Cooky Jason’s October Tip – Pie Iron Fixins’

Pie Iron Recipes from Cooky Jason

Recently I have received a few requests for some quick pie iron fixins’.  I’m not tagging these with my normal mantra of “Cooky Jason’s World Famous” because these are so very basic and common and have been around forever.  Although the recipes below have some of my personal touch, the idea here is just to give you some ideas to try.  Experiment or alter to taste.  Also, as always, I like to prepare as much as possible at home and transport to the campsite in air tight containers as to avoid handling raw meat at the campsite.  And these are a good way to get kids involved in the cooking.  If you don’t have pie irons, you should really consider them. They can be found very easily online and are inexpensive.  You can do these recipes over an open fire or a grill top. Enjoy!

Garlic Bread Melts

  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 slices mozzarella cheese
  • ½ tsp butter
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • 4 or 5 basil leaves, chiffonade (cut into ribbons)

I highly recommend against using garlic salt or garlic powder here. Fresh (ish) really is the way to go. The above quantities are per serving, but what I like to do is make the garlic spread ahead of time and simply keep it in airtight bowls and chilled. In that case you can multiply the ingredients based on how many servings you want to be able to make. Very simply, chop the garlic fine and then add salt to it right on the cutting board. Then turn your knife on its side and massage the salt into the garlic until you have a paste. Put the past into a bowl and stir in the pepper and olive oil. You can also just do this in a food processor.

Then when you’re ready, butter two slices of the bread of your choice (or even pita). Place bread slices into pie iron with butter side down. Then spread garlic mixture onto open face of bread and add mozzarella and basil ribbons. Close and lock pie iron. Cook over fire about 3 minutes per side. Excellent.

Tacos Anyone?

  • 4 heaping Tablespoons cooked ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder or taco seasoning
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Onions, green peppers, mushrooms, jalapeños, etc…

OK, so we’re using the term “taco” here kind of loosely. And normally I’m vehemently against using packaged seasoning mixes. But in this case we’ll make an exception in favor of short prep time. So again, the above quantities are per serving.

Brown 1 pound ground beef, pork, or turkey. Add taco seasoning mix and water as per package directions and cook as directed. Store in airtight container for transport.

Next, sauté whichever vegetables you’re going to use. Whatever you like for tacos is fine. I prefer to sauté everything together and make a “taco filling”. Store this in a separate container. Things like onions, fresh garlic, mushrooms, ets… (Leave jalapeños raw)

You can do this with tortilla shells or bread. Both work great. Just use a little olive oil for tortillas or a little butter for bread. In either case, oiled/buttered side always down. The spoon on your ground meat and veggie mix, careful not to over fill. Sprinkle on cheese. Close and lock pie iron. Cook about 3 minutes per side over open fire or grill. Delicioso.

Simple Pie Iron Pie

This one is really simple. Just butter two slices of bread and place in pie iron buttered side down. Then spoon in any canned pie filling of your choice. (I’m intentionally leaving out the quantity to use here because of varying sizes in pie irons and bread you might use. I’ll simply say to use the “correct” amount.) Close and lock pie iron and cook for about 3 minutes per side over open fire or a grill. You can also do this with peanut butter and jelly. You’re welcome…

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at

The Gear Doctor for October 2014

Your summer camping trips are over, and you’re left with nothing but photos, memories, and stinky, dirty, disorganized camp gear. You may have some fall camping plans, but at some point we all need to make a decision – wait until spring to check, clean and update our gear, or properly store it all now so that come springtime, our gear is ready to go!

Unless you possess remarkable memory skills, and can remember 5 months from now which flashlight needs new batteries, if your tent was missing some ground stakes, and your are low on salt in your mess kit, checking and storing your gear now not only ensures a longer useful life, it will also make life easier when next spring arrives.

Here are 10 useful tips for storing your gear for the fall and winter.

1. Keep a camping gear checklist handy, both for packing and putting away. Store with the gear in a clear plastic sleeve.
2. To avoid mildew, wash your tent and hang to dry completely before putting away. Check gear for wear and/or damage. Repair before putting away to prevent unpleasant surprises on the next trip.
3. Before putting away flashlights, kerosene lamps, and stoves, start a checklist of any necessary replacements, like new batteries or Sterno.
4. As you put other items or groups of items away, like first-aid kits, kitchen materials, etc., continue marking your checklist for necessary purchases.
5. Store (and transport) camping materials in clear, plastic bins, being sure to select bins that will actually fit in your vehicle. With snug, secure lids, your gear remains pest and dust free.
6. Store fuels and flammables, like Sterno, kerosene, propane, etc. away from the house, preferably in an outdoor shed. (Keep a fire extinguisher handy, just in case!) If you don’t have a separate garage or shed, consider purchasing a small safety cabinet, designed for storing flammable materials. Check your local hardware or home maintenance store.
7. Thoroughly brush hiking books of dirt and mud, and remove insoles to allow boots to dry thoroughly. Apply weatherproofing treatment before storing boots away at least once or twice a year, and install a wire shoe shelf to keep everything neatly off the floor.
8. Sleeping bags should be turned inside out and hung. Don’t store sleeping bags in small compression bags. Instead, after completely drying, fluff your bag and let it hang in a closet, or store in a large, breathable cotton bag. offers great tips on how to wash a sleeping bag.
9. Cleanliness is key! Small food particles in a tent or sleeping bag can become major pest magnets or science experiments over time. Dirt and moisture can cause damaging molds and mildews.
10. Keep everything neatly tucked away on shelving

Celestial Navigator – October 2014

There are few things more enjoyable during a night in camp than staring at the night sky. Now you can be a celestial expert and dazzle your camp mates with your night sky knowledge. There’s lots going in the September night sky, so grab your telescope and your tent and get out there!

Here is something to think about – even in the vastness of the American West, the glow from cities has become so bright that places with truly dark skies at night are becoming an endangered species. In the continental US, experts predict that in a decade, there will be just three areas where the sky will be dark enough to see the Milky Way clearly, the Arizona Republic reports. One area covers part of eastern Oregon and western Idaho, another includes parts of Nevada and western Utah, a third takes in parts of northern Arizona and southern Utah-and the latter two are in danger from the bright lights of Las Vegas and Phoenix, which can be seen for more than 200 miles. Take time to look up now and then, and especially this month – lots to see in the October night sky!

October 4 – Astronomy Day Part 2. Astronomy Day is an annual event intended to provide a means of interaction between the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals. The theme of Astronomy Day is “Bringing Astronomy to the People,” and on this day astronomy and stargazing clubs and other organizations around the world will plan special events. You can find out about special local events by contacting your local astronomy club or planetarium.
October 7 – Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view Uranus. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
October 8 – Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 10:51 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Hunters Moon because at this time of year the leaves are falling and the game is fat and ready to hunt. This moon has also been known as the Travel Moon and the Blood Moon.
October 8 – Total Lunar Eclipse. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of North America, South America, eastern Asia, and Australia.
October 8, 9 – Draconids Meteor Shower. The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The shower runs annually from October 6-10 and peaks this year on the the night of the 8th and morning of the 9th. Unfortunately the glare from the full moon this year will block out all but the brightest meteors. If you are extremely patient, you may be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
October 22, 23 – Orionids Meteor Shower. The Orionids is an average shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. It peaks this year on the night of October 21 and the morning of October 22. This will be an excellent year for the Orionids because there will be no moon to interfere with the show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
October 23 – New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 21:57 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
October 23 – Partial Solar Eclipse. A partial solar eclipse occurs when the Moon covers only a part of the Sun, sometimes resembling a bite taken out of a cookie. A partial solar eclipse can only be safely observed with a special solar filter or by looking at the Sun’s reflection. The partial eclipse will be visible throughout most of North and Central America.