Thursday, January 05, 2017

This Quilter Can Cook -- Dutch Oven

Now that I'm home, I'm quilting up a storm.  I'm also COOKING up a storm.  As much as I hate to cook when I'm stressed and flying in and unpacking and repacking and flying back out the next day, I love to cook when I have relaxed time at home.

I love having extended time at home during the winter because I get to reconnect with folks I've only had a "hi/bye" relationship with during my travel season.  If I love you, I give you food.  The folks at my church know this fact well.  They are used to me showing up with a huge jar of soup and a loaf of fresh bread or a casserole dish when they need a little extra love.

One of my favorite presents from last year was a Dutch oven.

 I've lived most of 50 years without one and wasn't sure what to cook in it.  Well, I've been experimenting and here are my 10 favorite recipes to make in my Dutch oven:

1.  Sopa de Fuba
We belong to a local organic food co-op type thing.  One week, our package included local cornmeal.  I wanted to do something other than corn muffins with this special cornmeal and this soup is so fabulous!  I now make a double batch for two reasons:  1.  a double batch uses a whole pound of kielbasa and 2.  the soup disappears before we've eaten our fill of a single recipe.

2.  Sausage and White Cheese Pasta
I first saw this recipe in Cooking Light magazine over a decade ago.  I now make a double batch in my Dutch oven for the same two reasons above.  A WHOLE pound of sausage.  A WHOLE box of pasta.  Folks will eat seconds.  Trust me.  And boiling the pasta, browning the sausage, making the sauce, mixing, and baking all in one dish?  All the time I save by not washing lots of pots and pans, I can spend quilting!

3.  Cabbage Roll Casserole
I hate cabbage rolls.  I hate making them.  I hate smelling them.  I hate eating them.  HATE!  Super-hubby, however, loves cabbage rolls.  Since I don't hate him (not even a little bit!) I made him cabbage roll casserole when our local fresh food package included a head of cabbage.  I love my Dutch oven for this because... one pot!  It makes a lot (A LOT!) and hubby can eat it to his heart's content, preferably while I'm out of town.  The smell, y'know.

4.  Cinnamon Beef
I got this recipe from Cooking Light magazine years and years ago.  I changed the recipe a tad because I can't have alcohol, not even cooked in food due to a pesky medication interaction.  I substitute broth (beef or vegetable) for the rice wine.  This smells divine and tastes even better.  It makes TONS so invite folks over or plan for leftovers.  Yummy, yummy leftovers.

5.  Shepherd's Pie
This recipe used so many of the goodies from my local organic food package.  Carrots, pinto beans, frozen corn, cheddar cheese, potatoes, and Parmesan cheese -- all local!  Mmmmmmmmm.  I was able to boil the mashed potatoes, brown the beef, and bake the pie all in my Dutch oven.   Fresh, local, and easy to clean up.  How can this be bad?

6.  Baked Ziti
Oh.  My.  Heck.  Nothing more I can say.

7.  Chili Verde
I hate this dish because it has cilantro in it.  Who on earth likes cilantro?  It tastes like SOAP!  Blech!  Super-hubby, however, loves this and thanks me for suffering while making it for him.  I will make this only for him and once a year at most because ... cilantro.  Love you, honey!

8.  Boerenkool Stamppot
When my son was in college, he spent a summer as a camp counselor at a local day camp.  The camp where he worked hired many international students as counselors and had an international food festival for the staff who lived on site.  The counselors from The Netherlands came to my house to use my kitchen to cook their national dish:  Boerenkool Stamppot.  Imagine 5 teen boys exploding things in your kitchen (shudder).  I think they managed to use every pot, pan, and dish I own.  We now make and eat this meal, but with care I can make it using only one pot -- VICTORY!!!

9.  Leek Potato Swiss Chowder
You know when the leeks are so fresh and pretty at the farmstand that you want to pet them?  Or is that just me?  Well, when I get my hands on some gorgeous leeks, this soup happens.  I usually make a double or triple batch and share with my friends.

10.  Chicken Rice Soup
I don't have a recipe for this soup, but it's one of my best.  I'm a "Who me?  Measure?" type of cook, so if you are looking for measurements, look elsewhere.  I put some butter in the pot and saute chopped carrots, onions and celery.  Then I stir in some flour.  Then I stir in a bunch of homemade broth and bring it to a boil and let simmer until the veggies are soft.  Then I add chicken/turkey/whatever I just picked off the bones when I made the broth and bring back to a boil.  Then I add cooked rice, mix it in, and bring back to a boil.  Then I add salt.  Then I add milk.  Then I have about a gallon of soup to eat and share.

Because I can't count to ten:
11.  Butternut Squash Soup
This links to the recipe I started with, but I double/triple the recipe using whatever squash/pumpkin I have from the farm and fresh broth.  I lighten up on the pepper and replace the cream cheese with some milk.

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