Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

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I was just looking through my food photos and saw these cinnamon rolls pictures that I had taken a year ago.  I have no idea why I haven't posted these yet!  I have always been scared of any kind of homemade bread recipe and cinnamon rolls seemed so hard to me.  Well, I tried this recipe from Pioneer Woman's blog and they were AMAZING!  The recipe makes a lot but if you prepare them in tin pie pans they can be frozen (before baking) and you can always have them on hand.  The frosting even freezes well.  However, that is a dangerous thing to do because they are so sweet and yummy you'll want them all the time.  You could also score points with your friends and family and give some away :)  The only change I made was with the coffee in the frosting.  I personally don't drink it so I just added extra milk.  The maple extract is a must though, trust me.  Let me know how they turn out for you!  



■1 quart Whole Milk

■1 cup Vegetable Oil

■1 cup Sugar

■2 packages Active Dry Yeast, 0.25 Ounce Packets

■8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour

■1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder

■1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda

■1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt

■Plenty Of Melted Butter

■2 cups Sugar

■Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon


■1 bag Powdered Sugar

■2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring

■1/2 cup Milk

■1/4 cup Melted Butter

■1/4 cup Brewed Coffee (or just an extra 1/4 C milk)

■1/8 teaspoon Salt

Preparation Instructions

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it - overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable.  Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don't skimp on the frosting.

YUM!  Look at all of that butter! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

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Are you drooling yet?  When I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs I knew I had to try it.  This was absolutely divine!  I'd rather have this than boring old apple pie any day.  When reading over the recipe I was expecting it to be difficult but it wasn't at all.  Just make sure you are super organized and have your 4 bowls ready to make each layer.  I used store bought caramel sauce to save a little time too.  These bars are good warm, room temperature, or cold.  Yes I had them at each temperature :)  This is the PERFECT fall dessert! 


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cream Cheese Layer:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined. Press evenly into a 9X13-inch baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust.

Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.

Cool the bars to room temperature. Drizzle with the caramel topping (or plate individual slices and drizzle with topping one by one).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken with Poblano Spinach Vinaigrette

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Wow the name of this recipe is super long but I promise it isn't complicated!  I love grilled chicken.  We have it once a week during the summer months.  It is so flavorful and easy and my whole family loves it!  I came across this recipe in an ad for Kashi in my Real Simple magazine a while back.  It doesn't use any Kashi ingredients so I thought it was kind of random but it looked good enough to give it a try.  It was so delicious and fresh tasting!  I think we will be enjoying this one all year round. 


Chicken Marinade:
4 TB extra virgin olive oil
4 limes, juiced (about 2 TB)
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 TB fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
pinch black pepper
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 medium poblano pepper, roasted
1 C baby spinach, steamed for 2 minutes and squeezed to remove excess liquid
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 C cilantro, minced
2 limes, juiced
1 heaping TB Dijon mustard
pinch kosher salt
pinch black pepper

1.  Place chicken breasts between 2 layers of plastic wrap or in a sealed ziploc bag.  Using a meat mallet or heavy cast iron skillet, pound the breasts out until they are evenly about 1/2 inch thick. 
2. To make marinade: Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper.  Pour into container, add chicken, and put in fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
3. To make vinaigrette: Preheat oven to 375 F.  Lightly coat poblano pepper with olive oil.  Place in oven safe dish and bake in oven until its skin is covered by dark brown and black spots.  (About 25 minutes).  Remove from oven and let pepper cool.  Then, remove stem, skin and seeds.  Add pepper and all vinaigrette ingredients in to a blender or food processor; puree until smooth. 
4. To make dish: Heat grill pan or grill to medium high heat, add chicken.  Grill for approximately 6 minutes on once side, 4 minutes on the other, until chicken is cooked through. 
5. Place chicken on serving plate and drizzle with a few TB of the vinaigrette.  Serve with extra vinaigrette on the side.  Garnish with cilantro and lime slices if desired. 

* You can also roast the poblano pepper over an open flame on your gas cook top if desired.  Just hold it over the flame using tongs turning it over until the skin is all black and brown.  No oil necessary for this method. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

White Chocolate Blueberry Cake

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Sorry I haven't posted in forever!  July was not a good month for me personally so blogging hasn't really been a priority for me.  I've thought about it lots, though, and have many recipes that I want to share.  This White Chocolate Blueberry Cake is amazing!  I made it for Memorial Day and it was a hit all around.  It is like an extra rich blueberry muffin with frosting!  This is definitely going in my "keep" file for sure! 

adapted from Sandra Lee's recipe

Makes 12 Servings

Non stick cooking spray
1 package (18.25 oz) white cake mix
1 package (4 serving size) instant white chocolate pudding mix
1 C milk
1/2 C vegetable oil
3 egg whites
1 can (15 oz) blueberries in light syrup, drained
2 containers (12 oz each) whipped vanilla frosting
3/4 C white baking chips, melted
Fresh Blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix.  Add milk, oil, and egg whites; beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the side of the bowl; beat on medium for 2 minutes more.  Fold in drained blueberries.  Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean.  Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pans.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

In a medium bowl, combine vanilla frosting and melted white baking chips.

To assemble, place one cake layer on a serving plate.  Spread with 1/2 C of the frosting; top with second cake layer.  Frost the side and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. 

Garnish cake with fresh blueberries. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Creamy Fettuccine with Leeks, Corn, and Spinach

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Are you ready for an easy and delicious main dish?  This is it!  I love summer meals because I tend to make lighter, fresh dishes and this one was a hit all around in my family. 

Serves 4-6

16 oz fettuccine
1 TB olive oil
2 leeks (white and light green parts) cut into thin half-moons
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (or minced if you prefer)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 C corn kernels (from 1-2 ears, or frozen)
1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
1 C heavy cream
3 C baby spinach
1/3 C grated romano or parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the leeks, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the spinach, corn and broth and simmer until the corn is tender and spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes; stir in the cream.
Add the pasta, season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, and toss to combine.  Sprinkle with the cheese before serving. 
TIP ON LEEKS: Leeks tend to be pretty dirty and gritty if not washed properly.  After chopping your leeks, place them in a bowl filled with cold water and allow to soak for about 5 mintes, occassionally breaking them up and moving around a bit with your hands.  After 5 minutes take them out of the water by skimming them off the top.  Just place them on a towel to drain.  You don't want to drain them by pouring it all in a colander because the bottom of your bowl will have all the dirt in it.  Gets them nice and clean!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Buttermilk Biscuits

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I'M BACK!!!  Wow has it really been almost 4 months?  I'm so happy to finally be moved to Utah and moved into our new house.  Buying a house is even more stressful than I imagined!  I am in love with this home and especially my new kitchen.  The home was built in 1964 but the kitchen has been completely remodeled and it is a dream.  Hickory wood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, knotty wood walnut cabinets-FOR REAL!  Sounds like I'm talking about someone else's house.  Anyway, I'm out from under the mountains of boxes and paper and cooking up a storm.  
A few weeks ago Ben and I watched an episode of Bobby's Brunch on the Cooking Channel.  He made homemade buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy that left us drooling.  We used to make that all the time when we were newlyweds and I had totally forgotten about it.  How did I forget about that?!?!  The only thing different about the way I made them 11 years ago was that I always used canned biscuits.  Any kind of homemade bread product like rolls, pie crust, biscuits, etc has always been so intimidating to me.  In fact, I remember trying to make homemade biscuits back then and they were hard as a brick! 
I didn't use Bobby's recipe because I was missing an ingredient but remembered I had this one saved from a blog.  The blog is called http://www.foodpeoplewant.com/ and the writer got this recipe from the New York Times.  Let me tell you that I am a changed woman.  These were so super easy and fun to make!  I had such a feeling of accomplishment and they were delicious!  If I can make these, anyone can so try them soon.  Oh, and just a little tip on the buttermilk.  I know it's not an ingredient that is used often so I buy the biggest container at the store then freeze it in 1 cup portions.  It freezes well and you will always have it on hand.  Don't forget about my Buttermilk Pancakes recipe too!

Makes about 8 biscuits

Making your own baking powder by combining fresh cream of tartar and baking soda will produce biscuits with the most lift. Don’t be afraid of the hot oven temperature either as this will allow the heat to get on the biscuits quickly and sufficiently brown their tops. When forming the dough, mix in the buttermilk until the mixture just holds together. The last thing you want to do in this recipe is overwork the dough and ruin the biscuits flaky, buttery texture.

1/2 tablespoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons packed lard or unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces (I used unsalted butter)
1 cups chilled cultured buttermilk, plus more as needed
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Place a rack in the middle position of the oven and preheat to 500°.

Make your own baking powder by sifting together the cream of tartar and baking soda.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the lard or butter and quickly work the pieces into the flour with a pastry cutter or the tips of your fingers. The pieces should be coarsely blended and resemble large peas.

Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the buttermilk. Quickly mix the ingredients until the mixture just begins to come together. Add 2-4 more teaspoons of buttermilk if the mixture seems dry.

Immediately turn the dough out onto to a generously floured surface and quickly knead the dough about ten times until a ball forms. Gently flatten the dough and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough out a thickness of 3/4 inch.

With a fork that has been dipped in flour, pierce the dough at half inch intervals before using a fluted, 2 1/2 or 3 inch biscuit cutter to stamp out the biscuits. When you have run out of room to stamp out more biscuits, carefully reform the dough and press out as many as you can.

Arrange the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet (or spray pan with cooking spray) and bake until golden, about 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and brush the tops with the melted butter.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I'll Be Back Soon!

Pin It The movers will be here to start packing us in 5 days so I have to get to work.  There's so much to do!  We are temporarily moving in with my husband's sister while house hunting so it may be a few months before I'm back to blogging.  In the meantime, enjoy all the recipes here and tell me how you like them! 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Oreo-Crusted White Chocolate Mousse Torte

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Will you forgive me if I post two chocolate recipes in a row?  I just had to get this one in before we move in a couple of weeks and things get crazy around here.  We had some dinner guests recently and my wonderful husband was the one making the main dish.  He lived in the Dominican Republic and makes the most amazing Domincan meal.  Since he was doing all the work for that I was able to focus all of my attention on dessert.  I've had my eye on this for a while and it turned out to be a "wow" dessert.  My kids absolutely loved it and they are hard to please with new desserts.  If you love Oreos you can't help but love this too!  It's also no-bake which is definitely a plus!  


Makes one 9-inch cake; 12 servings

For the crust and garnish:

Butter for preparing the pan
24 Oreo cookies, roughly broken in thirds
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
For the filling:

10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups (16 ounces) heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

Coat the interior of a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Place a circle of parchment in the bottom and butter it as well (I omitted this step and it didn’t stick).

Place the bowl of an electric mixer and wire whip attachment or the beaters in the freezer to chill.

To make the crust, place the broken cookies in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until medium-size crumbs are formed. They won’t be uniform but don’t process long enough to make mush- just to grind the cookies into uneven crumbs. Leave the crumbs in the food processor. Place the semisweet chocolate in a medium metal bowl. Pour the 1/2 cup heavy cream into a small saucepan; set over medium heat and bring the cream to a very gentle simmer. Pour it over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is smooth. Add two-thirds of the cookie crumbs; reserve the remaining crumbs. Stir the crumbs to coat them with the chocolate. Spoon and scrape the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Press the chocolate-coated crumbs evenly over the bottom all the way to the edge of the pan, but not up the sides. Set aside.

To prepare the filling, place the white chocolate and 2/3 cup of the heavy cream in a metal bowl placed over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally as the chocolate melts. When the mixture is smooth, remove it from over the water and set aside to cool.

In a chilled bowl using the chilled beaters, whip the remaining 1 1/3 cups of heavy cream and the vanilla until soft peaks form.

Pour 3 tablespoons of water into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over it. When the gelatin has softened, place the saucepan over very low heat and stir the mixture just until the gelatin has dissolved and liquefied. Immediately scrape the gelatin mixture into the white chocolate mixture, and fold gently until well combined. Fold the white chocolate-gelatin mixture into the whipped cream until the mixture is uniform. Scrape the filling into the prepared crust.

Refrigerate the torte until the gelatin has set, at least 4 hours or overnight (I refrigerated mine overnight). To serve, loosen the edges of the torte from the sides of the pan with a small knife. Remove the sides of the pan and run a wide metal spatula between the bottom of the torte and the parchment liner, then lift the torte onto a flat serving plate. Just before serving, sprinkle the torte with the reserved cookie crumbs.

This torte can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 4 days.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chocolate Banana Bread

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I love banana bread and when I saw this recipe in Tyler's Ultimate cookbook I knew I had to try it.  I love Tyler Florence!  He is my favorite Food Network chef because his recipes are so great.  No other reasons, though, and especially not because he's cute ;)  This was so good fresh from the oven with butter and is also good toasted.  Don't expect it to be overly sweet because it's more just a cocoa flavor to enhance the banana bread.  Does that make sense?  Save your bananas and try this soon! 

Tyler's Ultimate Cookbook

Makes 1 loaf

1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
2 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
1/4 C cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 large eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  In another bowl, cream the butter until lightened, then beat in the chocolate, eggs, bananas, and vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients just until combined; do not overbeat.
Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake until a toothpick stuck into the center of the bread comes out almost clean, 50-60 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 15 minutes before unmolding.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.  It looks pretty that way! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thai Turkey Tacos

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Happy New Year!  I can't believe another year has come and gone.  I don't know about any of you but I just feel icky after all the sweets and rich foods I've been eating the last few weeks.  I am going to start posting healthier recipes (not all of them of course!) for you all to enjoy. 
Ok, so raise your hand if you're scared of ground turkey?  I know lots of people who are but I'm here to tell you that it is so good.  I used to be skeptical and the kids hated it at first but now I substitute it for any recipe that calls for ground beef.  Most of the time the kids can't tell a difference!  This recipe has to be my favorite way to have ground turkey.  It's so flavorful, low fat and low carb!  


1 pound lean ground turkey
2 tablespoons grated ginger or 1/2 tsp dry ginger
1-3 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cups coleslaw mix with carrots
½ C lightly salted peanuts, roughly chopped
Cilantro for garnish
Lettuce (iceberg and romaine work well)

Thai Cooking Sauce

4 tsp sesame oil
8 Tablespoons of soy sauce (I use low sodium)
4 Tablespoons of lime juice
4 Tablespoon of honey
1 tsp of crushed red pepper (I use a little less for the kids’ sake)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add turkey; cook, crumble and stir until meat is no longer pink. Add ginger, garlic, onion, pepper, and slaw mix; stir-fry with meat for 2-3 minutes until vegetables are wilted. Add ½ of the Thai cooking sauce, stirring constantly to blend all ingredients, about one minute. Wrap in lettuce leaves and garnish with peanuts and cilantro. Use extra sauce for dipping.