CeeDubs Blog


    2017 Winter Canning project - Missing from photo: 12-half pints of turkey; 8-half pints of tuna; 12-half pints of salmon 2017 Winter Canning project - Missing from photo: 12-half pints of turkey; 8-half pints of tuna; 12-half pints of salmon

    Typically most folks think of 'canning' as a summertime project when home gardens provide a bounty of veggies. But...canning need not be limited to any particular time of year or season. My wife Penny and I can year around to take advantage of any surplus that happens to come our way. Also, depending on time constraints we often freeze items to can at a later more convenient time. Our winter 2017 canning project actually began in late September 2016 when Pen's brother, Al, and I came home from our fall elk hunting trip with eight quarters of elk. Due to my work schedule and our fall travel schedule we froze a substantial amount of meat for later processing. Then... a 21# frozen turkey ended up taking most of a shelf in one of our two freezers as a result of a grocery store give away at Christmas time. While appearing at sportsman's shows in the NW we scored quite a bit of frozen albacore tuna and salmon. Our freezers were on the verge of bursting when a old buddy of mine showed up with more salmon he offered to split with us if we pressure canned some for him!

    I started by thawing out the elk meat we froze last fall and the turkey given to us at our local grocery store. While re-arranging both freezers I found a pot roast I'd forgot we had, so I thawed it as well. After thawing the elk meat I brined most of it for corned elk. In addition, I skinned and smoked the turkey for a couple of hours after which I quartered/boiled it for a couple of hours. Below is a closer look at the different products we canned.

    Left to Right: Albacore Tuna/ Pints; Albacore Tuna/Half Pints; Turkey Broth/Pints; Turkey/Pints; Salmon/Half Pints; Corned Elk/Quarts; Corned Elk/Pints; Salmon/Pints; Roast Beef/Pints; Salmon/Half Pints; Roast Elk; Left to Right: Albacore Tuna/ Pints; Albacore Tuna/Half Pints; Turkey Broth/Pints; Turkey/Pints; Salmon/Half Pints; Corned Elk/Quarts; Corned Elk/Pints; Salmon/Pints; Roast Beef/Pints; Salmon/Half Pints; Roast Elk;

    Quantities: Albacore Tuna-14 Pints & 23 Half Pints; Smoked Turkey Broth - 7 Pints; Smoked Turkey-16 Pints & 12 Half Pints; Salmon 12 Half Pints; Corned Elk- 7 Quarts & 9 Half Pints; Salmon-8 pints & 4 half pints; Roast Beef-11 Pints; Roast Elk-12 Pints.

    The advantages of pressure canning meats/fish are the tremendous increase in storage life of the products and the decrease in storage costs. Even when vacuum packed, most knowledgeable food safety folks recommend consuming frozen fish with in six months and frozen red meats with in a year. We routinely keep and consume our home canned products for three years which is much longer than if we kept these products frozen. Of course there is an energy input to pressure can products. But...there is also a decrease in storage costs because we were able to clean out and shut off one of our freezers which is a measurable cost saving.



    Eggplant Parmesan prepared and cooked in a Dutch oven need not be an over ambitious goal for a beginning Dutch oven cook. In this video you'll see how Cee Dub simplifies Daves's Dutch Oven Eggplant Parmesan recipe by breaking the preparation of the recipe into an easy step by step process.

    1. Peel and slice the eggplant 1/2" thick.

    2. Make a simple egg wash of 1/2 cup milk and two eggs. Dip each slice into the egg wash then dredge with seasoned bread crumbs.

    3. Brown eggplant slices in olive oil and set aside.

    4. Dice an onion along with 4-6 cloves of garlic and sauté with a little olive oil.

    5. Continue frying onion/garlic after adding 1 lb. of bulk Italian sausage.

    6. When sausage is browned and crumbled add a 26 oz. can of tomato sauce, a 20 oz. can of stewed tomatoes, a half pound of chopped mushrooms, and 2-3 Tbsps. of chopped fresh basil. Remove from heat.

    7. Spread approx. 1 cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 12" Dutch oven and place slices of eggplant one layer thick. Sprinkle the slices of eggplant with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese and then cover with a scant layer of the meat sauce.

    8. Repeat this layer two more times and top with more grated Parmesan Cheese.

    9. Bake for one hour with 8-9 briquettes underneath and 22-26 briquettes on top.

    Serve with garlic bread and your favorite red wine.

    By taking the preparation of this recipe one step at a time, a recipe some folks may consider or think overwhelming is end up in the comfort zone of even beginning Dutch oven cooks.

    PS: To make this vegetarian, do not use the Italian sausage.


    width="250" Side by Side comparison of Sourdough Bread baked in aluminum and cast iron Dutch ovens

    Bring up the topic of "Aluminum Dutch ovens" amongst a bunch of outdoor cooks and you'll get feed back that spans the spectrum from "I Love Them" to "I Hate Them. Yet to come is a more definitive blog about the pros and cons of aluminum Dutch ovens but first I want to share a story why one guy we met fifteen years ago made the switch from cast iron Dutch ovens to aluminum ones!

    Pen and I had just finished setting up for our first ever appearance at the Tri-Cities Sportsman's Show in Pasco, Washington, in January of 2001 when an old cowboy began checking out the aluminum Dutch ovens on our display tables. Judging from his attire and the fact he was so "bow legged" he couldn't herd pigs in an alley along with his sweat stained Stetson I came to the conclusion this gentleman had spent most of his life horseback.

    His interest was apparent as I asked him if I could help him. His first question was how much did the aluminum ovens weigh. I went through the weights of the 10", 12" and 14" aluminum Dutch ovens we had on display. His next question was how long had I been using aluminum Dutch ovens and did I like them? I got those two questions answered before it was time to do my first demonstration. I glanced over at the display tables during my demo and this old timer was in deep conversation with my wife Penny. As it turned out he was asking what she thought of aluminum Dutch ovens, what they were like to clean, and if they needed seasoned like cast iron.

    When I finished signing books after the demo he was back asking more questions about aluminum Dutch ovens and how they compared to cast iron Dutch ovens. I continued to patiently answer his questions between helping other customers and prepping for the next demo. My hope of making a sale ended many questions later when he walked away after the announcement was made the show was closing for the day.

    Day two of the show was a repeat of the first day. When ever Pen or I were not prepping for our demonstrations or helping other customers this old cowboy was bending our ear with every conceivable question about aluminum Dutch ovens. Again our hope of making a sale ended with him walking away as they announced the closing of the show.

    Wouldn't you know it as soon as the doors opened Sunday morning here he came again! I know now how a car salesman feels with tire kicking customers who never buy but get their kicks from putting the salesman through his paces. But...instead of more questions he started by thanking both Penny and I for taking the time to answer his questions and educate him about aluminum Dutch ovens. Here is the story he told before buying every aluminum Dutch oven sitting on our display tables.

    He said he'd been cooking with cast iron Dutch ovens for 60+ years and they were just to damn heavy for him to handle anymore but that he wasn't yet ready to quit Dutch oven cooking. So, the previous evening after getting home from the show he called his grandsons and told them to come pick up their inheritance! In the last fifteen years I've often wondered just how many more years of Dutch oven cookin' he got in with his new aluminum Dutch ovens.


    One question I'm asked at every class and every demonstrations is this, "What's the difference between cast iron and aluminum Dutch ovens. Since there are different sizes of both ovens, for this discussion I'll talk about 12" diameter/six quart cast iron and aluminum DO's.

    The most obvious difference between the two is the weight. A CI 12" DO typically weighs about twenty to twenty one pounds and the aluminum version weighs about six and a half pounds. It's obvious the approx. fourteen pound weight savings one gets by choosing an aluminum DO over CI makes a big difference in situations where weight is critical like horse packing, boating, RV-ing, and even back packing.

    As an old horse packer and white water rafter I can testify to how important saving weight can be. Back in the days when I did a lot of horse packing I considered 200 pounds to be the upper limit for most pack horses/mules. The first commandment of horse packing is, "Thou shall balance both packs before lashing them on the animal". At the time I owned a big black molly mule out of a Shire mare named Nancy and she handled these two hundred pound loads well. But...A cast iron Dutch oven in the load equals 5% of the load for that one pack animal. So by using the aluminum DO I picked up about fourteen pounds of payload.

    What could I do with those fourteen to fifteen pounds? For Nancy it meant three additional helpings of sweetened grain and I could add a six pack of beer plus a rib steak. Though I never made those exact substitutions I use this as an illustration to show how one could use the additional payload.

    Eighteen years ago I began formally teaching Dutch oven cooking and quickly realized light weight aluminum Dutch ovens made it easier for some folks. In the very first class I taught there was a young man, Billy, who was just ten years old. Shortly thereafter another guy named Bill who was eighty nine years old signed up for a class. Neither Billy or Bill had the upper body strength needed to man handle and safely carry hot cast iron Dutch ovens. But...using aluminum Dutch ovens the both of them did fine. In another class a gentleman in a wheel chair told me he preferred his old cast iron Dutch ovens but being confined to a wheel chair using aluminum DO's made it possible to keep Dutch oven cookin'!

    In next weeks blog I'll discuss and compare the cooking characteristics of cast iron versus aluminum as well as cleaning and care of both types of Dutch ovens. If you have any questions or comments, please submit a comment form and I'll address your input in next weeks blog.

    Have you ever heard or read the statement that Lewis & Clark depended on their Dutch ovens? Jot a comment if you have and I'll talk about that as well!


    One of the first lessons gardeners learn is it only takes a couple of summer squash or zucchini plants to provide a bounty. The challenge for the gardener/cook then becomes how does one take advantage of the bounty without boring everyone at the dinner table. With Cee Dub's 'Dutch Oven Steamed Summer Veggies', as a baseline so to speak, the cooks imagination is the only limiting factor in utilizing an over abundance of yellow summer squash for healthy colorful recipes. Besides adding different garden veggies to the mix one can utilize different herbs, seasonings, or liquids for steaming.

    For a more 'elegant' spin on this simple recipe first steam the veggies then serve with a balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette.


    So...what makes the best pizza? Easy answer... what ever you like the best. For example, some folks don't like black olives or mushrooms, so...leave them off or just cut them in half so they're easier to pick off for the picky eaters at your table. Anyway...



    Pizza Pie or 'pizza' as most of us call it is typically baked in an oven of some type, i.e. a genuine pizza oven, a persons home oven, or even a Dutch oven. But...in this video Cee Dub demonstrates how to make a skillet pizza on a Camp Chef propane camp stove in a cast iron skillet. The two stage baking process is simple and takes but a few minutes. Cee Dub starts by making his favorite pizza in a 13" CI skillet. While making the pizza he pre-heats the skillet lid over a burner on his stove for ten minutes
    on 'High'. Then he places the skillet with the pizza over a burner on low to medium heat and moves it constantly to evenly 'brown' the bottom of the pizza.

    Cee Dub uses his smell test to determine when the bottom of the pizza is done. I.E. "If it smells done, it's done; if it smells burnt, it's burnt; and if you can't smell it, it's not done. When it smells done, he turns the stove burner off underneath the skillet and places the pre-heated skillet lid on the skillet and lets it set for 15 minutes.

    Voila! A skillet baked pizza in about twenty minutes time from start to finish.


    Why call it a 'four to five' been salad you ask? The back story starts when a friend sent us his families favorite 'five bean' salad recipe for consideration when I was writing my second cookbook. When proof reading the first draft we noticed there were only four beans listed instead of five. So... we added the black-eyed peas and called it "Four to Five Bean Salad'. To this day we don't know if our friend realized he only listed four of the beans called for in his recipe. Oh Well...

    Drain and rinse four or five cans of beans. (Even more if you wish.) Pour the beans into a bowl, mix with a diced green pepper, some thin onion slices, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill for a couple of hours in the fridge or an ice chest if you're out camping.

    For the dressing use 1/3 - 1/2 cup each of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Mix well and stir in 1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar or honey along with 2 Tbsp each of fresh minced tarragon and parsley. The fresh minced tarragon and parsley added to the homemade sweet and sour dressing gives this bean salad a distinctive refreshing flavor.

    Subscribe to our You Tube channel for more great recipes, cooking tips, and outdoor cooking info!


    What is POWERLESS COOKING® you might ask? It goes like this...

    Hold your hands out in front of you about 18" apart and think of the distance between as a spectrum of self-reliance. For the purpose of illustration, your right hand represents someone or a family unit in the wilds of Alaska totally living off-the-grid and off-the-land. Your left hand represents a person or family who depends totally on grocery stores, restaurants, and the power grid for their daily needs. Regardless of where your position on that spectrum is, our goal at www.powerlesscooking.com is to give you knowledge, skills, and ideas that allow you to move your left hand closer to your right hand.

    What can POWERLESS COOKING® do for you?

    Empowerment of the individual is the short answer! All of us have our "bucket list" of things we wish to accomplish in life. So...for folks with a desire to learn and improve their life style, Powerless Cooking® provides an online learning avenue to attain skills and knowledge to make their lives a bit easier and more fulfilling.

    I've been a teacher of sorts my whole life. My journey began with teaching Hunter Education to eighth graders when I was an Idaho Conservation Officer starting in 1979, and progressed to teaching Dutch oven cookin' beginning in 1997. Job satisfaction for me is seeing people have that "Aha" moment or the light turns on in their eyes when they realize - I can do this!

    My wife, Penny, and I both grew up in rural settings where "chores" as we called them helped provide for our families whether it was weeding the garden, canning produce, milking cows, or helping on "butchering day". Check the list of POWERLESS COOKING® Learning Modules for things you want to cross off your "bucket list"!

    Our first four online Learning Modules go live today. Simply put, every Learning Module on Powerless Cooking® moves that left hand a little closer to the right. Check it out at www.powerlesscooking.com.

  • POWERLESS COOKING ™ - The Back Story!

    Fourteen years ago this past spring I taught my first Dutch oven cooking class at Lewiston Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. These years later I've totally lost track of how many folks I've been lucky enough to have helped get started Dutch oven cookin' and the old hands at DO cookin' that attended our classes and clinics to expand their knowledge and capabilities.

    Though best known for Dutch oven cooking and our Dutch oven cookbooks Pen and I've long realized our society and todays generation are in danger of losing skills, attitudes, and capabilities we grew up with and took for granted. Our parents who were children of the Great Depression taught us values, skills, and techniques which improved their quality of life before the welfare programs of today which in our minds gets in the way of self reliance.

    We both vividly remember the shock, awe, and surprise that showed on a college sophomores face when she learned the eggs with her bacon came from chickens! Hard to believe I know, but...it illustrates my point.

    So...we've spent the last eighteen months turning the term "Powerless Cooking" that Pen came up with one morning while drying her hair from a concept into an online educational program designed to help folks become more capable and self reliant.

    For Pen and me the launch today of POWERLESS COOKING ™ is part of our calling to not only give back to our children's generation but also to pay forward on the debts we owe our parents and grandparents.

    Click here - https://powerlesscooking.com to visit and explore POWERLESS COOKING ™




    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

    Cee Dub & Pen

    December 22, 2014


    An old truck driving friend of mine who dearly loved his pie and coffee once declared the holidays to be "PIE SEASON"! Holiday pies are a tradition in our family going back as long as I can remember.  Continue reading

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