We love camping and enjoy eating good food while camping. When you camp often the traditional menu of hamburgers and hotdogs gets old really quickly. Many campers (including popups) now include an oven in their kitchen, but if you've ever tried to actually use it - you'll realize it isn't the best at keeping correct temperatures not to mention heating up the entire camper (not a good thing in 90+ degree heat in the summer). Besides bringing leftovers, I started using dutch ovens several years ago to expand our food choices. There are several recipes out on the web that are specifically for dutch oven cooking (some are very elaborate), but the dutch oven can also be used as a plain, regular "oven." Canned biscuits are one of our favorites for Saturday morning breakfasts. The instructions on the large-sized biscuits we usually take are to bake at 350 degrees for 14 to 17 minutes. The steps I follow are:
-clean out fire ring at campsite (I cook & keep all hot cooking utensils inside the fire ring to keep everyone safe)
-prepare charcoal (we splurged and bought one of those chimneys - it really does speed up the process of getting your charcoal to the right ash stage), for 350 deg, 10 inch oven - 21 total briquettes are needed
-spray cooking oil lightly inside dutch oven while it is cold
-place biscuits in a circle while oven is cold
-place lid on oven and place on top of 7 prepared (hot) briquettes that are in a circle (provides bottom heat). I usually place the lid in line with the handles of the oven, so when it is time to turn the top/bottom, I know which way I am going
-(with tongs), place 14 prepared briquettes on top of lid, spaced evenly
-set timer to 7 minutes (1/2 of the total time cooking)- no need for a fancy timer
-After 7 minutes, carefully (& with proper tools) - lift & turn the entire oven 1/4 a circle & replace on coals, then using proper tools - carefully spin the top (don't lift it - it will spin just fine still seated on the bottom) 1/4 circle the opposite way - the idea is to spread out the heat and avoid hot spots
Since the canned biscuits only need 14 (or 15) minutes to cook, I only turn the oven once or twice. Some things cook longer & you'll turn every 10 to 15 minutes.
-when the biscuits are finished - carefully lift the lid & place to the side (I still keep it within the fire ring) without any ash falling/blowing into oven - ashes on biscuits don't taste the best
I use a long spatula to get the biscuits out of the oven... remember that oven has been heated to 350 degrees & it is HOT. After we are finished eating, I dump the ashes from the top into the fire ring itself, prop up lid on its side (so it can cool), and remove the bottom oven to a cooler place within the fire ring. As long as isn't going to rain - I leave these alone & let them totally cool before wiping out & putting away. You'll need to put paper towels in the dutch oven (to soak up moisture) when storing it - I use several paper towels and leave parts of them hanging out of the sides - between the lid & bottom.
So, the moral to this story - yes you can use those recipes specifically for dutch ovens, but you can also use it like an oven & bake regular food (I have baked brownies before -- they were excellent). Depending upon the weather, time, etc., you may decide to tackle a longer cooking project - I have been known to break a serious sweat over cooking supper - when I first started using dutch ovens for cooking. In the summer, I keep my dutch oven cooking down to biscuits for breakfast one morning each weekend. In the fall/winter I'll tackle more elaborate items.