Monday, September 19, 2016

Dutch Oven Cooking--Chuckwagon Steak


Hi everyone! I know, I've been absent again. The good news is that my youtube channel has been doing well with my cooking vids. And I've made a lot of new friends and discovered new communities there in farming, gardening, mechanics, cooking, homesteading, outdoors stuff etc. I'll include links to my FB page at the bottom that has a lot more fresh content, and intsagram as well, also on google+.

The bad news was my dad had some major health issues that sidelined the family for about 2 months. But thanks be to God, he is doing well and everyone is back on track. Just postponed some of the stuff we like to do like this blog.

We got a used camper last year and have it up on my folks farm. This works great for going up more to visit and help them out, and also we can take our pets and do some neat thing around there as they live in an awesome area. So, I am doing my best to get more dutch oven cooking in. This last trip, I did my chuckwagon steak over charcol for dinner. The recipe is mine for the past 30+ yrs. You can do this with about a dozen coals, or you can put your DO in the oven, LOL.

I used a chuck steak here, which is always a bit tougher, but a nice big sirloin or london broil would be good as well, pieced out. After the coals were ready, I added my DO to heat up with a little olive oil. When it was hot, I added 2 large sliced onions and a clove of garlic to saute.

Then I added my chunks of beef with montreal seasoning to be seared on each side to seal in the moisture while cooking.

After the pieces were seared, I added my sauce. 


1 C Ketchup
1/3 C spicy brown mustard
1/4 C honey
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tbs cajun seasoning
1 tbs chili powder

You don't need to add any water to this, enough moisture cooks out from the steak and cooking/bakeing.

It took about 45 minutes in the DO over the coals. It's about the same if you put this in the oven at 375F degrees for about the same time for roughly a 2-3lb piece of meat.

This was it when done, I served it up with tossed salads and parsleyed potatoes. It was very yummy, and it usually is a crowd pleaser. 

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Some Dutch Oven Cooking

This past weekend, me and some of my friends tried to horse camp at Hickory Creek Wilderness Ranch    in the Allegheney State Forrest in PA. Gorgeous country in northwestern PA, and the Hickory Creek folks are awesome. Gorgeous campground.

I say we tried, because we got washed out over the weekend. Cold and wind and rain do not make for happy horses pr happy campers. Truly, we didn't want our horses getting sick since they were tie lined. Anyway, Friday was gorgeous and we got some dutch oven cooking in. My friend Jen brought her set up which is the nicest I have ever gotten to use, with a dutch oven table, camp kitchen and all. You can see the start of our set up below--- This was a real treat. My folks were outdoors people, hunting, fishing, trapping, etc. and I grew up loving it as well. We didn't have anything fancy, just our old army issue knapsacks, but we'd go up on the edge of our woods where we had stones for a fire ring, build a fire, and when it died down, we'd take meat and taters and veggies wrapped in foil with butter and bury them in the coals and then go for our hike or whatever, coming back later to a great dinner. I didn't have a tent either, my dad taught me to camp using a canvas tarp and using blow downs or deadfalls to rig up my "tent" area. My mother's father was Seneca Native American and one of the best outdoors man I have ever known. It was a treat to go with him camping! Mike and I used to take the bike and go camping with our tent as well.  I loved all of this. I will admit that now that I am older with more aches and pains, I enjoy glamping more, but I wouldn't trade all those years of doing that for anything.

So, that night I dutch oven cooked our dinner which was  a sweet and spicy cajun chicken and rice dish. It came out awesome and was super easy. I also took along my strawberry spinach salad with poppy seed dressing, my other friend Lynn brought an avocado-tomato-feta salad with balsamic dressing and I brought my chocolate cake with peanut butter icing for dessert. It was too rainy the next morning to dutch cook my  scrapple, baco and apple datch. And after a couple of us got a ride in that morning, the weather got worse and worse and we packed it in later in the afternoon.  :(  This pic below shows the dutch oven cooking and I have the charcoal started that would then go on top.

My friend Jen dishing up supper!


I showed the Dutch Oven Cook Book above in the first picture, and I suggest if you aren't familiar with dutch oven cooking but want to learn, get that book. The author does it all the time for scout troops etc. and also has a good video series on getting started.  Great resource.  

       I also am going to share below, they make an ap for that!  Available for both Droid and IPhone, this is really handy with no thinking needed! Thanks for showing me, Jen!  The downside is that if you are in the mountains like we were with poor reception, you may not be able to get it.

Sunday, May 15, 2016



Make a lovely and easy peach custard pie! Follow the numbered pictures from start to finish to see it at the steps below along the way.

1 (9 inch) pie shell

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar

5 large fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced

1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 egg, beaten

2/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

In a small bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons flour and brown sugar. Sprinkle mixture into bottom of pastry-lined pie pan. 

Arrange peach slices on top of mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk together evaporated milk and egg. Pour mixture over peaches.

In a medium bowl, mix together white sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture over top of peaches.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until a knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean.
I used my own home canned brandied peaches, YUM!

In a small bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons flour and brown sugar. Sprinkle mixture into bottom of pastry-lined pie pan. You can see the mixture under the first layer of sliced peaches.

Fill up to 2/3 way with more peaches and arrange peach slices on top of mixture.............

Whisk well 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk, 1 egg, beaten

In a medium bowl, mix together white sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture over top of peaches.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until a knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean.

And success, it's half gone already!



This is an old Polish favorite around here. Good comfort food!

                                                           5 large red potatoes, grated
                                                           1 large onion
                                                           6 strips of good bacon, cut into smaller pieces
                                                           2 tbs bacon fat
                                                           3 eggs
                                                           1 c milk
                                                           salt and pepper
                                                          1/2 C sharp shedded cheese
                                                          1/4 C italian bread crumbs

This always tastes better in cast iron, so used my good old Lodge fry pan.

Fry up the bacon and onion until onion is translucent. Add the bacon fat. 

In a big bowl, whisk up the eggs and milk. Add the shredded potatoes. mix well.

Then add the bacon and onions, fat and all and mix well, adding your salt and pepper to taste. After mixing that all in well, transfer back to the cast iron pan and bake around 30 minutes at 375F.

Here it is going into the oven.................

And here it is all baked and ready to eat!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Passover Dinner--Roast Lamb, Latkes, Braised Red cabbage, Matzoh Ball Soup, Red Beets, Asparagus & Jewish Apple Cake

Passover Dinner--Roast Lamb, Latkes, Braised Red cabbage, Matzoh Ball Soup, Red Beets, Asparagus & Jewish Apple Cake

This Passover was special as my parents came down from NYS to officiate the Passover Seder here. We don't get to do the whole deal every year, so this was a treat with my family. The menu was roast leg of lamb with a maple syrup glaze served with mint jelly on the side, latkes, Mike's Mom's red beets, steamed asparagus, sauteed red cabbage, Matzoh Ball soup, cinnamon apple sauce and Jewish Apple Cake. I did a video of this (I am still learning on the editing parts there, so bear with me, they get better, LOL) and am including the recipes here. If you watch the video, you can see how it's supposed to turn out!

                            ROAST LAMB WITH MAPLE SYRUP

This is so easy and always comes out perfect! Sear lamb roast in a hot pan with a bit of butter and Montreal seasoning. Sear on all sides, transfer to crock pot. (This locks in all the juices so your lamb roast doesn't dry out.)  Pour 1-2 C maple syrup over the lamb depending on size. Add 1 C water. Put crock pot on low and let it cook. I figure it takes about an hour per pound, but it depends partly on whether it is bone in or not etc. When done, the lamb will be literally falling apart, very tender & moist. Dish up and serve with mint jelly on the side.


I fill up my 11 cup food processor with grated potatoes and about 2 onions grated medium. I put that in a big bowel, add a couple of beaten eggs, salt, pepper, chive and garlic, and then a few (around 4) tbs. of flour as a binder. You want the mixture just thick enough to not be runny. I then have a heated fry pan with a little olive oil, and I put dollops in the fry pan, flatten them out and fry until it is golden brown on medium heat, flip, finish frying and then put on plates with paper towels on them. I serve them with a side of sour cream and chives. There is also a nice variation to use with zucchini. Half drained shredded zucchini/half shredded potato, do the rest the same. Delicious! These are a little more mild and sweet.

                                       Sauteed Red Cabbage

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 red cabbage, shredded
1/3 cup white or apple cider vinegar, eyeball it
2 rounded tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon mustard seed
Salt and pepper


Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and onion and saute 2 minutes. Add cabbage and turn in pan, sauteing it until it wilts, 3 to 5 minutes. Add vinegar to the pan and turn the cabbage in it. Sprinkle sugar over the cabbage and turn again. Season with mustard seed, salt and pepper and reduce heat a bit. Let cabbage continue to cook 10 minutes or until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.

                                            Jewish Apple Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups white sugar 
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 apples - peeled, cored and sliced
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
5 teaspoons white sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 10 inch tube pan. Combine the ground cinnamon and 5 teaspoons of the sugar together and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and 2 cups of the sugar. Stir in the vegetable oil, beaten eggs, orange juice and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with 1/2 of the sliced apples and sprinkle with 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour the remaining batter over the top and layer the remaining sliced apples and cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 70 to 90 minutes.

Video of the Meal----

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pennsylvania Cooking is now on YouTube!

Well, guys, after suggestions from several people, including my other half, friends and family, I have entered the YouTube foray with my own channel where you can come along with me while I make my family's favorites along with specializing in PA Dutch and Coal Region recipes. Now, you'll also get to come along with me to the local festivals and fairs, farm, garden and whatever else goes along with all this, LOL. Cooking wild game will also be included. One video will be on PA MEATS alone, featuring scrapple, soupies, hog maw (stuffed pig's stomach), city chicken (hint--contains no chicken), etc. Another will be on Pot Pie vs Meat Pie.

If you are looking for super perky rainbows and unicorn farts like those terrible Skittles commercials, or high end food (which I do love) like a nice ceviche or a stunning amuse bouche, this isn't the channel for you. If you are looking for a glimpse of the food and history of Central and Northeastern PA and how to make them along with some snarky and at times somewhat sarcastic commentary, this may be more your speed. I am not a chef or professional cook. I have my own ideas and hacks, but learn something new everyday in technique and execution. I have been cooking and baking since I was 7 and now I am.....let's just leave it at middle aged, LOL.  Of course, the first rule is, it has to taste good!

To those that have read this blog for a while, if you want to see some of the recipes demonstrated, just let me know. I'll be doing a vid also on condiments and salad dressings. As always, I try to keep to local sourced produce and proteins and advocate for organic, heirloom, heritage foods and small farm sustainability.

Check out my channel, and please subscribe! Helga's Pennsylvania Cooking on YouTube and also on Facebook. I check all comments and answer as well. Thanks to all who have read over the years for your support, and also to some of the YoutTube mechanics who helped light a fire under my sizable rear to make this project and idea a reality.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

DANDELION with Hot Bacon Dressing

                                          DANDELION with Hot Bacon Dressing

I know, I know. I have been woefully absent. Unbelievably, I've been missed! So, to get us back on track, here is a traditional spring dish here.

Springtime means dandelion greens with hot bacon dressing! We often do these as ham and dandelion suppers, making it with ham and boiled potatoes. Some people don't care for the greens and use lettuce, but dandelion greens are yummy and very good for you, a natural detoxifer.
Hot Bacon Dressing
Cook 1 pound of bacon, set aside
1 tbs flour
1 egg
a little water
(mix those 3)
Save bacon fat and mix in 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C sugar
3 tbs dark vinegar
Then add 1st mix above.
Heat the cup of water and slowly mix in with cooked crumbled bacon.