Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Baked Eyeballs Casserole

     If you're looking for a fun casserole to make for your Halloween party or dutch oven gathering, this recipe from Campbell's is surprisingly easy, somewhat creepy, very filling and good.  You do need to cook the pasta ahead of time but if you're assembling it away from home, all you have to do is drain it, toss it with a little olive oil and transport it in a zip lock bag or plastic container.  In my 12 inch dutch oven, the casserole baked with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 28 briquettes on the lid.  In 20 minutes it was bubbling, steaming and ready for it's 'eyeball' topping.  Add cooked Italian sausage or sauteed mushrooms to the pasta for an even heartier meal.  Kids of all ages will love this kooky dish and it's a tasty way to warm your belly before heading out to trick or treat with your hobgoblins.  Have a spooky and safe Halloween!

Baked Eyeballs Casserole
1 24 oz jar spaghetti sauce, divided
1 15 oz container part skim ricotta cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1 16 oz box of your favorite dried short-shaped pasta, i.e. rigatoni, farfalle, penne or fusilli, cooked and drained
1 8 oz container small fresh mozzarella cheese balls (about 1 inch)
1 2 oz can OR 2 Tblsp sliced black olives

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.
     Mix 1 1/2 cups of the sauce, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and pasta in prepared dutch oven.
     Spread the remaining sauce over the pasta mixture.
     Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbling.
     Arrange the cheese balls randomly over the pasta mixture.
     Place a sliced olive on each cheese ball.
     Cover and let cook for 3-5 minutes or until 'eyeballs' have melted slightly.
     Makes 8 servings.

Top pasta mixture with remaining sauce and Parmesan cheese

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes before topping
with Mozzarella balls and sliced olives

Replace lid and continue baking for 3-5 minutes or until
'eyeballs' have started to melt

Tender pasta topped with gooey eyeballs, perfect for All Hallows' Eve

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits

     A dutch oven cook can never have enough biscuit recipes, especially if they're loaded with bacon and cheese.  This recipe from Williams Sonoma may seem complicated but it's your basic biscuit formula, the only difference is the method for rolling out the dough.  Similar to making puff pastry from scratch, you roll out the dough, fold it in thirds then repeat the process again.  As you probably know by now, for the sake of convenience, I much prefer making drop biscuits in my dutch oven.  I must say, this recipe really does produce a flakier biscuit.  I patted the dough on a piece of parchment paper then lifted the ends of the paper to fold the dough onto itself, much neater and quicker than flouring your counter.  If you're camping and don't want to go to the trouble of rolling out the dough, add an extra tablespoon of buttermilk and drop the biscuits by spoonfuls into your dutch oven.
     In my 10 inch dutch oven, the biscuits baked for 20 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and the lid completely covered with around 26 briquettes.  Brushing your dutch oven with bacon grease makes these peppery biscuits especially crisp and for a little extra kick, serve them warm with butter and hot pepper jelly.

Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits
6 oz bacon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tblsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 Tblsp (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tblsp butter, melted
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp buttermilk

     In frying pan, cook bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes.
     Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate; reserve bacon fat in pan.
     Finely chop cooked bacon.
     Coat bottom and sides of dutch oven with warm bacon fat.
     In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and pepper.
     Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the cold butter until pea-size crumbs form.
     Stir in the Cheddar and Parmigiano -Reggiano cheeses and the bacon.
     Stir in the buttermilk until the dough just comes together.
     Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and roll out into a 9 by 11 inch rectangle.
     Fold the dough into thirds, rotate 90 degrees and roll out into the same sized rectangle.
     Fold into thirds again, rotate 90 degrees and roll out into a 9 by 9 inch rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.
     Using a floured 2 inch biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and place side-by-side in prepared dutch oven.
     Gather up the scraps, reroll the dough and cut out more biscuits.
     Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter.
     Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
     Let cool for 10 minutes before serving; makes 8-12 biscuits.

Brush dutch oven with bacon fat before adding biscuits

Bake in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes

What could be better than flaky biscuits baked
in your dutch oven

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Polska and Biscuit Bake

     I mulled this recipe from Hillshire Farm over for a while, wondering if it might be a little too basic and not to every one's liking.  I love cabbage in any way, shape or form, especially sauerkraut and if you use the good, refrigerated variety that comes in a two pound bag, it really makes a difference.  This is a good camping recipe with few ingredients and easily assembled.
      I baked the casserole in my 10 inch deep dutch oven with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom, 15 around the edge of the lid with 6 briquettes spaced evenly in the center.  I used  a 12 oz. package of Grands Jr. Buttermilk biscuits, if you want to use the regular Grands, just be sure you're using a larger or deeper oven, I have found they sometimes fuse to the lid in a regular 10 inch oven when used as a casserole topping.  I forgot to buy Swiss cheese and substituted with Cheddar, the Swiss will probably remind you more of a Reuben sandwich.  Butter the biscuits and serve it with a bold and spicy mustard for a hearty, camper's, one pot dinner.

Polska and Biscuit Bake
1 12 to 14 oz package Polska Kielbasa
2 to 3 cups drained sauerkraut
2 Tblsp mayonnaise
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1 7.5 oz can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Cut sausage into 1/2 inch slices; set aside.
     Combine sauerkraut and mayonnaise in small bowl; spread in bottom of prepared dutch oven.
     Lay kielbasa on top; sprinkle with cheese.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
     Place uncooked biscuits on top of cheese.
     Bake an additional 12-15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Layer sauerkraut, kielbasa and cheese in prepared dutch oven

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes then top with biscuits

Continue baking for 12-15 minutes or until biscuits are
flaky and golden brown

Basic but good camping fare