Recipes

Sausage and Kale Soup

Last week, around dinner time, I received a text from the mom of one of our Boy Scouts, a scout who is close to Eagling I might add. She sent a picture of her youngest son Nathan standing at the stove, stirring a pot. She wrote, “Sausage and kale soup from scratch! The Cooking Merit Badge is the best thing that ever happened to me!” I couldn’t be more proud or thrilled.

This is one of those moments when you dust off your hands and walk away saying, “My work here is done!” Nathan has embraced what he’s learned from a merit badge and he is applying it to his everyday life. His cooking skills will continue to grow and he’ll use them his whole life. And, just at look at that smile. He’s so proud of himself and his smile could light an entire city!

So, after the rave reviews from his family, we had to make the soup ourselves (and so I could photograph it). This is an easy soup to make in camp. It has a little prep and could easily be gotten onto the picnic table in about 30 minutes, making it a great meal for a Friday night after rolling into camp and setting up.

If you are a kale fan, you should like this soup. It’s warm and filling, but not heavy. We served it with our favorite cornbread. You could also make a crusty artisan bread. Any bread would go nicely.

For the sausage, Nathan used turkey sausage. We used a hot Italian pork sausage. Choose your sausage according to your likes and go as mild or as spicy as you want. The recipe calls for wine, which you could omit and just add more chicken stock. I opted to include the wine and used a chardonnay. For the kale, strip the leaves off the stocks and discard the stocks. The leaves just need a rough chop.

Equipment
6-quart Dutch oven or stock pot, knife, cutting board.

Ingredients
20 ounces sausage, ground or links (remove casings)
1 medium onion, diced
8 cups kale, fresh, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
3 ¼ cups chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can white kidney or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
¼ teaspoon pepper

Prep
Chop the vegetables, drain and rinse the beans, and get everything measured out and ready. Once you start cooking, this one moves pretty quickly. In your Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook the sausage and onion until the sausage is no longer pink. Remove and set aside. Add the kale to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add wine and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the sausage and onions, and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until kale is tender.

Serves 8

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Categories: Main Dishes, Meals in 30 Minutes, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Artisan Bread in Camp

There is something almost euphoric about the smell of fresh baked bread. When you smell it in camp it is downright magical.

This is a simple, rustic bread that goes together easy and requires no kneading. Yes, you read correctly, a yeast dough that requires no kneading. I used one of my 12-inch-deep Dutch ovens because I wanted the extra height. You could also use a regular 12-inch Dutch oven, but the top might get a little extra browned. You may have to adjust your coals.

Speaking of coals, I didn’t use the standard 2:1 ratio of coals (2 coals on the lid for every coal underneath). I wanted more heat coming from the top so the underside wouldn’t burn. I used a 3:1 ratio (3 coals on the lid for every coal underneath) and I think that is perfect.

This bread has a nice, crusty outside and the inside is soft and fluffy. At home, you could start it the night before and bake it for dinner the next day. In camp, you could start it in the morning and bake it for dinner that night. If you are making this at home in a conventional oven, bake it in a Dutch oven with the lid on for 30 minutes and then remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes to brown the outside.

Serve it warm, fresh out of the oven with some softened butter, and you’ll have some happy campers.

Equipment
12-inch-deep Dutch oven, mixing bowl, measuring cup and spoons, wooden spoon.

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon dry yeast (active dry or highly active dry work best; I used active dry)
1 ½ cups lukewarm water (110-115 degrees)
Extra flour for your board and hands

Prep
On your propane stove, gently warm some water to 110-115 degrees. If you overshoot, just remove from the heat and allow it to cool. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the water and stir using a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a shaggy, but cohesive dough. You’ll know when you get there.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in a safe place protected from critters. Let the dough sit for 8-24 hours. The dough will bubble up and rise.

About an hour and a half before you want to eat the bread, start 40 coals (if you are using 12-inch Dutch oven and not a 12-inch-deep, adjust your coals down). Heat your Dutch oven to 450°F, using 30 coals on the lid and 10 underneath, for 30 minutes.

While your Dutch oven preheats, turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and, with floured hands, form the dough into a ball. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rest. Start a fresh batch of coals.

After the 30 minutes are up, with floured hands, place the bread dough into the preheated Dutch oven. I placed my bread dough onto a piece of parchment paper and then lowered the dough on the paper into the oven. Refresh the coals. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Remove the bread and place on a cutting board, letting it rest for about 5 minutes. Slice and serve!

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Orange Creamsicle Dump Cake

This cake tastes just like an orange creamsicle. It was a hit at the Scoutmaster Dinner.

Our scoutmaster, Mr. Murray, first made this dump cake last summer while we were at Fire Mountain Scout Camp. It was a hit with the troop. A couple weeks ago, he decided to make it for our annual Scoutmaster Dinner, and he kicked it up a notch by adding Triple Sec, an orange-flavored liquor made from the dried peels of bitter and/or sweet oranges.

Triple Sec may be consumed neat as a digestif or on the rocks, but it is more often used as an ingredient in a variety of cocktails, such as sangria, margarita, Kamikaze, White Lady, Long Island Iced Tea, Sidecar, Skittle Bomb, Corpse Reviver #2, and Cosmopolitan. There’s your bartending tip for the day.

If you are at all worried about the alcohol, it bakes out and just leaves behind orange flavor. If you don’t happen to have a bottle of Triple Sec sitting in your cupboard, you could also just leave it out. There is plenty of orange flavor in the soda pop; the Triple Sec just adds a little extra pop of orange.

If you wanted to, you could also add fruit in the bottom and turn this into a cobbler. Choose a fruit that would complement the orange flavor of the cake.

When we’re camping, it’s always fun to throwdown with Mr. Murray and Mrs. Stark. Between the three of us, we can produce some pretty good camp grub. Here’s how Mr. Murray made his Orange Creamsicle Dump Cake.

Equipment
12-inch Dutch oven or 9×13 baking dish, mixing bowl, rubber spatula.

Ingredients
1 white cake mix (Mr. Murray chose Betty Crocker French Vanilla)
1 12-ounce bottle of Fanta Orange Soda
2-4 ounces of Triple Sec orange liquor

Prep
Line your Dutch oven with foil (if you choose to) and spray it with cooking spray. Start 25 coals. In a bowl, mix together the dry cake mix, orange soda, and the orange liquor until just combined. Be careful, it may get foamy. Pour cake and orange soda mixture into the Dutch oven.

Bake in a 350°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for 35-40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Serves 8-10

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Kung Pao Chicken in Camp

When we go camping, we love to challenge ourselves to make meals you wouldn’t normally eat while camping. We’ve made stir fry in camp before so we know it makes great grub, fast and easy. Our go-to favorite has always been Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry. This time, we decided to make Kung Pao Chicken, one of my hubby’s favorites when we go out for Chinese food. The challenge was trying to replicate the signature flavors of this stir fry.

This was so much fun to make. It has all the veggies we love in Kung Pao Chicken with a smooth, slightly spicy sauce and crunchy peanuts. Dice your veggies and chicken as large or as small as you like. You can make this in a large cast-iron skillet, a cast iron wok or in a Dutch oven over coals or propane stove. Like any stir fry, you really want to do all of your prep work ahead of time so that when you put flame to your vessel you are ready to lock and load.

When we were shopping, we had a hard time finding unsalted peanuts so we ended up getting lightly salted cocktail peanuts, but we omitted the salt and it came out great. If you are concerned about salt, you can opt for low-sodium soy sauce and you can look a little harder for the unsalted peanuts. When we were stir frying, we waited until almost the end before we added the zucchini, which kept it firm and just the way we like it. We served our Kung Pao Chicken with white, long-grain rice because my son and daughter love rice.

Ingredients
5-6 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons water
3-4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons peanut oil
12 dried Asian chile peppers, snipped into small pieces
9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced small
1 ½ stalks celery, very finely sliced
2 large red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
1 medium white onion
1-2 medium zucchini
3/4 cup unsalted peanuts
Salt to taste
3 green onions, sliced
Cooked lo mein or chow mein noodles, or white rice for serving

Prep
Dice all the vegetables and the chicken. For the sauce, combine the soy sauce, honey, ginger, cornstarch slurry, rice wine vinegar, garlic, and black pepper in a bowl. At this point, you might want to start your rice or noodles.

In a large skillet, wok or Dutch oven, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Drop in the chiles and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to release the heat. Add the chicken and fry until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Add the white onion, celery, and red bell pepper and cook for 1 minute, then return the chicken to the skillet. Add the zucchini. Pour in the sauce mixture and cook until the sauce has thickened, a couple of minutes. Add the peanuts and toss together.

Serve over noodles or rice and garnish with sliced green onions. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can loosen it with a little water.

Serves 9

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Fantastic French Dip Sandwiches

This roast was fall-apart tender and soaked with juice and spices. The French dip sandwiches we made were so flavorful. It was hard not to go back and make a second sandwich, but I knew, if I did, I’d be groaning all afternoon.

In March, we were teaching outdoor cooking to adult volunteers at our annual Girl Scouts of Western Washington Outdoor Learning Weekend at Camp Robbinswold. Right after breakfast, we heated up a 12-inch deep Dutch oven on the propane stove, added some olive oil, and seared off the beef chuck roast. Then, we added all the spices and liquids, put on the lid, and set it on the fire.

I used my 12-inch deep because I wasn’t sure how much volume I was really going to have between the roast and the liquid. Our fire was a little hot and the deep oven allowed for some bubbling up room.

We let it simmer all morning. At lunchtime, I pulled it out and sliced it, but it really wasn’t necessary. I could have just pulled it apart in the Dutch oven. I returned the meat to the Dutch oven and the juice, and it was time to assemble our sandwiches. Because the meat is so juicy, I recommend a sturdy roll. If your roll is too soft, it will soak up all the juice and turn to mush. I would also recommend toasting the rolls on a grill or griddle. We did not, and I wish we had; it would have kicked it up yet another notch.

We split our rolls, piled on the juicy beef and topped the sandwiches with 2 slices of Provolone cheese. You could also layer on some sautéed onions, bell peppers, and/or mushrooms. You can ladle juice out of the Dutch oven for dipping, too, but we found it wasn’t necessary at all.

At home, you could make this in a slow cooker. Start it in the morning and just let it go all day on low. If you need to size up this recipe, just add a half pound of beef per extra person and then size up the other ingredients accordingly. I also wouldn’t worry too much about being exact. If you end up with a little more juice, who cares?!

Equipment
12-inch deep Dutch oven or a slow cooker

Ingredients
1 3-pound beef chuck roast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cans (10.5 ounces each) beef consommé
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 cup Coca-Cola (or just add the whole can)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup onions, dried, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
1/4 teaspoon thyme, dried
1 tablespoon beef bouillon, granulated
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 French rolls or hoagie buns
12 slices Provolone cheese

Prep
In camp, in a hot Dutch oven or, at home, in a hot cast iron skillet, add a little olive oil, and sear the beef on all sides. If you’re making this at home in a slow cooker, transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Add all the liquids and spices, put the lid on and cook low and slow. There really isn’t much more than that. Super simple to make. After hours of simmering, slice or pull apart and serve on sturdy French rolls or hoagie rolls with Provolone cheese, and/or grilled onions, peppers, and/or mushrooms. If desired, ladle au jus into bowls for dipping.

Serves 6

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Apple Fritter Pull-Aparts

I love apple fritters. They are one of my favorite donuts. If you also love apple fritters, you will love these pull-aparts. Little bits of apple tucked into warm chunks of cinnamon pastry, buttery and sugary, and slathered in frosting. What’s not to love!

Last month at Fort Ebey State Park, I made this for the scoutmasters and it was a huge hit. Fresh out of the oven, the apple fritter pull-aparts were warm and gooey, and the apples were still a little al dente. We all loved it! I served them with sausages and it was a great breakfast on a chilly Sunday morning.

Equipment
12-inch Dutch oven, small bowl, knife, cutting board.

Ingredients
3 cups apples (about 4 medium apples), peeled, cored, and diced small
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cans Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls (5 rolls each)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream or milk, optional

Prep
Prep the apples and place in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Stir to combine and set aside. Line your Dutch oven with foil, grease the foil, and then start 25 coals.

While the coals are starting, cut each cinnamon roll into 6 pieces. They’ll fall apart and that’s okay. Sprinkle the pieces evenly in the Dutch oven. Sprinkle the apples over the cinnamon roll pieces. Stir the melted butter and brown sugar together, and then pour over the top of the apples and cinnamon rolls.

Bake in a 350°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for 28-33 minutes.

Just before serving, place the icing that came with the cinnamon rolls in a small bowl or a tin cup. Heat just long enough to make it pourable. Stir in heavy whipping cream (or milk) to make it more of a glaze, and then pour over the top. Serve warm.

Serves 10-12

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Denver Frittata

On the average West Coast diner breakfast menu, the Denver Omelet, also known as the Western Omelet, is a common item. It’s made with red and green bell peppers, onion, ham, and cheddar cheese, and has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. So, how to make one in camp or for a crowd? Convert it to a frittata.

Frittatas are simply baked omelets and perform extremely well in a Dutch oven in camp or in a cast iron skillet at home. Like most frittatas, this one starts on the camp stove by sautéing the vegetables. Once the vegetables are soft, the ham is mixed in and the cheese sprinkled on top. The egg mixture is poured over everything and the whole thing is baked until the eggs are puffy and set. The last 5 minutes of baking, you could even sprinkle on a bit more cheese to melt on top before serving. How easy is that?

The Denver is popular and has endured over the decades because of it’s bold flavors. Between the onion and peppers, sharp cheddar cheese, and smokey, salty ham, it is a great breakfast any time of year. Serve with biscuits, hashbrowns, and fruit. It’s sure to be a winner!

Equipment
10-inch Dutch oven or 7×9 or 9×9 baking dish, bowl, whisk.

Ingredients
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced small
1/3 cup yellow onion, diced small
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup (heaping) ham, cooked and diced small
8 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and black pepper

Prep
The ham and vegetables can be diced at home and loaded into containers or resealable bags for the ride to camp in the cooler.

In camp, assemble your materials (mise en place) and start 25 coals in a chimney.

On medium-high heat on a propane stove, heat oil in the Dutch oven. Add the bell peppers and onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, in a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the ham and toss together. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the ham and vegetables. Bake in a 400°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for about 25 minutes or until egg is puffy and set. Serves 6.

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Sausage Cheese Croissant Catastrophe

Another catastrophe for the recipe book. We made this a couple weeks ago while teaching outdoor cooking to Girl Scout adult volunteers at Camp Robbinswold. It was very tasty. The croissants brought a buttery sweetness and the Swiss cheese was nutty and sweet, which were nice contrasts to the savory sausage, green onions, and Parmesan.

It was easy to make in camp. The sausage could be browned at home or browned in the Dutch oven in camp. The first five ingredients are tossed together like a salad. The egg mixture is poured over the top and then it’s all covered in cheese. For a fancier version, you could use Gruyère cheese. Kids can help prep by tearing the croissants into chunks.

I would recommend getting it all assembled and then starting your coals. The catastrophe can rest while the coals get going. After a 45 minute bake, the eggs are cooked through and the cheese is all melty.

Equipment
12-inch Dutch oven or 13×9 baking dish, bowl, whisk.

Ingredients
1 pound ground sausage, browned
1¼ cups (5 ounces) Parmesan cheese shredded
1 teaspoon salt
6 green onions, sliced
1 package mini croissants (about 24), torn into chunks
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
5 large eggs, beaten
2 cups Gruyère or Swiss cheese

Prep
Foil line your Dutch oven if you choose, and coat it with butter or cooking spray. To the Dutch oven add browned sausage, Parmesan cheese, salt, green onions and croissant chunks, and toss together. Whisk together the milk, cream and eggs, and pour over the top. Let it rest so the croissants soak up all the liquid. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake in a 350°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for 45 minutes.

Serves 10-12

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A Tale of Two Casseroles

Today we’re offering a two-fer! Two recipes for the price of one!

The church we attend has a monthly Faith Sharing Breakfast. It’s simply a time to gather as a congregation and share a meal and conversation with one another.

Sometimes, the tables can fill pretty quickly and you end up sitting next to someone you either don’t know or haven’t seen in a while, and it’s an opportunity to make a new friend or catch up. They are a lot of fun.

Well, I’m on the committee and I help plan them and I volunteer to cook something each month. Surprising, I know!

Last month, I volunteered to make two breakfast casseroles (in scouting circles we call them catastrophes). I used the same recipe for both; however, for one I decided to go with a country sausage and for the other I used a hot Italian sausage. Both were a hit.

This is a simple way of adding variety when you’re cooking for a crowd. It’s also a way to cook for different dietary needs or heat levels. For example, my daughter doesn’t like heat so, of course, she went for the mild country sausage version. My son, when it comes to heat, always says, “Bring it!” so, of course, he went for the hot Italian sausage version.

The best part was watching this little elderly lady go through the line. She read the description on my hot Italian sausage version, placed a dainty spoonful onto her plate, thought about it, and then doubled down and took a second more generous spoonful. She didn’t regret that decision and thoroughly enjoyed her breakfast.

When you’re cooking for a small crowd, instead of making a lot of the same dish, try making a couple of different dishes or variations of the same dish. It adds variety and is a great way to cater to different needs whether they be heat tolerance or vegetarian or gluten or dairy. Like the two catastrophes, simply changing one ingredient can radically alter the dish.

This is a simple breakfast with just a few ingredients. It goes together very quickly. The meat could be cooked ahead of time and brought to camp in your cooler. I also use the carton of liquid eggs or I scramble them at home and pour them into a bottle for transport to camp. In camp, when it’s time to make breakfast, it’s just some assembly required.

This would make a great Sunday morning breakfast if you foil-lined your Dutch oven. Everything gets dumped into the oven, toss it together like tossing a salad, pour on the eggs, and get it on the coals. When I mixed this together, I put on food handlers’ gloves and mixed it with my hands. It was so easy.

Equipment
12-inch Dutch oven or 9×13 casserole dish, large bowl, whisk.

Ingredients
2 pounds sausage (breakfast, hot or mild)
1 (30-32oz) bag of frozen tater tots
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 eggs
2 cups milk

If You’re Prepping at Home
In a large skillet on medium heat, add a little olive oil and brown the sausage until no longer pink. Drain off the excess fat, cool, and load into a releasable plastic bag or a container for transport to camp. In camp, foil-line the Dutch oven and grease the foil. Start 25 coals. Add the tator tots, cooked sausage and cheese to the Dutch oven and toss together. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and milk. Pour over the tator tot mixture and bake (see baking instructions below).

If You’re Prepping in Camp
On coals or on a propane stove, over medium heat, add a little olive oil to your Dutch oven and brown the sausage until no longer pink. Remove from heat. Spoon out the sausage into a large bowl. Drain the excess fat from the Dutch oven and set aside. Start 25 coals. To the sausage bowl, add the tator tots and cheese and toss together like a salad. Pour into the Dutch oven. In the same bowl, whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and milk. Pour over tater tot mixture and bake (see baking instructions below).

If You’re Making at Home
In a large skillet on medium heat, add a little olive oil and brown the sausage until no longer pink. Drain off the excess fat, cool, and load into a greased 9×13 casserole dish. Add the tator tots and cheese and toss together like a salad. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and milk. Pour over the tator tot mixture and bake (see baking instructions below).

Bake in a 350°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for 1 hour or until eggs are set. Refresh coals as needed.

Serves 8

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Enchilada Pull-Aparts

enchilada_pull-aparts_img_2090_690px

The first time I made these, I accidentally used diced jalapenos instead of diced green chilies. They were just a wee bit spicy, but we still really liked them. In addition to being hot and tasty, these go together in a snap and take only 30 minutes to bake. You can easily have dinner on the picnic table in under an hour. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, and a salad, and you have a great meal.

This is also a dish that you can easily customize. I did, without even intending to, when I swapped the diced green chilies for diced jalapenos. You could swap the red enchilada sauce for green or swap the ground beef for chicken. You could add black beans, diced tomatoes, or some corn. Whatever floats your boat. Have some fun and make it your own. I’ll bet it becomes a family favorite.

Equipment
12-inch Dutch oven or 9×13 baking dish.

Ingredients
1 package of refrigerated biscuit dough
10 ounces enchilada sauce (we like to use red)
1 pound ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning or use your own mix
4 ounce can diced green chilies or diced jalapenos
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated pepper jack or Monterey jack cheese

Prep

On a propane stove or over coals, in a Dutch oven, brown the ground beef. Drain the grease and stir in the taco seasoning and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir in the diced green chilies or jalapenos. Remove from heat and set aside. Start your coals.

Open the biscuits and slice each biscuit into 8 small pieces. Add the biscuits and enchilada sauce to the Dutch oven and lightly mix everything together like tossing a salad. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.

Bake in a 350°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for 30 minutes or until the biscuits are cooked through and the cheese is fully melted. You could also load this into a 9×13 baking pan and bake it in a box oven, using about 14 coals.

Top with cilantro, avocado or guacamole, sour cream, hot sauce, etc.

Serves about 8

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