Friday, January 29, 2010

Rice Pudding

There are some things your family does that you've done all your life, that it is normal to you. I will pass this oddity on to our boys. It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out that rice pudding is a dessert to most people. Not in my family. In my family, it is a side dish to meatloaf. Yes, meatloaf. I remember Ray thinking it was odd the first time he had it at my parent's house as part of meatloaf dinner. Now I think he cringes because it is sweet and it is part of the meal, not dessert. Although, the boys did like the meatloaf and scalloped potatoes so much that they ate like Albert (from Bread and Jam for Frances) and made it all come out even.

I love this recipe because of its history. My Mom got it from her Mom. I tell this to the boys when I make it for them. My Grandma made this, just like their Grandma makes it. She refers to her small gold casserole, and I know exactly what she is talking about. I *know* she uses the casserole for other things, but as a kid, I swore that was the rice pudding dish and that was all it was for. I will post the recipe as I got it from my Mom, who got it from her Mom.

Rice Pudding

4 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup rice
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Spray casserole with Pam before putting in ingredients. This fits in my small gold casserole, 1 3/4 quart dish. Mix together right in baking dish. Dot with 1 tablespoon butter.

Bake 2 hours at 300 degrees. Stir occasionally if you are home.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Scalloped Potatoes

Ray jokes that I have my "specs"  (specifications) and I will admit I do, but to me, some foods just go together. They make each other taste better. I can't cook a meatloaf without having scalloped potatoes. It was how my mom always served it when I was growing up.

I remember my Grandma making these potatoes. I remember my Mom making this potatoes. The taste is the exact same when I make them. For whatever reason, when we were kids, my mom started calling these Scalloped Bo-Bos. My boys looked at me a little funny when I said what I was making. I had to explain about why. I think it helps that my Mom, Brother and I also say Vanil for vanilla. Don't ask me why. I can't even remember. I can hear both of them saying it if I close my eyes. I have gotten the boys saying Vanil. :)

Back to the food. With the help of a food processor, this is an easy dish to make. It is a matter of thinly slicing potatoes and onions and mixing with a few other ingredients. We only had some fingerling potatoes left from our CSA, so I used those versus going to the store. Since they were so small, I scrubbed them really good and didn't peel them.

These are good served warm, but they are also good cold out of the refrigerator.

I will share the recipe the way my mom gave it to me.

Scalloped Potatoes

Peel and slice about 8 potatoes and 2 onions. (medium size)

Mix together with about 1/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. I do it with my hands because that is the way my mother did it.

Put in  3 or 4 quart casserole sprayed with Pam. Cover with milk. Put 3 pats of butter on top. (~ 1 tablespoon)

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. If you are doing something at 300 degrees in the oven, you can do it at that temp for 2 hours, i.e. Rice Pudding.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf

It isn't very often you take a bite of meatloaf and say WOW! Even more rare for your husband to take a bite and say WOW! This is a WOW! meatloaf. This meatloaf is just that good.

The only reason I even made this meatloaf was because I don't have the recipe for my Mom's meatloaf. She and my Dad were out of the country, (aboard the Queen Mary 2, on their way across the Atlantic on their way to Dubai!) so I couldn't call and get it from her. I will eventually, because that is a good meatloaf too. It was cold and gray, and we were craving some comfort food. So, I looked to my cookbooks. Yes, I prefer to page through a book versus looking online. Ray thinks I am crazy for that! I knew PW would not steer me wrong.

I adapted the recipe a bit. The original recipe called for 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped, fresh parsley and I am just not so sure of that in meatloaf. I also didn't feel comfortable substituting dried. I had everything else, which is another nice thing about this meatloaf. The meatloaf came together very easily.

I am not sure if I mentioned before that earlier this fall we purchased 1/4 of an organic, grass-fed cow. The meat is very lean. It is the beef I use in all of our cooking. So, even though I lined the bottom of broiler pan, I didn't need to because we didn't have a lot of grease. You probably would with anything else- well, maybe not ground sirloin. I would do it anyway just in case. I also used center-cut bacon, which is less fattier than regular bacon.

The tomato gravy is so good! It really makes the meatloaf, so don't skip it!

The cooking time in the cookbook was WAY off for my oven. I know my oven is heating to temperature, so I think PW has a super-powered oven. We ended up eating the meatloaf from the ends, then cooking it quite a bit longer. I adjusted the cook time in the recipe below.

The one thing I would do differently next time, is cook the meatloaf for 15-20 minutes without the tomato gravy on, to get the bacon crisped up a bit. The texture was a little off to me.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 cup milk
6 bread slices
2 pound ground beef
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon Lawry's season salt
Fresh ground black pepper
4 eggs, beaten
8 -12 thin bacon slices

Tomato Gravy:
1 1/2 cups ketchup
6 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Hot Sauce, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour the milk over the bread and let it soak in for several minutes.

Then, combine the ground beef, milk soaked bread, Parmesan cheese, salt, seasoned salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the beaten eggs.

With clean hands, mix the ingredients until combined.

Form into a loaf on a broiler pan.

Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking underneath.

To make the tomato gravy, pour the ketchup in a small mixing bowl, and add the brown sugar, dry mustard, and Tabasco. Stir until combined.

Pour one third of the tomato gravy over the meatloaf. Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another third of the gravy over top. Bake another 45 minutes.

Serve the remaining tomato gravy as a dipping sauce.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chicken and Broccoli

There is nothing better when you are sitting at the table and one of your boys say "We should put this on our list to make forever"!

The only reason I picked this recipe to make was that I had some grilled chicken to use up and couldn't think of anything to make off the top of my head. We also some broccoli that needed to be used up. Perfect!

While eating this, Ray and I both could see why kids would like this. It was a very simple flavor - with chicken and broccoli, served over rice. It is a solid dish that comes together quickly. It helps that we have a rice cooker so once I decided to make this, I got that started and didn't have to think about that. Having my chicken already cooked, this came together in about 15 minutes. So keep this in mind if you have leftover chicken or even turkey hanging around.

Chicken with Broccoli
Adapted from Cheap, Fast, Good

1 can (14 oz) chicken broth, divided
1 1/3 cups rice
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts -- or a couple cups chopped, cooked chicken
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
16 oz broccoli, chopped, fresh or frozen  (I used fresh)
cheddar cheese, shredded

Bring 3/4 cup chicken broth and 2 cups water to a boil. Add the rice, stir, and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Heat the oil in in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Chop the onion and add to skillet. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Add to skillet. Season with black pepper. Stir often. Add the garlic to cooking chicken. If using pre-cooked chicken, add to skillet once onion is softened.

After 5 to 6 minutes, or chicken is cooked, add the cream of chicken soup and the remaining 1 1/4 cups broth to the skillet. Stir until the soup is blended and the sauce is smooth. Add the broccoli to the pan. Cover and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.

Serve the chicken, broccoli and sauce over the rice. Sprinkle with cheese.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Crockpot Turkey with Cranberry Sauce

I got this recipe years ago and it is a favorite. It is SO easy and relatively inexpensive. I stock up around Thanksgiving when they put the turkey breasts and cranberry sauce on sale. I have changed my method a little bit over the years. At first I just dumped the ingredients on the turkey breast. Now, I mix them together before putting them on the turkey breast. The hardest part, is getting the sauce packet out of the frozen turkey breast. But really, that isn't so bad in the grand scheme of things. This recipe does take a little planning in that it takes about 10 hours to cook.  I have done it in about 9 hours, but someone needs to be around to change the heat setting a couple hours later.

Crockpot Turkey with Cranberry Sauce

1 frozen, bone-in turkey breast (4-7 pounds)
1 can cranberry sauce, I use jellied
1 packet onion soup mix

Place frozen nturkey breast in crockpot, with sauce pouch removed. Mix cranberry sauce and onion soup mix. Spoon over turkey breast. Cover and cook about 10 - 12 hours on low.

If using a smaller size turkey breast, i.e. a  4 pounder, it will be done faster than a 7 pounder. I have gotten into the habit of using a 7 pounder and will start it on high for 2 - 3 hours, then take it down to low, and cook total time 10 hours. I have a 6-Q round crockpot and 7 pounds is a large as I can go.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oven Baked Beef Stew

My friend Sandy shared this recipe. It is so, so good. It has become a Fall/Winter favorite. It is something I save for the weekends, because it takes a couple of hours to cook. It is started on the stove top and then moved to the oven.

The chopping doesn't take too long, and most of it can be done while the beef is browning. The flavor is well balanced. It doesn't seem to matter what type of beef you use - I've used an English Roast as well as the stew meat. It comes out delicious every time.

It has been about a year since I made this last. I knew the boys had forgotten it, Ray did too at first, but I knew they would love it once they tasted it again.I love being right. I was asked to put this on our list to make forever. The boys asked for seconds too!

This makes a large batch of stew. There was enough left over for a couple servings for lunch as well as a big bowl for the freezer for some harried weeknight we need something quick. The stew freezes and reheats well.

I had between a 1/4 and 1/2 bag of green beans and corn in the freezer, so I threw those in too. It normally doesn't look this corny.

Oven Baked Beef Stew

My friend Sandy

1 tablespoon. oil
2 pounds stew meat, cut in 1½" cubes
1/3 c. flour or 1/4 c. cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
2 teapsoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon marjoram
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
10 oz. beef  broth
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups cube peeled potatoes (I use closer to 3)
1 cup sliced celery
4 medium carrots, sliced (2 cups)
3 small onions, chopped
1/4 tsp. pepper
16 oz chopped green beans, frozen (optional)
16 oz corn, frozen (optional)

Preheat oven to 325º. Heat oil in 4 quart Dutch oven over medium. Brown beef cubes in oil.

Add flour, salt, garlic powder, marjoram and pepper. Stir in tomatoes, broth and wine; mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add remaining ingredients, mix well.

Cover; bake for 2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring twice during baking. If using the corn and/or green beans, add to the dutch oven with an hour left in cooking. I always use both.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

I got this recipe e-mailed to me from Martha Stewart. It makes a small batch, and Ray likes Oatmeal Cookies, so I thought what the heck. Well, the boys weren't exactly excited for Oatmeal Raisin. I told them we could add some mini m&m's to half and then they were game. Hmm, wonder where they got that from!

These are definitely a healthier tasting cookie. Ray commented on it without knowing. These cookies are made with oil versus butter, which is makes them crispy, not chewy. We all liked them. The boys were happy to take them in their lunch. They are good, for a healthy cookie.

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 cup dried  raisins
1/4 - 1/2 mini m&m's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours and baking powder; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add flour mixture, and stir to combine; mix in oats and raisins.

Using two tablespoons of dough per cookie, roll into balls; place on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned, 15 to 17 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

Cool 5 minutes on sheets, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 5 days.

Friday, January 15, 2010

One-Pan Whiskey-Flavored-Pork Chops

I first came across this recipe back in January of 2001. We really enjoyed it. But, I don't repeat a lot of things. I like to cook, obviously, and enjoy making new recipes. So this got buried. The next time we had it was in 2004, when my mom was staying with us to help out right after C was born. Sadly, I think we have had this once or twice since then!

I saw some nice boneless pork chops at the grocery store and just picked them up to have on hand and pop them in the freezer. Then I remembered this recipe. (My print-off is in a stack of tried-and-trues in a drawer in the kitchen that I went through a number of times over the holidays, so I most likely saw it then.) I got them back to the fridge to thaw out.

I didn't exactly have all the ingredients in the house. We didn't have any fresh mushrooms but I did have some dried porcinis that I used instead. That was fine, but the fresh does taste better and I would recommend using those. I used the soaking water in place of the water to help oomph the mushroom flavor. I also had probably half cup of sour cream so I used all that I had. The recipe does taste better with the full amount.

The boys enjoyed these, as do Ray and I. They don't take a lot of hands-on time, but you do have to plan a ahead because they take an hour to bake. Don't let the half cup of whiskey scare you. The alcohol burns off.

One-Pan Whiskey-Flavored Pork Chops
Cooking Light, January 2001

2/3 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops, trimmed ( I use boneless most often)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1/2 cup whiskey

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl.

Sprinkle pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork; saute 5 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove pork from pan. Add onion and mushrooms to pan; saute for 3 minutes. Carefully add whiskey to pan; cook for 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir sour cream mixture into pan. Return pork to pan; spoon sauce over pork.

Wrap handle of skillet with foil. Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wilted Spinach with Garlic and Chiles

I love spinach. It is something that I didn't really eat much of until I was an adult and cooking on my own.

This recipe comes together so quickly. It is also nice because you can easily remember the recipe without having to look it up and you can also tweak it to your tastes.

Since this recipe has crushed red pepper, I do add that after I have removed a portion for the boys. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way, and sadly, do not always remember. Remeber to decrease the amount of red pepper if you do this. Another lesson I have learned the hard way.

Wilted Spinach with Garlic and Chiles
Vegetables Every Day

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - I use less
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes or 1 small dried red chile, minced
2 1/2 pounds spinach, flat-leaf, washed and shaken dry

Heat the oil in a deep stockpot. Add the garlic and hot red pepper flakes and saute over medium until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Add the spinach leaves and stir to coat evenly with the oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

Cover and cook; stirring occasionally, until the spinach is partially wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove the cover and cook another minute or two or until any liquid in the pot has evaporated. Adjust the seasonings and serve immediately.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cranberry Catalina Chicken

While I was helping out at C's Halloween party, his teacher mentioned to the parents helping out, the great leftovers she had for lunch. She told us about this recipe, that she had made the night before. She said it was so good and so easy. I knew it was something I had to make.

It took me a while to try it, but once I did, we were hooked. I have made it a couple times since then. It is something that we all enjoy,  and best of all, easy to make. It takes 4 ingredients ( chicken, Catalina dressing, cranberry sauce and onion soup mix) and about an hour of your time.

We prefer the whole berry cranberry sauce to the jellied. I think it is a little too sweet with the jellied. I also use Fat Free Catalina with no problems. This recipe is also very flexible. I have used varying amounts of chicken, 1 - 1 1/2 pounds and could easily use 2 pounds. As long as the chicken is laying flat in the baking pan it is fine. There is plenty of sauce. This would probably be good with pork too.

Cranberry Catalina Chicken

1 - 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can (15 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce, or jellied if you like
1 packet onion soup mix, I use Lipton
8 oz Catalina dressing, regular or Fat Free

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cranberry sauce, onion soup and Catalina dressing.

Put chicken in baking dish and pour dressing mixture over the top. Cover with foil.

Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes more.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

We all love cinnamon rolls in this family. C & H especially. But really, what kid doesn't?

I go back and forth between this recipe and the Overnight Cinnamon Rolls. These rolls are not as rich but the glaze is. I really need to do a side-by-side comparison because it seems the one that is my favorite is the one I most recently made! On the plus side for these rolls, is that we will have one pan for breakfast and the other gets put in the freezer, with half the glaze, for another morning.

I have gotten into the habit of making these rolls to give as gifts to teachers and friends around the holidays. When I give these as a gift, I give them frozen and I also include a tub of the glaze. They have been well received and I include instructions on how to store, let them rise and baking.

The dough comes together easily. My boys love adding the ingredients to the mixer and then turning up the speed. I do it all in the stand mixer. The boys do love giving it a knead or two, so of course I let them. They love the smell of the dough and everything coming together.

I usually make these the night before we have them for breakfast. I follow the directions through placing the rolls in the pan and covering with plastic wrap. Then, I put the covered rolls in the fridge for a slow rise. The next morning, I pull them out for about half an hour to sit at room temperature while the oven heats up.

When I am giving them as a gift or putting a pan in the freezer, I usually let the rolls sit out, covered with plastic wrap, about 30- 45 minutes before covering with foil and putting them in the freezer. The night before the rolls will be eaten, I put them in the refrigerator to thaw/slow rise, about 8 - 10 hours. If using frozen glaze, pull that out and put that in the fridge as well. Again, let the rolls sit at room temperature about half an hour while the oven heats up.

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg

1 cup 2% milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Replace paddle with dough hook. Add 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Bring speed up to medium and knead for about 4 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Or, after a ball is formed in the mixer, turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.

Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.

Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).

Spray two 9-inch baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

I have a quirk, in that I love the taste of buffalo tenders, boneless wings etc. but I do not like to eat wings. I know, weird. In loving all things "buffalo", I knew I would like this dip. 

I served this as part of an appetizer spread. This was definitely a hit. I served celery sticks, tortilla chips and Fritos alongside. 

Besides being delicious, this dip is great because it can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

There are A LOT of different versions out there. After reading reviews, I tweaked the recipe enough that I now have my own version. It was super easy to make. Leftovers also tasted just as good warmed up as the dip first dip from the oven.

Molli's Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 pound of chicken breast, poached and shredded 
2 8-oz blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
3/4 - 1 cup pepper sauce ( such as Frank's Red Hot)
6 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled (or use crumbles)

Preheat oven to 350º

Mix cream cheese, ranch and blue cheese dressings. Add Monterrey Jack and mix until well blended. I used my hand mixer.

In an 8x11 pan, spread half of the cream cheese mixture. Top with half of the shredded cheese. Top with half of the pepper sauce, depending on how hot you want the dip to be. Layer half of the blue cheese. Repeat all the layers. 

Cover with foil and bake 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Serve with celery sticks, tortilla chips and/or corn chips.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork

Everyone needs a few go-to recipes for a quick weeknight meal. This is one of those. It is tasty, easy and healthy! We all love it so much that I try to keep ground pork in the freezer so we can whip this up when we need a quick dinner. The rest of the ingredients we have in the pantry. This recipe doubles very easily and reheats well.

In the winter,we use frozen green beans, and during the summer months, we use fresh. Both are just as good.

Ray and I like the heat of the crushed red pepper, but the boys do not. We usually take out their servings then add in the pepper. We also added a little ground cayenne as well and that added a nice layer of heat.

Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork

Adapted from: Cooking Light 4-06

1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon peanut oil
12- 16 oz cut green beans, steamed
2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic (generous)
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce (generous)
2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and next 3 ingredients; cook 3 minutes or until pork loses its pink color, stirring to crumble.

Add green beans to pan.

Add garlic, hoisin and next 3 ingredients to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cheesy Potato Casserole

I love a good, cheesy potato casserole. This recipe comes together quickly, because there isn't much prep work involved. Other than finely dicing an onion, it is an assembly. The onion gives a nice background flavor. I used seasoned salt in place of regular.

I am sure you could use low fat ingredients (soup, sour cream, cheese, less butter).

I mixed up the potatoes in the morning and baked them just before serving at dinner. They also reheat very well.

Cheesy Potato Casserole

1- 2 lb bag frozen diced hash brown potatoes
1/2 cup butter

1 onion
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
salt (seasoned) and pepper, to taste
1 pint sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup

Preheat oven to 350º

Microwave potatoes for 5- 7 minutes to thaw. 

Finely dice onion and put in a 9x13 pan. Slice butter and add to pan. Microwave butter and onion until butter is melted.

Add the soup, sour cream,cheese, seasoned salt and pepper to the butter and onions. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add in potatoes, mix gently to not smash the potatoes.

Bake at 350º for 45- 60 minutes.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Spiced Life Family Sweet Rolls

Laura, from The Spiced Life, posted about her family sweet rolls after Thanksgiving. They are similar to the roll recipe that I use, so I had to try them.  If you click the link, Laura wrote a very nice post about the family tradition, how they roll them etc. 

These rolls are excellent. The dough was very easy to make. I  followed Laura's suggestion and used mostly buttermilk and a little half-and-half. I also used about 11 cups of flour. I used my stand mixer to bring everything together. It was filled to the brim!

I had a small operator error. I used a sheet pan for the rolls and as you can see by the picture, I had a pan FULL of rolls. The rolls around the edges were fine, but the ones in the middle needed a bit more time to bake. Next time, and there will be a next time, I will use a sheet pan and a half sheet pan so there is more space for the rolls to keep their shape and bake up better. I will also try Laura's shaping method. She did tell me it wouldn't hurt to just roll the dough into balls and bake them off.

The Spiced Life Family Sweet Rolls
Laura's mom's grandma (goes back at least to the 1920's)

2 cups scalded milk (or buttermilk--I use a splash of cream and then top off with buttermilk)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 t salt
1 cup sugar
3 scant T dry active dry yeast (or 2 packages)
1 cup lukewarm water (100 - 120 F)
6 well beaten large eggs
10-12 cups flour (less for moister roll; can sub a little white whole wheat flour if desired)

Begin heating the milk or buttermilk on the stove in a small saucepan. In a large mixing bowl, place the butter, salt and sugar. When the dairy is bubbling around the edges and thoroughly hot, pour it over the butter/sugar. Set aside for the butter to melt and the mixture to cool (for the first time recently it did not melt the butter--if this happens, place in the microwave for 30 second increments).

In the meantime, stir the yeast into the lukewarm water. Set aside to get foamy.

When the butter mixture is cool enough to insert your finger into it comfortably, add the eggs and mix thoroughly. Then add the foamy yeast/water. Mix again. Add 2 cups of flour and beat thoroughly for 2 minutes. The dough with be lumpy at first, which is fine. Then finish adding the flour, 1 cup at a time and mixing to completely incorporate in between each cupful. The dough will begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl, but otherwise will remain quite moist and sticky. If you are not sure how much flour to start with, I recommend 11 cups--next time you can adjust to preference.

Cover the mixing bowl with a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise. Every time the dough threatens to rise over the edges of the bowl, i.e., it has about doubled, punch it back down. About an hour before you want to serve the rolls, clean a large workspace and generously dust it with flour. Grab a handful of dough (it will be sticky), place it on the counter, generously dust the top with flour, and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Using a sharp knife, slice a pie wedge shaped piece out of it (you do NOT need to be particular about this) and roll it, starting at the wide edge, into a rustic butterhorn. Place it on a greased cookie sheet. How close you place the rolls is up to you. I like them to rise into one another, because I like the soft, fluffy middles the best. My sister would prefer they be spaced apart to get more crust. When you have filled a pan, cover it with a damp or floured towel (either will work) and set aside to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

20 minutes in, preheat an oven to 375 F. You can do one tray in the center, or 2 trays in top and bottom thirds, rotating halfway through. Bake for 17-22 minutes, until browned. Serve as hot as possible.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.
 - Benjamin Franklin