Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 59: Spaghetti a la Philly

Whew! This weekend has been one of those where life gets in the way! Every weekend seems to be that way lately. Good thing I have learned to plan ahead! The hubby and I finally got to go out for Valentine's Day, albeit a few weeks late. We went to my favorite Japanese steakhouse in Provo called Tepanyaki. It is one of those places where you get dinner and a show. I love watching them prepare the food right in front me and unfortunately, I missed the shrimp that they tried to flip into my mouth. However, the fillet Mignon melted in my mouth and made everything okay! On those rare nights that we get out without the kids, spaghetti is my go to meal for the little munchkins. It is quick and easy to prepare, and they love it. I found this variation of the traditional spaghetti at Real Mom Kitchen. We even had some of yesterday's rolls leftover so that was good. I have never thought of adding cream cheese to spaghetti before. Quite frankly, I thought it would be just weird. But it worked! So here goes...
Spaghetti a la Philly
10" dutch oven
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
2-4 ounces cream cheese
12 oz. uncooked spaghetti
Parmesan cheese
In your DO, over about 15-18 coals, brown the beef, onion and garlic. Drain any grease and add the spaghetti sauce and cream cheese. Cook until heated through and well combined. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. I used a 10" DO on my propane camp stove. You can easily use coals for this, start with 15 or so and add more, if necessary to keep the water boiling. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese. Serves about 6.
The Finished Product
The Review
The cream cheese in this gave it a whole different flavor. It was nice and rich, and gave the sauce a lighter color. I used 2 oz. of cream cheese because I wasn't sure how it would taste and I didn't have time to start over if the kids hated it. But they loved it! I don't think I would use more than 3 oz. though. But that's just me! I still think that for the DO I like the baked versions of spaghetti better. I think there is more DO flavor in them. But this was good, and it will grace our table again. Grade: B+.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 58: Make Ahead Spoon Rolls

Yesterday I told you I would take some pictures of where I have been cooking for the last 2 months. I'm sure the anticipation has been killing you. Trust me, it really is pretty primitive. But then DO cooking is too! I started this whole project with very little in the way of equipment, and I haven't had too much trouble getting good results. You don't need anything fancy. It is more convenient to have your pots up off the ground, but it isn't necessary. I am really looking forward to getting my cook table next week. It will make cooking a lot easier. But don't wait to learn to use your pots just because you don't have "the equipment". Honestly, dutch ovens, charcoal, lid lifter, metal tongs and aluminum foil will get you started. So no more excuses!

Today's recipe was really easy and fun! These rolls would take the place of bread sticks with just about any dish. I found this at Real Mom Kitchen.
Make Ahead Spoon Rolls
DO size depends on how many you make
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups warm water
4 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Combine the first 3 ingredients and let them stand 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix just until moistened. The batter will be thick and sticky. Spoon into greased muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake at 400* for 20 minutes or until golden. I used a 12" DO with 19 coals on top and 10 on the bottom. I preheated my DO for about 8-10 minutes before I put them in. I also used foil cupcake liners and just sat them in the bottom of my DO. Makes about 24.
If you don't have self-rising flour you can use this substitute:
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
Add this for each cup of all purpose flour used.
The Finished Product

The bottoms were a nice golden brown.

What I Learned

Do not use paper muffin cups. I baked some of these indoors as well using the paper liners, and the bottoms came off stuck to the liners. So either use the foil liners or just skip the liners and spray your muffin cups.

The Review

These were really good. They were a cross between a bread and a muffin. They were moist and nicely seasoned. They would make a good alternative to bread sticks. The batter can also be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a week! I also loved that the ones cooked in my DO turned out better than the ones I cooked indoors. I will take this recipe camping this summer because it is so easy. I will be making these again! Grade: B+

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 57: Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Happy Friday! Hallelujah! It has been a long week! After a week of getting up at 5 am I am sooo looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. Heaven knows, I need all the beauty sleep I can get! Today is also a good day because Uncle Sam is supposed to be giving back some of the money he overspent with all year. I can't wait because today I am ordering a Camp Chef cook table. It is a metal table that I can actually cook on with the charcoals and everything. I really should post some pics of my current "set up". It is not fancy at all. Nobody can use the excuse that they don't have the right equipment to use their DOs because I have been cooking on my porch with pieces of aluminum foil on the ground. I'll take some pics tonight and post them tomorrow.
Last night, after a trip to the grocery store so I could kick out old mother Hubbard, I made a recipe I found on Mark's Black Pot, Bacon Wrapped Chicken. Bacon...ah bacon! It really is the food of the Gods! I'll warn you, this is a heart attack waiting to happen, but it would be totally worth it. I had to cook and run last night, so I didn't get to take a picture. But since I will definitely be making this again, I will post one next time. Until then, click the link above to see Mark's post, it has a great pic.
Bacon Wrapped Chicken
DO size depends on how many you make
boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
Bacon (I used hickory smoked, just use your favorite)
lemon juice
I cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise, wrapped them with bacon and secured it with toothpicks. Then I plopped them in my DO and started them cooking. I used a 14" DO with 28 coals underneath. (If you use a smalled DO just make sure it is nice and hot. Maybe 22 coals for a 12" and 18 coals for a 10".) You want to use your DO as a frying pan. No top heat and no lid. Let the chicken cook until the bacon is crispy and browned, then turn it to cook all sides. About 2/3 of the way through cooking, I drizzled it with lemon juice (I just used the bottled stuff). They took about 30 minutes to cook completely.
The Review
These were AMAZING!!!! I wish I could eat them everyday, and I had to have the cold leftovers! Next time I will cut the chicken into thinner strips to up the bacon to chicken ratio. I will also use thick cut bacon. I think I will also try draining off the grease and let the cooked chicken simmer in some Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce; not a lot, just enough to lightly coat the chicken. I wouldn't want to drowned out the bacon flavor! These get an A+.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 56: Taco Pizza

Sorry for the late post today. I got up this morning to write today's post, turned on the computer, and nothing happened. I was very nervous! I checked everything twice, and finally figured out that my monitor had died. It was old. A dinosaur by today's standards. At 8 years old, it had lived a full life. So now I finally had a reason to go buy an LCD monitor. A big one! So I am now happily typing on a 22" screen! It feels like Christmas. My old, huge, fat, heavy monitor is gone. Thin is in.
Okay, recipe time. I think old mother Hubbard moved into my house, because all my cupboards are bare. I went through everything I had in the kitchen, and came up with taco pizza. I got the idea from Papa Murphy's Pizza. They had a taco pizza for a while, and it was good! So here goes!
Taco Pizza
14" dutch oven
1 roll refrigerated pizza crust or the crust recipe of your choice
2 cans re fried beans
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 small onion, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup water
shredded cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese
sliced olives
chopped tomatoes
ranch dressing
Brown the ground beef and onion in your DO. I used about 20 coals for this. Drain off any grease and add 1 can of re fried beans, taco seasoning and water. Stir well, and add more water if necessary to get the desired consistency. Remove from your DO and keep warm. Unroll the pizza crust and press into your hot DO. Bake at 400* for about 10 minutes. I used 24 coals on top and 12 on the bottom. Remove from heat. Spread the other can of re fried beans over the crust. Spread the meat mixture over the beans. Sprinkle with cheese and olives. Return to the heat and cook for 10 minutes more. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and ranch dressing. Serves 10-12.
The Finished Product

The Review
This was really good. Baking it for a few minutes before putting the toppings on was smart. I learned from the biscuit pizza bake. It did get it a little too brown on the bottom, so when you put it back on the coals after putting on the toppings be sure to move a few from the bottom to the top. Next time, I will mix some green chilies into the bean layer to give it some kick. All my kids loved it! They even had the leftovers for breakfast. Grade B+.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 55: Buttery Corn Bread

I got a call from a good friend yesterday. She has been following my blog and had a $64,000 question for me. She asked, "Are you really cooking something in your dutch oven EVERYDAY?" I just laughed, because that is an easy one to answer. I told her "Of course!" I can honestly say that I have cooked something in my DO every day so far. Have I blogged everything I've made? Not yet. Am I a little ahead? Yes. Do I still cook in my DO everyday anyway? Yes. Like I said the other day, it has become habit. It is just the way I cook now. It will be really weird to go back to cooking indoors next year. But don't worry, I won't abandon my DO in 2011. It has been too fun.
Today's recipe is corn bread. I really wish I had known how easy it is to make in the DO, because I would have tried it before biscuits. Seriously, all my fellow newbies out there, start with corn bread, not biscuits. This was a breeze. I did preheat my lid for about 5-8 minutes to get in nice and hot. After that, it was really easy to cook. We don't have corn bread very often because my hubby doesn't like it. But he is working nights for the next few months, so we get to eat whatever we want. I have yet to find the perfect cornbread recipe, but this is probably the best one I have tried yet.
Buttery Corn Bread
12" dutch oven
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened (use butter, trust me)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 2/3 cup milk
2 1/3 cups flour
2 1/3 cups corn meal
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Combine the eggs and milk. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with egg mixture. Pour in to your oiled DO. Bake at 400* for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. I used 19 coals on top and 10 on the bottom. I took it off the bottom coals about 20 minutes into cooking and just used the top heat to finish cooking. 12-15 servings.

The Finished Product

The bottom was perfect!

Top View!
What I Learned
Corn bread is a piece of cake. So much easier than biscuits. I really don't know why, though. Maybe I am just getting better at all this, or maybe it is because I didn't stress over it. Who knows! But this worked well.
The Review
I really liked this cornbread. It was nice and moist and didn't crumble apart like some corn breads do. It was also nice and buttery. I think it is my favorite corn bread recipe...for now. The leftovers seemed to stay pretty moist too. This makes a lot, so if you aren't feeding an army like I am, you will want to cut it in half. Grade: B+, only because I know there is an even better recipe out there somewhere!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 54: Breaded Ranch Chicken

Whoo! It has been almost 2months! I can't believe it. It is funny how DO cooking has just become normal. I plan ahead, and it really doesn't feel like it takes extra time to cook anymore. It's just the way it is. I'm still loving to do it, and I know I get better every day! Today's recipe is one of my kid's favorites. I have been making it for years, but everyone agreed that last night it tasted even better than usual. Could it be the DO? That would be a very big YES!
Breaded Ranch Chicken
10" dutch oven
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 Tbs. dry ranch dressing mix
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan and ranch dressing mix. Trim the chicken and roll in the crumb mixture. Place in your DO and bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. For a 10" DO you would need 8 coals on the bottom and 12 on top. Serves 4-6.
The Finished Product
Yes...I scorched the bottom just a little. See, not every dish turns out perfect!
The Review
Is it just me, or does every meat dish in the DO turn out moist and juicy, even when it is a little burned? Seriously, this was the best this recipe has ever turned out as far as flavor. This is also the first time I have ever burned it. My kids loved it (again). I doubled this one and used a 14" DO. If I had a 16" oven I would use that to make this, then I might have enough for my 15 year old son! My kids like to dip it in BBQ sauce, but marinara would be good too. After making this last night, I remember why it is a family favorite! Grade: A.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 53: Creamy Squash Casserole

The last few months, I have discovered the deliciousness that is butternut squash. I can't believe that in my 38 years on the planet I haven't figured out how good it is until now! As a general rule, I really don't like winter squash. Most of them have a strong flavor that is a little strange. But butternut squash is sweet and nutty and yummy! I love it so much, that much to my children's dismay, I am planting a whole bunch of it in my garden this year. I've tried 4 or 5 different recipes and they have all been really good. There are a lot of sweet recipes for squash, but I like the savory ones better. This recipe came from a Taste of Home magazine.
Creamy Squash Casserole
10" dutch oven
2 lbs. acorn or butternut squash
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2 medium carrots, shredded
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 1/4 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix, divided (I used Stove Top)
Peel squash, then cut in half and remove seeds. Cut into 1/2" cubes. Cook the squash in a small amount of water in your DO for 3 minutes, drain and set aside. I used 15 coals for this.. In a bowl , combine the soup, sour cream, butter, carrots and onion; stir in 2 cups of the stuffing mix. Fold in the squash. Put squash mixture in your DO and sprinkle with remaining stuffing mix. Bake at 350* for 25 minutes or until squash is tender. I used 8 coals on the bottom and 12 on top. Serves 12.
The Finished Product

The Review

This was amazing!! If I had to choose my favorite recipe so far this year, it would be near the top. The stuffing made it perfectly seasoned, without being overbearing. It was creamy, and I could really taste the squash. My kids weren't super thrilled, but a few of them really liked it. It took me 38 years to like it, I guess I can't expect miracles from my kids! :) This is a recipe you really should try. Mmmmmmm, good! I'm going to have the leftovers for breakfast!! Grade A.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 52: Chili-Cheese Rice Frittata

Happy Sunday everyone! Or in my case happy snow-day! We woke up to 3" of the white stuff and we were running late for church this morning. Running late and bad roads are not a good combination! Needless to say, we were late as usual. I hope we get brownie points in heaven for trying! :)
Okay, today's recipe is a breakfast recipe. It is a little different than most frittatas I have had. They have usually used pasta and veggies. But I really liked the rice in this. So here goes!
Chili-Cheese Rice Frittata
10" dutch oven
1 medium green pepper, julienned (I chopped mine)
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1 Tbs. butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
5 eggs
1/3 cups milk
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
In your dutch oven, saute the onions and peppers in butter. I used 12 coals for this. Remove from the heat; stir in the rice, cheese, tomato and chilies. In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, salt and hot pepper sauce. Stir into the rice mixture.
Bake uncovered at 350* for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. I used 8 coals on the bottom and 12 on top. Halfway through cooking I moved 3 coals from the bottom to the top so the bottom wouldn't burn. Serves 4-6.
The Finished Product

What I Learned
When cooking any dish that has a large number of eggs in it, it is a good idea to move a few of the coals from the bottom to the top part way through cooking. It keeps the bottom from burning. The last breakfast I did burned on the bottom. Live and learn!
The Review
I really liked this. I liked the onions and the fresh tomatoes the most. The rice was nice and gave it some substance. My kids on the other hand, did not like it at all. The peppers and onions pushed the limit of their "barf-o-meter". Not one of them would touch it. Oh well, their loss is my gain--I get the leftovers! I'll give this one a B+.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 51: Southwestern Spaghetti

Today is the big day to announce the winner of the WCC cookbook. The winner was drawn at random from everyone who commented on Wednesday's post. Could I have a drum roll please....And the winner is....Will Shattuck!! Will shared his recipe for Blueberry Dump Cake. His recipe will be making an appearance here very soon! Thanks to everyone who commented. It was fun to read them, and I will try to use each recipe that was posted. Will, if you will just email me with your address (the link is on the right), I will get that out to you!

Before I give you the recipe today, I have to show you what it looked like when I went outside to cook! I don't know if you can see all the snowflakes. It was really cool, especially since we haven't had much snow this winter, just a lot of cold!

On to today's recipe! Friday nights are busy at my house. My hubby works and I just started taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class every Friday night. So I have to make quick meals that my kids will like. Recipes like that can be hard to find, but this one went over pretty well.

Southwestern Spaghetti
10" dutch oven

12 oz. uncooked spaghetti
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 4 1/2 oz. jar mushrooms, drained (I left these out)
1 2 1/4 oz. can sliced olives, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream and salsa
Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. I cheated and cooked the spaghetti inside because of the snow. Meanwhile, in your DO cook the beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain if necessary. I used about 15 coals for this. Stir in the taco seasoning, spaghetti sauce, mushrooms and olives. Drain the spaghetti; stir into the beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through. Mine took about 15 minutes. Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and salsa. 8 servings.
The Finished Product

The Review

This one won't win any awards, but it was pretty good. The flavor was different, but the taco and spaghetti flavors went together better than I thought they would. My kids loved it. We didn't use any of the garnishments suggested in the recipe. Lettuce on spaghetti is just weird. It would be an easy camping recipe, and would go well with cornbread. I give this one a B.

Day 50: Biscuit Pizza Bake

My hubby was working last night, so I thought I would make something fun for the kids for dinner. I looked through some of my cooking magazines and came across today's recipe. It looked different, and something the kids would eat up--literally and figuratively. The idea behind this recipe is really cute. Use cut up refrigerator biscuits as pizza crust. They cook up into a really irregular shape and are almost like pizza pull apart bread. I should have been so lucky! And before I forget, today is the last day to comment for a chance to win a copy of the new WCC cook off cookbook! You can do that here!
Biscuit Pizza Bake
12" dutch oven
1 lb. ground beef
2 tubes refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 15 oz. can pizza sauce (I used spaghetti sauce)
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 4 oz. can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 3 1/2 oz. pkg. sliced pepperoni
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In you DO, cook the beef until no longer pink. You will need about 20-25 coals for this. I had some cooked ground beef in the freezer that I thawed and used. Meanwhile, quarter the biscuits. When the beef is cooked, remove from the DO. Put the biscuits in the bottom you the DO. Top with pizza sauce. Sprinkle the beef over the sauce. Layer with green pepper, onions, mushrooms, pepperoni and cheeses. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted. I used 10 coals on the bottom and 14 on top. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. 6-8 servings.
The Finished Product

The Review
Like I said before, the idea behind this was good. My kids were excited to try it. It just didn't cook well, but I'm sure the problem was me and breads. :) I ended up having to put it in my oven to let it finish cooking. In all fairness to the recipe, it probably would have been great if I had cooked the beef in the DO and gotten the oven nice and hot. So that was my bad. The other problem it had was the biscuits. I ended up with the biscuits with all the yellow butter chunks in them, and let me tell you...the butter chunks don't go well with pizza sauce. The flavor was really weird. Next time I do this--and there will be a next time 'cause I'm not letting a recipe kick my butt--I will try to find different biscuits or maybe make my own dough. So I will reserve judgement on this recipe until next week when I make it again.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 49: Creamed Green Beans

Good Thursday everyone! It is snowing at my house, and it looks really pretty. It has covered the brown grass with a thin blanket of white, and made everything look clean again.
I hoped everyone has commented on yesterday's post. Remember to tell me about your best DO dish and you could win a copy of the new 2010 World Championship Cook off Cookbook. It looks like a good one! You only have until 10 pm mountain time tomorrow!
I found today's recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook, and I adapted it to fit our tastes. I love green bean casserole, but I prefer to make it from scratch instead of using creamed soups. When I made this, I had problems with the sauce breaking. I ended up lumpy. That seems to be a theme for me lately. So I followed a link left in a comment by Mark at Mark's Black Pot that explained what that means and how to fix it. You can get there from here. So here is the recipe with the changes to keep is smooth and creamy. I am doing this recipe in stages so I can make it understandable.

Creamed Green Beans
10" dutch oven
1/2 cup butter
flour to make a roux (I used just over 1/2 cup)
Melt the butter in your DO. I used about 12 coals for this. Add the flour a little at a time, stirring well until you have a thick paste. You don't want it too stiff. When I quit stirring, the roux would slowly flatten out on its own. Stir and cook it for just a few minutes, then remove from the DO. This will be used to thicken the sauce for the beans, and can also be kept in the fridge to thicken soups and sauces later.

3 Tbs. butter, divided
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes (I used Ritz crackers)
1 tsp. dried minced onion or 1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
4-6 cups French-style green beans, cooked and drained (I just used canned beans, drained them and put them in)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Melt 1 tbs. butter and mix with the cornflakes; set aside. Melt the remaining 2 Tbs. in your DO. Stir in the onion, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is tender. Reduce the heat (I just took away a few coals) and add the sour cream and Worcestershire sauce; stir well and heat through. Now take the roux and add it a little at a time, stirring well until the sour cream/onion mixture is thickened. I used about 1 Tbs. of roux. Fold in the beans and spread in your DO. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Sprinkle with the cornflake mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through. I used 17 coals on top and 8 on the bottom. Serves 6-8.
The Finished Product

See how lumpy the sauce is? Looks gross, huh?

The second try is much creamier

The Review
This is really good. The Worcestershire added a nice flavor. I like this much better than using creamed soup. The second attempt with the recipe above turned out creamier. I did have to add a little milk (a Tablespoon or two) to it after I added the beans because I got it a little too thick. As easy as this is, I won't go back to using the cream soups. This one gets a B+.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 48: Chicken Parmesan Bundles and a Giveaway

This Giveaway is now Closed
I just got wind of a new dutch oven cookbook you will want to have. Just looking at the table of contents, I think it will be the crowning jewel of you collection! It is the 2010 World Championship Cook Off cookbook. It is chock full of award winning recipes. With recipes like chocolate mousse layer cake, turkey and wild rice bread, maple bacon turkey and apple raspberry pie...well, you can't go wrong. You can take a look at the table of contents and place your order here! The cookbook is a bargain at $15.00+$3.95 shipping.
All that being said, I am giving away a copy on dutchovenmadness! One lucky reader will get a copy courtesy of moi! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what you consider your best dutch oven dish. If it has won an award let me know, leave the recipe if you would like (but it may end up on my blog!). It doesn't have to be fancy, just your favorite dutch oven dish. The winner will be chosen at random. You have until 10 pm mountain time on Friday, Feb. 19th to enter and the winner will be announced on Saturday's post.
On to the recipe! This is one that I would consider one of my best recipes. It comes from a Taste of Home magazine. I was worried because most of the dishes I have done have had some kind of a sauce or gravy that made them easier. I was afraid of burning this because it was just the chicken. I should have just relaxed. This was as easy as anything I have done so far.
Chicken Parmesan Bundles
10" dutch oven
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6 Tbs. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4" thickness
1 egg
1/2 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce, heated
In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 3 Tbs. Parmesan cheese until well blended. Spread evenly on chicken breasts. Starting at the short end of each breast, roll up chicken tightly, completely enclosing the filling. Secure with toothpicks. Set aside.
Beat the egg in a shallow bowl. Mix the remaining 3 Tbs. Parmesan cheese and the cracker crumbs in a pie plate. Dip the chicken in egg, then roll in the cracker mixture. Place, seam side down in your DO. Bake 30 minutes at 375 or until juices run clear (165 degrees). I used 9 coals on the bottom and 15 on top. Top with spaghetti sauce and remaining 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Serves 6.
The Finished Product

The Review
These were AMAZING!!! The chicken was tender and the filling was delicious. They were worth the time it took to make these. They look beautiful with the green filling and red sauce. My kids couldn't get enough and even though I doubled the recipe there were no leftovers. This recipe is a keeper. Grade A

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 47: Creamy Vegetable Casserole

I am finding some really great side dishes lately. Usually side dishes are hard to come up with. Maybe it is because I am actually looking for them, but they seem to be popping up all over the place. A side dish can really make a meal. They just seem to show that the entire meal is important and special, where a bag of frozen veggies says "I was too lazy to do anything else". But that has never happened at my house. Yeah right! I can tell that you really believe that! I found this recipe in a Quick Cooking magazine. Usually I have to adapt their recipes to the way I cook. I really try to stay away from convenience meals. Not because they aren't healthy (which they aren't), but because everything tastes better from scratch! This recipe was surprisingly good just the way it was. Next time I will make one tiny change, but I will get to that in a minute.
Creamy Vegetable Casserole
10" dutch oven
1 16 oz. pkg. frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 8 oz. carton spreadable garden vegetable cream cheese
1/2-1 cup seasoned croutons
Prepare vegetables according to package directions; drain and place in a large bowl, or drain and put back in you DO. Stir in soup and cream cheese. I stirred these together before I put them in with the veggies. Top with croutons. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until bubbly. I used 6 coals on the bottom and 14 on top. Serves 6.
The Finished Product

What I Learned
I have done several dishes that have a milk or dairy base to them. For the most part the results have been good, but the milk has separated and gone sort of lumpy. It still tastes okay, but doesn't look so nice. The problem is the heat. Not necessarily how much, but I think it is the coal distribution. So for this dish, I used the standard number of coals (20), but I put 6 on the bottom and 14 on top. Just a small adjustment like that seemed to make a difference, because this one turned out smooth and creamy. Just a theory for now... we will see how it pans out.
The Review
This was awesome. I have never used the garden veggie cream cheese for anything but a dip. I'll tell you, it really added a "je ne sais quoi" to this one. (Are you impressed with my french? Those 4 years in high school are really paying off!) The flavor is subtle, but noticeable. The croutons added a nice crunch and some nice flavor. There is one adjustment I will make next time, and that is to add more veggies. It was a little too creamy for my taste. I want more veggies. It would be an easy adjustment to make, and it would make a difference in the texture. If you like it super creamy then don't change a thing. I would serve this to company--it was that good. Easy A.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 46: Featherlight Scones

So yesterday was Valentine's Day, and my hubby had to work. I wanted to cook a nice dinner, but most of the time my kids just don't appreciate it. I found out that a neighbor had surgery and I knew I had found someone who could appreciate a nice dinner. I spent a good part of yesterday, after church, preparing everything to go into the DO. It all turned out amazing, but the dish I am most proud of is the scones. Breads have been a challenge, but yesterday I rose to it! Since part of this dinner was going to the neighbors, I doubled this recipe and cooked one in the DO and one in the oven, just in case. My track record with bread has been less than stellar, so I was worried. It is one thing to choke in front of my family or even all of you, but the neighbors.... Let's just say, I was pleasantly surprised!
Featherlight Scones
10" dutch oven
3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold butter or margarine
1 egg
1 cup vanilla yogurt (I used 1/2 vanilla & 1/2 plain)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp. milk
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in the egg, yogurt and vanilla just until combined. Turn on to a floured surface and knead 6-8 times. Roll into a 10" circle; cut into 8 wedges and put inside DO. I used the DO lid as a guide for the size. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. I used 8 coals on the bottom and 18 on top. Remove from the bottom heat about halfway through cooking. Serves 8.
The Finished Product

What I Learned
I couldn't be happier with how these turned out. I should have taken them off the bottom heat sooner, but they weren't burned and the bottoms were still soft. They were just a little too brown. It is so much fun when a recipe you have never made before works like a charm.
The Review
These are perfectly named! They were so light and soft, they melted in your mouth. They were probably at least 3 inches thick. We all loved them. These will go into our normal meal rotation. They are as good as rolls, but softer. I'd also take them over biscuits. The best part was that the ones cooked in the DO turned out better than the ones in the oven. They did take longer to cook, both in the DO and inside. 25-30 minutes was more realistic, but they were worth the wait. Definitely an A!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 45: Coca-Cola Chicken

Wow! Sundays are tough. I was sound asleep on the couch by 9:30 last night, then I slept in this morning to make up for it. I made us all late for church this morning and I also made this post late. So, I apologize. Today's recipe is another great camping recipe. I think this one will go with us on one of our camping trips. It is easy, and uses things I would take camping anyway! And before I forget--Happy Valentine's Day everyone! My hubby has to work tonight so I will be flying solo--if you don't count the kids. I hope everyone has a great day and give all your sweeties a big hug!
Coca-Cola Chicken
12" dutch oven

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can Coke
1 1/2 cups ketchup
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. onion powder
2 Tbs. chili powder
Place chicken breasts in an oiled dutch oven. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir well. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and bake using 8 coals on the bottom and 14 on top for 60 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Baste with pan juices every 15 minutes. Serves 8.
The Finished Product

The Review

This was really tasty, and is a great camping recipe. It had kind of a BBQ flavor to it. It will be great on a salad tomorrow. Mine was done in about 40 minutes, so 1 hour would probably be to long to cook it. This is as easy as it gets for DO cooking. Grade: B.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 44:Raspberry Coffee Cake

Yesterday morning I woke up to snow pellets falling outside. Big sigh! We have had pretty nice weather lately, but we have a saying in Utah--"If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes." That was very true, because later it was in the mid-forties. I am ready to say goodbye to winter, but I can see that winter is in no hurry to leave. So, for today's recipe, I picked the summeriest thing I could think of--Raspberries. This post is me (and my raspberries) giving winter a very rude hand gesture. Sorry, I usually don't behave this way, but the snow pellets just pushed me over the edge!

Raspberry Coffee Cake
10" dutch oven
1 cup plus 3 Tbs. sugar, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (I used a frozen berry mix)
2 cups biscuit/baking mix
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 3.4 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix (I used french vanilla)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
In a small DO, combine 1 cup sugar and cornstarch. Add the berries; bring to a boil over medium heat. I would use an 8" DO for this. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the biscuit mix, milk, eggs, oil and remaining 3 Tbs. of sugar; mix well. Spread 2/3 of the batter in a 10" DO. Spread with the berries. Spoon remaining batter over the top. For the topping, combine pudding mix, sugar and spices. I didn't measure the spices, I just put some in until it smelled good. Cut in butter until crumbly; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 with 7 coals on the bottom and 14 on top for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the bottom heat about halfway through cooking.

The Finished Product

What I Learned
I left this on the bottom heat during the entire cooking time, and the bottom was a nice golden brown. If the temperatures would have been higher than the forties I would have burned it. If you are doing this in the summer I would definitely take it off the bottom coals partway through cooking.
The Review
This turned out to be more like a cobbler than a coffee cake, but it was still "berry" delicious. (Ha Ha) It would be awesome with fresh raspberries. You could probably double the cake batter to make it more of a coffee cake. You would just have to adjust the cooking time. But, serve it with a scoop of ice cream and you could almost pretend it was a July evening. This gets an A-.

Day 43: Herbed Focaccia

Don't laugh or roll you eyes too much when you read this! If you all weren't so very nice to me, I would never dare to share this! I really debated about posting this recipe. Not because it isn't good, but because it was a total failure. This was my first, and so far only, attempt at yeast breads. I chose this one because it doesn't have to raise very much, and if it didn't rise no on could tell. I've made it in my kitchen and it worked great, but this one was a disaster. I didn't know to preheat the lid, and I know I didn't have the heat right because it took an hour to cook. Don't laugh to much when you read this! At least I can say that I have learned a lot since I tried this bread!
Herbed Focaccia
14" dutch oven
3/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. warm water
3 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. nonfat dry milk powder
3 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary or 3/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
In a bowl, combine the water and yeast. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. add remaining ingredients and knead well. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead for 1 minute. Roll out into a 14 inch circle (or a 15x10" rectangle if cooking indoors). Put dough in the DO and press it up the sides just a little. Cover and let rise 20-30 minutes. With a wooden spoon handle, make indentations a 1" intervals. Brush the dough with olive oil; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, rosemary and garlic salt. Bake at 400 degrees using 24 coals on top and 12 on the bottom for 13-15 minutes or until slightly browned. Serves 8-10. It would probably be a good idea to take it off the bottom coals partway through cooking.
The Finished Product

Honestly, this doesn't look as bad as it was! :)
What I Learned
This was a disaster. It took an hour to cook because I tried to cook it at the wrong temperature. I tried this bread before I discovered the baking temperatures chart. Baking at the right temperature is REALLY important if you didn't know. I now know that I should have preheated the lid--it should have been nice and hot. I also should have used more heat.
The Review
This was terrible, terrible, terrible! It was like biting into the side of a cardboard box. Or maybe Little Caesar's pizza crust without any toppings. I made the mistake of using the bottled, grated Parmesan cheese because I was too lazy to grate the fresh stuff. I have learned my lesson on that, and bottled Parmesan will never show its face in my fridge again! BARF!! Now honestly, this is a great recipe that my family loves. And it was my first attempt at breads. I did this before I had even tried biscuits. So I won't be too hard on myself. When I recover from my shame, I will try this again and it will work. I won't rate this recipe because it is really good when it isn't suffering from operator error!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 42: Indian Butter Chicken

Today's recipe is another Indian Dish. I am really intrigued by Indian food. The mix of spices is really unusual but good. Like I said before when I posted the tikka chicken, I have never had Indian food before so I have no way to know how authentic any of these recipes are. I just know that they are good. The butter chicken is mild, without the kick that I've always thought Indian food had. This recipe comes from a Taste of Home magazine, so I'm sure it is pretty Americanized.
Indian Butter Chicken
10" dutch oven
2 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. grated ginger root (I used just a little ground ginger)
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. each ground coriander and ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. each ground cinnamon and ground cumin
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, cut up (rotisserie would work great)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro (I didn't have any)
Melt the butter in your DO. I used about 15 coals. Add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring often until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger root, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin. Cook 1 minute. Add the drained tomatoes, broth, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. I used 14 coals on the bottom and 7 on top. Stir in the chicken and heat through. Remove from the coals and stir in the sour cream and cilantro. Serve over rice. 5 servings.
The Finished Product

What I Learned
Using DOs is getting a lot easier for me, so unless I make a new discovery, or I am cooking something challenging, I probably won't have anything for this little section.
The Review
This was really good, but I am still acquiring a taste for some of these spices. The turmeric gave it a cool yellow color that my kids really liked. I forgot to drain the tomatoes so mine was too runny as you can see in the pic. The kids liked it and I don't think the leftovers will last very long. Even though it is really easy, this probably isn't something that I will make very often. Not because I don't like it, but because it is really different than what we are used to. That being said, you should try it and see what you think. This recipe probably rates in the B range, I can't quite decide.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 41: Dutch Oven Potatoes

Side dishes are my Nemesis. I have such a hard time finding side dishes that everyone will eat. Summertime is not so bad because the garden gives me something new and fresh every day. But in the winter I get tired of boring frozen or canned veggies. I search high and low for new recipes. Anyone that knows me will be laughing out loud right now because I am being conservative when I say my recipe collection includes about 5000 recipes. I read cookbooks like novels. But I especially love it when I have a great recipe delivered to my door in the form of the Tuesday newspaper. They did an article on DO cooking (and they didn't ask me--how rude! LOL LOL) and printed a DO potato recipe. Since the first ingredient on the list was bacon...I knew I had to try it. This was a recipe from David Littlefield printed in Provo's Daily Herald.

Dutch Oven Potatoes
12" dutch oven
1/2 lb. bacon (I used a whole pound and it was perfect!)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (I didn't have one)
1/2 Tbs. McCormick Creole Seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
6-8 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/4 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
Brown the bacon in your DO. Remove from the pan and drain all but a few Tbs. of the grease. Saute onions, peppers and spices until veggies are soft. Add the bacon and potatoes; mix well. Add the soup and mix well. Let them bake for about 40 minutes. I used 8 coals on the bottom and 16 on top. During the last 5 minutes of cooking remove the pot from the bottom heat and add the cheese. Cook until it melts!
The Finished Product
Wow--that pic is dark! Sorry!
What I Learned
I started out with 10 coals on the bottom and 14 on top, but about 15 minutes in I went to stir them and I could tell there was too much heat. I just moved a couple of coals from the bottom to the top. I am seeing that in a lot of cases the problem with too much heat isn't the actual temperature of the oven, rather the distribution of the coals. So I've learned not to be afraid of moving the coals around. Honestly, I haven't cooked a bad meal yet.
The Review
These were Fabulous! This is my new favorite DO potato recipe. Every time I went to stir them I was snitching half cooked potatoes "just to see if they were done". Yeah right--I just couldn't keep them out of my mouth. They just sort of kept jumping in! This recipe is going camping with us this summer. These potatoes get an easy A.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 40: Chocolate Cupcakes

I wasn't sure what to make for today's recipe. I looked through my menu plan and nothing jumped out at me. It was one of those days where I wasn't in the mood for anything. I decided that my kids deserved a treat-they have been pretty good lately. So I grabbed a box of Betty Crocker cake mix and the muffin cups and started baking. My muffin pan holds 24 cupcakes and the recipe made 27. Since I couldn't justify making my poor out of shape oven work any harder when I had a perfectly good DO with nothing to do, I fired up the coals. I honestly had no expectations when it came to DO cupcakes. I figured they would take longer to cook and wouldn't rise much. I was pleasantly surprised!

Dutch Oven Cupcakes
DO size depends on how many you make.

1 box of you favorite cake mix, made according to package directions.
Preheat your DO for at least 10 minutes. You want it nice and hot. Put the cupcakes in the DO. Reynolds makes a great cupcake liner that is made of aluminum so that it stands up without using a muffin pan. Bake using the required coals for the size of oven you are using, with 2/3 of the heat on top and 1/3 on the bottom. I only had 3 cupcakes to bake so I used a 10" DO with 7 coals on the bottom and 14 on top. I took them off the bottom coals after about 15 minutes. Sooner in hot weather. Mine baked in 20 minutes just like it said on the box!
The Finished Product

The bottoms are perfectly done!

The one on the left was made in my oven, the one on the right was made in the DO.

In the DO.

What I Learned

These were surprisingly easy. I was prepared for them to take forever, but they cooked in just the right amount of time. I probably could (and should) have let my oven preheat a little longer. Even though they didn't rise as high as the ones cooked inside, they were still light and yummy!

The Review

I can't believe these actually worked! I did it on a whim and they worked! I don't think there is anything you can't cook in a DO. I am going to try them again and preheat my DO a little more. They were really easy. These get an A just for the fact that they worked.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 39: No Fuss Chicken

I have had a few comments and emails about the recipes. The most common being "Can I cook this inside in my oven too?" The answer is absolutely YES!!!! I will try to remember to put the oven temp along with the number of coals so you can cook indoors too. 99% of the recipes I use come from everyday cookbooks/cooking blogs or are family recipes, and in a few cases they are my own creation. I will always tell you if I get it from a blog or cookbook. If I don't mention a source it is probably a family recipe or one I've had forever and don't know where it came from. One of my goals has been to learn to adapt any recipe for use in a DO. So far, so good on that front. DOs are amazingly versatile. Soon I am going to try pies and cookies, so stay tuned. Also, please let me know what you think and how the recipes work for you! I have the greatest readers and I wish I could have all of you over for dinner!
Today's recipe falls into the "I can't remember where I got it" category. I have been making it for years. It was originally a slow cooker recipe that morphed into an oven recipe that is now a DO recipe. How's that for evolution? Usually I serve it with rice or noodles, but dinner kind of turned into a carb-fest so the chicken went solo tonight.
No Fuss Chicken
12" dutch oven
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. season salt
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup butter
2 cups chicken broth
In a bowl, combine flour, sage,basil and seasoned salt; coat chicken. Reserve remaining flour mixture. In you DO, melt the butter and brown the chicken on all sides. I used 25 coals for this. When chicken is browned, remove from the DO. Add 1/4 cup of reserved flour mixture to the DO and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute. Return chicken to the DO and coat with sauce. Cover and cook at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. I used 8 coals on the bottom and 16 on top.
The Finished Product
What I Learned
I am really getting the hang of this DO stuff. As far as main dishes go I am pretty confidant, so that means it is time for some new challenges. That means more breads. Bring it on! I have some great bread ideas to share soon!
The Review
This was great. The gravy is to die for and we like it so much I always double the gravy. My kids said it was even better in the DO than in the oven or crock pot. There was nothing left over. This is in my "tried and true" file and is delicious! Grade A.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 38: Herb Rice Pilaf

Just a quick post today--I got out of bed late and I have to hurry! Today's recipe is another great side dish.
Herb Rice Pilaf
10" dutch oven
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbs. parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp. rubbed sage
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 cups water
In your DO cook the rice, celery and onion in butter, stirring constantly until rice is lightly browned. I used 15 coals for that. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes using 14 coals on the bottom and 7 on top. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 10 minutes. 6 servings.
The Finished Product

What I Learned

This just gets easier every time I do it. This worked like a charm and the DO flavor made this sooo good.

The Review

Here is another dish that was made for the DO. It tasted great, and was really easy. I think 1 cup of celery was too much. Next time I will cut it down to maybe 3/4. Some toasted almonds would also be good in this. Grade: B.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 37: Sky High Biscuits

Well, I finally had biscuits turn out right! I don't even know how many times I tried them. I finally figured out how to do them and now I am so sick of biscuits that I never want to make them again! :):) No, really, the secret is preheating the oven. I only preheated the lid, but you could easily heat the oven while you cut out the biscuits and put them in a hot DO. All my other attempts at this recipe would never rise and were flat, but these were nice and fluffy.
Sky High Biscuits
12" dutch oven
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbs. sugar
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup cold butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
In a bowl combine the first 6 ingredients. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Combine egg and milk; stir in to crumb mixture just until moistened. Turn onto a floured surface and knead 10-15 times. Roll out 1" thick and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place in your DO and bake at 450 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. I used 22 coals on top and 11 on the bottom. Makes about 1 dozen.
The Finished Product
Look! I didn't even burn the bottom!!

What I Learned
Preheating is very important. I think we all know this, but is true none the less. Next time I will preheat the whole oven before I put them in. When I tried these in my oven at home they got at least 3" high, they were awesome! I think I can at least get close to that height next time I make them. These took about 25 minutes to cook, but I think I can also reduce that by preheating the whole oven. I did take these off the bottom coals about 15 minutes into cooking, and just used top heat to lightly brown the tops.
The Review
These were really good biscuits. They were light and fluffy and had a great soft texture. They were almost as soft as dinner rolls inside. YUM! I love that they have whole wheat flour in them. It makes them seem healthier. I can tell I stirred them a little to much, because they weren't flat on top, but I think I can live with that. :) Of all the biscuit recipes I have tried over the years I like this one the best. For now I will give these a B+, but only because I still have a few kinks to work out with them.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 36: Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

So far, cooking in my DO has been easier than I thought it would be. Some days are still frustrating, but for the most part I've found that it is hard to ruin a DO dish. Baking has been the exception for me, and I would suspect that baking is the reason more people don't cook DO. I did find one tip that makes baking easier. If you think about it, you would never make treats or breads of any kind without preheating your oven, and that should also apply to your dutch oven. So today I tried it. I put my DO lid on top of my chimney about 5 minutes before the coals were ready and let it get nice and hot. Then I put it on my DO, added coals and let it cook. And what do you know, these bars cooked PERFECTLY! For the first time a baking recipe cooked in the proper time stated on the recipe! I was thrilled. Tomorrow I am going to make even more biscuits and see how it works. But for today, I am going to eat chocolate!
Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
14" dutch oven
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter, no substitutes
1 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
cream cheese mixture:
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
In a small DO (or saucepan) combine the water, butter and chocolate; cook and stir over low heat until smooth. Cool. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs and sour cream; beat on low just until combined. Stir in chocolate mixture until smooth. In another bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla; set aside. Spread chocolate batter in a 14" DO (or a 10 x 15 pan). Drop the cream cheese mixture by tablespoons full over the batter; cut through the batter with a knife to swirl. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 375 degrees using 12 coals on the bottom and 22 on top for 20-25 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick. Makes about 3 dozen.
The Finished Product

What I Learned

Seriously, preheat your ovens. The difference between today's baking and the baking I have done so far is unbelievable. Hopefully it continues to make a difference. I will let you know in future posts!

The Review

Chocolate and cheesecake with DO flavor. Need I say more? This one had me at chocolate. These were perfect! And that is surprising since I used baking powder instead of baking soda. I wonder if they would have been better with the right ingredients? :P I am going to have to hide these from my kids, or they will all be gone by 3:15 today. These get an A for taste and how well they cooked.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 35: Honey Mustard Glazed Carrots

I have been using the Sam's Choice briquettes for a little while now, and I have to say that they are pretty good coals. I have 2 issues with them, but they are pretty minor. First, they produce a lot of ash. Some of that could be that they are bigger than Kingsford briquettes. Since I don't have to worry about clogging up a smoker it isn't a big deal. Second, they spark more than Kingsford. As I move the coals around in the chimney they shoot up sparks. Like I said, they are pretty minor complaints, and overall I've found they burn well, and are easy to use. We have a Winco Foods opening up this spring so I will try to find the Royal Oak brand and I will compare them.
Today's recipe was sent to me by a reader. I did honey glazed carrots a couple of weeks ago and I was disappointed with the results. The flavor wasn't great. So Dutchovenrandy left this recipe in the comments and I thought I'd give it a try.

Honey Mustard Glazed Carrots
10" dutch oven
2 lbs. baby carrots
4 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. spicy brown sugar Dijon mustard
1 T. liquid Hickory smoke
1 Tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1-2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley (I forgot this)
Heat the DO and melt the butter. Add the dry ingredients and stir well. Add the liquid smoke, honey and mustard. Stir quickly so it doesn't burn. Add the carrots and let them simmer for 30-40 minutes. When you are ready to serve sprinkle with parsley. I used 14 coals on the bottom and 7 on top. Serves about 6. If I were to make these indoors, I would do it all in a saucepan on the stove top.
The Finished Product

What I Learned
Yesterday's DO tip worked perfectly here. 2/3 of the coals on the bottom and 1/3 on top and these carrots were cooked to perfection.
The Review
I know you are looking at the pic and wondering why I am eating carrots rolled in dirt. Well, these are the best dirt rolled carrots I have ever had (it is the mustard that looks grainy). These were amazing!!! The cinnamon and nutmeg perfectly seasoned them. My 2 year old ate all hers and then polished off mine. If she weren't so cute I would have stabbed her with my fork to keep her out of my carrots (ha ha!). I think I will make these again for Thanksgiving dinner, and probably several times between now and then. Don't let the terrible pic make you pass these up. They were awesome! Grade A-.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dutch Oven Tip #1

This tip applies directly to today's post--Hearty Corn Chowder. I used my camp stove because I was in a hurry, but you could easily use coals too! You would need to use all bottom heat to cook your bacon and veggies. But to simmer the soup you want to reverse the normal rule for coal placement. So for a 12" dutch oven you would use 1/3 of the briquettes on the lid and 2/3 of the briquettes under the oven. It will keep the soup hot enough to finish cooking the veggies. I've found this works well for all the soups I have cooked in my DO. I have also used this tip to simmer skillet meals made in my DO.

Day 34: Hearty Corn Chowder

We had another busy day at our house. You can tell, because on busy days we usually have soup for dinner (at least in the winter). I did have to use my propane camp stove again, but I have gotten over the guilt involved and I'm alright with it. :) This is a recipe I have had for years and I have no idea where it came from, only that we love it. It has 2 of my favorite meats in it--bacon and smoked sausage. I could write (really bad) poetry about bacon. Bacon is the food of the Gods. It adds so much flavor and its crispy crunch is irresistible. And it is perfect in this soup.
Hearty Corn Chowder
12" dutch oven
1/2 lb. sliced bacon
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups diced peeled potatoes
1 cup water
2 cups corn
1 can cream style corn
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
6 oz. smoked sausage links, cut into 1/4" slices
1 tsp. dill weed
In your DO, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels; crumble and set aside. Drain all but 2 Tbs. of the drippings. Saute the celery and onions in drippings until onions are lightly browned. Add the potatoes and water. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Stir in corn, milk, sausage, dill and bacon. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
The Finished Product

What I Learned
That bacon cooked in a DO is Fabulous!!!
The Review
This is in my top 10 list of soups. It is amazing. The bacon and sausage give it just the right flavor, and the DO makes it even better. Tomorrows leftovers will be even better! This soup gets an easy A.
**Just a note--I doubled this recipe for my family and it fit great into a 12" oven. So this will probably fit in a 10" oven if it is not doubled.**

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 33: Spaghetti Florentine

I was watching Food Network the other day looking for new recipe ideas. On one of the shows, someone created this amazing looking baked potato Florentine, which I am going to try to recreate soon. But it gave me an idea for a DO dish. I know I have seen a spaghetti Florentine recipe somewhere before, so I can't take full credit for this one, but I think it still counts as my creation. Am I right?

Spaghetti Florentine
12" dutch oven

8 oz. uncooked spaghetti
1 lb. ground beef or Italian sausage or a mix of the two
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 egg, beaten
2 cups cottage cheese
1 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Italian seasoning
shredded mozzarella

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Brown the meat with the onions and garlic until no longer pink. Stir in the spaghetti sauce. Simmer about 10 minutes. In a bowl, combine the egg, cottage cheese, spinach, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and Italian seasoning. When pasta is cooked, add it to the sauce mixture and pour into your DO. Then spread the spinach mixture over the spaghetti. Top with mozzarella cheese. I baked mine for 45 minutes using 8 coals on the bottom and 16 on top.

The Finished Product

What I learned

It was warmer today, and it showed because I used the same number of coals as usual, but it was too much heat. Next time I will only use 14 coals on top and cook it about 35 minutes, or until the cheese is just lightly browned. The mozzarella was overcooked (as you can tell).

The Review

This was really good if I do say so myself. I'll adjust the cooking temp and time and it will be even better. Some mushrooms would be good, and next time I will add some canned tomatoes (fresh in the summer) to the sauce. The family loved it, even my picky eaters. This is something I will make again, with some adjustments. For now I will give this recipe a B.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 32: Herb-Roasted Vegetables

Today was an absolutely spectacular day! We hit 45 degrees and the sun was bright and warming. I think this is the warmest day we've had since November. Now I officially have spring fever. The days are starting to get longer, the sun is shining...I can't wait for the warm weather!!! I love summer veggies, and I am looking forward to cooking them in my DO. One of the complaints I have about DO cookbooks is that most of the dishes are heavy. I've mentioned this before; but after a month of DO dinners I seriously need to hit the gym. So I am on the lookout for some healthier recipes. I have a few, and I am experimenting with them in the DO--trying to make them work. I'll post them as I get them ready. Today's recipe definitely fits in the healthy category. I wish I could take credit for making this one up, but alas, it is one I have had in my recipe collection for years and never tried until today.

Herb-Roasted Vegetables
14" dutch oven

1 24 oz. pkg. frozen California-blend vegetables
4 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper

Put the frozen veggies in a single layer in your DO. Combine the oil and the spices; drizzle over the veggies and toss to coat. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until tender, stir occasionally.
I used 38 coals, 13 on bottom and 25 on top.

The Finished Product

Sorry the pics are so dark.
What I Learned

I finally found the temperature chart that I printed off the Internet back in December and I actually used it. It tells you how many coals to use for each size oven to reach various temps. It was a big help tonight. Most things can be cooked at 350 but for the ones that need different heat, this chart is really valuable. I'm glad I found it. I will try to post it on the sidebar of the blog (as soon as I figure out how).

The Review

Where has this dish been all my life? It was made to cook in a DO. Talk about great flavor. I almost needed a funnel to get it in my mouth fast enough. It was so easy, but the result is full of flavor. The spices are subtle so you can still taste the veggies. I can't say enough about how good this simple dish was. I am going to have the leftovers on a salad tomorrow. My mouth is watering already. Grade A+.

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