Posts Tagged With: outdoor skills

Ramen Remakes

 

I may be going out on a limb here, but I believe most adults and youth know how to make ramen. Many of my backpacking buddies and scouts rely heavily on ramen because it is lightweight and cooks quickly in boiling water. In college, many of us lived on ramen (if we couldn’t afford mac & cheese). Some adults still live on ramen. Just sayin….

And, while we all love ramen as a quick, simple meal, it’s not a very well-rounded meal. That being said, it is a blank canvas for creating a great, nutritious, well-rounded meal.

For the photograph featured in this blog, I went to my kitchen to see what I could find. From the pantry, I pulled out a package of chicken ramen. I always have a bottle of sesame oil sitting on the counter. In the refrigerator, I found romaine lettuce, red bell pepper, baby carrots, green onion and a piece of leftover grilled chicken. I sliced the romaine and green onion, julienned the pepper and the carrot, and chopped the chicken.

I started the pan of water and added the seasoning packet and a couple dashes of sesame oil. From the fridge, I added a dash of lime juice, a dash of soy sauce, a dash of sriracha (okay, I’ll be honest; it was half a dash of sriracha). I also added a heaping teaspoon of miso paste and a little minced garlic. The leftover grilled chicken was heavily seasoned so I didn’t feel I needed to add any other seasonings. When the water came to a boil, I added the noodles, vegetables, and chicken, and let it all cook for 3 minutes.

As you can see from the photograph, I loaded my bowl. It was an awesome lunch for a typical cold, rainy Northwest day. For the first time in my life, I wanted to drink all the broth after I fished out all the goodies.

For my ramen fans, this would be so easy to do in camp and campers could even customize their bowls. At home before you go, prep a variety of vegetables (dice and julienne small so they will cook quickly), and decide on your flavorings and your protein (because they will influence each other). Pre-cook and dice your protein.

You could also make and pre-cook meatballs for a fun way to add protein to your ramen bowl. For meatball ideas, please see my blog post, “Make Your Own Meatballs.” Eggs are also a great protein to add to your ramen bowl. For ways to add an egg to your ramen bowl, please see my blog post: “Add an Egg to Your Ramen Bowl.”

In camp, set everything out and make your broth. You could further enhance your broth by using beef, chicken, or vegetable broth in place of the water. Each camper throws whatever they want into their bowl, including a package of noodles (folks will need good-sized bowls or you can break the ramen to make it fit). Get the broth up to a good rolling boil and then add a generous amount of broth to each bowl, cover the bowl, and let rest for 3 minutes. Done!  Such an easy lunch and it is nutritious and will sustain you until dinner.

For backpacking, you could use freeze-dried and dehydrated meats and vegetables. Some of the flavorings like soy sauce and sriracha can be found in single-serve packets. We also found powdered sriracha in the spice section of our local grocery store.

Below is a list of ideas. Mix and match to your liking.

Protein
Beef
Beef Jerky
Chicken
Egg (hard-boiled, soft-boiled, poached, fried, or drop)
Hot Dog
Pork (ham, bacon, etc.)
Tofu

Flavorings
Lemon or Lime Juice
Miso
Rice Vinegar
Sesame Oil
Soy Sauce
Sriracha

Vegetables
Bamboo Shoots
Bell Pepper
Bok Choy
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrot
Celery
Corn
Edamame
Green Onion
Mung Bean Sprouts
Mushroom
Onion
Peas
Radish
Romaine
Snow Peas
Spinach
Water Chestnuts

Seasonings
Black Pepper
Garlic
Ginger
Salt

Ramen may be one of the cheapest foods in the grocery store, but with a little imagination, it can be one of the most versatile staples in your home and camp pantry, and makes a great launching point for some fast, easy, nutritious meals.

If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

Advertisements
Categories: Main Dishes, Meals in 30 Min., One Pot | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Add an Egg to Your Ramen Bowl

We’ve been on a ramen kick lately. We love to make ramen noodle bowls with whatever we have in the house. Making ramen bowls in camp takes a little more planning and prep because you can’t just open the fridge and see what floats your boat.

For ideas on how to up your ramen game, please see my blog posts, “Ramen Remakes” and “Make Your Own Meatballs.”

In true Asian fashion, my daughter loves to add soft boiled eggs to her ramen bowls. The picture above is hers. Eggs are cheap, delicious, a good source of protein, and in most cases, can be cooked directly in the same pot with the noodles or the broth. Here are a few simple ways to do it.

Hard-Boiled Eggs
This is the easiest way to do it. Start with eggs in a pot of cold water. I add a little salt and baking soda (not sure of the science behind this, but it seems to help them peel better). On high heat, bring water to a boil, turn off the heat or turn it down really low and let the eggs cook for about 10 minutes. Have a bowl of ice water standing by and, using a pair of tongs, remove the eggs from the hot water and plunge them into the ice bath. Let them sit in the ice bath for about 5 minutes. Remove from the ice bath, peel, slice, and add to your ramen, or store in your refrigerator.

Soft-Boiled Eggs
These are a little trickier, because the timing has to be a little more precise. Gently drop the eggs into the pot after it’s come to a full boil, start a timer, and pull them out after 3 minutes for super-soft, or 5 for a fully-set white and semi-liquid yolk. I like to cut the eggs open and stir the yolk into the broth as I eat it. My daughter let’s her eggs go about 7 minutes because she wants a more solid yolk.

Egg-Drop
Lightly beat an egg in a small bowl. Once your noodles are cooked, swirl the noodles and hot broth gently around the pot. While the broth is moving, slowly drizzle in the beaten egg. It will create little wispy ribbons of egg that float in the broth and coat the noodles.

Poached Eggs
If you don’t mind an irregular shaped egg, this is an easy way to add an egg to your soup. Cook the noodles until they’ve just started to separate from each other (about halfway through their total cooking time), remove the pot from the heat, crack a raw egg into the center, place the lid on the pot, and let it sit for 3-5 minutes until both the noodles and eggs are cooked. Experiment until you get the egg poached just to your liking.

Fried Eggs
If all of the above sounds too complicated, you could just a fry an egg in a separate pan and lay it on top of your ramen, but it will require dirtying a second pan and you’ll need a second burner. We fry eggs in a small skillet, on medium-low heat, with just a little butter. I put a lid a on the skillet and let the egg cook 1-3 minutes depending on how hot my pan is (sometimes the camp stove is little twitchy). I give the egg a flip and let it go about 30 seconds more and it’s a perfect over easy to over medium egg.

So, the next time you make a ramen bowl, at home or in camp, add an egg to it. It’s yummy!

If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

Categories: Under the Lid | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simple Swedish Meatballs

When we roll into camp on a Friday night, it’s all about getting our kitchen set up, getting our tents pitched, and getting our gear unloaded. Our Friday night dinners need to be quick and easy to get onto the picnic table with minimal clean up.

Meatballs and rice is an easy meal that we can get onto the picnic table in less than 30 minutes and we only dirty two pots. It’s a hot, hearty, and flavorful meal. This is also a super simple meal for young and/or inexperienced camp chefs. You can buy a bag of frozen meatballs or you can make your own at home before you go. For meatball ideas, please read my blog post: “Make Your Own Meatballs.”

So, this is our take on simply made Swedish meatballs. You can serve them over rice, like we do, or over noodles. To serve, just lay down a bed of rice or noodles, pile on some meatballs, and spoon on some sauce. Serve with a nice salad and you have a quick and easy meal guaranteed to fill your tummy.

Equipment
Pot for the rice and a pot or skillet for the meatballs.

Ingredients
26 ounce bag of frozen meatballs
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can beef consommé
2 cups rice, uncooked
4 cups water
½ teaspoon salt

Prep the Rice
In a 2-quart pot, on medium high heat, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the rice, turn the heat down to low, and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until rice is done.

Prep the Meatballs
In a large skillet, on medium heat, add the meatballs, cream of mushroom soup, and consommé. Cover and cook 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until meatballs are heated through. In the time it takes for the rice to cook, the meatballs should be done.

Serves 6

If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

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

Can You Believe it’s Been 5 Years?

Today, October 30, marks our 5th anniversary writing this blog. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Time flies when you’re having fun. I say “we” because I need to acknowledge all the family and friends who support me by editing my posts, brainstorming ideas with me, and, most importantly, volunteering to be my guinea pigs. Aside from my editor (the hubby), my guinea pigs are the most important. They willingly offer up their taste buds and they give valuable feedback, helping me make each recipe the best it can be before I post it.

Each year, our stats have improved with more subscribers, more visitors, and more views. If we could just get every visitor to click the “Follow” button, that would be amazing. If you’re reading this and are not yet a follower, please click the “Follow” button. You’ll only receive email notifications of new posts.

With every blog post we continue to break through the hamburger and hot dog barrier. We have made buttermilk biscuits, scones, and artisan bread in camp. We’ve made pizza and comfort foods like scalloped potatoes and meatloaf. We’ve made stratas, frittatas, and quiches in camp. We’ve made crisps, cobblers, and cakes. And, we’ve had a whole lot of fun along the way.

We’ve added new categories like “Under the Lid” and “Tales from the Cookfire.” Currently, the guinea pigs and I are working on building a collection of backpacking recipes. We’re still testing and tweaking and photographing, but I hope to start posting those soon.

And, I’m always on the lookout for something new to make in camp. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

Here’s to another 5 years! Get outside and cook some great grub!

If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, “Follow” Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the follow button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

Categories: Cooking Outdoors, Tales from the Cookfire | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Make Your Own Meatballs

Meatballs are fun and always seem a little fancy. Whether they are classing up a simple meat sauce, serving as a tasty appetizer, or floating in a savory soup like the Miso Noodle Soup I posted last week, meatballs simultaneously add a bit of playfulness and elegance to a dish.

Making your own meatballs is easy and fun, and the flavor possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Here is a mix and match guide to making your own meatballs. And, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, you don’t have to miss out on the fun. You, too, can enjoy a little meatball madness.

You could omit or substitute the egg and/or breadcrumbs. They help hold the meatballs together, but they are not required. It will depend on your combination of ingredients. For example, the meatballs for the Miso Noodle Soup are made with ground pork, honey, sriracha, salt, and pepper, and they hold together very well.

Ingredients for a Basic Meatball
1 pound protein of your choice, ground
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 egg
¼ cup breadcrumbs

Proteins
Choose a single protein or a combination like beef and lamb or beef and pork (1 pound total): beef, turkey, pork, chicken, lamb, or 2 (15-ounce) cans beans, drained, rinsed, and mashed.

Seasonings
Add at least 2 (1 tablespoon total): oregano, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, honey, sriracha, chili powder, taco seasoning, grated parmesan, or grated cheddar.

Vegetables and Herbs
Add at least 2 (3/4 cup total): grated onion, grated carrot, minced garlic, citrus zest, chopped cilantro, chopped parsley, chopped rosemary, or chopped thyme.

Prep
In a bowl, mash all the ingredients together. I like to glove up and use my hands, which are the two best tools in the kitchen. (For the beans, if you use a food processor to mash them, be careful not to over process or they will fall apart).

Divide the meatball mix into 16 blobs (technical term) and form/roll each blob into a round little ball.

Arrange meatballs on a baking sheet and bake in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through, or they can be (gently) dropped directly into a simmering soup or sauce and cooked 5-10 minutes or until done.

Makes 16, nicely sized, meatballs.

Now it’s time to experiment and try different combinations. Have some fun and make some magic, I mean, meatballs!

If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

Categories: Main Dishes, Snacks, Under the Lid | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Miso Noodle Soup with Meatballs

Want to wow your campers? Serve this savory miso noodle soup with meatballs. This soup is perfect for a cool or cold evening when you are wanting a hot meal, but on the lighter side. It brings a mild, subtle heat and folks can add more or less heat by how they garnish with the red chiles. Both my son and daughter like this soup and they are on opposite ends of the heat scale.

While this soup isn’t difficult to make, it might not be suitable for young chefs. This soup is a bit more sophisticated. It’s a far cry from chili and macaroni and cheese. This is also not a good soup for a large group because you need at least a quart of volume per person. We make this for the 4 of us and I use a 6-quart Dutch oven. I might be able to make this in a 4-quart, but I like having the extra room for stirring and to prevent boiling over.

You could double this recipe in a 12-quart stock pot to serve 8 and even triple it in an 18-quart stock pot to serve 12, but serving might become challenging trying to evenly divide all the noodles between 8-12 bowls. We use tongs to grab the meatballs and noodles and, when you get down to the last few noodles, you’re kinda fishing for them.

Be careful when you’re ladling the broth into the bowls because this soup is hot (boiling) and, if you’re holding the bowl while you are ladling, the bowls heat up really fast and get really hot. Even the heavy ceramic bowls we use at home quickly get too hot to hold.

For photographing, I sliced the red chiles to make it look pretty, but we actually prefer to dice them so we get a little heat with every bite. I also removed the seeds, which is where a lot of the heat is.

We did not use the sambal oelek (ground chili paste) because it contains seafood oils and we have allergies in the household. Instead we used sriracha, which is a straight across 1:1 substitution. So, if you can’t find the sambal oelek or, like us, have allergies, sriracha is a safe alternative without sacrificing flavor.

We find our soba noodles in the refrigerated section. The package has 3 6-ounce pouches and we use all three pouches because we love noodles. We find the fresh mung bean sprouts in the produce section. The bean sprouts add a bit of crunch and freshness to the soup.

Our chop stick skills are not the greatest so we serve this soup with forks, for the meatballs and noodles, and large spoons, for slurping the delicious broth, but you could forego the spoons and just drink straight from the bowl. It’s good to the last drop!

So, if you’re wanting something different or cooking to impress, this makes a great lunch or dinner soup for a small group.  Serve this with an Asian salad and you have a perfect soup and salad combo!

Equipment
6-quart Dutch oven or stock pot, medium bowl, measuring cups and spoons, and tongs and ladle for serving.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 cup green onions, sliced diagonally, and divided in half
9 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
64 ounces chicken stock
18 ounces soba noodles
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste) or Sriracha
16 ounces lean ground pork
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons miso paste (fermented soy bean paste)
2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
3-4 red Fresno chiles or red jalapeño chiles, sliced or diced

Prep
Slice the green onions and red chiles, and mince your garlic if you’re using whole fresh cloves. In a medium bowl, combine honey, sambal oelek (or sriracha), ground pork, salt, and pepper. I gloved up and dove in with my hands to mix it all really well. Shape pork mixture into 16 meatballs. Assemble all your ingredients. Now it’s time to put flame to your pot.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the sesame oil. Add ½ cup green onions, garlic, and ginger, and sauté 1-2 minutes. Add chicken stock, increase your heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 8 minutes.

To the stock mixture, stir in miso. By hand, one at a time, carefully drop in the meatballs and cook 6 minutes or until done. Add noodles and cook 2-3 minutes more (depending on your noodles). Divide soup between 4 deep soup bowls (minimum 18-ounce bowls) and sprinkle with remaining green onion, mung bean sprouts, and red chiles.

Serves 4 perfectly. Each person gets 4 meatballs and 4-5 ounces of noodles, and lots of yummy broth.

For more ideas, check out these blog posts: Ramen Remakes, Add an Egg to Your Ramen Bowl, and Make Your Own Meatballs.

If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

Categories: Main Dishes, One Pot, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dutch Oven Nachos

On our last scout campout, Scoutmaster Murray was cooking for the scoutmasters. For lunch on Saturday, he made two Dutch ovens of nachos with turkey chorizo, diced white onion, cilantro, diced tomatoes, and lots of cheese. They were a yummy lunch, filling but not too heavy, which was perfect going into a busy afternoon of teaching outdoor skills.

Nachos make a great meal or an appetizer. They are easy, fun, and completely customizable. You can build them any way you want to. They are great for an evening cracker barrel because they are finger food so there are no dishes to wash late at night.

If you line the Dutch oven with foil, when the nachos are done, you can carefully lift them out of the oven using the foil. Set the foil “bowl” directly on the picnic table and spread out the foil. Campers can just dive right in and start pulling off clumps of loaded tortillas.

The recipe below is for fully loaded nachos. While the list of ingredients is by no means comprehensive, it includes a lot of options. Use some or all of them. Use more or less of something. Treat this as just a guide for helping you decide what you want on your nachos. And I’ve included all the classics to serve with your nachos. Have fun!

Equipment
12-inch Dutch oven, large skillet.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef, turkey, chicken, or pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package taco seasoning, or your own mix
12 ounces tortilla chips
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 ½ cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 (4-ounce) can black olives, sliced
¼ cup red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
¼ cup cilantro, fresh, chopped
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces salsa
8 ounces guacamole
1 (15-ounce) can refried beans, heated

Prep
Line a 12-Dutch oven with foil and start 25 coals.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil. Add ground meat and garlic. Cook until meat is browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the meat as it cooks. Stir in taco seasoning. Drain any excess fat.

Place about half of the tortilla chips in the Dutch oven, spreading evenly. Sprinkle on 1 cup of cheese and add the remaining tortilla chips. Top with 1 cup of cheese, ground meat mixture, black beans, corn, tomatoes, black olives, and remaining cheese.

Bake in a 350°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for 10-15 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately, topped with onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Serve with refried beans, sour cream, salsa, and guacamole.

Serves 8

If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

Categories: Dutch Oven, Main Dishes, Meals in 30 Min., Recipes, Snacks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Principles of Pancake Perfection

Camping and pancakes just seem to go together. Sitting at the picnic table with a stack of fluffy round pillows, drizzled in maple syrup. If you serve them with a couple strips of bacon and a cup of coffee, it’s breakfast heaven.

Whenever our troop goes camping, there is always at least one patrol that serves pancakes for breakfast. And, while pancakes are relatively simple to make, there are a few tricks to attaining those light, fluffy pillows we all dream about. Come on, admit it. I know you dream about pancakes, too.

On my Outdoor Cooking Skill Progression Chart, I put pancakes a couple steps up for the following reasons: You have to measure your ingredients because, technically, you’re baking and there is some chemistry involved. It is hard not to over mix them. Skillet and griddle work is a little more challenging because you have to manage your heat better. And, then there is the whole flipping the pancake that takes a bit of skill and coordination, and practice.

So, let’s dive into the principles of pancakes and I’ll share best practices and common mistakes.

Pancake Ingredients

When prepping the pancakes, you want to divide the ingredients into two categories: dry and wet.

Dry ingredients include flour (AP, whole wheat, rice, almond, etc.), sugar (granulated or brown), baking powder (to make them light and fluffy), and salt (balances and enhances the flavors). Your dry ingredients can be prepped at home and loaded into a container or resealable bag. Just be sure you are making enough because you won’t be able to prep more in camp.

Wet ingredients include milk (buttermilk, milk or non-dairy milk), fat (butter or vegetable oil), eggs (for structure and adds to the light and fluffiness), and extract (vanilla, almond, etc.). Your wet ingredients can also be prepped at home and poured into a tightly sealed plastic bottle for the ride to camp in your cooler.

Prepping and Mixing

In two separate bowls mix together all your dry ingredients and all your wet ingredients. When you are ready to combine, make a little well in your dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently stir together just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. Resist the urge to stir out every single lump until it’s totally smooth. Trust me, a few lumps are okay.

If you over mix the batter you will end up with stacks of tough and chewy pancakes instead of the light and fluffy ones you were probably dreaming about. Tough and chewy pancakes are only good for one thing: Frisbee.

So, mix the batter just until the wet and dry ingredients are combined, and there are no more visible wisps of flour. The batter will be lumpy and, again, that’s okay.

Resting the Batter

I usually mix my pancake batter and then turn my stove, which allows my batter to rest while the griddle heats. Resting the batter anywhere from 5-15 minutes allows the glutens that were activated during mixing to rest and relax. Also, the starch molecules in the flour have a chance to fully absorb the liquid. This will give the batter a thicker consistency.

Managing Heat

It’s important to allow time for the griddle to get good and hot evenly. You want medium heat or about 375°F. Too low and your pancakes just won’t cook. Too high and they will be burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. We’re going for the Goldilocks heat: Just right. And, you may need to adjust along the way so don’t be afraid to do that.

A good way to test your griddle is to wet your fingers with water and flick it onto the surface of the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water droplets sizzle and dance before they eventually evaporate. Medium heat will give us pancakes that are golden-brown on the outside with slightly crispy edges, and soft but cooked through on the inside. Pancake perfection!

Greasing the Griddle

I can’t count how often my young chefs don’t do this and it always leads to disaster and pancake tragedy. Always pack extra vegetable oil when you plan to make pancakes.

When the griddle is up to temp, add a light coating of oil. We prefer vegetable oil, which tends to have a higher smoke point than butter and won’t add any flavor to the pancakes like olive oil.

After your oil has a moment to warm, you can begin adding batter to the griddle. Try to control your excitement. We’re not out of the woods just yet.

I prefer to use a ¼-cup measuring cup. It makes for a nice-sized pancake that is easy to flip. Depending on the size of your griddle, you could also get 6-8 pancakes per batch. This is important because once the pancakes start going down, the vultures will start circling.

If you have the griddle real estate and you are a more experienced pancake flipper, you could bump up to a ½-cup to 1-cup measuring cup for bigger pancakes. You can also use a smaller measuring scoop to make little silver dollar pancakes. Those are always fun.

Lightly coat the griddle with vegetable oil about every other batch of pancakes. Keep it light! Don’t let oil accumulate on your griddle or let your griddle run dry. If you see oil accumulating on the griddle, just use your spatula to redistribute it around the griddle. Remember to adjust the heat if you need to.

Flipping Pancakes

Pancakes should be flipped once, and only once, during cooking. And as long as you didn’t flip them too soon, you won’t need to flip them any more than that. Flipping pancakes too many times causes them to deflate, losing some of that wonderful fluffy texture.

As the pancake cooks, bubbles will start to form on the surface. Do not be tempted to pop them. I know, it’s fun, but when you pop the bubbles, you are releasing air from the neighboring chambers, essentially “flattening” the finished cake by vacating the air that was giving it some of its rise and fluff.

The pancake is ready to flip when the bubbles start to pop on their own and your edges are lightly browned and a little crispy, and the pancake is looking dry around the outer edges. If you’re still a little unsure, it’s okay to gently lift an edge and sneak a peek underneath. Generally, it will take about 2 minutes for the first side and 1-2 minutes for the second side. The most important thing is for the middle to be cooked.

Adding Extras

If you are adding extras like fruit to the pancakes, add after you pour the batter onto the griddle. Blueberries are a classic add on, but you could also add sliced bananas, chocolate chips, nuts, or whatever you like.

When you’re ready to serve the pancakes, you can serve with butter and maple syrup; however, you can also add flavored syrups, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, peanut butter, cream cheese, fruits, nuts, whipping cream, and sprinkles. Just to name a few.

Serving Warm

Serve your pancakes immediately or keep them warm by wrapping them in foil. If I’m making pancakes for a crowd and I want us to all eat together, I’ll warm up one of my large Dutch ovens to about 200°F and line it with foil. As I off load each batch, I add them to the Dutch oven to keep them warm.

It’s no fun to put stone-cold syrup on warm pancakes. If it’s a cold morning, you should warm your syrup. Your campers will love you for it.

Fan Favorites

Here are a few of our favorite pancake recipes (and we’re always adding more) because pancakes are something we dream about:

Buttermilk Pancakes

Snoqualmie Falls Oatmeal Pancakes

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

Categories: Under the Lid | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Buttermilk Pancakes

 

Buttermilk pancakes are simply the best. We love them. Buttermilk brings a subtle tanginess to the pancakes, which balances nicely with the sweet maple syrup. Buttermilk makes a slightly thicker batter and supports the baking soda and baking powder for fluffier pancakes.

These buttermilk pancakes go together easy. Both the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients can be prepped at home and then combined in camp on the morning that you are going to make them. When making pancakes in camp, always prep a little more batter than what you think you’ll need. Hungry campers always seem to gobble down more in camp.

Serve with warmed maple syrup or flavored syrups, fresh fruit, and nuts. And, of course, bacon or sausage always pair nicely with pancakes.

Equipment
Griddle, small mixing bowl, large mixing bowl, whisk, pancake flipper, measuring cups and spoons.

Ingredients
1 egg
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Extra vegetable oil for greasing the griddle
Butter and maple syrup for serving

Prep
In a small mixing bowl, whisk egg. Whisk in buttermilk and vegetable oil. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the dry mix and add the wet ingredients. Stir mixture until just combined but still slightly lumpy. Do not over mix. Set aside to rest 5-15 minutes.

While the batter rests, heat a griddle to about 375°F and lightly grease it with vegetable oil. Using a ¼-cup measuring cup, pour pancake batter onto the griddle. When pancakes have a bubbly surface and slightly dry edges, flip to cook the other side.

Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.

Makes 8-10 pancakes

This post has been shared at Homestead Bloggers Network. If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

Categories: Breakfasts, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Banana Brown Sugar Caramel Strata

Layers of fluffy French toast cubes, warm gooey bananas, covered in brown sugar caramel sauce, topped with a brown sugar crumble, and drizzled with maple syrup. Do I have your attention?

This strata is breakfast comfort food and, while it is a bit challenging to make (i.e., multiple steps), it’s so worth it. It’s great for camp in a Dutch oven or at home in a casserole dish for a holiday or weekend breakfast or brunch. We’ve made this a couple times at home and in camp and, each time, it’s received rave reviews.

A strata is a great way to make French toast for a crowd without having to stand at the griddle flipping slices of bread. It can be sweet or savory. This one is most certainly sweet. With a few substitutions, this could also be dairy and/or gluten-free.

A strata is also perfect for making in camp in a Dutch oven. A lot of this can be prepped at home so, in camp, it’s just some assembly required. Just allow enough time in the morning to assemble and let it rest while the bread soaks up the egg mixture before baking. About 20 minutes of rest ought to do it. If you want that occasional big hit of banana, slice your bananas thicker. I prefer to dice my bananas so there is a little bit of banana in every bite. Either way is yummy. It’s just personal preference.

If you’re making at home, this French toast casserole can be assembled the night before, placed in the refrigerator overnight, and baked in the morning. In the morning, all you have to do is add the topping and bake. Again, great for a holiday or weekend brunch.

Equipment
12-inch Dutch oven or casserole dish, medium sauce pan or skillet, large bowl, whisk, cutting board, knife, small bowl, measuring cups and spoons.

Ingredients for Brown Sugar Banana Filling
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 ripe-firm bananas peeled, sliced and quartered

Ingredients for French toast
8 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 15-ounce loaf French bread cut into large cubes (preferably a day or two old)

Ingredients for Topping
1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Ingredients for Serving (Mix & Match)
Maple syrup, caramel sauce, sliced bananas, chopped nuts, and whipped cream.

Prep Brown Sugar Banana Filling
At home or in camp, in a medium skillet or sauce pan on medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter. Add brown sugar, maple syrup, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and carefully stir in the bananas. Set aside and cool to room temperature while you prepare the French toast. If prepping at home, load the sauce into a container and add the bananas in camp so they are fresh.

Prep FrenchToast
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, half and half, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. This can be poured into a bottle that has a tight seal for the ride to camp in the cooler.

Prep Topping
In a small sealable container or resealable bag, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add butter and, using a spoon or your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture resembles wet, clumpy sand. Seal and refrigerate (cooler) until you are ready to bake the French toast.

Assembly if Making at Home
Grease a 2 1/2 or 3 quart casserole dish. Place half the bread cubes in the bottom. Spoon half of the banana-brown sugar mixture over the bread. Top with the remaining bread cubes. Pour the custard (egg mixture) evenly over the bread cubes. Lightly press down on the top of the bread to allow the top layer of bread to absorb some of the custard mixture. Spoon the remaining banana-brown sugar mixture over the top of the French toast. Cover and refrigerate overnight or until bread has soaked up all liquid.

Assembly if Making in Camp
Line a 12-inch Dutch oven with foil and grease with butter or non-sticking cooking spray. Place half the bread cubes in the bottom. Spoon half of the banana-brown sugar mixture over the bread. Top with the remaining bread cubes. Pour the custard (egg mixture) evenly over the bread cubes. Lightly press down on the top of the bread to allow the top layer of bread to absorb some of the custard mixture. Spoon the remaining banana-brown sugar mixture over the top of the French toast. Cover and rest 20-30 minutes or until bread has soaked up all liquid.

Baking
When you’re ready to bake, crumble the topping over the French toast.

Bake in a 350°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for 40-55 minutes until puffy and golden brown, and set (check that the center is not too wet). Baking time will depend on how deep your casserole dish is and whether you prefer your French toast more well done. Refresh coals as needed.

Serve immediately with syrup, caramel sauce, whipped cream and/or chopped nuts.

Serves 6-10

This post has been shared at Homestead Bloggers Network. If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

Categories: Breakfasts, Dutch Oven, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: