Monday, September 27, 2010

PERFECT CINNAMON ROLLS

I have to apologize for the picture. I had to take it indoors at 9:30 PM, so there is an awful orange cast to it, but I had to snap the pic before they were gone! On a whim yesterday, I decided to make cinnamon rolls. I have probably only made cinnamon rolls 4 or 5 times in my life! The idea to make these got in my head after seeing the post at The Sister's Cafe for Mom's Cinnamon Rolls. These are NOT Mom's Cinnamon Rolls, but they are from The Sister's Cafe. These are Perfectly Wonderful Cinnamon Rolls. Oh my, they sure live up to their name! My husband said it best when he called them "bakery quality". They were melt-in-your mouth good! I was sceptical of the dough consistency when making them ecause it was so wet and sticky, so I did end up adding one full extra cup of flour while mixing, and then used a good amount of flour when rolling the dough out. The bake time was perfect; not doughy, just super tender!

PERFECTLY WONDERFUL CINNAMON ROLLS:
makes approx. 24 large rolls
(Printable Recipe)


2 c. milk
2 cubes butter (1 cup)

2 pkg yeast (4 ½ tsp)
1/3 c. warm water
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp salt
4 beaten eggs
8 c. flour (I had to use 9 c.)


Filling: 1/2 C. softened butter
           Lots of cinnamon
           white sugar

Heat milk and 2 cubes of butter together until butter is melted. Cool and set aside. Mix yeast and warm water; let stand 5 minutes. Add cooled milk, 1 1/3 c. sugar, 1 tsp salt, 4 beaten eggs. Add 4 c. flour and mix and gradually add 4-5 additional cups flour. Dough should be firm but sticky. Cover with cloth and put in a warm place, and raise 1 ½ to 2 hours. Dough should nearly be doubled in size. Divide dough in half and empty onto floured surface and knead a little. Roll dough into rectangle, about ½ inch thick. To this half of dough, spread on ½ square of softened butter, completely covering dough. Then sprinkle a coating of sugar over entire piece of dough. Then a layer of cinnamon. Be generous with the cinnamon; this is what makes it tasty. Roll into long roll, pinch edges together and slice with plain dental floss. Place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or greased with cooking spray. Do same thing to second half of dough. Cover with a clean dishtowel (or saran wrap sprayed with cooking spray) and put in warm place, free of drafts, for 2 to 5 hours to raise--just depends-but the should be double in size. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until barely browned. Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes. Drizzle with glaze while still warm.

Butter Cream Glaze:


1 cube softened butter (1/2 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
dash of cream of tarter
1 1/2 lbs powdered sugar
scalded milk or cream


Add all together...adding milk a little at a time, alternately with the powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. For cinnamon rolls, it needs to be a little thinner than regular icing.



Sunday, September 26, 2010

SOUTH BEACH DIET "MASHED POTATOES"

Nobody in my family follows the South Beach Diet, but my husband does try to limit his "starchy" carb intake most of the time. These "potatoes" are actually cauliflower that has been pureed to mimic mashed potatoes. I can't say that if I was served these, I would be fooled into thinking they are really potatoes, but they worked for me as a substitute. Would I make them again? Yes. Often? No.

SOUTH BEACH DIET "MASHED POTATOES"
(Printable Recipe)
4 servings

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 cloves garlic
2 cans reduced sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives

1. Combine cauliflower, garlic and broth in large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 12 minutes.
2. Reserve 2 Tbsp. of the cooking liquid, then drain cauliflower and garlic. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth, adding liquid, if necessary, to moisten mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, stir in chives. Serve warm.

Monday, September 20, 2010

BROWNED BUTTER FROSTING

I have heard about this frosting before, but have never tried it until tonight. Wow! I never knew simply browning the butter could change the flavor of the frosting so much. I was using it to frost cupcakes for my daughter's birthday party, and was nervous that it wouldn't hold up. I just figured it would be real runny because of the butter being melted instead of just softened, but it turned out perfect. I was able to pipe it onto the cupcakes and it held its shape even after setting out for over an hour. I think this would be especially tasty on some fall recipes such as pumpkin cookies or a spice cake!

BROWNED BUTTER FROSTING
(from The Sister's Cafe)
(Printable Recipe)

1/3 C. unsalted butter
3 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 + Tbsp. milk (I ended up using about 3 Tbsp)

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until delicate brown in color. Remove from heat and let cool.  Mix in powdered sugar. Add vanilla and enough milk to make a spreadable consistency.

Friday, September 17, 2010

LIGHT MULTI GRAIN QUICK BREAD

I still haven't found the charger to my camera battery, and NO I haven't got my new camera either; however, I resorted to an old digital camera that hasn't been used in a while. The quality of the photo is not great, but at least it's something to look at, right? I was in a bind this morning, as my kids have wanted a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast for the past few mornings and I kept promising I would make some bread, but as of this morning still hadn't got around to it. I quickly googled for multi grain quick bread and found this recipe here. I must say, it turned out better than I expected. Of course we had to cut into it before it could cool down completely, therefore the texture in the picture looks a little "sticky". I was afraid it wouldn't be very flavorful, but I was wrong. The raisins add a good amount of sweetnesss. I made a few modifications to the original recipe; since I did't want whole raisins in this bread, I pureed them. This was really quite tasty with a spread of peanut butter!

LIGHT MULTI GRAIN QUICK BREAD
(Printable Recipe)

1 cup of water, boiling
1 cup of dates or raisins
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 cup of natural bran
1 cup of whole wheat flour (or you could use graham flour)
1 cup of rolled oats
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of milk (it called for 2% but I only had 1% so I added a few Tbsp. of half and half
1/4 C. egg beater (optional; original recipe didn't call for this)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Grease and flour the pan unless using a non-stick variety.
Pour boiling water over the dried fruit used. Add the baking soda, mix and wait for five minutes, then puree in blender or food processor.


Sift together the remaining ingredients and add to the softened dates or raisins. Mix until all is combined.


Pour the batter into the pan. Bake until done, approx. 50 minutes 


Serve this light, healthy multigrain quickbread as a snack or with a meal.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BATTERY CHARGER M.I.A.

So, My battery charger is gone; nowhere to be found. And, without my charger, my camera is useless! This might mean I have to get the new camera I've been dying to get for quite some time now, darn :) So, until I get this figured out, I probably won't post anything new because what's a food blog without yummy photos? Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

LUAU SLOPPY JOE

My husband isn't a huge fan of sloppy joes, so I rarely make them, but when I saw this recipe at One Lovely Life, I had to try it. The sweet addition of pineapple takes this sloppy joe to a new level. My husband even commented more than once on how good it was. It's almost even better the next day, which is good because this makes a lot.

LUAU SLOPPY JOE
(Printable Recipe)

1 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef or ground turkey ( I used turkey)

2 slices bacon, diced
salt & pepper
1 medium sweet onion, diced (I only used half)
1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 c barbecue sauce
4 Tbsp tomato paste (I didn't have this so just added more tomato sauce)
1/2 c brown sugar (I used slightly less and it was still plenty sweet)
1/4 c soy sauce
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 c diced pineapple (I used canned pineapple tidbits)
Buns, to serve




Directions:


In a large saute pan, brown ground beef and bacon together over medium heat. Remove meat from pan and drain any fat.

In same pan, cook onion and bell pepper until tender. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Return meat to pan and add tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, and tomato paste. Stir well. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine and taste.


Simmer about 10 minutes or until thickened. Add in pineapple and heat through.


Serve on your favorite buns.



Friday, September 10, 2010

MINI NUTELLA MARS OR OREO CHEESECAKES

 Wow! I had somehow forgotten how much I like cheesecake until I made these. Not only do they taste amazing, they are so cute! Mini desserts are dangerous for me because somehow I end up eating several because my thinking is, "These are so little; one more won't hurt." So, make sure there are plenty of people around to help eat these so they're not staring at you for breakfast in the morning!


MINI NUTELLA MARS CHEESECAKES  
(adapted from Picky Palate)


(Printable Recipe)

CRUST:
1 Cup ground Vanilla Wafers



2 Tablespoons granulated sugar


2 Tablespoons butter, melted


1/8 teaspoon salt




FILLING:
8 oz softened cream cheese


1/4 Nutella


1/2 Cup sugar


1 egg


2 Tablespoons heavy cream or Half and Half


1/8 teaspoon salt


4 Fun Size Mars Bars, chopped

TOPPING:
1 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips


2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream or half & half


2 Fun Size Mars, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cookie crumbs, sugar, butter and salt into a bowl; mix to combine. Spray mini cheesecake pan or mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon 1 scant Tbsp. of cookie mixture into bottoms of pan and press with back side of Tablespoon. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.


2. Reduce heat to 300 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer, beat cream cheese and Nutella until smooth. Beat sugar, egg, cream and salt until well combined. Slowly stir in chopped Mars. Evenly spoon batter into each baked crust. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until cheesecake is set. Let cool for 2 hours, then remove from pan using butter knife to loosen, if needed.


3. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth. Stir in cream until smooth and glossy. If needed, return back to microwave for 15 seconds or so until smooth. Spoon over tops of cakes then top with a slice of Mars.

MINI OREO CHEESECAKES

1.  Prepare crust as above, substituting Oreo cookies for Nilla Wafers.
2.  Prepare filling as directed above, omitting Nutella and increasing cream cheese to 12 oz. and substitute crushed Oreos for chopped Mars.
3.  Prepare topping as directed, substituting crushed Oreos for sliced Mars.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

SUPREME CHICKEN ALFANO

This is one of my all-time favorite chicken recipes! The recipe comes from The Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse in Jackson Hole, WY.  I've never eaten it there, but I don't have to, it's good enough made at home.


SUPREME CHICKEN ALFANO


(Printable Recipe)

4 (6-8 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

Flour (for dredging)
¼ C. clarified butter (To clarify butter, melt and pour into a glass measuring cup. The butter will be separated. Use only the clear part and discard the cloudy part, so to get ¼ C. you will have to melt a total of slightly more than ¼ C. to account for the cloudy part you will throw out.)
4 slices swiss or muenster cheese


     1. Dredge chicken breasts in flour


     2. In large sauté pan, over medium heat, sauté chicken in ¼ C. clarified butter for 4-5 minutes, turn   chicken cook another 4-5 minutes. Top each with a slice of cheese.


To sauté pan, add:


1 ½ Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 ½ Tbsp. shallots, minced
6 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts (don’t leave these out! To toast; place them in a dry skillet over medium low heat and toss with spatula until they turn slightly golden.)
6 Tbsp. olives, chopped
6 Tbsp. fresh tomato, diced and seeded
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
¼ C. heavy cream or half and half
Salt and pepper to taste


     3. Cook the above sauce in pan until reduces in volume by half, and chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately with sauced draped over chicken.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

SHRIMP CAKES WITH AVOCADO CORN SALSA

I am one of those unfortunate people who does NOT like fish or any kind of seafood. Period. Over the years I have tried to get myself to like it, but I just can't seem to make it happen. I've never even tried shrimp because the texture alone is enough to make me gag. The big problem with all of this is that my husband and kids LOVE fish and seafood and could eat it for every meal without complaint! I thought this recipe would be a good one for me to try shrimp because it is chopped in the food processor, thus altering it's very unappealing texture.  I actually ate 1/3 of a shrimp cake, not only without gagging, but kind of, sort of, liked it.  My husband, who like I said loves seafood, said this is a recipe that has to be on the regular rotation from now on. You could also make a mini version of these and serve as an appetizer.

SHRIMP CAKES WITH AVOCADO CORN SALSA
(recipe from The Wicked Noodle)


(Printable Recipe)

1 lb. medium uncooked shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 C. red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 C. green onion, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/4 C. fresh cilantro, chopped
3/4 C. panko bread crumbs, divided
1 C. fresh corn niblets (or frozen if out of season)
3/4 C. avocado, diced
1/4 C. cilantro, chopped
3 Tbp. red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. mild pepper such as Anaheim (or hotter, if you like heat!)
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Place shrimp in food processor and pulse 8-10 times; leaving a few good size chunks
2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper to pan, saute 3 minutes. Add garlic to pan, saute for one minute. Place bell pepper mixture in a large bowl. Add shrimp, green onions and the next six ingredients (though egg), stirring well. Stir in cilantro and 1/4 cup panko.
3. Divide shrimp mixture into equal portions. Dredge both sides of patty in remaining panko. They like to try to fall apart, set the patty in the panko, then pat some on the top and sides. Chill at least one hour.
4. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add cakes to pan; cook 4 minutes. Spray the top of the cakes with cooking spray, then flip and cook another 4 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan, cover and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining cakes.
5. To prepare salsa, combine corn and remaining ingredients.
6. Serve immediately with shrimp cakes.

Friday, September 3, 2010

BLUEBERRY BANANA BREAD

Why did I wait so long to try this recipe? It is SO good. My daughter has been begging me to make banana bead for quite some time, but I have felt obligated to making zucchini bread instead because it's been staring me in the face, and it's free. I would have never thought to pair blueberries with banana bread for some reason, but they work so well together! I also love the fact that there's minimal amount of oil in the bread, making it healthier than a lot of other banana bread recipes. One thing I just learned is that you don't want the peel of your bananas to be too brown or it will make your bread have a bitter taste. Good to know!

BLUEBERRY BANANA BREAD           Makes 1 loaf
(Adapted from Baking Bites)

(Printable Recipe)

1 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. white wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. minus 4-5 Tbsp. sugar (original recipe called for 1 C. but mine was plenty sweet with less)
3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/4 C.)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 1/3 C. fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease (and flour, if desired) a 9x5 loaf pan.
In medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In large bowl whisk sugar, oil, bananas, vanilla & egg until smooth. Add in flour mixture and mix just until combined and no streaks of flour remain.
Gently fold in blueberries using a spatula or swooden spoon.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out with jut a few moist crumbs.
Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack to cool completely before slicing.