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Archive for November, 2012

Dinner Rolls

I love baking bread.  I haven’t done it for a while and it was nice to get back into the habit with this fairly easy recipe for dinner rolls.  This recipe creates about 40 rolls and as much as I love bread, I certainly did not need to be eating 40 rolls in a couple of evenings.  So, I created the rolls and froze half of the dough balls.  The other half I baked but I then took half of the baked rolls and froze those as well.  So, I should have enough rolls stocked for the holidays in baked and non-baked forms.  I pretty much followed the original recipe, but if one wanted you could mix in some whole-grain flours to make a slightly more nutritious dinner roll.

Dinner Rolls (see original recipe here)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups luke-warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 6-7 cups bread flour

Instructions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and warm water.  Make sure the water is luke-warm, not hot.  Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the oil and stir/knead in the 6 – 7 cups of flour.  It took me about 4-5 minutes to knead in 6.5 cups of flour.
  3. Let rise 1-2 hours in a warm place until doubled in size.  My favorite method (especially if your house is on the cooler side) is to put the bowl of dough in a (cold) oven with the oven light on and fill a container with hot water and put in the oven as well.  This creates a nice humid and warm environment for the dough to rise.
  4. Punch down dough and form into golf-ball sized balls (about 40).  At this point, you can freeze this dough.  I put mine on a tray lined with freezer paper and put in the freezer for about 2 hours to let the balls freeze individually and then put them in a freezer bag.  If baking now, place on a greased baking sheet 2″ apart and let rise another hour.
  5. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-18 minutes.
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I love the autumn.  I love the colors and the cooler temperatures.  I love the foods associated with autumn: apples and pumpkin, turkey and potatoes and the warm spices cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  I love comfort foods and this time of year is just perfect since you just want to curl up with a big bowl of yumminess and then hibernate.

Last night I tried out a new soup recipe and was very happy with it.  I probably needed to add a bit more salt and pepper but that is easily remedied.  The original recipe came from http://www.pillsbury.com.  I didn’t add the celery called for in the original recipe because 1) I didn’t have celery on hand and I didn’t want to buy a bunch only to use 1 stalk and 2) I’m not a huge celery fan anyways.  I used a blend of cheddar and colby jack instead of cheddar/american as called for in the original.  I also didn’t saute the onions in bacon fat because I already had some pre-cooked bacon and I was lazy and didn’t want to dirty a pan just to saute the onions so I just put the diced onions in the crock pot.  Sauteing the onions in bacon fat would increase the flavor but it was good skipping this step as well.

Cheesy Potato Soup (see original recipe here)

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of bacon (I used more – because bacon is awesome, but this is optional if you don’t eat bacon)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 5 cups diced, peeled potatoes
  • 32 oz chicken broth (I used low sodium)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (you might want to increase if you are using lower sodium broth)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (I recommend increasing this amount)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half
  • 1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.  Remove and drain and refrigerate.
  2. Using reserved bacon fat, saute the onions until tender.
  3. Add cooked onions, potato, broth, salt & pepper to crock pot.  Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the half & half and flour.  Add to crock pot.  Cook on high for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in cheeses until melted.
  6. Garnish soup with crumbled cooked bacon.

This is a lovely warm soup to eat on a chilly evening.  I baked up a batch of rolls to eat along with it so the carb-loading qualities of this meal were complete.  😉

I also love crock pot meals.  I love the simplicity of dumping a bunch of ingredients in a pot and having a dinner made later without a whole lot of fuss.  So, enjoy!

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My mother has asked for this recipe and so I figured I’d share it here as well.  It is one of my go to crockpot recipes because it is super easy and super tasty.  I actually took the leftovers of this and put over tortilla chips (instead of rice) and made some rockin’ Salsa Chicken nachos.

The original recipe is from SparkRecipes but I have tweaked it a bit from the original recipe found here: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=672711.  The original recipe calls for cream of mushroom soup but I prefer the cream of chicken.  They also leave the chicken breasts whole and I prefer to shred it.  Both are personal preferences on my part.  I’m sure it’s tasty either way.  🙂

Salsa Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on the size, I only used 2 the last time I made this because the chicken breasts were HUGE)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (I use the low sodium/low fat version)
  • 1-2 Tbsp taco seasoning (or 1 packet)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I use the low fat version)
  • Shredded cheese (Mexican blend) – optional
  • Rice

Instructions:

  1. Mix salsa, soup and seasoning in the crock pot.  Add chicken.  Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.
  2. Take chicken out and shred it.  Mix chicken back into crock pot and add sour cream.
  3. Serve over cooked rice and sprinkle with shredded cheese if wanted.

The next time I fix this I’ll try to take a picture.

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It’s been a while…

My last post was over a year ago and what a year it has been!  Unfortunately, not in a good sense.  My health took a fairly dramatic downturn toward the end of last year and continued on until I was hospitalized for six weeks this summer.  During the hospital stay I ended up having the majority of my large intestine removed, a 5″ blood clot removed, a couple pulmonary embolisms and an internal abscess (which for a while they thought was a heart attack).  So, not the best summer.

But, on the bright side, I am now starting to feel much better than I have for a long while, even though I am still slowly recuperating.  And, I look forward to getting back to my recipe blog.

Over the next couple months, I want to try out some new interesting dishes and get ready for the holiday season.  Among the things I have planned:

* The search for the perfect meatloaf

* Developing an excellent baked spaghetti recipe

* An adventure into Belgian cooking

* Some new bread recipes

* Foods for holiday gifts

* Some new soup and stews for the cooler weather

So, I hope everyone is doing well and I look forward to getting back to cooking and feeling better!

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