spread jam over oat mixture.
     Crumble reserved oat mixture over jam.
     Top with chopped peanuts.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and set.
     Cool completely in dutch oven before removing and cutting into bars.

Press dough into parchment lined oven, top with jam then
sprinkle with reserved topping and peanuts

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown

Protein, fiber and not a lot of sugar in these tasty bars

Friday, May 23, 2014

Chili Dog Casserole

     Seems like I've made it a tradition to kick off the summer season with corn on the cob and hot dog recipes.  This is another easy dish from the Simply Potatoes web site, it's ideal for camping and mostly an open the package and layer in your dutch oven kind of dinner.  I baked this in my 10 deep dutch oven but it would probably be better made in your 12 inch oven as the recipe calls for a 9 by 13 inch pan.  I would not advise making this in your 10 inch regular oven, there is not enough room for the biscuits to rise. 
     The casserole baked for a total of 40 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 22 on the lid.  After 20 minutes, or when the chili was bubbling, I topped it with the biscuits.  Any time you add canned biscuits to a casserole, you need to make the sure the bottom ingredients are hot and bubbling, otherwise the biscuits will become soggy.  The biscuits baked for another 15 minutes before I topped them with the cheese.  I used a 12 ounce package of Pillsbury Grands Jr. biscuits but if you are using your larger oven you might want to add more biscuits to completely cover the casserole.  This is really good, in a stick to your ribs, once in a blue moon, forget the calories kind of way.
     Have a fun, safe and adventurous Memorial Day weekend and don't forget to raise a glass to all the veterans who have so proudly and valiantly served our country.
Chili Dog Casserole
1 package Simply Potatoes Homestyle Slices
2 15 oz cans chili, with or without beans
1 16 oz package hot dogs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1-2 packages refrigerated large flaky layer biscuits, depending on the size of your oven
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Cheddar Cheese

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch deep OR 12 inch dutch oven.
     Spread potatoes in thin layer in bottom of oven.
     Top potatoes evenly with one can of chili.
     Spread hot dog pieces evenly in single layer over chili.
     Top hot dog layer with second can of chili.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until chili is bubbling.
     Top with biscuits.
     Bake for 15 minutes more or until biscuits are golden brown.
     Sprinkle with cheese, cover and cook until cheese has melted.
     Makes 6-8 servings.

Layer potatoes, chili and hot dogs in well-oiled dutch oven

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes then top with biscuits

Continue baking for 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden

Top with cheese and bake until melted

How to handle a hungry camper

Monday, May 19, 2014

Maple-Mustard Roasted Corn with Bacon

     To kick off the summer corn season, here's an easy way to roast and glaze corn on the cob in your dutch oven.  Adapted from a Country Living recipe, roast the corn under high heat until it's tender then toss it with a maple-Dijon glaze and crispy bacon.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, the corn roasted for 20 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and the lid completely covered with coals.  You can leave the corn whole if you like but it fits more easily into the oven when it's broken into pieces.  Not overpowering, the glaze adds a touch of sweetness and the bacon tastes like candy.  My taste testers overwhelmingly agreed that, although delicious, the recipe definitely needed more bacon.

Maple-Mustard Roasted Corn with Bacon
6 ears corn, husked and broken into thirds
1-2 Tblsp olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tblsp Dijon mustard
6 slices bacon, cooked, drained and finely chopped

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Toss corn with olive oil in dutch oven until well coated.
     Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until tender.
     In small bowl, combine maple syrup and mustard.
     When corn is done, add bacon and syrup-mustard mixture.
     Toss until well combined and serve.

Toss corn with a little olive oil until well coated

Roast for 20 minutes then stir in remaining ingredients

Salty, sweet and a little tangy

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Green Chili Stew

     Being the sometimes lazy cook that I am, I decided to forego the browning step of this recipe, threw everything in my dutch oven and let it simmer.  The meat was very moist and flavorful and the stew has just enough heat to warm your insides.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, I placed 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and loaded up the lid with 24-26 coals.  That way the stew quickly came to a bubble, there was enough heat to keep it going for an hour and fifteen minutes and I didn't have to light a second batch of coals.  Toss in the potatoes after 30 minutes and don't lift the lid again for 45 minutes or until you're ready to eat.  Serve it with cornbread or tortillas and be sure to cut your meat into smaller cubes so it will tenderize and cook more quickly.
Green Chili Stew
2 lb stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In large bowl or dutch oven, combine all ingredients, except potatoes.
     Bring stew to a low boil, using as many coals as needed to keep it at a strong simmer.
     After 30 minutes, add potatoes.
     Continue cooking for 45 minutes more, undisturbed, or until potatoes and meat are tender.
     Makes 4 servings.

Combine all ingredients, except potatoes, and place
in well oiled dutch oven

Simmer for 30 minutes then add potatoes

Continue cooking for 45 minutes more or until potatoes
and beef are tender

A quick and easy stew that tastes like it was simmered all day 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

     As you probably know by now, there's nothing I like better than a dropped scone or biscuit baked in my 10 inch dutch oven.  The texture just can't be duplicated on a cookie sheet in my kitchen stove, they rise higher and are much lighter plus they have that nice, crispy, cast iron crust.  This recipe from a Sept. 2004 issue of Gourmet magazine makes a wet and cheesy batter, perfect for plopping into your dutch oven.  A cross between a biscuit and a cornbread, you get all the moistness and flavor of both.  You need to pile as many coals as will possibly fit on the lid of your oven to get the heat quickly up to 450 degrees.  With the lid covered with coals and 10 in a ring around the bottom they were golden brown and ready in 18 minutes.  The cornmeal gives them a little texture, cheesy but light, serve them with butter and hot pepper jelly and watch them fly out of your dutch oven.

Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal (preferably stone-ground; not coarse)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 oz (scant 2 cups) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3 Tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
3 scallions OR 2 Tbslp fresh chives, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups well-shaken buttermilk

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     In large bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
     Blend in butter with your fingertips or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.
     Stir in cheeses and scallions.
     Add buttermilk and stir until just combined.
     Drop dough in 8-10 equal mounds in prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
     Cool in oven for 10 minutes before serving.

Drop biscuit batter into well oiled oven

Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes

Our guest of honor came running for the cornmeal

Try this corn bread biscuit with your next pot of chili

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Hungry Jack Casserole

     Some of you may have grown up on this casserole, it's been around for years.  Unfortunately Pillsbury no longer makes Hungry Jack biscuits however you can substitute with whatever brand you like.  If you use the larger sized Grands, just make sure you leave enough room for them to rise.  This is a good, basic camping meal, something that would constitute a gourmet dinner in the wild.  To simplify the process, brown and drain the beef at home then all you have to do is mix everything together and pour it in your oven.  If you're using a 12 inch oven I would suggest using two cans of pork and beans.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, after I sauteed the beef I baked the casserole with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 22 on the lid.  It's hot, filling, a little on the sweet side but would definitely be tasty by the campfire. 

Hungry Jack Casserole
1 lb lean ground beef
1 16 oz can pork and beans
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 Tblsp brown sugar
1 Tblsp minced onion
salt to taste
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 12 oz package Grands Jr biscuits or any same-sized refrigerated biscuit

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Brown beef over a full compliment of coals; drain well.
     Move bottom coals to a ring around base of oven.
     Stir in pork and beans, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, salt and minced onion.
     Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until beef mixture is bubbling.
     Place biscuits on top of casserole.
     Cover and bake for 10 minutes or until biscuits are golden.
     Sprinkle with Cheddar, bake for 2-3 minutes or until cheese has melted.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Brown beef over a full compliment of coals

Stir in bean mixture

Once beef and bean mixture is bubbling add biscuits

Bake for 10 minutes then top with cheese

Good, tasty campfire fixins