Monday, May 26, 2008

Cinnamon Apple Pancakes, Buttermilk Pancake Recipe

This has got to be the best pancake recipe I've ever tried. It is from my Cooking Light Complete Cookbook. It's awesome, the pancakes turn out light and fluffy and they melt in your mouth. I was going to make them this morning with just cinnamon chips in them, but my husband suggested apples too (Yay Ben!). This combination is to die for!

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 c. all purpose flour
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 Tbs. canola oil (or vegetable oil)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
stick of cold butter

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup, level with knife, add to large bowl. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of mixture, set aside.
In separate bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, and egg. Stir to combine. Add to dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
Heat skillet to medium low heat. With cold stick of butter, unpeel end and rub a thin layer of butter over pan. Drop about a 1/4 c. batter onto skillet. Flip pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Remove from pan, and re-butter, then add more batter, continue this way with the rest of the batter.
Yields 9 4 inch pancakes.

Apple Cinnamon Version:
After stirring the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients together a couple of times, add 1 whole apple, peeled and grated, to batter (I used Fuji). Add 1/3 c. cinnamon chips, or 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
I added a little cinnamon to Cool Whip to serve on top of pancakes, it would also be yummy to use real whipping cream, whipped up with some cinnamon.

Blueberry Version:
Soak 1 c. dried blueberries in hot water for 5 minutes. Add to batter. I tried using fresh blueberries once, and it was too bitter for my taste.

Cinnamon Banana Version:
Thickly slice two bananas, cut slices in half. Add cut bananas and 1/2 tsp cinnamon to batter. These are delicious! I learned this combo from my sister-in-law Emma!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Garlic or Cinnamon Breadsticks

These breadsticks are super soft and chewy. I like to make half of the recipe into garlic breadsticks, and the other half into cinnamon and sugar breadsticks for dessert (the taste is similar to Indian Fry Bread!)


2 pkgs. (or 4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
1/2 c. sugar, divided
2 c. warm water (between 105 and 110 degrees, or lukewarm)
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 -6 c. flour ( you will have to add more flour if you live in high elevation, or have more humidity in your air than Phoenix AZ! Just keep adding flour until a soft dough forms, until it is no longer sticky when you touch it)
1/2 c. butter
garlic powder
garlic salt
cinnamon and sugar

In large mixing bowl, or KitchenAid, dissolve yeast and 1 Tbs. of sugar in 1 c. of the warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining 1 c. water, oil, egg, remaining sugar, 2 c. of flour, and salt, beat until smooth. Slowly add the remaining flour until a soft dough forms, knead for 6 minutes.
Place in greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover and let rise 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400.
Punch down dough, working with one half at a time, lay out on floured surface. Roll out to a rectangle, dough should be about 1/2 inch thick.
I use a pizza cutter to cut the dough rectangle into strips. Twist and place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Cover and let rise 20 minutes.
Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes, until a light golden brown.
Remove from oven.
Melt 1/2 c. butter in microwave. Brush over the breadsticks you want to make into Cinnamon and sugar breadsticks. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and sugar, set aside.
Add garlic powder and a little garlic salt to remaining melted butter. Brush over remaining breadsticks. Best when served warm!

*Remember to always keep the cinnamon and sugar and the garlic breadsticks separate, when you're making them, when you're serving them, when you're storing leftovers! :)

This recipe makes about 18 large breadsticks, in the picture above they are cut in half.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brownie Fudge Cookies

I haven't made these yet, but they look SOOOO good! This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Company website, the link for it is under "My Favorite Cooking Websites" to the right. If you love to bake, you should check it out. They have every different kind of flour you can imagine, and lots of cool baking supplies. I can't wait to try out this recipe.

Fudge Drops

8 oz. semi sweet chocolate
3 Tbs. butter
1 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. chocolate chips, optional

In a double broiler, or microwave, melt the butter and the semi sweet chocolate together. If using the microwave, to avoid over cooking the chocolate and ruining it, cook just until butter is melted, remove from microwave, and stir until chocolate is smooth. (I can't tell you how many times I have overcooked chocolate in the microwave!)
In seperate bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes. Add the melted chocolate and stir in the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate the batter type dough for one hour to make it easier to handle.
Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease or line with parchment your baking sheet. Using a tablespoon size scoop, scoop dough onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 11-12 minutes, you want the tops to be shiny and cracked. They won't crack until they are done. If they are crispy rather than chewy, you've baked them too long. Remove from oven and place a Hershey's kiss on top if desired. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes and remove to rack.

Makes 2 dozen

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Strawberry Banana Cream Jello

This jello is delicious! We always have it at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Strawberry Banana Cream Jello

1 large box Strawberry Jello
2 c. boiling water
10 oz. frozen strawberries
1 8oz. block cream cheese, softened
3 bananas
1 tub Cool Whip

Combine boiling water and jello, whisk until jello is dissolved. In blender puree strawberries and jello liquid. Add cream cheese and blend. Add bananas and blend until completely smooth.

Pour into a 13X9 pan and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

When set, spread Cool Whip over top and refrigerate until set, about another hour.

Sloppy Joe Calzones & Roll Recipe

This is comfort food at it's best, hamburger with lots of cheese surrounded by a yummy homemade roll, does it get any better than that? I made the dough to go over these calzones but they would also be good inside a good store bought roll, or you can buy the refrigerated buttermilk biscuits and roll them out.

Sloppy Joe Calzones Filling

1 lb. hamburger or ground turkey
1 packet Sloppy Joe seasoning (I use McCormick)
1 small can tomato paste
1 can olives
about 1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Brown hamburger in saute pan and drain. Add back into pan, add the tomato paste, seasoning, and water per the seasoning packet instructions. Let simmer about 5 minutes. Chop about 3/4 of the can of olives into large chunks, add to hamburger mixture.

If you'd like to use a homemade roll recipe, here is mine, I use it for cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, etc.

Homemade Roll Recipe

1 Tbs. active dry yeast
1/3 c. warm water (not hot!)
1 c. milk
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. butter
about 5 cups flour
1 egg
1/2 c. cold water

Place the yeast in the bottom of a small bowl, add warm water on top and stir to combine. Cover and let sit 10 minutes.
In saucepan combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Heat until butter is melted, do not boil. Remove from heat and let cool.
In large bowl, or Kitchenaid fitted with a dough hook, combine 2 cups of flour, the egg, and the cold water. Add the warm milk mixture and mix, then add the yeast mixture. Add the remaining flour until a soft dough forms, knead for 6 minutes. Place in a large bowl, cover it, and let rise 1 hour.
Punch dough down and cut into two balls. Working with one ball at a time, roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into desired circle size (I used a 4 1/2" round biscuit cutter). Place big spoonfulls of meat mixture onto dough circles, top with a generous helping of shredded cheese. Top with one more layer of dough. With a fork, crimp edges and poke two holes in the top of each calzone. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Brush with butter and sprinkle Chili powder on top.

I was able to make eight 4 1/2" calzones, or I usually get about 18 dinner rolls out of it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Alfredo Sauce

Well, Mike, that comment about me having bottled Alfredo sauce in my refrigerator really hurt so tonight I got out my recipe for homemade Alfredo sauce just to remind myself how good it was. Watch out ladies, it is not low fat! :) If anyone has a lower fat Alfredo sauce recipe, let me know! This one is delicious!

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

12 Tbs. butter
1 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper and nutmeg
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I have also used the refrigerated pre-shredded Parmesan and it has turned out fine)
Fresh chopped Parsley
2 chicken breasts, cut into thin slices

Over medium heat, combine butter and whipping cream until mixture bubbles. Continue cooking 2 minutes more. Add salt, dash of pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese until smooth. May return to stovetop to help smooth out cheese, but do not let it come to a boil. Toss with pasta and chicken and sprinkle fresh parsley over top.
This recipe makes enough sauce to cover one box (12 oz.) of pasta.

Pizza Pizza Pizza!

So quite often I will become obsessed with making something, and improving upon it, until I know I won't be able to make it any better. Recently, it's been pizza. I've tried lots of different recipes for crusts and toppings, and I think I've found my two favorites- Chicken Garlic and Pesto Tomato. I found that making the perfect pizza dough takes lots of practice! It really helped to use a pizza stone and a pizza peel, I think you really need these two items to make delicious pizza at home. Two big tips: Make sure the water you put in the dough is between 105 and 110 degrees (just warm), too hot and it will kill the yeast. Also, do NOT roll out the dough with a rolling pin, hand stretching can make all the difference between an OK crust and a delicious, chewy, pizzeria style crust.
Be patient! Really good crust can take up to 24 hours to make!

Pizza Dough Recipe

1 Tbs. active dry yeast
1 1/2 c. plus 3 Tbs. warm water
4 1/2 c. bread flour (all purpose is ok too)
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. salt
3 Tbs. olive oil

Place yeast in bottom of small bowl, pour warm water over the yeast and let sit until bubbly, 5-10 minutes.
Combine all other ingredients, add yeast mixture. If using a Kitchenaid with dough hook attachment, use speed 2 and let run for 3-4 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
If you don't have a kitchenaid, mix by hand and knead for 3-4 minutes.
Lightly oil the dough and the interior of a large bowl, place the ball in the bowl and seal air tight with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator overnight.
Three hours before you want to serve the pizza, remove from refrigerator. Punch down and form into a ball once more, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise on counter 1 1/2 hours.
Remove dough from bowl and cut (do not tear) dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Place in an oiled 13X9 pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 45 minutes on counter.
Place pizza stone in oven and preheat to 500.
Working with one piece at a time, softly stretch dough until you've reached your desired crust size. Place on a pizza peel covered with cornmeal and top with sauce, cheese, and toppings. Open oven and slide pizza from peel to hot stoneware. Bake for approximately 7-8 minutes. Remove with pizza peel and place on cutting board to cool. Repeat with second dough ball.
I know it takes a long time to make, but it's really pretty simple and you won't believe the quality of pizza dough you'll have!

Chicken Garlic Pizza

1 recipe for pizza dough (see above)
Freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 c. ranch dressing
3 cloves garlic, minced
pepper to taste
Shredded chicken
3 green onions
1 Roma tomato

Combine ranch dressing, garlic, and pepper. Set aside.
I like to buy a rotisserie chicken, about 1 breast shredded will be enough. Chop tomato and green onions.
Top your pizza crust with the ranch dressing sauce, freshly grated mozzarella cheese, the chicken, tomato, and then green onion. Bake at 500 for 7-8 minutes.

Pesto and Tomato Pizza

1 recipe for pizza dough (see above recipe)
Pesto sauce (I like to buy the large jar from Costco)
2 Tomatoes
Freshly shredded Mozzarella cheese

This is an easy one! Which is probably why I make this one most often! :)
Top crust with pesto, cheese, and tomatoes. Bake at 500 for 7-8 minutes.

If you want to make these pizzas over-the-top-amazing you can use fresh whole milk mozzarella cheese.