25 August 2011

Recipe box: Grilled chicken dinner and Dutch oven "cobbler"

When possible, we try to do back-to-basics cooking on the weekends. This past weekend we made an old stand-by: a "foil packet" dinner. We also tried a dessert in our new 10-inch Dutch oven. As usual, the foil dinner was great. The dessert isn't really "cobbler," but it was pretty tasty in its own way.

Foil Packet Chicken Dinner

Ingredients (serves 3)

3 Chicken Breasts, boneless (4-6 oz. each)
3 Bacon Slices, cooked 
15 oz. (1 can) Potatoes, sliced
15 oz. (1 can) Carrots, sliced
1 lb. Onion, sliced
6 tsp. Butter
Salt and Pepper to suit

  1. Put one chicken breast in the center of a 16-18" long piece of aluminum foil.
  2. Place one bacon slice and 1/3 each of the potatoes, carrots, and onions on/around the chicken.
  3. Add 2 tsp. of butter on top of the vegetables.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Wrap the contents into a foil packet (as described in this link). Ensure packets are sealed tightly.
  6. Repeat Steps 1 through 5 with the other two chicken breasts.
  7. Place packets in a covered grill at 340 – 350° F and cook for 15 minutes.
  8. Flip packets over and cook for an additional 10 – 15 minutes.
  9. Flip packets back over and check the temperature of the chicken to ensure it's at least 160° F in the center. If not, continue cooking, checking the temperature periodically.
  10. Remove packets from the grill and serve. Be careful of steam venting from the packets when you open them!

You can substitute margarine for the butter in equal amounts. Alternatively, you could replace the butter with 1/2 Tbs. of cooking oil.

The bacon is a good way to use leftovers from breakfast, if any. You could also use 1Tbs. real bacon bits to replace each of the slices.

Dutch Oven "Cobbler"

Ingredients (serves about 10 to 12)

40 oz. (2 cans) Pie Filling, in desired fruit flavor
18 oz. (2 boxes) Jiffy Yellow Cake mix
Vegetable Oil, spray or liquid

  1. Apply a light coat of vegetable oil to the cooking surface of your 10 or 12-inch Dutch oven.
  2. With the lid on, preheat the Dutch oven by placing a dozen coals evenly distributed beneath it and letting it warm for 10 – 15 minutes.
  3. Add both cans of pie filling to the oven and replace the lid. Allow the filling to warm up for 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. While the pie filling is heating, prepare the 2 boxes of cake batter according to the directions provided on the box.
  5. When the pie filling has started to slowly bubble, remove half the coals from underneath the oven, leaving an even distribution of coals.
  6. Pour the cake batter on top of the filling and replace the cover. Place a dozen fresh, hot coals on top of the oven's lid.
  7. Allow the cake to bake  until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. While baking, rotate the lid a quarter turn every 10 minutes or so.

You can use just about any pie filling, or combine flavors if you like.

When I tried the cobbler recently, I couldn't find any Jiffy mix. I used a regular 18.5-oz. yellow cake mix instead and it worked fine, although it barely fit in my 10" Dutch oven after baking.

When cooking with a Dutch oven:
  • Don't forget to oil the inside of the oven lid (I did this, and cake stuck to it.)
  • You might want to use a Dutch oven liner or line the oven with aluminum foil, either of which is easier for cleanup than cooking straight in the oven.
  • Ensure that there's a wind break around the oven to keep its temperature consistent. It was fairly windy last weekend, so I actually put mine inside a large, clean, metal garbage can, which worked great!
  • Just like a grill or a real oven, you lower the Dutch oven's temperature considerably when you remove the lid. When adding ingredients, or checking on the cooking progress, try to have the lid off no longer than absolutely necessary.
  • Likewise, when you rotate the lid during baking, just lift gently on the lid and slide it around for a quarter turn instead of removing it. 

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