Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Perfect Dinner Roll

I made these for Thanksgiving this year, and let me just say they are amazing. I have never been really good at making rolls, but I am getting better and this recipe made me look like a bread artist. Chris said they are now one of his favorites. Honestly, give these rolls a try they are fantastic. This recipe came from the kitchen cafe.

*Makes 12 rolls*

1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (quick rise yeast)
3 cups all-purpose flour (I've had great results using half white, half wheat flour, also)
1/2 cup instant potato flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

Whisk water, oil, sugar, and yeast together in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup until the yeast dissolves. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or by hand, mix flour, potato flakes, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt until well combined. Add water mixture in a steady stream with the mixer on low (or stir in by hand) until the dough comes together, about one minute. Knead the dough until it is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Knead the dough briefly until it forms a smooth ball.

Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about an hour and a half. (For a quicker rising method, before you start making the dough, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. When the oven has reached 200 degrees, turn the oven off. Place the covered bowl in the oven and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.)

Punch down the dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces (divide into quarters and cut each quarter into thirds). Form each piece of dough into a ball by lightly cupping the dough in the palm of your hand and rolling it on an unfloured or ungreased surface in a circular motion until it forms a smooth ball.

Transfer to a parchment-lined or lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (about an hour). (Again, you can return to the warm oven and let rise for 20 minutes for a quicker method.) If you are making them the night before, do not let them go through this rise, instead transfer to the refrigerator. Take the rolls out 2 hours before baking to allow them to come to room temperature and rise.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush rolls with lightly beaten egg and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve.

Homemade Granola

I love granola. I have never made it homemade though, and let me just say, I know love LOVE granola. This is the best granola recipe ever! It is way better than anything I have ever had before. Chris loves this too! I think I might add raisins to it next time, because I love raisins, but other than that, it is perfect just the way it is. It doesn't get soggy in milk, which is the way I like it, and it smells divine while cooking. Seriously, the whole house smelled amazing! It makes a lot and stores well so I made the whole batch so we can have this for upcoming breakfasts. Thank you sister Cafe for yet another wonderful recipe.

3 ¼ cups Oats (Old Fashioned or Quick—any combination)
1 ¼ cup white wheat flour-freshly ground if possible
1 1/3 cup shredded coconut
¼ cup flax seed (optional)
1 cup or more coarsely chopped almonds and/or pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/3 cup water
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
Preheat oven to 300. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, flax seed, coconut and nuts. Set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, butter, and water and heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is bubbly. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture together until smooth, and then stir in the salt, vanilla and spices. Pour mixture over the oats mixture and stir will to coat. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
Spread mixture on a large baking sheet, separating it into irregular clumps with your fingers, and allowing space between clumps for the hot air to circulate. Slide it into the middle of the oven and bake until the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir to break up the mixture into medium sized clumps. Return to the oven and bake again for 15 minutes before stirring again. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the granola is uniform golden brown and completely dry—this usually takes me about 45 minutes . Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an air tight container.

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

I had leftover pumpkin and leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving, and so when I ran across this recipe, I knew I just had to try it. Oh my Goodness! It is so good. Chris and I are not cranberry people, but in this bread, we ate our fair share. This bread is delicious and smells incredible! It freezes well and makes great gifts to neighbors if made in the small loaf pans. So, give it a try, if you aren't too sick of pumpkin things yet.

4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
4 cups sugar
4 ½ cups flour
2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 cups cranberries, fresh ( I chop in food processor)

Preheat oven to 350
In a bowl combine eggs, pumpkin puree and oil. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add cranberries and mix well. Divide dough into 2 big loaf pans, and 1 small one . Bake for 50 minutes.

Heidi's Note: I halved the recipe and just made it in one large loaf pan. As a result, I had to increase the time spent cooking by 10 minutes, so mine cooked for 1 hour rather than 50 minutes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I cannot remember what blog I found this recipe from, but it is delicious! There are a lot of versions of this soup in blog land, but this particular one was the simpliest and easiest, in my opinion, so for those reasons I chose this version. Oh boy, this is good soup! Chris said it is now one of his favorite soups! Even Miss Lex ate this. Trust me, everytime Lex eats something I make these days, I take note because it does not happen a lot right now. I loved it as well. It is good comforting soup just right for a chilly fall night. The garnishes really make this soup out of this world, so don't skimp on those.

6 medium russet potatoes
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
4 cups milk, divided (I used 2%, the recipe calls for whole milk, but personally, I don't think it matters)
2 (14 oz) cans chicken broth (I used stock, just because I think it adds more flavor)
1/2 bunch green onions, sliced plus a little more for garnish
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese plus more for garnish (I used sharp cheddar)
1 (8 oz) carton sour cream, 1 cup is equivalent to 8 oz
pepper to taste (I used 1/2 tsp.)
6 slices cooked bacon, chopped, garnish

Peel, wash, and chop four potatoes. Place in a pot, cover with water, and boil until soft, about 15 minutes. When soft, drain water and mash with one cup milk.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, and stir continuously for at least one minute. Slowly whisk in three cups milk and the chicken broth. Stir until thick. Reduce heat to med-low and add cheese, sour cream, mashed potatoes, pepper, and green onions. Do NOT bring to a boil after sour cream has been added.

Bake remaining two potatoes in the microwave until soft, (make sure to poke them with a fork before cooking). Chop the cooked potatoes and add to soup. Simmer for an additonal 5-10 minutes. Serve with chopped bacon, extra shredded cheese, and green onions. serve immediately.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Crock Pot Beef Tacos in Homemade Tortillas

Chris and I love Mexican food! But, sometimes I get bored with the same old, same old thing. Well, I saw this recipe over at Picky Palate and thought I would give it a try. I love that it simmers in the crock pot so that all the flavors have a chance to mingle and get good! We really enjoyed this! The meat has such a nice flavor to it. I halved the recipe for our little family and I still have some leftovers. I also made my mom's homemade tortillas to wrap up all the beef goodness and it was a perfect dinner for us! I garnished these tacos with shredded iceberg lettuce, sharp cheddar cheese (cabot brand is best), salsa, avocadoes, and sour cream. It was delish!

source:Picky Palate Blog

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 anaheim chili peppers, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt with Parsley (I just used regular garlic salt)
1 Cup Herdez Mild Salsa, or your favorite brand
1. Place oil into a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, peppers and garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in beef, salt, pepper and Lawry’s. Cook until browned. Stir in Salsa then transfer to crockpot on low heat. Let cook on low for 2-3 hours* or until ready to serve. Right before serving, stir in fresh chopped cilantro if desired*.

*: I did not add the cilantro and it still was great! I also cooked my beef for 3 hours, I believe two hours would not have been long enough.

8 servings

Momma Farrelly's Homemade Flour Tortillas
5 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup shortening
2 cups water

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut shortening into flour either with a pastry blender, two knives, or I use a potato masher, tip from my mom that works for this really well, until crumbly.
Add 2 cups water, knead dough on floured surface. My mom does this by hand, but I knead mine in my kitchen aide for about 3-5 minutes, it works great! Divide dough in half. (I only used one half for my family and it made about 8 tortillas, rolled pretty thin. I took the other half of dough, made 8 more dough balls, rolled each ball in wax paper and placed them in a freezer ziplock bag. My mom has never froze the dough, but I did tonight, so I will let you know if it works well being frozen).
Roll each dough ball out as thin as you would like and then lightly brown in a dry skillet over med-high heat, just a couple minutes per side. Be very careful, they can burn easily if not watching. then, all done. Place favorite toppings inside and enjoy!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

This is Y-U-M-M-Y! When I was cooking it, Chris kept walking in saying, "It smells yummy, but it doesn't look yummy!" I kept saying, "Alright, alright, it will be great!" Well, Chris and I both agree that it not only smells yummy, it tastes yummy as well. And, once the sauce is mixed with the penne it looks yummy too! This is really good. Lexi ate it and her little friend, David, loved it as well, they are 2 and 3 years old people, so that is great that they would eat it. It is a unique twist on pasta. We love mexican food, especially chicken enchiladas, and we love pasta so for us the combination was a match made in heaven. Give it a try if you are sick of the same old pasta dishes. It is worth it. Oh, I need to add, that it is really easy to make as well. It was not a lot of prep and did not call for fancy smancy ingredients, so it is a great weeknight meal.

Serves 6 to 8
*Plan Ahead: the recipe calls for cooked chicken so use leftovers or plan enough time to cook the chicken beforehand.

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded ( I used two and next time I will use 3, we felt it needed a little more chicken, I also cubed mine)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4-ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 (10-oz) can green chili enchilada sauce (I used mild)
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce (I used mild)
1 can large black olives, cut in half
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
16-20 oz. penne pasta (Depending on how "saucy" you want the pasta)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, until pepper is barely tender. Add the cooked chicken, green chilies, spices, enchilada sauces and olives. Let the sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Add the sour cream and cheese and heat through, until the cheese is melted (but don't boil!). Pour the sauce over the hot pasta. Garnish with extra sour cream, cheese, diced tomatoes, green onions or crushed tortilla chips ( we garnished with sour cream and cheese and it was just fine).

Note: I used a 14.5 oz box of penne, so we had leftover sauce. I am freezing the sauce so that I can use it later. So, it freezes well, just so you know.
souce:Kitchen Cafe

Monday, November 15, 2010

IHOP French Toast

I love french toast! I think it is my all time favorite breakfast food, and it has been, ever since I was little. Well, I love thick french toast. Normally, I make french toast on Texas Toast, but lately it has been hard to find at my grocery store. So, when I came across this recipe, which calls for French Bread, I thought I would give it a try. Oh boy! It was so so so so good! Pure bliss for me! The coconut syrup only added to my joy. So, try this for breakfast sometime, it is worth every bite!

2 eggs
½ c. milk
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 T. flour
6 slices of thick sliced French bread

First beat eggs, then add remaining ingredients with electric mixer. Dip both sides of bread and place in hot buttered pan. Flip over when browned. Serve with Coconut Syrup.

Coconut Syrup
As you must know by now (since I include this syrup recipe with every breakfast post I make!) this is my all time favorite syrup, and we ALWAYS serve it with hot breakfasts, whether it be waffles, pancakes, crepes or french toast. It’s unbeatable!

7-8 T. butter
¾ c. buttermilk
1 c. sugar
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp coconut extract

Place butter, buttermilk and sugar in a pot. Then turn stove on medium and stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil one minute. Remove from heat and add soda and flavoring. It will bubble up; just continue to stir and give it a few minutes for the 'fizz' to reduce before serving.
source:Sister Cafe

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

These muffins are great! You have to eat them cold, though. Chris could not wait and ate it warm and he said it was gross. Well, let them sit for a while until they get cold, and they are amazing! Chris agrees. Really, these are a must eat! I have decided though I need to work on my streusel making skills, because that part wasn't as great as I would have liked, but if you do it right you will be in Heaven! My friend, Erin, sent me her pumpkin cream cheese muffin recipe and it is quite different than this one, so I cannot wait to try hers and see which one comes out on top. So, for now, make these and soon I will let you know if there is a better one to make.

Source: My Kitchen Cafe
*Makes 24 muffins

For the muffins:
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice*
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

For the streusel topping:
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar and whip until smooth. Form into a log on plastic wrap or greased foil, making sure that the diameter is small enough to fit into the well of a muffin pan. Wrap the log up tightly and freeze until slightly hardened, 1-2 hours. (I froze mine for 45 minutes because I was in a rush, and it worked out fine)

To make the muffins, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. In another large bowl combine the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar and pumpkin puree. Mix until well combined. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

To make the streusel topping, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together with a pastry blender or two forks until crumbly.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two muffin pans with paper liners. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well 1/3 of the way with batter. Remove the cream cheese log from the freezer and slice into 24 equal slices. Place a slice on top of the batter in each muffin well and gently press (don't press all the way to the bottom but just slightly into the batter). Divide the remaining muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups on top of the cream cheese. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the top of the muffin (about 1/3 of the way down) comes out with moist crumbs. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

*My tip: if you don't have pumpkin pie spice, use the following combination: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cloves. Mix together and you have the equivalent of 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Best Sloppy Joes Ever!

Sloppy joes are not the prettiest of food, but they are sure good when done right. I have had a lot of good sloppy joes in my day, but this one I made tonight for dinner is my all time new favorite. It took less than 30 minutes to make and it is absolutely delicious. The best part is all of the ingredients were things I always have on hand, so it was very inexpensive as well! So, for a fast, yummy weekday meal you have to give these a try!

Source: Sister Cafe

1 lb ground turkey or lean ground beef (I used extra lean ground beef)
1 onion, chopped
3/4 c. ketchup
2 T. brown sugar
1.5 T. mustard
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. worcestershire sauce

Chop onion and assemble ingredients. Brown ground turkey/beef and onion in a large frying pan. Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix well. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, just so sauce can thicken and flavors can mingle a bit. Serve on hamburger bun or whatever you would like. Voila!

*I almost always toast the buns with cheddar cheese slices under the broiler and then slop the joe on top. It is very yummy this way!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chewy White Chocolate, Chocolate Cookies

I made these Monday for our FHE night treat and I am so glad I did! These were to die for! They are very rich though, so I was satisified after two cookies, which is saying something of the richness because normally I can throw back more than that :) I tried freezing some too so we didn't over do it and by today, Wednesday night, they are all gone, even the freezer ones. So, they are addicting as well. Anyways, enjoy these yummo cookies!

Chewy White Chocolate, Chocolate Cookies
from http://www.pickypalate.blogspot.com/
1 c butter, softened
1 c white sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
1 1/4 c dutch cocoa (I used good European dutch cocoa, kind of expensive, but worth it)
2 tsp baking soda
2 c white chocolate chips
Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and salt. Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda then gently mix into creamed ingredients. Fold in white chocolate chips. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
* It can be hard to tell when these cookies are done but make sure you don't overbake them. I took mine out at 8 minutes and they were soft and chewy (but not doughy) even after cooling. YUM!

Pumpkin Pancakes

I made these yummo pancakes for dinner tonight. They were a big hit! Even, Lexi, yes Lexi ate two whole pancakes! We put apple cider syrup all over them and they sure were good! They like melt in your mouth kind of, anyways, you need to try these for Breakfast or Dinner or even lunch. They will please you. They are just perfect for the fall! And, I am posting the syrup recipe with it because the flavor combinations were insanely good. I think I posted the apple cider syrup recipe before, but I cannot remember and am too lazy to check so you will get a repeat if I have already posted. Enjoy!

Apple Cider Syrup {Perfect over Pumpkin Pancakes}
source: sister cafe blog
3/4 Cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 TBs cornstarch

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 cups fresh apple cider (or juice would work)

1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup butter

Mix sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg well. Add apple cider and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, use within a week or two.

My Favorite Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

2 cups flour

3 Tb brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground all spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup buttermilk (I do an overflowing 1/2 cup)

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 eggs

2 Tb canola oil

2 Tb vinegar

In one bowl mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, oil and vinegar. Combine dry ingredients separately and them stir into pumpkin mixture just until combined. Heat your pan or griddle (lightly butter or oil if it is not seasoned), using about 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot with apple cider syrup.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shredded Sweet Pork Salad: Cafe Rio Style

Okay, I have a confession to make. I have never eaten at a Cafe Rio restaurant. Even living in AZ and visiting Utah, I have never been inside one. I know, shame. However, I have had their sweet pork salad, it was at a RS meeting I went to once. And, I have had it in people's homes that have made the knock off recipes. So, even though I haven't been to the actual location, I know what it is suppose to taste like. Well, this knock off recipe is the BEST in my opinion. This pork is delicious and so easy since it is cooked in a crockpot all day. We had friends from the ward over for dinner to try it with us and they loved it too! Making all the elements was a little time consuming, but it was good. I have always wanted to try making it myself and now I can say I have. So, even if you have had versions of this before, try this one and I am sure it will be your new favorite too! I think I might even make just the meat and rice and just have that for dinner on its own. Those two things were my favorite part. Enjoy!

Assembling your salad:
Toast a large tortilla sprinkled with cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar) under the broiler until slightly crisp. Then layer chopped romaine, rice and beans, shredded pork, pico de gallo, guacamole (I made homemade), and crispy tortilla strips (I didn't worry about this and it still was great). Drizzle on dressing, sprinkle with cotija cheese (again, I used extra sharp cheddar) and garnish with a lime wedge...and voila! Dinner is served! Yummy!

Shredded Sweet Pork
3 lb pork roast (I used pork tenderloin)
1 c brown sugar
1 c Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tb dried minced onions

Cook all ingredients in a crock pot on low all day (abt 8 hours). One hour before serving, remove roast and shred it. Dump out all cooking juices and place shredded pork back into crockpot and add...

1 c brown sugar
1 c red enchilada sauce

Cilantro Lime Rice
3 c water*
3 c Minute rice*
4 cubes chicken bouillon
4 tsp garlic, minced
1 Tb canola oil
2 Tb fresh lime juice
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1/2 onion
1 can green chilies

Blend cilantro, onion, and chilies in food processor. Bring water to boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked. *I hate Minute Rice and never buy it - you can substitute regular rice, just adjust the water to rice ratio accordingly.For mine, I used 2 cups water to 1 cup rice.

Garlic Black Beans
1 can black beans
1/3 c tomato juice
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
1 tsp cumin
2 Tb canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb chopped cilantro

Heat oil then add cumin and garlic until garlic begins to pop. Add rest of ingredients and serve warm.

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
3 tomatillos, peeled and quartered
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
1 pkg dry buttermilk ranch dressing
1 c fresh chopped cilantro
6 green onions with ends, chopped (I might add less next time, like 4, 6 was a little much, I think)
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
3 tsp sugar
1 jalapeno, sliced thin - add to taste (I used less than half of a big jalapeno) It gets spicy fast and the longer it sits, the spicier it gets, so don't be liberal with this :)

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

I made homemade guacomole that was amazing! For the recipe, go to my post on Crispy Southwest Wraps (vegetarian) under the Mexican tab. Delicious!

Source: The Sisters Cafe Blog, of course!