Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Simple Dinner Rolls

2 cups all-purpose flour, or more if needed
2 1/4 tsp yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter OR margarine

Throw it all in your breadmaker, or proof the yeast with your milk/water/sugar, add the rest of the wet, then incorporate the dry. Allow to rise 30ish minutes, shape into balls (about 12), and throw into a pan. Cover, and allow to rise for an additional 45 minutes. Cook at 375 for about 20 minutes.

This is an excellent starter recipe for dinner rolls. They are mild in taste and you can add pretty much anything to get them the flavor you like. Garlic, more sugar for a sweet roll, herbs - use your imagination!

Pizza Crust (again)

In my search for the perfect pizza crust, I think I've finally hit gold.

This is STICKY. But oh so freakin good.

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
Sprinkles of the following:
Red Pepper flake
Onion Powder

Dump it all in the bread machine, set to knead (or pizza if you have that setting). I tend to make this the morning of, and let it rest all day in the fridge (after first rise), you can even rest it overnight.

Preheat oven to 380.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle your baking sheet liberally with cornmeal. Place dough on pan and brush with a good olive oil, then add your choice of pizza toppings.

Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.

My go to crust recipe now!

Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup warm milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups flour - give or take
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Dump the above in your breadmaker, set to dough. If you don't have a breadmaker, mix your milk and sugar, then proof your yeast. Add your salt, butter and eggs, then work your flour in. Knead, and let rise aprox 1 hour. After it's risen, knead down, roll into a rectangle. I don't measure mine, but the "experts" say 16ish by 21ish. Once that's done, mix the following ingredients:

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

And spread it on your dough. Roll the dough into a cylinder (long way), and using a sharp knife, cut into 12ish rolls. Place in greased pie pan, cover and let rise another 30-45 minutes. Bake in 400 degree oven for around 15 minutes, or when they start to brown.

Then, make this:
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

And slather on. Eat!

Chocolate Delight

The husbands very favorite dessert.

1 cup finely chopped pecans (pecan pieces)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 (16 oz.) container cool whip
3 cups milk
2 (3.9 oz.) pkgs instant chocolate pudding
Preheat oven to 400. Mix flour, pecan pieces and butter. Press into a 9 x 13" pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool.
Mix/ beat together cream cheese & sugar until smooth. Fold in 1/2 of whip cream topping and spread on top of cooled crust
In a large bowl combine milk & pudding mix, beat until thick. Pour over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining cool whip.

Coffee Cake

Sorry, I've been absent. Things have been rather hectic here, but I have a few new recipes to post (sans pics, sorry - my memory card reader isn't cooperating).

So here's one I made and loved.
 2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg
3/4 cupish milk - enough to add to egg for 1 full cup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan. Make the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Put mixture in the freezer to set.

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Crack an egg into a measuring cup and then fill add milk to make 1 cup, mix. Stir in vanilla. Pour into flour mixture and mix just until moistened. Spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with half of your chilled streusel.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, remove and add the rest of your topping. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Cool and eat! The half struesel mixture will have sunk into your cake, making a gooey, cinnamony, delicious center.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kitchen Tips and Tricks

I've not cooked anything super new this week, but some dessert is in our near future.

So, here are my time/recipe saving tips.

Make your own powdered sugar: Throw regular old white sugar in a blender and mix. I actually use my Magic Bullet for this and it's simple. (By the way, I tried this with brown sugar, and no dice, it's too moist).

Softening brown sugar: pop in the microwave for 15ish seconds, good as new!

Make your own buttermilk: add one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice for one cup of milk. Let it stand for 5ish minutes. Buttermilk!

Baking powder vs. Baking soda: if you're out of baking soda, you can make your own, using baking powder and cream of tarter. It's two parts cream of tarter to one part baking powder. You can also substitute baking soda for powder and cut the cream of tarter out of the recipe. If the recipe doesn't call for cream of tarter, it may effect your taste a bit.

Zesting and juicing a fruit: Get zest first! If you don't own a microplane (I don't), use a cheese grater - you only want the bright stuff, the rind is bitter, so leave that out. To juice, rub the whole fruit on a hard surface (this allows you to get more juice) with pressure for a few seconds, cut in half and squeeze cut side up over your dish.

General Bread Tips:  You'll know your yeast is proofed when you get a foamy substance on top of the mixture. To help your dough rise, put the bowl/pan that it's rising in on your stove top. Turn on the burner for a few seconds, and shut it off. The residual heat will be just enough to help it rise, without killing your yeast. If you like your bread light, mid way through cooking, throw some foil on it. 

Tips for moist cake: Cut 2ish minutes off of the recommended baking time, and insert your toothpick. When it has little bits of dough on it, but it's mostly clean, remove from the oven. It will continue to cook as it cools, and will be so moist and delicious!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tostadas. Yum. (And refried beans)

This is a 2 in 1 post. First, we're going to hit on beans.

These are regular pinto beans, easy to make into refried beans.

You just buy a bag of regular pinto beans. Take out the amount you want to make (we usually do half a 1 pound bag). Go through them, making sure there aren't any rocks. Dump them in a bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak for a good while (we usually do overnight). Once they soak up all that liquid, put them in a pot on the stove, adding some water and salt and let them simmer for several hours, adding water as needed. Presto, beans! You can also add onions/cilantro/tomatoes for easy barracho beans.

Once they are cooked, to make refried beans, drain off the extra liquid. Turn on the heat, and mash. Some people add lard/butter here, but we haven't found we needed it. The taste of the beans is good enough that you don't need to add that extra fat, but it's up to you. If they are runny, add a bit of flour and cook it good.

Here, we picked up some fresh corn tortillas from our meat market. I've not attempted to make my own, yet. Heat some oil in a skillet on medium heat, and drop a tortilla in. You want a nice, crisp finish on these. Once it's done, let it drain on a paper towel.

Scoop some beans on them, and cover with cheese, and pop under your broiler for a few minutes.

Drool. Seriously good stuff, people.

We chopped up some veggies, lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, jalapeno and dumped on as desired (the kids really liked this part). You can also top with taco meat, fajitas, and chicken.

I'm drooling here. And yes, that's a paper plate. For SHAME.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Guest Post: 7 Ingredient Honey Wheat

Hi all, I'm Jamie. Jennifer's younger sister. Since I am vegetarian (and a former vegan), Jen has asked me to contribute every now and then to her cooking blog. This recipe is my favorite sandwich bread. It's easy and delicious and easily veganized by substituting the honey with agave.

7 Ingredient Honey Wheat
(for the bread machine)

1 1/8 cup of warm water (9oz)
1 (.25) package of active dry yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
2 T oil
3 T honey
1/3 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in the order listed above in your bread machine. Set on dough cycle. When the cycle is done, take out the bread and punch it down. Roll it up and place in a greased loaf pan. Let rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes. I like to place a shallow pan with water in the oven as well. It helps keep the crust soft.

When it is done, place a towel over the top as it is cooling. This also helps to keep the crust soft. Obviously, if you like your sandwich bread to have a crisp crust, then skip this and the water step!

Then enjoy. We no longer buy bread because of this recipe. It saves quite a bit of money when you have a 2 year old who is addicted to PB&Js!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Awesome cake

'Tis not my own though, so I'm just linking it. We made it for Pia's 3rd birthday and got a ton of compliments on it. Delish!

Smitten Kitchen's Pink Lady Cake


Mmmm meatballs.


1 lb ground beef
6 ounces ground italian sausage
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Mix of spices. I use what I have on hand, which usually includes:
onion powder, garlic powder, dehydrated onion, salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes.
1 tsp parmesan cheese
1 egg
Olive oil
Garlic, baby

These are guesstimates, I usually just dump stuff in and hope for the best.

Combine the meats, egg, bread crumbs, cheese and seasoning. Heat a skillet drizzle some olive oil in there, and add the garlic. Form meatballs, and fry for a minute, to get a nice crust. Finish them off in your spaghetti sauce. We also make mini loaves of our french bread, and make meatball subs.