Thursday, October 31, 2013

Crock Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos

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Crock Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos

Yes, we had Mexican food again. We could really eat it every night for dinner. We love it! Making the chicken in the crock pot makes this meal super easy. Here’s how I make these—I use the same chicken recipe from my taquitos, found here, without adding the refried beans and cheese to them.

Chicken:

  • 2 lbs. chicken breast meat, fresh or frozen
  • chili powder, garlic salt, cumin to taste (or a can of enchilada sauce)
  • water

In Crock-Pot combine 3 cups of water, a generous amount of chili powder and garlic salt, and 1 tablespoon of cumin. Stir to incorporate. Place chicken breasts in Crock Pot and cook for 2-3 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low. Once chicken is cooked, remove breasts into a large bowl and shred with 2 forks. Chicken should fall apart. Once all the chicken is shredded add 1/2 c. of the stock from the Crock Pot into the shredded chicken and mix to keep it from getting dry. Set aside

Guac:

  • 2 –3 ripe avocados
  • chili powder
  • garlic salt

This recipe sounds simple but it is the best guac. It is so flavorful. Just mash up your avocadoes with a fork, creating the texture you like (we like it a little chunky), then add chili powder and garlic salt to taste. A little garlic salt goes a long way. If you don’t have garlic salt just omit garlic and use a little cracked sea salt. So so good!

Other toppings:

Crock Pot Shredded Chicken TacosCrock Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Prayer List

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Prayer List Printabls I’m so excited to finally have this list put together and to share it! For years I’ve been keeping little scratch pieces of paper next to my bed or notes on my phone of things to pray for—there are always friends, family members, things going on in the world, in our family’s life, and all around us that I want to be praying for and without a list I inevitably miss many things that are important. I’ve slowly been adding ideas to this list as I feel the need to pray for specific things, and also in the words of our church’s leaders from General Conference. Specifically at this last General Conference they suggested praying for noticing opportunities to serve others and for the missionaries in our ward, by name each day. I loved those suggestions and added them to my list. I have mine laminated now and next to my bed so I can ponder on these things. It’s so exciting to feel like you can say prayers for these things that really matter to you, and (hopefully) not leave anything out.

Also I’d love to hear if there is anything I missed. Obviously this is just a start but for me it’s a great way to remember those things that are important to me. Click on the image above or here to be redirected to a printable PDF file of this. The printable has two smaller lists so they are easier to carry around.Laminated Prayer List

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Easiest and Tastiest Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

It has been freezing here the past week… like in the 30s. Oh Minnesota. I’ve found myself making a lot of soup. This was a soup I made this past weekend for a Halloween party with friends. It is seriously delicious! I always find myself not loving tortilla soups—whether at a restaurant or if someone else makes them because they are usually too runny and feel like they’re just filled with lots of dumped in ingredients (canned beans, corn, etc.).

A woman at church handed out this recipe after she’d made it for a church event. Hers was the first tortilla soup I'd ever really liked! I adapt her recipe slightly to make it a little thicker. It is delicious!! And the consistency never fails… due to the secret ingredient: nacho cheese dip. I know it sounds gross but the texture is so much better than real milk or cheese which can curdle in soups. Add this to your winter recipe list! It can easily simmer in the crock pot all day or be thrown together in 5 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken (use all meat, shred meat in chunks, removing skin and bones)
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 cans of chicken broth or 2 chicken bouillon w/ 2 c. water
  • 1 (32 oz.) jar salsa
  • 1 jar of nacho dip or cheese dip
  • 8 oz. of grated cheddar cheese or MORE tortilla chips, a teaspoon of sour cream for topping

Saute onion in butter until transparent. Add diced green pepper and continue cooking until soft. Add hot sauce and stir together. Put everything in crock pot except the grated cheese, chips, and topping. Add more broth until desired thickness. If using the crock pot, cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. If using a stovetop pot and you don’t have as much time, let boil for 5 minutes then simmer for 15-20 minutes. The tsp of hot sauce gives it a nice kick but feel free to add more if you like. We love it spicy!

The best thing about this soup is how easy it is, but how it still has so many flavors… the salsa adds so many seasonings and flavors easily to the soup without having to add them each individually. Enjoy!!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Monday, October 28, 2013

Parmesan Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

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Parmesan Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

I have such a weakness for carbs, especially bread—warm and soft right out of the oven! I had to put off making this recipe for a couple weeks after I found it because I was worried I’d eat the whole pan. When I made dinner for a friend I thought it was the perfect time to make it so I could give some away. I adapted the recipe by using my Lion House Roll recipe (I’m sure the recipe they give for the dough is great but the Lion House Dough never fails me so I decided to use it!). Then I followed their instructions for dipping in butter, and then garlic and parmesan, and then baking. Also I had to bake them about 7 minutes longer than the 15 minutes stated on the recipe, but it may have been because I loaded all the balls of dough into one 9x13 pan—there were 2 layers of dough by the time I was done so it was pretty thick. You could easily make two smaller pans of this. Paired with spaghetti it was perfect!

Here is the link to the recipe I got the idea from.

Lion House Dough:

  • 2 tablespoons dry active yeast (the recipe calls for 2 but I use 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1 egg
  • 6 cups flour

Butter/Parmesan/Garlic Coating:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used dry garlic powder)
  • 1 cup very finely shredded Parmesan cheese (I used the dry parmesan)

I cut 1 inch chunks of dough with my scissors, dipped them in the coating, and threw them in the pan.

Parmesan Garlic Pull Apart Rolls Parmesan Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

This how the pan looked after we devoured it!Parmesan Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

Friday, October 25, 2013

Easiest Egg Salad

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Egg Salad Lately I’ve been on an egg kick… After a good workout or even just after picking up my kids all day I’m really in the mood for some protein. I’ve been making them fried, scrambled, and my favorite egg salads. I like my egg salads with a little mayo, mustard, salt and pepper. Just simple and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 3 tbsp. mayo
  • 1 tbsp. mustard (dijon or yellow)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I love eating it plain or on some thick wheat bread with lettuce and tomato. Enjoy! IMG_1828

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Coconut Banana Bread Muffins

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Coconut Banana Bread Muffins

I love coconut oil but had never tried it in banana bread. The other night I was making dinner for a friend who can’t eat dairy and wanted a treat to go along with dinner… these were perfect. No buttter, just coconut oil! I have to say this is my new favorite banana bread recipe. It’s amazing. It tastes so clean and sweet and simple. It’s hard to describe but the coconut is amazing and really enhances the banana flavor in a light way. Most of the time when I make banana bread I use lots of cinnamon and nutmeg—which is great—but a completely different flavor than clean and simple banana bread. Try this recipe please!! It’s so so good! I made a loaf of banana bread and a batch of muffins out of it. Also the batter seemed a little thick so I added 1/4 c. of applesauce.

The original recipe is here, called Heavenly Coconut Banana Bread. And yes it is heavenly!

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. coconut oil
  • 4 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • (1/4 c. applesauce – my addition)

Preheat oven to 375 and grease and lightly flour two loaf pans or muffin tins or use a non-stick cooking spray with flour like Baker’s Joy. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugars, vanilla, eggs, bananas and coconut oil and beat until creamy and smooth.

Add flour and baking powder and beat at low speed for about a minute, until you have a creamy batter. Stir in your coconut. Pour into greased muffin pan/loaf pan. Do not fill all the way to the top because the bread will raise slightly.

If baking in loaf pans, bake at 375 for one hour (I thought 50-55 mins was best). Insert a tooth pick into the center of the bread (I use bamboo skewers too) and if it comes out clean, your bread is done. If baking in muffin tins, check your muffins at 40 minutes, adjusting cook time accordingly. It usually takes me 50 minutes when using my muffin tins. (I thought 35-40 minutes was right for muffins.) *As noted, I think the times called for are too long for both bread and muffins. My first batch was a little too done. Set your time for 5 minutes earlier and check it to see. Possibly your elevation could effect it too. 

This is the coconut oil I use… from Costco. It’s the best price I’ve ever seen on coconut oil. This stuff is amazing.

Coconut Oil from Costco Coconut Banana Bread Muffins Coconut Banana Bread Muffins

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sesame Cucumber Avocado Salad

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 Sesame Cucumber Avocado Salad I’ve seen this salad floating around the internet and had the ingredients on hand the other day to try it out for lunch. It is delicious and light but with the sesame soy dressing it has a full flavor that makes it satisfying. Next time you have some cucumbers and avocadoes on hand, try this out! Here is the original recipe from Say Recipes. Whisk the dressing and drizzle on top of your chopped ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cucumbers (diced)
  • 2 avocado (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted) (I purchase these pre-toasted in a container near the spices)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Sesame Cucumber Avocado Salad

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider

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Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider

This is one of my favorite drinks of all time… every year when fall comes around and it starts getting colder I love to warm up with these. It’s a great drink too for when company comes over because you can keep the cider warm on your stove or in your Crock-Pot so it’s always ready to drink.

A couple years ago I started making these at home because they’re too expensive to buy at Starbucks! They are SO easy too. Make these for your next get-together with friends. The cider warming makes the house smell like cinnamon and apples and they are a fun treat that’s not too unhealthy.

Ingredients:

  • Apple cider or apple juice (I buy the large jugs)
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg or allspice
  • Whipped cream
  • Caramel syrup (I’ve used the coffee flavoring syrups in the past which flavor great but are a little runny so it’s hard to top the whipped cream with them—this year I got the Hershey’s caramel sundae syrup (right next to their chocolate syrup) and it is delicious!).

If you have apple juice only on hand you’ll need to spice it up. I’ve made it both ways (with cider or with juice) and you can’t taste the difference if you spice up your apple juice. Pour apple juice into the Crock-Pot or into a large saucepan. Season with cinnamon and nutmeg or allspice. If you have apple cider it doesn’t hurt to add some cinnamon too ;) Makes the house smell amazing.

Turn the juice/cider up to low heat and let simmer for an hour or so. Once it warms through you can turn the Crock-Pot down to “warm” to keep it from getting too hot before you serve it. (Also if you’re in a time crunch just warm up the cider in the microwave.) Once warm, ladel cider into a mug. Top with a generous serving of whipped cream and lots of caramel syrup. The caramel really makes this and you can’t have too much! You can even add it right to your mug of cider if you’re wanting even more caramel.

Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider

Friday, October 18, 2013

Loaded Quesadillas

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Loaded Quesadilla

Quesadillas have always been one of my favorite meals. They are good with traditional Mexican ingredients like beans and salsa inside or even with just cheese and a bunch of sauteed veggies. I love them, they are easy, and are whole family devours them so they’re definitely a staple around here. So funny how the meals that take 5 minutes to make are usually more of a hit around here for my kids than the ones that take an hour to make.

This quesadilla has refried beans, white corn and black bean salsa, colby jack cheese, and flour tortillas. One thing I do to the refried beans to give them more flavor is mix chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin in them and warm them up in the microwave before putting onto the tortilla. I like a lot of chili powder so it gives the meal a kick.

Layer the tortillas with refried beans, salsa, and then cheese on top. Heat in a large skillet on medium high on both sides until they’re golden brown, and until the cheese is melted.

We’ve also had them with leftover sweet pork, cheese and black beans; sauteed veggies, rice and black beans; green salsa and jack cheese; and more. Always looking for great news ways to make a quesadilla. This basic recipe is one of our favorites! It’s the perfect go-to easy meal. For our kids we leave out the salsa.

Loaded Quesadillas

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Crock-Pot Sweet Honey Sesame Chicken

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Honey Sesame Chicken Can you tell I’ve been making a lot of crock-pot meals lately? Sometimes they’re the only way I know dinner will be ready on time for our family!

In a crock-pot mix water, honey, soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and a couple splashes of sesame oil. The amount of each will depend on how much chicken you make. I filled my crock-pot up with chicken when I made this so I could have leftovers for the week. Go easy on the red pepper flakes as they’ll definitely add in some spice, and also go easy on the soy sauce… a little goes a long way. I don’t feel like you could have too much honey in this!

Mix together and add chicken breasts. Cook on high for 2-4 hours or low 4-6 hours. Once the chicken is cooked, about 20 minutes before you’re going to serve it, remove chicken from crock-pot but keep it on warm. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch in a bowl with a cup of water. Add this mixture to the sauce in the crock pot and whisk until incorporated. Return chicken and warm until it’s time to eat. This makes the sauce thick and like a glaze.

Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve with fried rice or plain brown rice! This chicken is so sweet and juicy. The sweet honey mixed with the small amount of spice from the red pepper flakes tastes so good together. We also agreed this would be great chicken for a homemade yakisoba with noodles and stir-fried veggies. Enjoy!

Honey Sesame Chicken

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Crispy Italian Chicken Parmesan

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ChickenParm
My husband and I love alfredo paired with parmesan chicken, so I made this with our fettuccine alfredo last week. It’s great to have the sweet red sauce next to the creamy alfredo. Also the crispy layer on the outside of the chicken makes it tasty and juicy on the inside. Try this next time you make pasta! It has very few ingredients and chances are you have them on hand.
Ingredients:
  • 4 chicken breasts, fresh or frozen
  • olive oil (for frying, or any kind you have on hand)
  • 1 1/2 c. italian bread crumbs (if you don’t have italian just use regular and add italian seasoning) 
  • 3/4 c. dry grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (I like the basil/tomato kind)
  • fresh parmesan cheese (not the dried kind)
Start by prepping your chicken. If it’s frozen you’ll either need to thaw it or let it sit for an hour or two to thaw out. I usually thaw the chicken in the afternoon when I know I’m going to make this in the evening. If you don’t have time, you can also thaw in the microwave. Once thawed, place frozen chicken in a large ziploc bag (I thaw it in there). Cover with a towel, get a meat tenderizing mallet, and start whacking the chicken! Be careful to do it evenly so they are the same thickness throughout, but the meat tastes much better when it’s a thin piece rather than a thick chunk. Leave in bag until other ingredients are ready.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and pour half bottle of marinara sauce into a baking dish (I use a pie pan, but an 8x8 pan would would great too). Set aside. Grate parmesan cheese or slice into thin pieces. Next, pour oil into your pan until it comes up about 1/2 inch in the pan. The amount will vary based on your pan size, but I use a large flat saucepan, than can fit all 4 chicken breasts. Turn on heat to medium high.
While that’s heating pour breadcrumbs and grated/dry parmesan into a low flat dish. Then whisk two eggs mixed with 3 tablespoons of water in a low flat pan (I use a cake pan). Remove a chicken breast from the bag and coat in egg wash. Once coated drudge in bread crumbs, generously coating each side.
Using tongs, place chicken into pan. Don’t stand too close as the oil will be hot and you don’t want to get burned! I’ve had many painful grease burns. Continue with remaining breasts. Once they are browned on one side, flip over. Once browned on both sides and cooked through remove with tongs and place into prepared baking pan with marinara sauce.IMG_1826 IMG_1827
Pour remaining marinara sauce on top of chicken breasts, top with parmesan cheese, and bake for 10-15 minutes to warm sauce and brown cheese. Perfect paired with some alfredo and green beans.IMG_1802IMG_1797

Monday, October 14, 2013

Homemade Copycat Sonic Ocean Water

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Sonic Ocean Water
In college my amazing roomie introduced me to Sonic Ocean Waters… Sprite mixed with their special blue coconut flavoring. Oh my goodness they’re delicious. Ever since I’ve loved finding Sonics wherever we go, just so I can get an Ocean Water. The other day I was thinking of fun drinks I could make with our Sunday dinner and I realized Ocean Water would be so easy to make. (Oh the money I could have saved by just knowing this recipe years ago!) I experimented this weekend and found the perfect recipe for them.
Ingredients:
  • 12 oz. Sprite or Diet Sprite
  • 2 tablespoons (blue) coconut syrup
  • blue food coloring
  • crushed ice
The coconut syrup can be made with coconut extract by following my tutorial here, or you can buy Torani coconut syrups too! Once you have your coconut syrup (make sure it’s cooled to room temperature if you made yours), add 4-5 drops of blue food coloring per 1 cup of syrup. Mix around until incorporated.IMG_2272
Then add crushed ice to a large cup.  IMG_2273
Pour 2 tablespoons of the blue coconut syrup over the crushed ice. Then add 12 oz. of Sprite or any lemon-lime soda. Mix and enjoy!IMG_2275

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pumpkin French Toast made with Cinnamon Bread

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Pumpkin French Toast
When I was making cinnamon rolls last weekend I had a little extra dough. I rolled it up like the other cinnamon rolls, but didn’t cut it into rolls… I put it in a bread pan and let it rise for an extra 30 minutes, then baked it up (350 degrees, 15 mins). IMG_1993
Once it was done baking, I set it aside and after it was cooled wrapped it up in some foil. I set it aside for a couple days, waiting to make some pumpkin french toast with it. It was hard to resist eating the cinnamon bread while it was in our house, but if you’ve ever had french toast with cinnamon bread you know how good it is! The middle part of the cinnamon bread (where the butter and sugar and cinnamon are all gooey) gets carmalized on the outside during the cooking process and stays gooey on the inside of the french toast. Also the homemade bread is a lot more porous than store bought sliced bread so it soaks up the egg/pumpkin mixture much better.
If you don’t want to make cinnamon bread for your french toast try one of these purchased cinnamon breads—they make such a difference for french toast. A favorite of ours is the Great Harvest Cinnamon Chip bread. Also the Kneaders Cinnamon monkey bread or most grocery stores offer a “homemade” style cinnamon bread in their bakery area.
Ingredients:
  • Cinnamon bread or monkey bread, sliced
  • 3/4 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • butter for cooking
Heat a griddle or pan (I like to heat my griddle to the highest setting which is 400 F degrees). While it’s heating, whisk together pumpkin, milk, egg, vanilla, and cinnamon. Melt butter on griddle or pan. Dip sliced bread into pumpkin/egg mixture and let soak until covered on each side. Cook on each side until golden brown.
The gooey cinnamon center is so good. Jazz up your family’s french toast! And the pumpkin and cinnamon are the perfect rich ways to make this taste like fall. We used maple syrup this time but I have tried homemade cinnamon syrup and that is always delicious too! And yes, confession we did eat this for dinner. It’s always fun to mix up dinner with a recipe that’s easy for me a crowd pleaser for the fam.IMG_1990IMG_1991

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Real Cream and Fresh Parmesan

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Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Real Cream
This recipe is definitely not diet friendly (!) but it is the only homemade alfredo I’ve made that actually tastes like restaurant style alfredo. And it is easy! So many recipes I’ve seen call for cream cheese, or mozzarella or jack cheese… while those make a yummy white sauce, the hard Italian cheeses are a must for real alfredo!! Also, for some reason it just tastes better on fettuccine than another cut of pasta. So grab these ingredients and a box of fettuccine too!
  • 1 box fettuccine pasta, cooked al dente
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh grated or shredded parmesan cheese (not the powdered kind) plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Salt/pepper to taste
While pasta is cooking, a saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted add 2 c. of cream and whisk constantly until cream is warm. Keep stirring so it doesn’t curdle and add in parmesan cheese. Continue whisking until cheese is melted into sauce (it takes a while for it to melt… I definitely had to tell myself to be patient because it was looking so creamy and gooey and good).
Once cheese is melted, add 1 tablespoon of flour to remaining cup of cream and whisk vigorously to remove all clumps. Turn heat under saucepan up to medium high and whisk in flour/cream mixture. Continue whisking over stovetop until fully incorporated and thickened. Then add salt and pepper to taste. Oh the cream is so good. It is so rich and that fresh parmesan gives is that true alfredo goodness.
Drain pasta but don’t rinse. Return to pot and cover with sauce. Serve immediately and top with more cheese and cracked pepper. And try to keep yourself from scarfing down this creamy rich goodness!
Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Real Cream Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Real Cream

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Avocado BLT Spinach Salad

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Avocado BLT SALAD There’s something about bacon and avocado together that I love. The other week a friend brought us some fresh cherry tomatoes from her garden and I thought they’d be the perfect complement in this salad. Here are the ingredients, which I just eyeball:
  • Spinach
  • Cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • Tomatoes off the vine, chopped
  • Red onions, diced or sliced in thin strips
  • Diced avocadoes Cooked bacon (I usually make a couple slices for each person eating—click here to see how I cook my bacon in the oven. It’s so much easier, cleaner, and healthier than on the stovetop!)
  • Splash of olive oil and vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
I actually don’t put a dressing on this salad, just a splash of olive oil & vinegar with a little salt & pepper. The avocadoes get so creamy when the salad is mixed up that you don’t need the dressing. But if you do prefer dressing Caesar tastes great!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls with Lion House Dough

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The Best Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Over the past 10 years I’ve made a lot of different cinnamon roll recipes. I’ve tried different types of dough, some fillings with nuts, some without, different frostings and glazes… and only in the past year have I really gotten down what I think is the BEST recipe. The dough is so fluffy and light it rises quickly and makes for the softest pull-apart bready portion of the roll. But the filling is gooey enough that while the outside layers of roll are bready and light, the inside is gooey and dripping with melted cinnamon/sugar/butter mixture. Also a cream cheese frosting is a must, but I’ve found it’s best to make it a little differently than a traditional cream cheese buttercream—so it melts better on the top of each roll. Okay now that I’m salivating (!) I’ll get into the recipe.
First off, I start with the Lion House roll recipe for the dough. Of any dough I’ve made this is ALWAYS the best. It has an egg and melted butter and powdered milk in it so the dough is super soft, and I add extra yeast so it rises quickly and softly.
Dough:
  • 2 tablespoons dry active yeast (the recipe calls for 2 but I use 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1 egg
  • 6 cups flour
Filling:
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 c. butter softened
Cream cheese frosting:
  • 1/3 c. butter softened
  • 1/2 package cream cheese, softened
  • 2-3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 5-8 tablespoons of milk, as needed
Dissolve yeast in water. Add all ingredients except 3-4 cups of flour in a stand mixer, and mix with dough hook until smooth. Gradually add the remaining flour. Turn out onto floured surface and knead gently until dough is soft and incorporated.  Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about an hour. (When you add more yeast the dough rises faster—I find my first rise only takes 30-45 minutes for my dough to double. You should try it!)
After dough has risen, punch down and knead into ball. Roll out onto floured surface. Roll into a large rectangular shape. *In the past I’d seen recipes indicating roll the dough as thin as possible to get as many layers of cinnamon roll as possible, however I’ve found that by leaving the dough a little thicker it rises much better and stays much fluffier throughout the 2nd rise and baking process. The cinnamon rolls don’t have as many layers but they are much much better!
Once the dough is rolled out, use your hands to spread 1/3 c. softened butter over dough. Then mix packed brown sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture evenly over dough. Roll dough into vertical log (notice how loosely I rolled it).Dough Prep: The Best Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Cut dough at approximately every 1 inch to make 12-18 rolls depending on how big each roll is (I made a pan of 10 and saved the extra dough for some cinnamon bread). Here’s what my rolls looked like just after cutting and placing in a 9x13 pan (sprayed with cooking spray):The Best Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Cover and let rise for 15 minutes on top of stove. Meanwhile set stove to 200 degrees F to keep the area around the rolls warm. After they’ve risen, place them in the 200 degree oven for 5 minutes, then turn the temperature up to 350 degrees F and bake for 15-18 more minutes (don’t open the oven door when you raise the temp).
While the rolls are baking, prepare your frosting. In a stand mixer whip butter and cream cheese as hard as the beater will go. Cream cheese is finicky and you have to beat it hard to get the lumps out and make sure it’s fully incorporated into the butter and whipped. Then turn down the speed and add the powdered sugar slowly, alternating with a bit of milk. Add vanilla. Continue adding powdered sugar and milk until you get a smooth consistency, slightly thinner than traditional butter cream. You want the frosting to melt easily on the rolls so it will almost be a mixture of icing and frosting—not too thin but not too thick.
Pull them out and frost immediately! I like to frost each one individually rather than slathering frosting on the whole pan at once.
The Best Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon RollsThe Best Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
The Best Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls The Best Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Monday, October 7, 2013

No Pasta Cauliflower Mac N Cheese

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Cauliflower Mac N Cheese2 I’ve seen lots of recipes lately for cauliflower mac n cheese. I was skeptical—how could a mac n cheese without pasta be good?? Well I loved this. I have to say though you can’t expect it to taste just like pasta, but it is still delicious. The mustard in the cheese sauce really made it for me.
Ingredients:
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp. mustard (any kind)
  • 1 and 1/2 c. cheese (1/2 c. reserved for top)
  • Splash of cream
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
Chop the heads off the cauliflower and steam until soft. Once soft drain and return to saucepan. Add cream cheese, cheese and cream and stir until incorporated. Add mustard, garlic powder, and salt pepper to taste. Be careful, it is delicious!
Add mixture to a baking dish, cover with remaining 1/2 c. cheese and top with pepper and then broil until bubbly. Even my husband who loathes cauliflower loved this! (I mean obviously you can barely taste the cauliflower with all the cheese ;)
imageimage