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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Apricot Chicken en Croûte

I wanted to make something different for Dinner tonight and I came across this recipe on the Campbell's kitchen it is an elegantly presented dish that is surprisingly easy to make. It features tender chicken, colorful vegetables and seasoned cream cheese baked in a golden, flaky puff pastry crust. Please see my notes at the end for my take on this recipe.

Apricot Chicken en Croûte

Egg wash
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

1 package (17.3 ounces) Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
1 egg yolk
1 small red pepper, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 small green pepper, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup Chicken Broth

Heat the oven to 400°F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork and set aside.

Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square. Cut into 4 (7-inch) squares. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet.

Stir the cream cheese, 1/4 cup preserves, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon ginger root and egg yolk in a medium bowl.

Spread about 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture on the bottom third of each pastry square. Top each with about 4 red and 4 green pepper strips, and 1 chicken breast. Brush the edges of the pastry with water. Fold 2 opposite sides of the pastry over the filling. Starting at the short side with the chicken, roll up like a jelly roll. Press the seams to seal. Place the pastries, seam-side down, onto a baking sheet. Brush the pastries with the egg mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the pastry is golden brown. Let the pastries cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Heat the broth, remaining preserves, soy sauce and ginger root in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling, stirring occasionally. Serve the sauce with the chicken.

In a Dutch Oven:
Imagine sitting amongst the trees, listening to the stream as it rushes by, birds singing in the trees, with just you and your sweetheart….. as you sit down to this awesome meal just the 2 of you. You can picture the table with a fine linen tablecloth, candlesticks, and beautiful stemware…..  Ok so that’s not gonna happen. For most of us, there will be dogs barking, kids screaming, guys in the next campground over yelling, and you are just rushed to get a meal on the table…. but a girl can dream can’t she?

This would be a great meal to surprise your family with, it is not difficult to make and it looks pretty too.

Prepare as stated, placing  3 – 4 chicken packages in a 12” Dutch Oven place 19 coals on the top and 10 underneath and bake till a thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 165° and the pastry is golden brown.

For the sauce, prepare in a 5” Dutch Oven place over 8-10 coals

Adapted from Campbell's Kitchen, Apricot Chicken

So after making this and tasting it - here are a few of my own addition - the Cream Cheese mixture makes a great sauce also. My family wasn't sold on the broth mixture, they said it was too soy saucy... we tried both, the cream cheese mixture was our favorite.

When it came to the size of the Chicken the chicken breasts I bought were about the size of my hand, I cut them in half and still had to trim them to fit, Chicken tenders would be perfect.

These could be made smaller - bite size if you wanted to take the time. Either way this was pretty taste and I will probably make this again and maybe add some mushrooms or sprouts, this had an oriental flavor from the soy sauce and ginger, but not over powering (unless you use the sauce (my opinion)).

To make this healthier, use low sodium soy sauce, fat free or low fat cream cheese, and low fat sodium free chicken stock.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this recipe.

I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine did.
Have fun cookin'

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cast Iron....

As I was pondering the other day, about the topics I would discuss at a recent demonstration, I thought about all the things my mother used to cook in her cast iron. Coming from a family where my mothers health did not allow her to work outside the home, we survived on my dad's income, that of a construction worker. (I'll date myself here.) In the 70's and 80's the wages for a construction worker were certainly not what they are today. Needless to say we ate fresh produce grown in my grandparents garden, and a lot of that was canned. I loved the summertime and going to grandma's to pick raspberries, currents, rhubarb, peas, carrots, corn on the cob, beans.... the list could go on. In addition to the fresh veggies we had quite a bit of hamburger because it was an inexpensive cut of meat. Mom was always looking for ways to stretch the budget.

 I remember an awful lot of hamburgers, fried potatoes, and eggs, being fried in her cast iron skillet. Mom's Dutch Oven's were always used for chili, soups, the occasional roasts, she always used them when she was canning, jams, jelly, and juice. I even remember at Christmas time Mom would always use her skillet to make candy, to this day I cannot make English Toffee without my Cast Iron skillet and the smells remind me of home.

With all the great food Mom made in her CI - It was always my job to clean up the dishes. At the demonstrations we talk about how to care for your Cast Iron, a lot of the food Mom made was quite greasy, and I used to hate cleaning the pans, they were always saved for last (mind you this was before dishwashers) I would empty the sink and put the pan in and fill it with hot water and I would grab the bottle of dish soap and dump a ton of soap in the pan to scrub it clean. I was always told not to put it in the dish drainer because it would rust so I would put it on the stove and turn the stove on, I loved to watch the water dance and evaporate. Mom never had me oil her pan, but because it was used for nearly every meal it had a nice sheen to it.

Lots of people may be gasping to hear that I use soap in my Cast Iron, I have heard so may ways over the years of how people clean their ovens, in all honesty there is no wrong or right way, as long as it is clean and when you cook the next dish and it doesn't taste like the last, you're doing good. Seasoning, well that is a personal preference also, I know people who use commercial conditioners - like Camp Chef's Cast Iron Conditioner, to those who swear by Flax seed oil, I have my preference, and it is based on where the pan is stored and how often it is used. I like Olive oil for my skillets, because they are stored indoors and used frequently, I use canola or corn oil for my Dutch Ovens that I store out in my garage, because they can sit outdoors for months, and I use the Conditioner for  my ovens that I store in the house.  Now for the reasoning.... Olive oil when exposed to colder temperatures will solidify, and it is nasty to try and clean up. Canola or Corn Oil is a pretty forgiving oil and can handle both cold and hot temperatures (I live in Utah and in the Winter it can get down into the single digits and sometimes below 0F and in the summer we can reach well over 100F) and with storing ovens outdoors it helps to have an oil that is forgiving. Conditioner - why treat my skillets and indoor ovens differently? Well I don't use my ovens daily like my skillets and if I were to use Olive oil in them and they sat for a long period of time the oil would go rancid, and make my house smell funky... No thank you. the Conditioner works nicely and well because with the competions I have won, it is usually a prize and I'd hate to see it go to waste.

Sorry there is no recipe attached to this, I will have to pull out Mom's English Toffee and share it with y'all one of these days.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Please feel free to post your comments. Like I said everyone does things differently and, well, sometimes we learn from others ideas.

But mostly - Have fun cookin' It's what memories are made from.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


To make this a truly international affair, let me tell you I have never tried curry before I have seen it and frankly been terrified to try it, I am not a big fan of "Spicy" food but, after making this dish - all I can say is DANG, this was awesome.... The curry that is found in this dish is an Asian curry that is not too hot, and for wimps like me it was perfect. 

Dutch Oven Curry

Large cast iron skillet                                                  

1-2 lbs. chicken, or beef, or shrimp cut into cubes or pieces                                
Olive Oil or butter                                                             
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
1-2 cups water as needed
1 large onion, chopped   
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped         
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes (par-boiled)
S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix (we used one that was Mild to Medium)
4 cups cooked rice or noodles

Stir-fry meat in oil or butter about 3 minutes while stirring occasionally. 
Add onions and pepper and sauté.
Add rest of vegetables and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until meat and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

The Curry in this is in a block about 5" by 2" it is found in the grocery store with the Asian food, and it come in different degrees of spicy, so if your taste buds are wanting a little kick, pick up a hotter curry mix. 

Some other notes on this - we used precooked cubed chicken and pre-cooked shrimp (frozen), if you do this skip the first step and add them in at the end and just warm them up. 

What a great change up in your camping menu's,or at home, quick easy and delicious.

Have fun cookin'

Note - I made this at the RV show 1 week later and this time I did not mix in the Rice I put the Curry over the top, looked very nice. 

Some of my thoughts on this recipe -  the 2nd go around... This time we did not have precooked chicken, so I began by simply frying up the cubed chicken and went from there.  Bill's recipe called for par boiled potatoes, I have been taught that root vegetable usually take about the same amount of time to cook,as long as they are cut, roughly, to the same size so  we were using raw carrots, I would not have had any issues using raw potatoes, because they would have cooked in the same amount of time, again this is a new found dish that is quite yummy, that I will certainly make again for my family. 


This is another recipe I prepared at the Utah Boat Show. What a great opportunity to see friends old and new. I enjoy sharing with people what can be done in their Cast Iron pot whether they cook it indoor or out. This is great stew, that is again, quick and easy and delicious.

Bakin' Bill's Trail Stew

1-2 lbs stew meat - (for the demonstration we used Bison and Lamb chops)                                                      
6 potatoes cut into chunks                                        
1 cup baby carrots                                                     
1 cup celery, cut into 1-in pieces                                
1 onion, chopped
1 package beef stew mix
1 package beef & herb gravy mix
salt & pepper, to taste

Place meat in 12-inch Dutch oven with enough water to cover the meat.
Place on lid and heat until the beef is tender.
Add potatoes, carrots, celery and onion, and cook until potatoes and carrots are tender.  Add gravy and stew mixes and stir to mix well.
You may want to add more water. Simmer about 10 more minutes.
Servings: 6-8

Again this was a great quick and very hearty meal, the only thing (I thought) it was missing was a side of biscuits...

Have fun cookin' 


This weekend at the Utah Boat show, I had the opportunity of demonstrating 3 dutch oven dishes, I will share these in 3 separate posts for the easy of looking up later. I don't have pictures with them yet, Bakin' Bill Johnson was the photographer, as soon as I can get them I will post them on here.

I have to say this is one of the 1st recipes I prepared with Bill, at a demonstration, and I guess I don't remember it being as good as it was this time, WOW, what a great dish, and pretty inexpensive also. Great for camping or just a quick skillet meal at home. 

(A great, hearty supper, on even the kids will like)      

8-10 medium size red potatoes cut into chunks - (speeds up things if these are pre-cooked (Parboiled))       
1 lb kielbasa links, sliced                                           
1 sliced onion                                                            
1 sliced green or red bell pepper                               
2 tablespoons olive oil                                               
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup water
1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese - (This is optional... but who doesn't like cheese)

In 10 or 12-inch Dutch oven, brown potatoes, kielbasa, onion and peppers in oil.  Add seasonings.  Add water.  Bring to a boil. 
Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes on low.  Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
Uncover, put cheese on top. 
Simmer until cheese is melted.
Recipe by Bakin' Bill Johnson

Some thoughts if you want to try this recipe out camping, take a few minutes at home before you leave, slice up your Kielbasa, and veggies, and put them in little Ziploc type baggies and then put them all in a gallon Ziploc bag to put into your cooler, then when you are ready to prepare your meal you only have to open your cooler once, keeping things colder longer. 

Hope you'll give this recipe a try and...
Have fun cookin'

Monday, February 4, 2013

Greek Food Goodness

I have come to the conclusion that life will not slow down no matter how much I wish for it. Most days I feel like I am stuck in the fast lane, with no exit in site. When my husband suggested that we host a Super Bowl party, just a week and a half after helping our friends decorate for their wedding and cooking all the meat for it also, I got a bit frazzled. And well.....I could just keep going, on about things that have to get done, but life just doesn't stop.   So back the the Super Bowl Party, with the holidays finally over, I just couldn't bring myself to cook another turkey or ham. I was racking my brain, what is a good group food?  Souvlaki! a few years back I came across a really yummy recipe and
is great for Chicken, Pork or Beef. My favorite being Chicken.


6 lbs Chicken (pork or beef is good too) cut into 1 inch cubes
1-1/2 C Olive Oil
1/4 C Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Oregano
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
4 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
4 Teaspoons Cavendars seasoning

Combine all ingredients, pour over meat and let marinate for 24 hours.
If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes and weigh them down with a pot or pan to make sure they stay immersed.
To prepare skewer the meat and if you choose you can alternate with veggies.
Veggie suggestions - Zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onions.
Grill over high heat for 8 minutes or till meat is done turning once.

If you can't find Cavenders Seasoning in your local store, please click the link to order online. This seasoning is amazing, check out their web site for more recipes.

Tzatziki Sauce

1/2 C Cucumber, peeled, seeded and shredded
1/2 C Plain Low-fat Yogurt or Greek yogurt (Thicker)
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Clove Garlic Minced
Combine ingredients, stirring well. Serve with the Souvlaki.

Lemon Rice

This is for regular rice, it doesn't work so well with instant rice. 
2 Cans Chicken Broth
1 Can Rice
1 -1/2 cubes of Butter
Bring the broth to a boil, add 1 cube of butter, and the rice, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat add 1/2 cube butter, Cavenders seasoning, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

This was our Super Bowl fair. I hope you will give these recipes a try and...
Have fun cookin'
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