Melissa's Cuisine: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Funfetti Cinnamon Rolls

I know I've mentioned it before, but it's worth mentioning again:  I love cinnamon rolls!  When I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, I knew I just had to make it!  I decided it would be the perfect addition to the snacks I was making for my party last week.  It was, and it also inspired my Funfetti Bark (recipe coming soon!)

I made these a lot smaller than a normal cinnamon roll because I intended them as a snack, not a meal.  They were the perfect size, about 3 bites, and a huge hit!  The cake batter dissolved into the cinnamon roll dough, infusing the rolls with the delicious flavor of cake.  I used Pioneer Woman's cinnamon roll recipe (my go-to for cinnamon rolls) as a base for these snacks and the addition of cake batter made these fabulous!

Funfetti Cinnamon Rolls
You will need:

For the cinnamon rolls:
2 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 packet yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
4-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup yellow cake mix
1/2 stick margarine

For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup yellow cake mix
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk

1.  Mix the milk, oil, and sugar in a large pot.  Scald milk mixture and then let it cool to room temperature.

2.  Sprinkle yeast over milk mixture and let it sit for a couple minutes.

3.  Stir in 4 cups of flour to form a sticky dough.  Cover pan and let the dough rise for 1 hour.

4.  After dough has risen, stir in remaining 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, and baking soda until well combined.

5.  Divide dough in half.  On a flour covered workplace (I use my counter), roll the dough out until it's about 1/8" thick and in a rectangular shape.  Because I made mine into mini cinnamon rolls, I rolled my dough about 30 inches long and 6 inches wide.  If you want larger cinnamon rolls, make a smaller rectangle, probably 18 inches long and 12 inches wide.

6.  Melt margarine in a glass measuring cup (or a small bowl).  Pour half of the melted margarine over the dough.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (the amount is up to you, I used less cinnamon so the cake flavor would really shine through).  Then sprinkle with 1/2 cup yellow cake mix and sprinkles.

7.  Roll dough in a line toward you.  Cut into 3/4 inch slices.  (I use dental floss to cut my cinnamon rolls, but a sharp knife works well too.)  Place in a greased pan.

8.  Repeat this process with the other half of the dough.

9.  Let the cinnamon rolls rise for 30 minutes.  Then bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

10.  While rolls are in the oven, mix together ingredients for icing.  When the rolls are cool, pour over rolls and top with sprinkles.

It's a Keeper

Party Button

Sweet Rolls that Rock

Source:  How Sweet It Is

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BLT Pasta

When I saw this recipe on It's a Keeper, I thought it was something Mike and I would like!  Then, she won a Williams-Sonoma recipe contest with this recipe and I knew it had to be good!  I got some grape tomatoes for a great price so it was the perfect time to make this dinner.

As I was cooking, Mike commented several times about how good everything smelled.  Seriously, fried bacon, onions, know something that smells this good is going to taste amazing!  And let me tell you, it certainly lived up to my expectations.  Since I can't leave recipes alone, I did make some minor tweaks, but this meal will definitely be made again soon!  (Actually it made enough for at least 2 meals for us, so we'll be enjoying it again in the very near future.)

BLT Pasta
You will need:

6 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic (or 4 chopped garlic cloves)
4 cups chicken broth
1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz uncooked linguine pasta
4 oz cream cheese, cubed (I used Neufchatel)
2 Tablespoons dried parsley, divided
Halved grape tomatoes
Parmesan Cheese

1.  In a large skillet (I actually used my wok), cook bacon for 8-9 minutes, or until crisp.  Remove bacon and drain on paper towels.  Drain grease, leaving a small amount in the skillet.

2.  Add onion to skillet and saute until tender, 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for 20 seconds.

3.  Add in chicken broth, tomatoes, and salt.  Bring to a simmer.

4.  Add in bacon and pasta.  Simmer, covered, for 9-10 minutes, until pasta is al dente.

5.  Remove skillet from heat and stir in cream cheese, tomatoes, and 1-1/2 Tablespoons parsley.

6.  Cover and let it stand for 5 minutes, until sauce is thickened.

7.  Serve with Parmesan cheese and remaining parsley


Source: It's a Keeper

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Giant Cinnamon Roll

I love cinnamon rolls.  In fact, they are one of my very favorite things to make. Though I usually stick with my same recipe, sometimes I like to try new ones and mix it up a bit.  This was one of those times!  This makes a giant cinnamon roll, mine usually ended up about 9 inches in diameter.  My mother-in-law couldn't believe that I made something so big, so I had to make another to show her (and for her to eat, of course!)

If you're really ambitious, you could eat this entire thing by yourself, but you probably wouldn't need to eat anything for the rest of the day.  Or, you can share.  I cut my cinnamon roll like a pie and the slices were just the right size!

Giant Cinnamon Roll

You will need:

1/3 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
1 Tbsp yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 stick margarine
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
3 cups flour

4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine warm water, yeast and sugar.  Let it sit about 5 minutes until the yeast bubbles.

2.  In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave milk and margarine for 15 seconds, until margarine softens.

3.  Add salt, nutmeg, and eggs to milk mixture.

4.  Pour milk and egg mixture into the yeast mixture.  Add 1 cup of flour and mix with a dough hook.

5.  Add remaining flour and mix until a soft dough is formed.  Knead for 5 minutes.

6.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour, until doubled.

7.  On a floured surface, roll dough into a 9x30 inch rectangle.  Using kitchen scissors or a pizza cutter, cut dough into thirds the long way, so you have 3 3x30 inch rectangles.

8.  Spread each piece with melted butter.  Then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

9.  Begin rolling dough into cinnamon roll:  Start at the 3 inch end and begin rolling until you get to the end of the strip.  Then attach the end of the strip you just rolled to the next strip.  Roll it like the first strip and then attach the end of that to the last strip and continue rolling.  You'll end up with about a 6 inch roll.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

10.  Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

11.  In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.  Drizzle over cinnamon roll.

Friday, March 25, 2011


This is a recipe I grew up making.  In fact, I made it so often I have it completely memorized.  I would come home from school and quick throw the ingredients for these granola bars together, 20 minutes later I had a delicious, healthy, and filling snack.

A few weeks after we got married, I decided to make a batch of these.  I put it in our brand new microwave and went about my business in another room.  About 10 minutes later, I smelled something burning.  I checked the oven--dinner was fine, so I just assumed something was burning on the bottom of the oven.  A few minutes later I remembered my Chewies and discovered the source of that awful smell.  I hadn't thought about the fact that my new microwave is much more powerful than my parent's 25 year old one; therefore, I ended up with a batch of severely burned Chewies.  To this day, I still can sometimes smell the burned smell when I open my microwave, I probably did some permanent damage!!!  (Oops!)

This time however, I took into account my high-powered microwave and these turned out just how they should, nice and chewy.  I love how versatile these bars are.  I usually make them with chocolate chips, but I decided to mix it up and do raisins this time;  they are also delicious with mixed dried fruit.  You could also mix in some wheat germ or other healthy items to bump up the nutritional content.  I also use this recipe to make my granola.  Rather than baking the bars in the microwave, I put the mixture on a cookie sheet and bake it until crispy; double duty recipe--can't get much better!
You will need:
1/2 cup margarine (1 stick)
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons molasses (can also use light corn syrup)
3 cups old fashioned oatmeal (not quick cooking)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips (or raisins or dried fruit etc)

1.  Place margarine and brown sugar in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for about 35 seconds, until margarine is melted.  Stir until sugar dissolves.

2.  Mix molasses into sugar mixture to form a syrup.

3.  Stir in oatmeal and baking powder until oats are completely covered by the syrup.

4.  Stir in chocolate chips.

5.  Press into a 9x13 microwave safe pan.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Let bars cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into them.

If you want to make granola instead, for step 5 spread mixture on a large baking sheet.  Place in 300 degree oven for 20 minutes, stirring after 10.  If it's not crispy enough, you can leave it in the oven longer.  Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Steak Rub and Marinade

Steak Rub and Marinade

Sorry, no pictures for this post!  You'll just have to take my word for how incredible this rub and marinade are.  Mike said that it was the best steak he's ever had, and he didn't even need to use A1 (this is from someone who won't eat steak without A1!)  It was fantastic!

Steak Rub

You will need:
4 Tablespoons sea salt
1 Tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon dried onion
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1-1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Combine ingredients and rub into your steak (can also be used on chicken) before cooking.  Or, use the rub in the marinade.  Store extra rub in an airtight container.

Steak Marinade

You will need:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 Tablespoons vinegar
4 teaspoons steak rub (recipe above)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce

1.  Combine ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, close the bag and gently squeeze to mix the ingredients.

2.  Add 4 medium steaks to the bag and seal. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or (better yet) overnight to marinate.

3.  Remove steaks from marinade and cook as you usually would.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Red Velvet Ice-Cream

Red Velvet Ice-Cream
Red velvet cake.  Yum.  Ice-cream.  Yum.  Red velvet ice-cream.  Double yum!!!  No more explanation needed :)

You will need:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 layer red velvet cake (or half of a double layer cake, or half of a 9x13 cake)

4 ounces cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup heavy cream and milk. 

2.  Cut cake into smaller chunks and add to cream mixture.

3.  Heat cream and cake mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the cake dissolves.

4.  Remove from heat and let the cream cool to room temperature.  Stir in remaining cream.

5.  Refrigerate at least 12 hours.

6.  Churn ice-cream in your ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Mine took about 30 minutes.

7.  In a small bowl mix together frosting ingredients.  Carefully stir into ice-cream.

8.  Place ice-cream in a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours before serving. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011



You can't make pretzel dough without actually making pretzels!  Pardon my funny shapes, I think I need to practice a bit!  I'd love to see how yours turn out.  These pretzels were fantastic!  So soft and tender on the inside, and full of flavor on the outside!

You will need:
Pretzel dough:
1 teaspoon yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
4-1/2 cups flour
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil (can substitute vegetable oil or melted margarine/butter)

Dipping solution:
1 cup warm water
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 egg white

Your choice of toppings:
Cinnamon sugar
Garlic powder/salt
Parmesan Cheese and Garlic Powder
Mozzarella cheese
Your choice--be creative!

1.  In a small bowl, combine yeast and water, stirring until yeast dissolves.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.

2.  In your mixer bowl, combine flour, salt and brown sugar.

3.  Pour in yeast mixture and add oil.  Mix on low speed for 1 minute.

4.  Switch to dough hook and mix on  low speed for 2 minutes.  Let dough rest for 5 minutes.

5.  Continue mixing dough on medium-low speed for 3 minutes until a slightly tack ball of dough forms.

6.  Form dough into ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days.

7.  Remove dough from fridge about 2 hours before you want to use it, and allow it to come to room temperature.

8.  Divide dough into 12 equal parts.  Roll each piece into a long rope, try for about 15 inches.  (Note: my ropes were only about 10 inches long, resulting in a smaller pretzel).

9.  Shape into a pretzel.

10.  Dip into dipping solution and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Top each pretzel with your choice of topping.

11.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.

This is the final installment of my 3 things to do with pretzel dough.  See the others here:
Mozzarella Pretzel Bites
Pretzel Dogs

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pretzel Dogs

Pretzel Dogs

Next up, Pretzel Dogs!  This are a fun meal for any age, they remind me of shopping malls because of places like Auntie Anne's Pretzels.  Mike and I really enjoyed these, and I think you will too!

You will need:
1 batch of pretzel dough (recipe below)
12 hotdogs

1.  Divide dough into 12 equal parts.

2.  Roll each piece of dough into a long rope, about 10 inches.

3.  Wrap dough around hot dog and secure ends with a toothpick to keep the dough in place.

4.  Sprinkle the tops of the dough with salt.

5.  Bake at 350 for 22 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve with ketchup.

Pretzel Dough

You will need:
1 teaspoon yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
4-1/2 cups flour
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil (can substitute vegetable oil or melted margarine/butter)

1.  In a small bowl, combine yeast and water, stirring until yeast dissolves.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.

2.  In your mixer bowl, combine flour, salt and brown sugar.

3.  Pour in yeast mixture and add oil.  Mix on low speed for 1 minute.

4.  Switch to dough hook and mix on  low speed for 2 minutes.  Let dough rest for 5 minutes.

5.  Continue mixing dough on medium-low speed for 3 minutes until a slightly tack ball of dough forms.

6.  Form dough into ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days.

This was the second installment of things to make with pretzel dough.  See the others here:
Mozzarella Pretzel Bites


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pretzel Dough~3 ways (Mozzarella Pretzel Bites)

Pretzel Dough~ 3 Ways

How much easier can it get?  Make one dough, and create 3 different things from it.  Mike and I recently had some store bought mozzarella pretzel bites (I don't remember the brand), and I wanted to replicate them.  I also had seen a picture of pretzel dogs and they sounded good too.  And of course, you can't make pretzel dough without making pretzels!   Over the next few posts, I'll share the recipes and instructions for each.  First up:  Mozzarella Pretzel Bites.
Mozzarella Pretzel Bites

You will need:
1 batch of pretzel dough (recipe below)
1 bowl of dipping solution (recipe below)
9 pieces of Mozzarella string cheese
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

1.  Cut each piece of string cheese into 4 equal pieces.

2.  Divide pretzel dough into small balls (mine were just a little smaller than a golf ball).

3.  Flatten each dough ball in the palm of your hand and place the piece of string cheese in the middle.  Wrap dough around cheese and roll into a ball.

4.  Prepare dipping solution by mixing together ingredients until baking soda dissolves.  Dip each dough ball into the dipping solution and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

5.  Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese over each dough ball.

6.  Bake at 400 for 18 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

Pretzel Dough

You will need:
1 teaspoon yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
4-1/2 cups flour
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil (can substitute vegetable oil or melted margarine/butter)
Dipping solution:
1 cup warm water
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 egg white

1.  In a small bowl, combine yeast and water, stirring until yeast dissolves.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.

2.  In your mixer bowl, combine flour, salt and brown sugar.

3.  Pour in yeast mixture and add oil.  Mix on low speed for 1 minute.

4.  Switch to dough hook and mix on  low speed for 2 minutes.  Let dough rest for 5 minutes.

5.  Continue mixing dough on medium-low speed for 3 minutes until a slightly tack ball of dough forms.

6.  Form dough into ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days.

This was the first of three ways to use pretzel dough.  See the other two here:
Pretzel Dogs

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Peach Pie

Peach Pie
Mike took me out for dinner for Valentine's Day.  I decided that I would make him a nice dinner the next night.  We had steaks and baked potatoes and then his requested peach pie.  It's my take on a pie his Grandma makes.  I really don't know how she makes it and I didn't have a recipe, so I just went by memory and looks.  We both thought it turned out great, and we'll definitely be making it again!

You will need:

1 pie crust (recipe below)
1 box peach jello
3/4 cup boiling water 
4 peaches (I recommend using canned so you have the juice, but you can use fresh instead)
1 cup Peach juice, cold (put the can of peaches in the fridge for an hour before preparing recipe)
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
8 oz Cool Whip (1 tub)

1.  Drain peach juice, reserving 1 cup.  Dice peaches into small pieces. 

2.  In a mixing bowl, combine peach jello and 3/4 cup boiling water.  Stir until gelatin is dissolved.  Add in cold peach juice.

3.  Place peaches in the bottom of a baked pie crust (use recipe below or store-bought). 

4.  Pour jello mixture over peaches.  Depending on the size of your pie tin, you may or may not need all of the jello to fill the pie.

5.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or until set.

6.  Meanwhile, whip together cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar until well combined.  Carefully stir in Cool Whip being careful to keep the fluffiness of the Cool Whip.

7.  When pie is set, top pie with Cool Whip topping.  Refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

Pie Crust:
1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
4 to 5 Tablespoons cold water

1.  Combine flour and salt.  Cut in shortening until crumbly.  Gradually add water and stir until a ball forms.

2.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, until it's easy to handle.

3.  Roll dough on lightly floured surface to fit your 9 or 10 inch pie plate.  Transfer pie to plate and trim pastry.  Flute edge as desired.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until lightly browned.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cheesy Potato Soup

My co-worker recently introduced me to Bob Evan's Cheesy Potato Soup.  It is delicious!  Our work recently moved and now we're right behind a Bob Evan's.  It's dangerous I tell ya!  One day, after eating Bob Evan's soup, she commented to me that I should try to replicate it.  Of course, I couldn't pass up that challenge!

The first time I made the soup, I was impressed with the flavor, the texture- not so much.  It was too grainy and mushy for me, but I solved that problem by waiting to add the potatoes until the very end.  Much better that way!  So here is my version of the dangerously addicting Bob Evan's Cheesy Potato soup!  (I did make one change, Bob Evan's doesn't put bacon in the soup, just on top, but I put it in the soup as well.)

Cheesy Potato Soup

Serves 4-6

You will need:
8 ounces bacon
3 pounds of potatoes (about 9 medium potatoes)
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) margarine
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups chicken stock
1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed (1/2 a box)
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Garnish with:
shredded Cheddar cheese
bacon bits

1.  Dice bacon and cook in a skillet until crispy.  Drain fat and set aside.

2.  Peel potatoes and dice into 1/2 inch cubes.  Boil for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.

3.  In a large pot, melt butter and add the flour, whisking constantly until the roux is smooth.

4.  Gradually add milk, heavy cream, and chicken stock, whisking constantly.

5.  When the sauce begins to thicken, add the cubed Velveeta.  Stir constantly until cheese is completely melted.

6.  Add the bacon, garlic powder, and Tabasco to the cheese mixture.  Lower heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes, stirring  frequently.  The first time I made this, I had a burned layer at the bottom of my pan so please, stir frequently to avoid this!!!

7.  Add in potatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes.

8.  Garnish individual bowls of soup with cheddar cheese, bacon, chives, and parsley.

Note:  You can use frozen diced potatoes (hashbrowns) instead of fresh potatoes.  I skip boiling them and just add them to the hot pot of soup and simmer for 10 minutes.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Marshmallow Peanut Butter Brownies

Marshmallow Peanut Butter Brownies
I volunteered to bring dessert for our couple's group tonight.  I had some homemade marshmallows in the house and I wanted something rich and chocolaty.  I combined the two ideas and came up with these brownies.  They were a huge hit and I'll definitely be making these again!

You will need: 

For the brownie:
1 box brownie mix
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs

For the peanut butter layer:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs

Top with:
1 cup mini marshmallows (I used homemade marshmallows cut into small squares)

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine brownie mix, oil, water, and eggs. Pour into greased 9x13 pan.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine sugar, peanut butter, flour, and eggs. Mix until fluffy.

3. Drop peanut butter mixture by the spoonful over brownie batter. Swirl peanut butter mixture through brownie batter with a knife.

4. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, until brownie is done.

5. Cool for 10 minutes, then cover with marshmallows. Place under broiler for 1 minute, then rotate and keep under broiler until marshmallows get toasted. Cool before serving.

If you wet a knife with water before cutting, it will keep the marshmallow from sticking.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mozzarella Rolls

Mozzarella Rolls

I made these rolls to go with cheesy potato soup.  I made some just with mozzarella and I made the rest with diced green olives for Mike.  He says that they are the best rolls he has ever had and was so happy when I told him they were easy enough to make quite often.  I'd agree, these rolls are delicious!

You will need:

1 Tablespoon sugar
2-1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
4 cups bread flour
3/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 Tablespoons olives, chopped (optional)
1 Tablespoon water
1 cup mozzarella cheese

1.  In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in water.  Let it stand for 5 minutes, until yeast becomes bubbly.

2.  Add flour, milk, oregano, salt and olive oil.  Mix until smooth.

3.  Knead dough for 10 minutes (by hand, probably 5 minutes if you're using your stand mixer).

4.  Place dough in bowl coated with cooking spray.  Cover and let rise in a warm spot about 45 minutes, until doubled in size.

5.  Punch dough down.  Cover and let it rest for 5 minutes.

6.  Arrange olives and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese over dough.  Knead lightly, just until olives and cheese are incorporated into dough. 

7.  Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. 

8.  Punch dough down.  Divide into 16 equal portions.  Roll each portion into a ball and place on a greased baking sheet.

9.  Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

10.  Bake at 375 for 18 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining cheese.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Did you notice?

All my posts are now printable!!!

This means it's a lot easier for you to print recipes from my blog, rather than copy and pasting recipes into another document, or using your laptop in the kitchen, you can now click the "Print Friendly" button at the bottom of each post and select which parts of the post you want to print!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Caramel Filled Molten Chocolate Cakes

Caramel Filled Molten Chocolate Cakes
I love Molten Chocolate Cakes.  The way you dig in and get a gooey chocolate center, so delicious!  I also love salted caramels.  I was going to make these Molten cakes for our Bible study one night and thought I would mix it up and put a caramel in the middle.  Am I ever glad I did, these are so good!  They're easy to make too~ try them tonight!  (I did complicate my recipe a bit by making my own salted caramels, but you could simplify it by using store-bought caramels)

You will need:
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3 Tablespoons margarine
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon flour
6 caramels (I used my recipe!)

1.  Melt chopped chocolate and butter in a small bowl.  Set aside to cool.

2.  In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Beat with a mixer until it becomes fluffy and triples in volume.  It took me about 5 minutes.

3.  Carefully stir in flour.

4.  Fold in chocolate mixture just until combined.

5.  Divide batter evenly between 6 greased ramekins.

6.  Place a caramel in the center of each ramekin and make sure it's covered with chocolate.

7.  Bake at 400 for 9-11 minutes.  I found that 11 minutes was a little too long as the cakes got baked almost completely through and there wasn't much "molten" part.  You'll want to serve these immediately so the caramel doesn't harden. 

Friday, March 04, 2011

Chocolate Brioche Monkey Bread

Chocolate Brioche Monkey Bread
When I saw this on Peabody's blog, I knew I had to make it.  I did, and it was every bit as fabulous as I thought it would be.  Give it a try~it's a bit of work, but certainly worth it!

2 cups brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate brioche (recipe follows)

1.  Lightly grease a Bundt pan with vegetable oil. Set aside.
2.  Place brown sugar in a small bowl. 
3.  Place melted butter in a nearby bowl.
4.  Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and gently deflate it. 
5.  Pull off 1" pieces of dough and roll it into a ball in the palms of your hands. 
6.  Dunk each ball in butter, and then transfer it to the brown sugar to be thoroughly coated. 
7.  Place all coated dough balls into prepared Bundt pan.
8.  When all the dough balls have been coated and placed in the pan, cover the pan with plastic wrap and let bread rise for an hour, until almost doubled in size.
9.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Bread will spring back when lightly pressed.
10.  Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a serving platter. 
Serve immediately, as the bread is best when eaten warm.

Chocolate Brioche (makes 2lbs of dough)
For the Chocolate Butter:
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1.  Melt the chocolate using a double boiler. Once it is melted,  set it aside and keep at room temperature.
2.  Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.
3.  Add cocoa powder and chocolate beat until well incorporated. Set aside.

For the Sponge:
2 ½ tsp. active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
¾ cup lukewarm coffee
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar

1.  Combine yeast and water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and whisk until the yeast is dissolved. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
2.  Add remaining ingredients, forming a thin batter. 
3.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes until bubbles form.

For the Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ tsp. salt
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1. Sift the flour and salt into the sponge.
2. Add egg yolks, and mix with paddle attachment on low speed for 2 minutes, until yolks are absorbed.
3.  Increase to medium speed; knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and satiny.
4.  On medium low speed, add chocolate butter one tbsp. at a time.
5.  Switch to dough hook; knead until very well developed, smooth and shiny. 
6.  Add chocolate chips, mix on low until incorporated.
7.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours until double. Punch down and rise again until double, about 45 to 60 minutes (or refrigerator for 4hours or overnight).

Brioche recipe adapted from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard

Source: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Southwest Chicken Salad

Southwest Chicken Salad

I love McDonald's Southwest Chicken Salad.  One of my co-workers offered to grab lunch for me the other day, she was headed to McD's and I knew what I wanted!  Plus it's only 420 calories, including the dressing!  One night I asked Mike if he would mind a huge salad for dinner, he was okay with it, and I was thrilled to be able to create my own version of my favorite salad.  Neither of us care for beans, so we omitted those, but otherwise I think this is almost exactly like McD's...I know I loved it!

(You'll notice that I didn't put amounts for the salad ingredients, you can use what you need for your family)

You will need:
Chicken tenders (I used 1.5 per person)
Dijon Mustard
Lettuce (I used bagged, but you can use a fresh head too!)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Crushed Doritos

Dressing: (This makes about 1 cup of dressing, enough for at least 4 bowls of salad)
1/2 cup fat free ranch dressing
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

1.  Cook chicken tenders in a frying pan.  About halfway through cooking, spread a mixture of honey and mustard on each side.  Remove from heat.  Dice when cooled.

2.  In the same pan, cook corn until it is somewhat blackened.

3.  Prepare carrots by cutting them into "curls" with a vegetable peeler.

4.  Layer lettuce, carrots, corn, chicken and cheese.  Top with crushed Doritos.

5.  Pour dressing over salad.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Mini Pizzas

Mini Pizzas (2/5/11)
I had spent the entire day in the kitchen preparing food for the Superbowl party and I really didn't feel like making dinner.  I asked Mike what he wanted and he said he didn't really care.  I stood in front of the fridge, door open, just staring and waiting for inspiration to strike, and it did!

You will need:
1 package buttermilk biscuits
1 cup pizza sauce
10 pieces pepperoni
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Bacon bits

1.  Flatten each biscuit slightly and place in the bottom of a greased muffin tin.

2.  Spoon pizza sauce over each biscuit.

3.  Top with bacon bits, cheese, and pepperoni (as well as any other toppings you like on your pizza!)

4.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Yum!

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