SODO: Cheesy Chicken and Rice

Well, as thouse who follow my twitter account already know, I have put the dutcho ovens away for the year.  However, shortly after I put them away, I pulled them out again.  Last Wednesday my daughter’s school held Parent Teacher Conference.  And to show our teacher appreciation for the extra long hours, our School Parent’s Organization provide dinner for the teachers on that day.

Last year my wife made a delicious Chicken Corn Chowder.  And this year, I thought that it would be a good excuse to use the Dutch Ovens one last time.  So, I pulled them out of storage.

For this recipe, I decided that we would try one of our families favorite oven recipes in the oven.  It’s pretty simple.

4 chicken breast halves
4 Tbsp of butter
1 Tbsp of basil
1 Package of Chicken Flavor Rice and Past Mix
2 Cups water
1 Medium Tomato (sliced)
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown the chicken with in the butter.  Coat the chicken with Basil.

Saute the rice pasta mix in the the remaining fat until the pasta is brown.  Then add chicken and water.

Cook in 350 degree dutch oven until rice is tender (approx. 1 hour).  I recommend that more heat is on the bottom for this recipe.  Then add sliced tomatoes and shredded cheese to the top of mix until cheese is melted (approx. 5 minutes).

For this time cooking it we used Zatarans Chick Flavored rice for this recipe, and it tasted different than usual.  I think it was because the rice is different than the brand that we usually use (store brand).

Also, the chicken started out partly frozen, so it ended up being very dry.  However, it was delicious, and I can’t wait to try it in a dutch oven again, when I have a little more time.

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SODO: Orange Knot Rolls

I promised to post this two days ago, and yesterday, so I better get it posted, or you will all have me on a stake. Right now you might think I am just talking silly, but when you eat these, you will change your mind.

While on our Camp last week, we tried something that we haven’t ever had. We haven’t even had this done in a modern oven. But they sounded good.

Before I share the recipe, I should let you know that we got the recipe from Rhodes Bake-N-Serv. They offer great recipes for those who buy their product. But my wife and I are too cheap to pay their price, so we just use her Fridge Dough recipe that I shared with you earlier.

Then we followed the recipe modified for the dutch oven:

12 Dinner Rolls, thawed by still cold (we divided 1 loaf worth of fridge dough)
1 Orange rind, grated
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

Citrus glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 tablespoons orange juice (we just used the juice from the orange that we rinded).
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix grated orange rind with sugar. Roll each roll into a 9-inch rope. Tie in a loose knot. Roll each knot in melted butter (was melted in the dutch oven) and then in rind/sugar mixture. Place in dutch oven with remaining melted butter. Cover and let rise until double in size. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Poor citrus glaze on rolls before serving.

They were good. The only reason we had any left over was because I was full already, and I could imagine stuffing myself any more. But there were gone early the next day.

I am still trying to figure out how to keep breads from getting over done on the bottom, and how to brown the tops. This time we tried flipping th rolls. This worked, but it was difficult and messy. I think that I am going to try putting more coals on top, and less on the bottom next time.

The Camp of Hikes

Last week our family took our new-to-us tent trailer camping at Spruces Campground. While it wasn’t my first choice for campsites, it really was a good trip.

We ended up leaving on Monday afternoon about 3:30pm. That was a lot later than I had originally planned, but I could get myself moving on Saturday to get the trailer packed and ready. So, we did most of the packing on Monday.

After we got to camp, we decided to do tinfoil dinners first, because the dutch oven meals were still frozen. It was nice. We then settle in earlier than usual for camping, because we had worked hard that morning.

In the morning, I woke up before everyone else (which is typical). So, I decided that I would start the day in searching for a geocache. The is called New Name New Cache and it is located up the Days Fork Trail. It is accessible only through the Spruces campground, but you can park just outside the campground if you don’t want to pay the fee.

It was a rough hike at first, but it levels off near the end and is very pleasant. I was tempted to place another cache to attract people up there, but I really didn’t have a good container. So, I will put one up next year. Spruces seems to be an annual tradition in our family.

When I got home we had a big breakfast of biscuits, sausages, and eggs. The biscuits were done in the dutch oven, and as you would expect from the dutch oven, there were better than from a regular oven.

After breakfast, I got the geocaching but again. So, I offered to take my kids on a hike to find a geocache. We headed out in search of Health Come to Dog Lake. When I got to the trail head and saw that the trail was 2.6 miles, I should have known it was too much for my 4- and 2-year-old to handle, but when I am caching such common sense departs.

After getting about 1.5 miles into the hike, I contemplated turning around. It was a beautiful enough of a spot to call our final destination. There were hundreds of butterflies, a few bees, and thousands of beautiful flowers by the stream. It made a great resting place.

However, after eating the snacks that we had brought, I was renewed. So, we pushed on. I told my children that we would decide about turning back once we got the the fork in the trail. At the fork, it was only a half a mile left to Dog Lake, so we decided to do it. It was a lot rougher, but no more difficult than the first half of the trail. It was at this point I started to carry Capt. Z.

We finally made it to Dog Lake. It wasn’t much to see, but it was a good hike. We thought about pushing on the the cache. But realized that it was 2:30pm and that Mom would be expecting us home soon. So, we gave up on that cache, and decided to find the two that I had already found before. We found the first, but not the last.

We ended up not getting home until 5:30pm. So late, that my wife had called my dad, and was ready to send out the search teams. But my dad assured her, that I was just following in his foot steps and turning a short hike into a forever hike.

Sandy had dinner all ready to go by the time we got home, so I helped her get dessert ready. We had the Great Chicken Dinner that I have told you about again. But we finished it off with some very delicious Orange Knot Rolls. I will share the recipe with you tomorrow. After a long hike, it was very delicious and satisfying. I don’t remember ever eating that well while camping.

We started a game of cards that evening, but the younger kids were acting up, and we decided that we should call it a night.

Wednesday morning, I decided to stick around for two reasons. The first was because we were having German Pancakes in the dutch oven. The second was that I was tired from the 8 miles of hiking that I did the day before.

After breakfast, the kids relaxed and played in the nearby stream, and I didn’t do much. I did take a short nap, and played a little catch with the kids, but for the most part, I watched the trees grow.

After lunch, which was hot dogs and mac’n’cheese, we play a game of ‘May I’ (that’s pronounced like the request “may eye?”). One of these days I hope to explain it to you, because I believe that it is a Gazelem Family phenomenon.

Then for dinner we had barbecue country style pork ribs (if you need the recipe then you have never dutch oven cooked) and baked potatoes. The potatoes were done by wrapping them in tinfoil and then cooking them in the dutch oven. They were amazingly good.

I couldn’t let the day go by without some geocaching, so we decided to do some drive-by caches in the canyon. We started out with a no find, then we had a couple of easy finds by a restaurant and a trail head.

The cache by the trail head gave me an idea of where I wanted to go in the morning. So after an okay night’s rest, I started by going after perhaps the lamest virtual cache in Utah, and perhaps the reason GC.com doesn’t list virtual caches. Then, I headed back to the trail head, and head up the canyon to grab several different caches.

But the main goal to to get a possible First To Find. I knew from the description, and looking at my TOPO maps on my GPS that this wasn’t going to be a pretty hike. But I had to go for it. Because my database was a month old and it looked like a possible First Find experience. The hike up was rough. There was a couple of times that I thought about giving up. But I perservered, and I was the second to find the cache.

My only regret is that my camera batteries were dead and so there were no pictures taken of this beautiful site. I might just have to do this again for the great pictures. But I think that I saw an easier approach while I was up there, so I might try a different route next time.

Coming down was an adventure itself. I decided to follow in the steps of the person before me (not that I saw his tracks, just had the same mind set). And I headed straight down the hill. There were several times that I felt like I was going to fall and break something, but after slowing down just a hair, and keeping my eyes wide open, I managed to get to Willow Heights safely.

When I got home, we started packing up the trailer and started heading home. It was a fun week, and I am glad that despite my misgivings, that we went camping at Spruces. Next year, I will definitely place a couple of caches in the area. Because I know that I will be going often enough.

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SODO: The Late Independence Day Dinner

Like the dinner this post is a little late.

I had to work on Independence Day. Yep, I get July 5 off every year. However, the 4th is always a work day at my company.

But having to work wasn’t going to take away from my celebration. We were planning to do a Dutch Oven dinner on the 4th. But I ended up working late and not getting out of work in time to start a dutch oven meal.

So we went with something simple instead, and made plans to dutch oven on Saturday.

Those plans were pushed off too, because we realized almost too late, that we had a baptism for my niece that I needed to go to. So, again we find out selves without a nice dutch oven meal.

Finally, Sunday night we were able to fit in the preparation time and cooking time to do a dutch oven dinner. So, we started off with some Chicken Durango:

1 Medium Onion Chopped
1/4 cup of Butter
1 10oz can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 10oz can of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 15oz can of Mexican Style Stewed Tomatoes
8 pieces of Chicken

Sauté the the onions in the butter until tender.  Then add both soups and the tomatoes.  Add the chicken.  Let cook for 1 hour.

While you could serve this with tortillas, we went with rice.  It was very good.  The rice mixed with the sauce was good enough to be a meal on its own.

We finished out meal off with a cherry cobbler.  We used some of the cherries that we had just canned from our tree, and added a cake mix and and butter.  I think we used too many cherries, because it was just a little over the top.  But this was definitely a great meal.

SODO: First Time Baking Bread

For Father’s Day my wife more than took care of me. Actually, if you ask me, she went a little over board. But, I finally have some items that I have been wanting for a very long time. So, I forgive her.

I received two things that I really wanted. The first was a Camp Chef Dutch Oven Table to make it easier to cook. Now I don’t have to bend over and risk hurting my back.

The other thing that I wanted was Charcoal Lighting Basket (I didn’t get the one pictured, but you get the idea). This will hopefully help me to get my coals to cook more evenly, and thus have a better cooking experience.

Finally my wife got me something else that was on my list, but not as high as those two. She got me a second 12″ Round Dutch Oven. This will be especially nice when I want to cook two things at the same time.

My New Toys in action

So, that’s what we did. Yesterday, we cooked up a roasted chicken. Nothing special there. Just clean a whole chicken, season it (we use seasoning salt), and then cook it in your oven.

But we complemented the chicken with some fresh homemade rolls. My wife for years has been using the “refrigerator” bread dough recipe. It will keep in the fridge for up to about a week. So, you can have fresh bread almost all the time. Just let it rise, then bake it.

FRIDGE DOUGH

1 Pkg. Yeast (abt 2-3 tsp)
1 cup cool water
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup Hot water
About 6-7 cups flour

  1. Mix Yeast in 1 cup cold water
  2. Mix eggs, sugar, salt and shortening
  3. Combine ingredients of 1 and 2 and Hot Water.
  4. Mix in flour until dough is no longer sticky. (Dough will not be firm, but not sticky)

Store covered in a large greased container. Dough will raise some in the fridge so be sure to allow room for growth (Use within 10 days or it will get to tasting a little ripe.)
Makes about 3 recipes worth.

Sandy mixed all of the ingredients, and placed them in a tinfoil lined Dutch Oven. Then we let them rise in the heat of the sun for about a half-hour to 45 minutes.

Then we cooked them in the Dutch Oven. It should have taken around 30 minutes, but my coals were damp, and they didn’t get very hot. I think I have finally learned my lesson to bring my unused charcoals into the garage to stay dry.

I was really nervous that the rolls would be burned on the bottom. But they were, They were just shy of being perfect on the bottom. The top, however, wasn’t done as well as I would have liked. Yes, they were very edible and the flavor and texture was just fine. The only problem was that they didn’t brown on the top. They were as pale as when they were put in the oven.

So, I am going to have to research and figure out the best way to brown bread on the top in a Dutch Oven. Otherwise, the meal was fine (accept we ate late again today).

SODO: BBQ Round Steak

Well, I had to skip the last couple of week in my attempt at a Dutch Oven meal every week for the next few months.  It wasn’t because I was busy.  It wasn’t because I am tired of Dutch Oven cooking.  Nope it’s because I ran out of charcoal.

Fortunately my wife sent me to the store, and I remember to pick up some charcoal.  So, when I got home I had to use it.

The recipe was pretty simple.

1.5 to 2 lbs. of Round Cut Steak
1 to 1.5 cups of BBQ sauce (what ever your favorite is)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of water
1 medium onion sliced into rings

Basically, through it all into the dutch oven, then bring the sauce to a boil.  Then cook for about 1.5 hours at about 325 degrees.  However, I think that I would have been better off to go for a 300 degree oven.

The steak was a little tough, but the flavor was good.  My wife made some corn bread and potatoes to compliment the meal.

Spring/Summer of Dutch Oven (SODO)

About a month and a half ago, our office had a Chili Cook Off with a $100 cash (well, Visa Gift Card) prize for first place. I decided that I would enter with a Dutch Oven Recipe that I found on the Internet thanks to the good people at Utah Association of Geocachers.

I won. $100 that I still haven’t decided how to spend.

But that isn’t the point of the post. Since then I have cooked one dutch oven meal every week for my family. This will be a little bit of a challenge, because as of yet, I own one and only one 12″ dutch oven. It is great for casseroles, deserts, and roasts. But if I want to do a meal of separates, we might just have to use the conventional oven.

The meals that I have cooked have ranged from the pre-cook off test run of chili for the family. To this weekend we had breakfast before Conference out of the dutch oven. I cook the typical but always delicious peach cobbler. It wasn’t as brown on the top as I would have liked, and some of the peaches were a little burnt. They weren’t too burnt, just too far beyond caramelized.

Then to end the Conference we had a delicious Beef Roast with potatoes and carrots. Again it was excellent. The beef was a little too crispy on the bottom, but honestly, it tasted great. It almost added a little jerky flavor to the meal, and everyone liked it.  Hmm… I see a new family tradition starting…

Both of the recipes for this came from the Better Home & Garden’s Checkerboard Cookbook that my wife and I received on our wedding day (or she got it at a wedding shower). I mention that because in future posts, I hope to share the recipe. But since I am at work, I don’t have the recipe, so I am offering up the source.

As I just indicated, this is my first in a series of post about my adventures in dutch oven cooking. I hope to keep you posted weekly on which recipes I am using, and how it turned out. So, keep your taste buds under control this Spring/Summer, because I am going to be sharing some culinary delights. Just keep your eyes open for the SODO preface to indicate that it is about tasty goodness.