Monday, April 29, 2013

Classic Cinnamon Rolls

I got my new Food Network magazine in the mail a couple of weeks ago and on the cover were these delicious looking cinnamon rolls.... oh my! I had to give that recipe a try. I don't make cinnamon rolls very often much to the disappointment of my hubby, mostly because normally they make so many we can't eat them all before they get stale. That's what I LOVE about this recipe.... it makes a dozen! NOT 2 dozen or so! I didn't change much about this recipe other than I didn't use a stick and a half of butter when spreading on the dough before rolling. That just seemed like way too much butter, I used 1 stick and it seemed fine. I also added golden raisins, feel free to add or not. I also added a bit more vanilla in the glaze. Since I first made them, I made another batch this weekend and followed the recipe the same but I added some apple pie filling, scooping out mostly the apples and chopping them  in my food processor with a Tablespoon of flour, (I used maybe a little over a cup) then I spread it  on top of the cinnamon sugar. WARNING,,, the apple filling is slightly messy but oh sooooo worth it! Then I added some of the filling 'juice' to my glaze to frost with..... YUM!

Classic Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe courtesy of  Food Network Magazine (with just a couple of tweaks from me)
Serves:12 rolls

Basic Sweet-Roll Dough
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons  butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for brushing
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Warm 1/2 cup water and the milk in a saucepan over low heat until a thermometer registers 100 degrees F to 110 degrees F. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the yeast on top, then sprinkle with a pinch of the sugar; set aside, undisturbed, until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Whisk the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla into the yeast mixture until combined. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, the remaining sugar, the salt and nutmeg. Make a well in the center, then add the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to make a thick and slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until soft and elastic, about 6 minutes. Shape into a ball.
Brush a large bowl with butter. Add the dough, turning to coat lightly with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead briefly to release excess air; re-form into a ball and return to the bowl. Lightly butter a large piece of plastic wrap and lay it directly on the surface of the dough. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to make the Cinnamon rolls you will need:

1 stick  butter, softened, plus more for the pan
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
All-purpose flour, for dusting 
1 cup golden Raisins (if desired)

Make the rolls
Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Whisk the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. 
On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 10-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread the butter over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on one of the long sides. Top with the cinnamon sugar and sprinkle on the raisins if you are using them.  Brush the clean border with water. Tightly roll the dough into an 18-inch log, rolling toward the clean border; pinch the seam to seal.

Slip a long taut piece of thread or unflavored floss under the roll, about 1 1/2 inches from the end. Lift the ends of the thread and cross over the roll, pulling tightly to cut off a piece. Repeat, cutting every 1 1/2 inches, to make 12 rolls. Place the rolls in the prepared baking dish.

Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour, 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the rolls and bake until they spring back when pressed, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan. (You can freeze the baked rolls for up to 2 weeks. Cool completely before freezing, then thaw, warm up and glaze before serving.)

For the glaze:
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Make the glaze:
Melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave, then whisk the confectioners' sugar, milk, vanilla and salt in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the warm rolls.

I suggest eating them while still warm with glass of milk! YUMMO!!!
 This is a picture of my Cinnamon Rolls with the Apple pie filling in them.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spaghetti Factory's Meat Sauce and Mizithra Cheese Sauce

I LOVE the Spaghetti Factory... I have lots of fun memories of going there with my sisters when I was younger and then again with my daughter on our 'girl's weekends' together. I have tried lots of things on the menu, but my favorite is to get the manager's special where you get 2 sauces side by side on your spaghetti. My fave are the 'Meat Sauce' and the 'Mizithra Cheese' sauce... You just HAVE to have them both because their both such rich delicious sauces, you'd get sick of them if all you had to eat was one or the other...this way with them both you can trade off. I was so excited when I ran across this recipe on the Internet... there were tons of copy cat recipes for the sauces, but this one looked the best and on the easier side to make than some. We weren't disappointed! I made it when my daughter came home and she thought it was even better than the Spaghetti Factory's. You have to make this, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. ....After all (to quote my daughter) " there is nothing like a good pasta!!!" (she said with Mizithra cheese all around the outside of her mouth) Love you Sarah!

Spaghetti Factory's Meat Sauce and Mizithra Cheese Sauce
 *your favorite brand of  uncooked spaghetti noodles (or other long pasta) - I like  Barilla

For the Meat Sauce
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1-6oz can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
4 oz tomato sauce (the small cans in the stores are 8oz, so use half of one)
8 oz diced tomatoes (I used half of a 14.5oz can)
1-4 ounce can mild green chilies
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
dash of garlic powder

For the Browned Butter and Mizithra
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
4 oz. mizithra cheese, grated--you can find Mizithra cheese in the gourmet cheese section of most stores
       (I found it in my local Ridley's grocery store YAY!)
salt to taste
minced parsley, to garnish (optional

  1. Make the meat sauce. Start by browning the beef and onion in a medium saucepan. Drain.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes, green chilies, tomato sauce, sugar, salt, and spices.
  3. Mix the tomato paste with the water until it looks like a thick sauce. Add it to the mixture.
  4. Heat everything until it's boiling, then reduce the heat, cover the saucepan, and leave it to simmer for an hour. You'll want to check on it occasionally and stir.
  5. While that's going, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Simmer until the butter is amber in color. Don't stir -- the milk solids will darken and fall to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Grate the mizithra and mince the parsley.
  7. When the butter has sufficiently darkened, strain it into a small bowl using a strainer and some cheesecloth (to make sure none of the solids get through).
  8. Time it so that you will be ready to top warm pasta with the meat sauce when it's ready. Heat a large pot of water to boiling, adding salt and oil if you desire. Prepare your pasta according to the package's directions. Usually al dente spaghetti will take between 7-9 minutes. Drain the pasta and pour a cup of cold water over it to stop the cooking.
  9. Transfer the pasta back to the same pot. Drizzle with a desired amount of browned butter (depending on how many servings you've got) and toss. If you're making meat sauce, it's up to you if you want to reserve some unbuttered pasta for that half (I do). Alternatively you could simply spoon butter over the portion you desire while it's on the plate and skip this tossing step entirely.
On a serving plate, heap with half buttered pasta and half unbuttered pasta. Ladle the meat sauce over the unbuttered half. Generously sprinkle (as you can see I was very generous)  the buttered half with grated mizithra and garnish with parsley

Sunday, April 14, 2013

German Chocolate Brownies

I love chocolate.... and nuts.... and coconut. YUM. I was watching Trisha Yearwood on the food network last weekend, and she made German chocolate brownies... Why have I never thought of that? I always make German Chocolate Cake! But anyway, I used my favorite Saucepan brownie recipe and then iced it with Trisha's Coconut Pecan icing... just a note, this Frosting recipe makes a ton!! It's 4 cups of frosting, so either half the batch, or freeze half of it after it's cooled off, then thaw and ice another batch of brownies when you crave them again. (That's what I did and the frosting freezes well!) Also for those of you who like a mocha flavored brownie, add a packet or 2 of instant coffee to the butter and chocolate mixture while it's melting.  I love chocolate, nutty brownies! Enjoy!

German Chocolate Brownies 

Melt in saucepan:
1 stick of butter
2 - 1 ounce squares of unsweetened chocolate

Remove from heat and add:

1 cup of sugar

Stir then add:

2 eggs, one at a time, stir after each

Then stir in:

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Then add:

3/4 cups flour
dash of salt

Next, stir in

1 cup chopped Pecans

Stir till well mixed. Bake in greased (or parchment lined) 8 x 8 pan at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes (or until desired doneness, I like mine slightly gooey)

Cool and ice with Coconut pecan icing.

Coconut Pecan Frosting:
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cups grated coconut
1 1/2 cups pecans (or you can use walnuts or almonds), finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the evaporated milk, sugar and egg yolks in a saucepan. Stir with a wire whisk until the yolks are fully incorporated. Add the butter and melt, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the mixture thickens, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the coconut, nuts and vanilla extract and let cool. Yield: 4 cups.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Almost-Famous Stuffed Cheesy Bread

I love cheesy bread. When I saw this recipe in my Food Network Magazine I just had to give it a try. I tweaked it from the origianl recipe, switching the cheesy garlic mixture to the filling and topping with the plain mozzarella cheese. I LOVED it, also I thought it would be too salty with all the cheese and the garlic salt so I substituted garlic powder and only used half the amount. Also I didn't have granulated garlic so I substituted minced garlic and used 1/2 the amount the origanal recipe called for. It was amazing!! I used as a side to a chicken dinner salad and my hubby loved it. You can view the original recipe here as I posted my recipe with the changes I made. Enjoy!
Almost-Famous Stuffed Cheesy Bread
Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine
Prep Time: 2 hr 6 min
Cook Time: 24 min
2 loaves (8 breadsticks each) Ingredients

For the dough:
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons Olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal

For the filling and topping:
1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup shredded yellow cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 /2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley


To make the dough:
Whisk the sugar and 3/4 cup warm water (about 105 degrees F) in mixer bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the Olive oil.

Whisk the flour and salt together in another bowl. Add to the yeast mixture and mix  until you have a sticky dough (about 1 or 2 minutes).  Turn mixer to medium speed and mix adding a little more flour if necessary until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form into a ball. Brush a large bowl with vegetable oil; add the dough, turning to coat with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

To make the filling and topping:
Toss 1/2 cup mozzarella, the cheddar, Parmesan, garlic powder, minced garlic and dried parsley in a bowl. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put an inverted baking sheet (or baking stone) in the oven; preheat for 10 minutes.
Line another inverted baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with the cornmeal. Cut the dough in half; transfer 1 piece to the parchment-lined baking sheet and stretch into an 8-inch square (keep the other piece of dough covered). Sprinkle 1 side of the square with 1/2 cheese garlic mixture, then fold the dough in half to enclose the cheese filling., pressing to seal. Slice the dough crosswise at 1-inch intervals, stopping just before the folded edge. Sprinkle with half of the remaining Mozzarella cheese. Move the dough to 1 side of the baking sheet . Repeat with the remaining dough, cheese-garlic mixture and  mozzarella on the other side of the baking sheet.
Slide the bread on the parchment onto the hot baking sheet  (or baking stone) in the oven. Bake until the dough is cooked through and the cheese is golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool slightly, then pull apart into bread sticks.
Serve as a side to a dinner salad or as an appetizer. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Tacos

I think anything in a corn tortilla is delicious... I LOVE tacos. After making my Barbecue Chicken the other day, I had quite a bit of leftover chicken that I needed to use up. So I thought,  'why not make a taco?' I love Buffalo Chicken wings and thought I would make something with that flavor and put in a taco shell... this was easy and YUMMO! It has the spiciness of Buffalo Chicken wings and the flavor of the Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing all rolled into one corn tortilla. Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Tacos
3 to 4 cups diced cooked chicken (more or less depending on how many tacos you want to make)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Frank's Hot Sauce (or you can use your favorite brand)

1 small package coleslaw mix
Ranch or Bleu Cheese dressing
grated cheese for garnishing (I used a grated Colby Jack)
Corn Tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter. Once the butter is melted stir in the hot sauce and then add the cooked chicken; cook and sir until the chicken is heated through and evenly coated with the sauce. (If using 4 cups of chicken you may want to add another Tablespoon of butter and a couple of Tablespoons more hot sauce. You want the chicken to be well coated.)
While the chicken is warming up, place the coleslaw in a medium size bowl and add a couple of squirts of the dressing. Stir to evenly coat, add a little more dressing is necessary, you want the cabbage coated with dressing but not dripping. Set this aside until ready to eat.
Spray the corn tortillas on each side with Spray Pam, then lay on oven rack in a single layer. Bake for 1 minute, then flip over and bake for 1 minute more. Remove from oven and put in tortilla warmer or a towel lined casserole dish with a lid, until ready to eat. Don't cook any longer or they'll get too hard, and they will be hard to chew.
To assemble the tacos, take one warmed tortilla, place a heaping spoonful of the chicken down the center, next sprinkle on some grated cheese, then add a spoonful of the coleslaw, fold in half and Enjoy!!
Serve with steamed veggies, or Mexican rice and beans!

Corn Dip

  I made this recipe on the 4th of July, I got the original from the Pioneer woman but tweaked it a bit. I cut the recipe in half, added Wal...