Friday, June 27, 2014

Tortellini Stew

      Adapted from a slow cooker recipe from Betty Crocker, what I liked about this Tortellini Stew is that you don't need to saute anything beforehand and none of the ingredients require refrigeration.  I would suggest lighting plenty of coals as you need to bring the liquid to a boil quickly before adding the tortellini.  In my 10 inch dutch oven I placed 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and covered the lid with 26-28 briquettes.  I prefer this more on the thick and filling side but if you like it more along the lines of a soup, add a little less pasta.  Make it even easier by chopping your vegetables before you leave home.  For a heartier dinner, toss in some sliced, pre-cooked Italian or chicken sausage with the tortellini.  An easy camping and pot luck recipe, be sure to bring the Parmesan cheese and a good crusty bread for mopping up the sauce. 

Tortellini Stew
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 medium zucchini, halved, cut into 1-inch slices
2 14 1/2 oz cans vegetable or chicken broth
1 28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15.5 oz can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tblsp dried basil
8 to 12 oz (depending on how soupy you like it) uncooked, dry, cheese-filled tortellini (the kind that comes in a box on a shelf in your grocery store)

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Combine onion, red pepper, zucchini, chicken broth, tomatoes, beans and spices in prepared dutch oven.
     Cover and cook with as many coals as needed to bring liquid to a strong simmer, about 15 minutes.
     Stir in dried tortellini, stir well.
     Simmer for 20-25 minutes until stew is bubbling and tortellini are tender.
     Makes 6-8 servings.

Stir all ingredients except tortellini in prepared dutch oven

Bring to a strong bubble then add dried tortellini

Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until pasta is tender

Like magic, a bowl of cheesy tortellini in under 45 minutes

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Easy Huevos Rancheros Casserole

     This casserole from Kraft is a far cry from the authentic version of Huevos Rancheros or 'rancher's eggs' where fried eggs are served atop a warm tortilla and garnished with salsa, refried beans and avocado.   It's hard to imagine tater tots gracing the breakfast tables of ranch hands but nonetheless, this is a very good dutch oven casserole brimming with the flavors of the Southwest.  In my 12 inch dutch oven, the eggs baked for a total of 50 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom, 18 placed around the outside of the lid with 10 spaced evenly in the center.  After 45 minutes, the eggs had set and were ready for their cheesy topping.  A casserole to feed a crowd which couldn't be easier to make and is easy on the pocketbook as well.

Easy Huevos Rancheros Casserole
1 32 oz package frozen fried potato nuggets
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 8 oz package shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 16 oz jar thick and chunky salsa
1 8 oz carton dairy sour cream
Snipped fresh cilantro

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.
     Arrange potato nuggets in prepared oven.
     In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, oregano, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder.
     Beat with a wire whisk until combined.
     Pour egg mixture over potato nuggets.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.
     Sprinkle cheese evenly over egg mixture.
     Bake for 5 minutes more or until cheese has melted.
     Top with salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.
     Makes 8 servings.

Pour egg mixture over tater tots

Bake for 45 minutes or until eggs are firm in the center
then sprinkle with cheese

Bake for 5 minutes more or until cheese has melted

Extremely comforting with just the right amount of heat

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Smothered Green Chile Pepper Chicken

      For all you chile-cheese lovin' camp cooks, this recipe from Cooking Light is easy to prepare yet good enough to make for company.  Arrange the chicken thighs in your dutch oven, sprinkle with fresh lime juice and taco seasoning then cover with canned chiles and bake.  I followed the original recipe by using mozzarella cheese but any one of your favorite varieties would also be good.  This could easily be made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts as well.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, the chicken baked for 35 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 22 briquettes on the lid.  Just a tip, the 4 ounce cans of whole chiles only have three in each one so you may need to buy three small cans or cut them in half like I did.  Serve with salsa, a spoonful of sour cream, a wedge of fresh lime and enjoy!

Smothered Green Chile Pepper Chicken
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Juice of 2-3 limes
3 Tblsp taco seasoning
8 canned whole green chiles, drained
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Arrange chicken thighs in dutch oven.
     Squeeze lime juice evenly over chicken.
     Sprinkle liberally with taco seasoning.
     Slice chiles lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side; open flat.
     Place one chile over each chicken thigh.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
     Sprinkle cheese evenly over chiles and chicken.
     Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
     Makes 4 servings.

Sprinkle chicken thighs with fresh lime juice and taco
seasoning then top with whole chile

Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes before adding cheese

Continue baking until cheese has melted

Muy delicioso

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Roasted Lemon-Garlic Artichokes

     I found this recipe on the Trader Joe's web site, piling packets of seasoned artichoke halves in a dutch oven seemed like an easy to make and even easier to clean up kind of outdoor recipe.  The artichokes take a bit of preparation but if you have all of your ingredients lined up and ready to go, they take no time at all.  You need to roast them in a hot oven, I placed 10 briquettes around the base of my 10 inch oven and completely covered the lid with coals.  In 50 minutes the strong scent of garlic and lemon told me they were done.  If you don't feel like packing your dutch oven, placing the foil packets around the edge of a hot campfire would also be a great way to cook them.  I served them with a mustard aioli dipping sauce but mayonnaise or melted butter would also be delicious.  Plan on one whole artichoke per person and don't forget to pack a sharp paring knife so you can easily clean out the centers. 

Roasted Lemon-Garlic Artichokes
3-4 artichokes (with stem still attached)
3-4 lemons, cut in half
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heavy duty aluminum foil, cut into large squares

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Trim 1/2 inch off the top of each artichoke.
     Cut in half lengthwise being mindful of the spines.
     Using a sharp paring knife, cut out the non-edible purple leaves and hairy fibers in the center, forming a pocket.
     Working in batches, place artichoke half on piece of foil.
     Squeeze half a lemon over the outside and inside of each artichoke.
     Place one or two garlic cloves in the center pocket.
     Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
     Tightly wrap each artichoke half in foil pieces.
     Arrange in dutch oven.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
     Once cool enough to handle, remove from foil and serve.

Top artichoke half with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and
seasonings before wrapping in foil

Roast artichokes at 400 degrees for 50 minutes

Fun finger food and a tasty first course

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Banana Coffee Cake With Chocolate Chip Streusel

      Oh my, I can hardly even begin to tell you how incredibly delicious this Banana Coffee Cake With Chocolate Chip Streusel is.   From a January 2003 issue of Bon Appetit, this moist, sweet cake with a gooey, crispy topping is a five-star recipe. 
     Unless you want to cut slices from your dutch oven, you'll need to line it with parchment beforehand.  In my 10 inch oven, I started the cake with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom, 16 in a ring around the edge of the lid with 6 briquettes spaced evenly in the middle.  After 20 minutes I rotated the lid and removed 2 coals from the center of the lid.  After 40 minutes the topping was brown and a tester came out clean.  Resist the urge to remove the cake before it cools.  I let it sit in my oven for 30 minutes before removing it, while it was still warm, with the parchment paper.  It started to crumble when I used a spatula to transfer it to a clean plate so give it some time to set up.  Also, I omitted the walnuts and you'd never know they were missing.
     Most coffee cakes are fairly dry, they're supposed to be to soak up your hot beverage, but the mashed bananas make this one wonderfully moist.  Serve it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a midnight snack, once you bite into those sweet layers of melted chocolate and cinnamon you'll see why this cake gets such rave reviews.
Banana Coffee Cake With Chocolate Chip Streusel
Streusel Topping

1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 8 oz.)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tblsp cinnamon
Coffee Cake Batter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/3 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 3 large)
3 Tblsp buttermilk

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven, line with parchment paper.
     Stir chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon in small bowl until well blended.
     Set streusel aside.
     Combine all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.
     Using electric mixer, if possible, beat sugar, butter and egg in large bowl until fluffy.
     Beat in mashed bananas and buttermilk.
     Add dry ingredients and blend well.
     Spread half of batter (about 2 cups) in prepared dutch oven.
     Sprinkle with half of streusel.
     Repeat with remaining batter and streusel.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out clean.
     Cool completely in dutch oven; lift from oven using parchment paper and transfer to plate. 

Layer cake batter with streusel topping in parchment lined 10 inch oven

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

I know it's torture but try if you can to let cake cool
before lifting from oven