Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

Chicken and Cheese Dutch Oven Enchiladas
(or alternately Vegetarian Cheese Dutch Oven Enchiladas)

Feeds 5-6 (Easily doubled, tripled, etc.)

*NOTE: This recipe can be made vegetarian by using vegetarian refried beans, and replacing the chicken with a meat substitute (Boca crumbles, etc.), more black beans, rice, olives, and/or onions, etc.

If your chicken is pre-cooked, all you’re doing is assembling the ingredients and heating them up, and this will be ready in under ½ hour if you’re good at assembling them. You can also pre-roll the enchiladas at home, but if you’ve got kids, it’s nice to set up an assembly line in camp and have one do the refried beans, one add chicken, one roll them, etc.

Easily substitute shredded pork or ground beef for the chicken.

Utensils

  • Can openere
  • Rubber spatula
  • Tablespoons (optional – use fingers instead!)
  • Tongs and/or heavy-duty spatula (that can hold some weight)
  • Dutch oven

Ingredients

  • Corn or flour tortillas (I use fajita-sized flour tortillas – 10 to a bag)
  • 1 large or 2 small cans refried beans
  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (I precook these at home and bring in a bag just so I don’t have to bring raw chicken along)
  • Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce – 1lg + 1sm or 3 small cans (choose spiciness you prefer – it comes in mild, medium, and hot, depending on where you buy it – I go with mild and provide hot sauce for those wanting more of a kick)
  • 1 large bag of shredded cheese – your choice of flavor/blend (I usually get Walmart’s Mexican blend – the bag that costs $7 or so)

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans (drained)
  • Mexican or Spanish rice (the pre-cooked in the bag works well at a campout)
  • Chopped onions or green onions
  • Chopped/sliced olives
  • Whatever else you want to throw in

Directions

Fill and roll enchiladas first:

  1. Using rubber spatula, smear about 2 tablespoons of refried beans on half of a tortilla.
  2. On the “not-smeared” side of the tortilla, add a couple tablespoons of chopped chicken.
  3. Add a couple tablespoons of shredded cheese.
  4. Add a couple tablespoons of enchilada sauce.
  5. Add a sprinkle of any optional items as desired (black beans, rice, onions, olives, etc.)
  6. Starting on the fillings side, start rolling the enchilada closed towards the “beaned” side. The refried beans will act as a paste to keep the enchilada rolled shut. FLOUR TORTILLAS ONLY: Right after you get it closed on the first roll, fold the ends in and finish rolling it like a burrito — the tucked ends keep the goodies inside.
  7. Continue to roll and stack all enchiladas until you’re done.

**NOTE: If you use the small corn tortillas, or small flour tortillas, you will need to adjust the amounts you put on so you can roll them shut.  “A couple tablespoons” of chicken or cheese is really a small handfull when I make it – just reach in the bowl/bag and grab a bunch with your fingertips.

In dutch oven (with or with liner):

  1. Pour enough sauce along the bottom of the pan to coat it.
  2. Lay rolled enchiladas in the bottom of the pan, it’s OK if they’re up against each other.
  3. Dribble or brush the outside of each enchilada with the sauce, making sure all exposed tortilla has been coated to keep it from drying out. If you like lots of sauce, pour the rest over the enchiladas.
  4. Liberally sprinkle cheese over the top – how much depends on you.
  5. You can layer the enchiladas on top of each other, but remember that it will take longer to heat the ones in the middle up. I suggest if you do this you put a sheet of parchment paper between layers (I’d avoid foil between layers, IMHO)

Cook the enchilada with more briquettes on top than on bottom (I did maybe 20/10?  Wasn’t really paying attention… there I go “winging it again.”)

Cook until the cheese on the top is nicely browned.

Use tongs or a heavy-duty spatula to serve (somehow one or two always fall apart for me… they still taste the same, though).

Remember if you do more than two layers, the middle layer(s) will take more time to heat up – OR, you can serve the top layer, and throw the lid back on to continue to brown/heat the middle layer.

 

**Thanks to Mike and Debi for the photo from this past weekend’s campout… mine never look so nice!

Hawai’ian Fruit Salad

Among other things, Facebook tends to be a nice resource for recipies. And when I see one I like, one problem is that you can’t “Pin” from FB. When that happens, I’ll head to Pinterest and see if I can find a version of the desired recipe. Didn’t find the exact one, so here I am to make a version that I can save.

Hawai’ian Fruit Salad. The one one with the oranges and tiny marshmallows. The one that is so fluffy and yummy that you could just keep eating the entire bowl. The one that is perfect for a family reunion or a BBQ.

Hawaiian Fruit Salad

Hawaiian Fruit Salad

Yeah, I needed that recipe!

Hawai’ian Fruit Salad

  • 3 cans mandarin oranges
  • 2 bags mini marshmallows (white or multi-colored if you want to be crazy!)
  • 1/2 medium container sour cream
  • 1 jar un-stemmed maraschino cherries
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple
  • 2 containers cool whip
  • 1/2 bag coconut (optional)
  1. Open everything, and drain the fruits of can/jar juices.
  2. Cut cherries into 1/4.
  3. Combine everything in a large bowl and mix super well.
  4. Refrigerate for an hour and enjoy!

Easy Homemade Apple Fritters

Apple Fritters

Apple Fritters

Apple Fritters. My husband Frank’s favorite. If I stop at Dunkin’ Donuts, I’ll pick him up one (or two).  I’ve never made them, though, but maybe its time. Apples & cinnamon — really, it’s one of the most perfect combinations out there!

This is a Facebook recipe shared by a friend, and I haven’t tried it yet (but I plan to!)  Since I wanted to save it and Pin it, (and you can’t Pin anything from FB), I’ll throw it up here and share with everyone else. Let me know if you’ve made these and how they turned out.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chopped apple

GLAZE:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon.
  2. Stir in milk and egg until just combined.
  3. Fold in apple.
  4. Pour oil into skillet so that it is approximately 1 1/2 deep.
  5. Heat oil on high. Oil is ready when a little dough thrown in floats to top.
  6. Carefully add dough to oil in heaping teaspoons. Cook until brown, about 2 minutes, then flip. Cook another 1-2 minutes, until both sides are browned.
  7. Transfer briefly to paper towels to absorb excess oil, then transfer to cooling rack.
  8. Make glaze by stirring milk and powdered sugar together in a small bowl.
  9. Drizzle over apple fritters. Wait approximately 3 minutes for glaze to harden, then flip fritters and drizzle glaze over the other side.

Best served warm.

Pinewood Derby Snack Cars for Cub Scouts

I’m a scout mom. My son is a Life Scout, working on his Eagle Scout. My husband and I volunteer as leaders. Our oldest daughter is in the Venture Crew. Both my son and oldest daughter work at the Scout camp over the summer. Scouting… it’s a family affair in our household! I also have lots of great Scout mom and dad and volunteer friends, and they are some of the best people I’ve ever known. They give unselfishly of their time, their experience, and their money. They also give unselfishly of their creativity.

This post is so I can share a creative snack my awesome friend Tamara whipped up this weekend for her son’s Pinewood Derby. If you don’t know what the Pinewood Derby is, you’ve missed out. Cub Scouts (those boys under 11 yrs old) get a block of wood and have to shape it into a car, add wheels, decorate it, and then race it against their fellow Cub Scouts. It’s often a family affair, and some groups let siblings make and race cars as well. They get ribbons, trophies, and they develop skills along the way. (Scouting is FUN with a PURPOSE!!)

So without further ramblings by me, here are Tamara’s Pinewood Derby Snack Cars. Wonderfully creative for the theme, yet fairly simple to make. They’ll be a hit at your son’s next Pinewood Derby event*.

I bet they’d also be a hit at your husband’s next NASCAR party in his Man-Cave. I mean, really, what guy is going to turn these down? They might go all Neanderthal and beat their chests and act all manly to impress us, but they’re really just little boys at heart. Just like those Cub Scouts, they’ll make these things disappear faster than a pit crew can change the tires.

INGREDIENTS:

  • One or more boxes of Swiss Cake Rolls, Twinkies, and/or Fudge Graham Sticks
  • One or more bags of mini-Oreos, mini-NutterButters, and/or other mini-sandwich cookie
  • One or more bags/boxes of Teddy Grahams or Angry Bird cookies. (These are your drivers)
  • Frosting (it’s the glue to hold the wheels on, or use a dollop to prop up the Angry Birds faces)

(Carla’s observation: Nice thing about these ingredients… leftovers won’t go to waste!)

Ingredients

Car #1 – Twinkie Based

Swiss Cake roll and Teddy Grahams

Twinkie, mini-Oreos, and animal crackers

Fudge-graham sticks with vanilla cookies

The Finished Product

* If you have a son who is aged 6-18 and is interested in Scouting, go to http://beascout.org and find a Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop, or Venture Crew near you!

* If you have a son or daughter aged 14-21 who is interested in high-adventure activities and leadership development, go to http://beascout.org and find a Venture Crew near you!

Mini Caramel Apples

ImageCute, bite-sized, and easy to make. Make the caramel in the microwave, and use a melon baller to scoop out mini “apples.”
Apples:
Suggested: use a tart apple, such as Granny Smith, or a tart/sweet apple such as Honey Crisp or Jonagold.
Caramel:
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 cup light Karo syrup
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Stir. Continue this cycle (microwave for 2-3 minutes, then stop and stir) four to five times, until caramel turns a nice golden color.
  2. Remove from the microwave (caution, the bowl will be hot!), and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Using a melon baller, scoop bites from an apple.  Pat the apple bites dry with a paper towel.
  4. Using 3-6 in wooden skewers (cocktail skewers or longer skewers cut in half), skewer the apple bites (put the skewer through the center of the skin on each bite.)
  5. Dip the bites in the warm caramel. For that gourmet apple look, leaving part of the apple skin showing.Image

Optional: After dipping in the caramel, dip the bites in toppings such as colored sugar, festive sprinkles, or chopped nuts.

Hint: Put the dipped apples in small cupcake liners to keep from sticking to each other and keep things neat.

Banana Pancakes – Skinny & Gluten Free

Image

ALL NATURAL PANCAKE RECIPE… NO PROCESSED ANYTHING!!

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 whole eggs

That’s it.

  1. Mix together in a bowl, making sure the banana is completely mashed.
  2. Set heat to low to medium. Spray your pan with some Pam or coconut oil.
  3. Scoop some of the batter into the pan & give it about 20-30 sec, flip, and done! Serve and eat!

*Some advice would be to make them small so its easier to flip.

Under 250 calories, nearly 14g of protein! No processed anything! These pancakes are GLUTEN FREE.

Keep Your Carved Pumpkin Fresh for Weeks

ImageWe’ve all seen what our carved pumpkin looks like after a week or two. Sagging, looking moldy. That smiling face your child carved is now a pathetic frown. The intricate carving of your favorite team logo has just collapsed, leaving a unattractive blob for viewing.

I just found out about this tip, and will be giving it a try to keep our jack-o-lanterns fresh for a longer period of time.

  1. After you scoop out and carve your pumpkin, dip it in a large container of bleach and water (use a 1 tsp:1 gal mix). The bleach will kill bacteria and help your pumpkin stay fresh longer.
  2. Drain your pumpkin upside down until completely dry.
  3. Add 2 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water. Brush or spray this solution onto your pumpkin to keep it looking fresh for weeks.