Sweet Halloween

Joseph gets really weird inklings to bake things. The day before Halloween he decided to make sugar cookies. Totally normal, right? He wanted to make them into Halloween shape cookies, bats, pumpkins, ghosts. But than his plans changed as he started looking in our recipe books for a different sugar cookie.

He started looking in our Essentials of Baking book from Williams Sonoma and decided he was going to make cinnamon rolls instead! I was a bit shocked because even I haven't made cinnamon rolls before yet. I was so proud :) And it was the first time he used yeast in a recipe and did a great job!

He made the dough at night and than when I got home I took the rolls out to get to room temperature so that by the time Joseph got home he could pop them in the oven before we went over to the in-laws house. These babies went fast! We have two left to enjoy this morning :)

Source: William Sonoma Essentials of Baking

Cinnamon Rolls

  • 2 packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk, heated to warm (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for the work surface
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Filling & Egg Glaze:
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • About 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Vanilla Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' (icing) sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup heavy (double) cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)

By Hand -
To make the dough, in a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the granulated sugar, eggs, 5 cups of the flour, salt, mace, orange zest, and butter and stir with your hand or a wooden spoon until a rough mass forms. Using a plastic pastry scraper, scrap the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough, working in the remaining flour, until it is smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes. The dough should be soft, but not sticky

Form the dough into a ball, transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

To make the filling, in a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Line a half-sheet pan or rimless baking sheet with parchment (baking) paper.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut it in half with a sharp knife or a bench scraper. Lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour. Roll out one-half of the dough into a 10 by 16 inch rectangle. Brush the surface of the rectangle with half of the melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting at the long side farthest from you, roll up the rectangle toward you into a log.

Cut the log crosswise into 8 slices each 2 inches thick. Place the slices, cut side up, in a circle, side by side and barely touching, on half of the prepared pan.

Repeat with the remaining half of the dough, melted butter, and cinnamon-sugar mixture, arranging the rolls on the other half of the pan. For crisper rolls, space them evenly on the pan.

Cover the rolls loosely with a kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm, draft-free spot until they have doubled in size and are spongy to the touch, 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, place the rolls in the refrigerator and let them rise slowly overnight.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees.

If you have refrigerated the rolls, let them come to room temperature for 30-40 minutes. Brush the rolls lightly with the beaten egg. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a roll comes out clean, 20-25 minutes (I used my nose to tell Joseph when to take them out).

Just before the rolls are ready, make the vanilla glaze. In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners' sugar, cream & vanilla until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture thickens slightly.

Let the rolls cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack, then brush on the glaze while they are still warm. Pull the buns apart and serve warm.

Bones are good!

It's been quite a while since I've cooked a whole ham and had an extra ham bone handy. Well we finally had one so I knew I had to make some ham bone soup. Boy was the wait worth it! This was so good and filling. I couldn't believe how clean the ham bone came out too. Definitely a great winter meal.

Source: My mom

Ham Bone Soup

  • 1 pound navy beans (soaked overnight)
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (or two-three fresh diced tomatoes)
  • 3 carrots, cut into coins
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
I threw all of the ingredients in the crock pot let it go on low all night and all day today. I didn't add the salt and pepper until the end. I prepared some grilled cheese sandwiches on this great rosemary and olive oil bread to dip in the soup and some garlic toast for Joseph :)

Porky Perfection

No recipe here... just wanted to share the wonderful dinner we had Monday night after cooking a honey glazed ham from Costco. It was sooo good. And since we hadn't had ham in more than a year, it really hit the spot. We paired our ham with some garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed haricot verts. I am already planning the dishes we will make with the left overs (it's a 7 pound ham!)

Taco Time!

I was craving something meaty and flavorful today. I had just finished lunch (tomato bisque soup and some chips) and I knew what I wanted for dinner... taco salad! Yup, a family favorite growing up and super simple to boot. I lost the recipe somewhere around the house so I called my mom to get the basics. I didn't reach her so I basically went by memory. I'll update the blog once I get the correct ingredients/measurements.

Source: Family Recipe

Taco Salad
  • ground beef
  • onion
  • bell pepper
  • kidney beans
  • enchilada sauce
  • tomato
  • lettuce
  • cheese (cheddar or american)
  • Fritos
Heat skillet and drizzle with oil. Strain kidney beans and place into a pot and cook on low. Add onions and bell peppers* to the skillet and saute. Put enchilada sauce in small pot and cook on low. Add beef to skillet and season (I used garlic salt and pepper). Cook until browned.

Chop up lettuce and tomato and shred cheese. Drain beef and add to bottom of a casserole or square dish. Add cheese on top of the beef, then kidney beans, then lettuce and tomato. Top with Fritos and drizzle with enchilada sauce.

Serve and enjoy!

Note: This dish does not do well as left overs so eat up!

* I know for sure that my mom doesn't do this. She puts the bell pepper on with the lettuce and tomato and I'm not sure if she adds onion. But I love the taste of cooked pepper and onion and hate raw :)

Last Minute Dessert

I really wanted something sweet to end the day but ice cream just didn't sound good (yeah, I know, I'm weird when pregnant). So I started going through my baking books and ran across a recipe that fit my guidelines... no more than 1 egg cause that's all I had in the fridge. Well... I ran across a recipe that asked for no eggs AND could serve as breakfast the next day! Yay for me!

The recipe I found was a scone recipe in Williams Sonoma's Essentials of Baking book. This is a great book. We've made tarts, pies and muffins out of this book so I knew the scones wouldn't disappoint. These baked up nice and were very moist and tasty. I left out one of the main ingredients because I didn't have any and chose not to sub anything in and they were still amazing. Oh, and did I mention that it took me less than 30 minutes from start to finish? Oh yeah!

Source: Essentials of Baking p. 110

Currant Cream Scones

For the dough:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup currants (I omitted)

For the Topping
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (fine sugar is recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place all dry ingredients into food processor and pulse 2-3 times to mix. Add butter, cut into 1/2 tablespoon pieces, and pulse for 7-8 times. Add cream and pulse until just moist.

Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and form into a flat circle, 1/2 inches in height. Cut round dough into six equal wedges and place onto a prepared pan. Top each wedge with heavy cream. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over each wedge.

Bake for 13-17 minutes or until golden brown (I baked for 15 minutes and they were perfect). Serve warm. Store in an air tight container for up to two days.

1 Year Blogiversary!

It's my 1 Year Blogiversary today!!! Can you believe I've been blogging for a whole year? I wanted to take this time to thank all of my loyal readers! I know you're out there because I know you're there :) I have to say that starting this blog was one of the best things I could have done for my marriage. It keeps me happy because I get to experiment with recipes and it keeps Joseph happy because he gets fed! Now on to the meal... nothing special for the 1 Year. Just a simple, quick meal on a week night. Here's to another year of food adventures!

Source: My Head

Penne with Meat Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • marinara sauce
  • 1 bag penne pasta
Boil water and add penne.

Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onions and garlic. Add ground turkey and brown. Add tomatoes, basil and italian seasoning to meat and cook fully. Once cooked set 1/4 of the meat aside for stuffed zucchini.

Heat marinara sauce in a pan and add meat to sauce until a nice ratio is created (your preference). Cook until the sauce is thouroughly heated and than pour over cooked penne pasta (or pasta of your choice).

Stuffed Zucchini
  • left over meat from meat sauce
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used mexican blend)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut zucchini in half and cut out the core. Chop off what is cut out of the zucchini and add to meat. Once the zucchini is hollowed out sprinkle with cheese, top with meat mixture and sprinkle with cheese again. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes.

Serve pasta and zucchini with bread or other side and enjoy!

Best Chicken Ever

I was really hungry last Thursday when I came home from work. I needed food and I needed it right away. So I looked around my starred recipes in GR and couldn't find anything that sounded good. So I decided to just jump into my fridge and make the best of what I had on hand.

I ended up with one of my BEST chicken dishes ever. Full of flavor and good till the last bite. And the chicken was just sooo juicy! You have to try this chicken... and just 5 ingredients.

Source: My head

Rosemary Garlic Chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Lots of olive oil :) (around 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup)
  • Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper both sides of chicken. Mix sliced garlic with rosemary and a good bit of olive oil and stir. Coat bottom of a baking dish with 1/2 of the mixture and place chicken over it. Than top each chicken breast with the rest of the mixture. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until fully cooked. Let rest a bit and serve with your favorite sides.

Simple Suppers

I needed something quick and easy for dinner and it needed to contain ingredients I had on hand. Joseph and I have decided that we need to clean out our pantry, fridge and our freezer to save money. Have you ever shopped in your freezer or pantry? There are tons of things that we forget about in there. I have chicken, beef, turkey, meatballs, potstickers, etc. And the list goes on! So we're going to do it. For a month. Only eating out of our home (except for perishables like milk and veggies).

So I went "shopping" and grabbed some ingredients. What was produced was quite tasty and enjoyable! The only thing I regret is that I was so hungry (blame the baby) that I didn't have a chance to take a picture. But I think this recipe is worth it!

Source: My head... with help from my pantry and freezer

Chicken Parmesan
  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4-1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • a few slices of fresh mozzarella
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and start a skillet with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Mix bread crumbs, seasonings & parmesan. Brush chicken with egg white and than sprinkle with bread crumb mixture. Fry in pan on both sides until golden.

Transfer chicken to a pan coated with olive oil and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Take chicken out and top each breast with 1/2 cup marinara sauce and top with sliced mozzarella. Bake in oven for 10 more minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

I served the chicken with garlic parmesan mashed potatoes and baked zucchini. YUM!

Pantry Creations

Joseph and I are really watching what we spend our money on. With a little one we can't go out and buy ingredients every night... we have to plan more (hard to do when cravings just hit). So tonight I went through the pantry and found some things to make dinner with. Than I went through the fridge and freezer to find other great items to mix together. What did I come up with? Check it out...

Source: My Head

Pollo Asado con CalabacĂ­n y Cebollas

  • 1 pound pollo asado
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt with parsley
  • 1 box rice pilaf
  • 1 can vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 handful shredded cheese
Start box of rice pilaf first following directions.

Heat saute pan and add olive oil. Add onion and zucchini. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Cook for about 10 minutes and than turn off heat.

Put beans in a small pan and place on low heat. Add cheese. Stir occasionally.

Heat grill pan (or BBQ) and spray with non-stick spray. Place chicken on the grill and cook on each side for about 5 minutes on each side. Once done chop chicken in small pieces and add to the pan with zucchini and onions. Heat up the chicken, zucchini & onions until everything is hot.

Serve rice, beans and chicken mix together. All should be done at the same time for a happy husband. The flavors of this meal were exellent!

Yogurt + Chicken = YUM!

So there's always this "it" recipe that everyone's trying. I am ALWAYS late to jump on these recipe trains and it doesn't change with this one.

I thought this chicken was great. I don't do skin so I took off all the skin and bits that everyone else loves in order to enjoy the wonderful, flavorful, juicy meat underneath. Joseph liked the crispiness and juiciness and also enjoyed the flavors. He was surprised that I used yogurt :) I like surprising him!

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Please click on the link above to the exact recipe I used. The only thing I changed was using regular crumbs instead of panko because I was all out of panko and didn't have time to run to the store.


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