Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls


A stand mixer was something I always knew I wanted.  I would say, "In the future, when I have a bigger kitchen to store it."  I knew it was a great tool to have in the kitchen, but it wasn't like I was feeling inconvenienced because I didn't have one.  

Little did I know!

Last October, my husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.  Yea!  And one of his gifts to me was to finally get me a stand mixer.  

My life changed that day.  

I'm not kidding.  

When I say I wasn't feeling inconvenienced or anything it's because I didn't KNOW how amazing these things are!  It's like having a handy helper in the kitchen.  I'm in love.  I've used it almost every single day since I've gotten it.  Everything from making these amazing cinnamon rolls to shredding chicken to making a cheese ball.  

One of the first things I made was my first-ever cinnamon rolls.  Wow... why didn't I get a stand mixer years ago?  These were awesome!



Cinnamon Rolls



Ingredients:

Dough:
1 cup of warm whole milk (110ºF)
2 eggs at room temperature (put them in a bowl of room temperature water to speed up that process)
1/3 cup of margarine (melted)
4 1/2 cups of bread flour (or more)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of dry yeast

Filling:
1 cup of brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
1/3 cup of unsalted butter, softened

Frosting: 
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
3 oz of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup of butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
 1 small pinch of salt
drops of water

Directions: 

Using your stand mixer, pour in the warm milk and add dry yeast and 4 teaspoons of sugar (taken from the 1/2 cup of sugar you will use later).  Whisk quickly to mix and cover with a kitchen towel for about 10 minutes. 

Once it is bubbly and puffed up, attach the hook attachment and mix on low speed.  Add melted margarine, eggs and remaining sugar.  Now start adding the flour and salt, one cup at a time.  You may end up using more than 5 cups of flour.  Let the mixer work the dough on the slow speed for about 10 minutes.  Do this until the dough does not stick to the bottom of the bowl.  Or you can check it by getting a small piece of the dough and squeezing it between your finger and thumb.  If it doesn't stick, the the dough is ready.  

Place plastic wrap over the top of the dough (touching the dough) to cover it.  Let it rise for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.  Keep it in a warm place.  I put it in near the dryer.

Sprinkle some flour over a clean surface and put the dough over it.  You'll need to stretch the dough using a rolling pin.  Shape it to about 16x21 inches in a rectangle.  Now spread the 1/3 cup of softened butter all over the dough. 

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle this over the dough.  The butter should hold the mixture in place. 

Now roll the dough VERY TIGHTLY, the long way.  Then cut the dough into 12 pieces.  Cut in half first, then half of that then half of that...and so on. 

Lightly grease a 9x13 metal pan and place the rolls inside.  Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes or until they double in size.  Keep in a warm place. 

Bake rolls at 350º for about 15 minutes until golden brown. 

While baking, make the frosting:

In your stand mixer, add the cream cheese and butter and whip with the whipping attachment until they are evenly combined.  Add the vanilla and then the powdered sugar.  You will need to add a few drops of water to help it combine.  

Spread the frosting over the rolls once they come out of the oven, while they are still warm. 





Baked Salmon with Tomatoes and Green Beans

It's taken me a very long time to convert to eating salmon.  The only fish I usually eat is sushi.   And I only eat the safe stuff that has cream cheese in it too.  But, knowing the health benefits of eating fish, I make sure to serve it to my family regularly.  This all-in-one dish is an easy way to get an entire meal prepared and it includes salmon.  Bonus!


Baked Salmon with Tomatoes and Green Beans

 
Ingredients:

A couple handful's of grape tomatoes, sliced
A couple handful's of green beans
Salmon (as much as you think you'll eat)
Butter
Olive Oil
Garlic and Herb dry seasoning

Directions

Lay the tomatoes on one side of a casserole dish, salmon in the center and the green beans on the other. 

Drizzle olive oil over the veggies and place a few dollops of butter (or margarine) over each section and sprinkle with the Garlic and Herb dry seasoning. 

Bake at 350º until the salmon is cooked through.  About 20-30 minutes. 

**The first few times I made this the green beans needed more time than the salmon, so now I saute the green beans a bit before I put the in the dish so they'll be ready in time.  I also take aluminum foil and cover just the green bean side to help them cook faster.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

What is up with my blurry picture?!  

It doesn't even matter. 

This pasta is amazing!  

This is one of those pastas that you could keep in the "company is coming over and I need something to serve" arsenal.  


Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Ingredients:

1/2 lb Penne pasta
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tablespoon of your favorite all-purpose seasoning
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour and 1 tablespoon flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, in oil, diced
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup Italian seasoning bread crumbs

Directions

Cook the Penne according to the directions. Leave a bit undercooked because they are going to bake in the oven and you don't want mushy pasta.

Preheat oven to 400º

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. 

Dice chicken into small pieces and season with the all purpose seasoning.  Cook in a skillet until cooked through. 

In a large pot, or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add flour and garlic, whisk and cook for about 1 minute.  Gradually add milk while whisking and bring to a simmer.  Be sure to whisk frequently until the sauce thickens.  

Add tomatoes and cook for about a minute.  

Take of heat and add mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. 

Add chicken and pasta to sauce and season with salt and pepper.  Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and bread crumbs. 

Bake about 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly. 

Cream Cheese Cucumber Wraps

    
These are a tasty variation of a deli sandwich! 

 I love the hint of dill!  

 Cream Cheese Cucumber Wraps





                          
Ingredients:

Tortilla 
Cream Cheese
Deli Meat
Cucumbers
Dried Dill Weed
Onion Powder

Directions:

Warm the tortillas just enough so they are pliable.  Let the cream cheese soften so it spreads easily.

Spread cream cheese over the surface of the tortilla, sprinkle with dill and onion powder.  Lay down some deli meat and sliced cucumbers.

Roll tightly and enjoy! (Add fresh avocado or alfalfa sprouts as a bonus!)


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Crock Pot Potato Soup

Sometimes I make dinner and I wish there were more people around to eat it because I can't believe how amazing it tastes. And it always seems to be the simplest meals that I feel this way.  Makes me wonder, why do I always think the long, complicated recipes will be the best tasting?  

Simple really is better.  

The proof is in this soup!

**And on a side note:  This is similar to "Funeral Potatoes" or as my family calls them, "Heavenly Potatoes" only in a soup version, so if you are a fan of these type of potatoes (you know you are) then you'll LOVE this soup. 

Crock Pot Potato Soup


Ingredients:

1 bag of cubed frozen hash browns
1 can of cream of chicken soup
2 cans of chicken broth
1 package of cream cheese
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix together the cream of chicken and chicken broth and put in crock pot.  Add onions and potatoes and season with some pepper. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. 

 Cut the cream cheese into small pieces first and allow to soften, then add to the crock pot and turn to high.  Cook until the cream cheese is melted and can be stirred into the soup smoothly. 

Season with salt and pepper and top with shredded cheese.

Or, my favorite, spice it up with some Tabasco sauce!




Thursday, November 28, 2013

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake

This is so easy and so good!  I love how it had the tomatoes added in, but then again, everything with tomatoes tastes better, doesn't it?

This makes a large portion, so I'm keeping it in mind next time I sign up for a potluck.

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake



Ingredients:

1/2 pound of rigatoni
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 (10 oz) package of frozen spinach, thawed
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced into small pieces
1 (14oz) can of Italian-style diced tomatoes, do not drain
1 (8oz) package of chive and onion cream cheese, softened
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375º
Cook the rigatoni according to the packaging directions. 

In a frying pan, saute the onions in oil until soft and tender. Set aside. 

Drain the spinach well by wrapping it in a towel and squeezing out the excess water. 

Mix pasta, spinach, chicken, tomatoes, cream cheese, cheese and salt and pepper.  Stir until well combined. Spread evenly in the casserole dish and sprinkle with extra mozzarella cheese. 

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 15 minutes or until bubbly. 




Monday, November 25, 2013

Spinach Artichoke Pizza

I could probably eat an entire bowl of spinach artichoke dip by myself.  The problem is, I can't justify doing that as "dinner".  But slap it on a pizza crust and my problem is solved! 

Yea!
  
It's the little things.

Spinach Artichoke Pizza


Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp cream cheese
 3/4 Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
6 oz fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed and squeezed dry, roughly chopped
2 pizza crusts (unless you want the topping to extra heavy)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425º (or follow the directions on container)

In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together the cream, butter and cream cheese until melted.  Combine well. 

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and garlic powder.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes. 

Place the spinach in a frying pan with a tablespoon of water and cook over medium high heat until wilted. Then place on a clean towel and wring out all the liquid.  Then add the spinach to the sauce and stir to combine. 

Spread the sauce over the crust. 

Spread the artichoke pieces over the sauce and top with mozzarella cheese. 

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.