Monday, August 30, 2010

Cinnamon Roll

This is the mixing process. I am truly in love with my Kitchen Aid mixer. If a mixer can take over the bread kneading process, it for sure has my devoted love....

This is my dough before the first rising process. It was kind of sticky, and it's not suppose to be, but I put my faith in it and let the dough do its thing.

After the first rise, I followed the directions on the rolling out process. I thought I had enough flour on my surface, but when I started rolling it, the dough stuck to the surface. It was pretty easy to roll out though.
I would love to have one of those Food Network measuring boards. I guess I will have to put that on my Christmas list....So, children of mine; if you are reading my blog, hint hint...

This is the rolled cinnamon roll log. It is now ready for slicing.

These are the cinnamon rolls after baking. Nice and golden brown. Are you ready for the next picture?

This is after they have cooled for five minutes and the glaze applied. Look, someone stole one already....I wonder who that could have been?

The completed cinnamon roll, taste tested, and approved. This is a very good picture to show how flaky they are. I have found my most favorite cinnamon roll recipe thanks to I did make some changes though and I will give the recipe I used. If you would like the original, just follow the Web site link.
When cinnamon, sugar, and butter are mixed together; What is the result? Of course, people all over the world love the combination. Cinnamon rolls are a well-known breakfast pastry, but surely they can be eaten any time of the day. Did you know there is a history behind the cinnamon roll?
The first cinnamon roll was baked in Sweden where October 4th is known as National Cinnamon Bun Day. In Sweden the cinnamon rolls are social institutions that should not be missed. Cinnamon rolls are enjoyed during FIKA, a get-together with friends. The cinnamon rolls in Sweden are not as sweet and heavy as they are in the United States. The dough contains a hint of cardamom, a spice in the ginger family, and they are baked in muffin wrappers to make a more delicate treat. The Swedish name for the cinnamon roll is "kanelbulle". Kanelbulle means cinnamon bun.
Cinnamon rolls are known as a breakfast food in the United States. Philadelphia-style cinnamon rolls date back to the 18th century. The Philadelphia style cinnamon roll contains honey, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. I don't know about you, but I don't like raisins in my cinnamon rolls. I am more of a nut person (that sounded funny). Bring on the nuts!!
I bet the Sweden's or the Philadelphia-style do not use mashed potatoes in their dough....
Cinnamon Rolls
1 cup mashed potatoes, instant or real (I used real)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plus 1 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut up
1/4 cup warm water or potato cooking water, 105-115 degrees F
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
about 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Heat the mashed potatoes and milk in a small saucepan. Stir in the 1/2 cup sugar, the salt, and the butter. Heat and stir until the mixture is 105-115 degrees F. The butter does not need to melt completely.
In a 1 cup glass liquid measuring cup, stir the warm water with the remaining 1 TBS sugar, sprinkle in the yeast and stir briefly with a knife. Set aside for about 10 minutes or until the mixture rises to the 3/4 cup line.
In a small bowl, beat the egg and vanilla.
Transfer the potato mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the yeast mixture and the egg. On low speed, gradually add 3 cups of four. Beat on low speed for a minute or two. Remove the paddle attachment and replace with the dough hook. Add an additional 1 1/4 cups four. Continue to knead on low speed for about 5 minutes, adding up to 3/4 cup additional flour to make a dough that is not too dry and not too sticky. The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl, but not to the sides of the bowl while kneading.
Place the dough in a bowl sprayed with Pam and then lightly spray the top of the dough as well. Cover with plastic wrap (don't let the plastic wrap touch your dough. It sticks...) and place it in a warm place to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the dough has doubled in volume.
Punch the dough down and transfer to a floured board. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
Roll the dough to an 18 inch square with floured rolling pin. Spread the dough with butter and sprinkle o the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the dough like a jelly roll and pinch the seam to close. Shape the log with your hands to obtain an evenly thick log. With a sharp knife (floured if sticking), cut the dough into 12 even pieces. Place the rounds into the 9x13 pan with 3 rows of 4 buns. Cover loosely and allow to rise for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the buns for 20 minutes (mine took about 17) until the buns are a nice golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drizzle with glaze.
2 TBS granulated sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
4 TBS butter, melted
3/4 cup nuts of your choice chopped fine. I used some Spanish peanuts that I had on hand.
Melt the butter in a bowl. In another bowl combine the cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and nuts.
Sometimes people like the filling to be strong, so you could probably double the filling ingredients for more flavor (not the butter though).
1 TBS butter at room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar
A couple shakes of cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 TBS French vanilla liquid coffee creamer
Beat or whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Add more cream or confectioners sugar to adjust the consistency. It should be thick, but pourable.
Make sure you read through all of the directions before you get started. When I try a new recipe I make notes all over it so I don't get lost. These cinnamon rolls are absolutely amazing!! You will not be disappointed.
Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

Dump Soup (Red Potato/Chicken Soup)

One of my favorite ways of making soup is, gather up a bunch of different ingredients and then dump them in a pot. YUUMMMMERSS!!!

Most of my childhood was based around soup, and I still love it to this day (I am now 42). I remember my mother making all different kinds of soups for our family meals. She made hot dog potato soup, hamburger/celery/onion soup, rivel soup, and one of my favorites, garden vegetable. The garden vegetable soup was usually made in the fall when the garden season was coming to an end, and the produce had to be used. I really do think I could live on soup....

There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of soup. In winter, it warms us as we watch the snow fall outside. In summer, there are now many varieties of cold soups that are great accompaniments to grilled foods.
Did you know that the word "soup" comes from the English term "sop". Sop meaning a piece of bread soaked in liquid. Soups now days do not necessarily have to be served with bread. As a matter of fact, soups today are made (thick and hearty) so the bread is not needed.

Nearly all cultures have their own specialty of soup; hearty Russian borscht, garlicky Spanish gazpacho, French clear soup made from boiled beef and vegetables, etc...
Soup can be a meal in itself, an appetizer, or a dessert. And we can never forget the soup's role as the ultimate comfort food. When sick with the flu, don't forget your chicken soup. When sick with a cold, don't forget the chicken broth. Have you had your tonsils out? Tomato soup is the comfort cure.

This is what I did with my Dump Soup

8 cups water
6 tsp. chicken soup base
6 red potatoes (med. size), chopped
1 cup sliced carrot

Cook potatoes and carrots in chicken soup base until tender.

2 celery heart stalks, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Saute celery, onion, and garlic in a little olive oil until glassy looking.

2 cups cooked, chopped chicken

Add sauteed celery, onion, and garlic to cooked potatoes and carrots. Add two cups cooked and chopped chicken, simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add and stir in 4 cups mashed potatoes. Grind fresh black pepper to taste.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tomato/Onion Salad

This is a very simple salad, and oh so tasty. I don't know about you, but I love, love, love fresh tomatoes. As you can see my ingredients are few. When it comes to left-over tomatoes I don't like to keep them. I like to make, or slice just enough to eat for the meal. Yes, I am picky when it comes to tomatoes. The few ingredients are: Three large tomatoes, onion, fresh ground pepper, and Kraft Greek Vinaigrette salad dressing. There are many options with this recipe. You could add sliced black olives, garbanzo beans, feta cheese, slices of green, yellow, or red pepper, and even sliced green olives. There are endless possibilities to tomato salad....

Tomatoes~It's hard to believe that such a widely-used food source was once considered poisonous. Tomatoes are available year round in fresh and preserved form. What would we do without ketchup for our fries?
Did you know that the tomato was once called the wolfpeach? Peach, because it is round and luscious, and wolf because it was considered poisonous. It was believed that the tomato was able to kill a wolf. Crazy huh?
The French referred to the tomato as pommes d'amour, or love apples. They thought the tomato to have stimulating aphrodisiacal properties.
In 1897, soup tycoon Joseph Campbell came out with condensed tomato soup. This move set the Campbell company on the road to wealth, as well as further endearing the tomato to the general public. Way to go Joseph!! There is nothing better than a bowl of Campbell's tomato soup and grilled cheese. MM GOOD!!

Tomato/Onion Salad
Three large tomatoes, cleaned and cut in chunks
1 cup sliced onion (I used a sweet onion)
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 c. Kraft Greek Vinaigrette
Mix all ingredients together and toss lightly.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Burgundy Pepper Hamburger

Here we go....the Burgundy Pepper and Bacon Cheddar Gourmet burgers are placed on the George for a low-fat healthy eating experience. These gourmet burgers came directly from the Chief Supermarket in Wauseon, Ohio.
Did you know that the Chief Supermarkets have been available to the public since 1951? They have one of the best management teams I know. They go above and beyond to cater to their customers. They only offer the best products, and they support the local farmers. The very first Chief Supermarket was located in Defiance, Ohio. When they first opened their doors on March 4, 1951, in just four and a half hours they served 8,200 people. The Chief is not only a grocery store, the company also operates a grant program which rewards community outreach projects that focus on youth. And another tid-bit of information, the Chief remains family-owned to this very day. For a family owned business to uphold integrity, ethics, and great customer service within our current crashing economy has got to say something....WAY TO GO CHIEF!! I love you, and I am always encouraging your great business.

The avocado....Did you know that there are many different names for the avocado? In Jamaica it is called the alligator pear. The Dutch call it avocaat; Spain abogado; France avocatier; Trinidad and Tobago zaboca, and even our late president George Washington (first president of the United States) wrote that agovago pears were abundant and popular in Barbados.

An avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable. It is really a member of the berry family.

Here is a little bit of history about the avocado that struck my interest. Did you know that in the past the avocado had a secured reputation for inducing sexual art? An avocado wasn't purchased or consumed by any person wishing to protect their image from slanderous assault. Growers of the avocado had to sponsor a public relations campaign to dispel the ill-founded reputation before avocados became popular.

Avocados received their name from the Spanish explorers. The Spanish explorers could not pronounce the Aztec word for avocado, known as ahuacatl (testicle, because of its shape).
Avocados must reach full maturity before they can be picked, however, they do not soften on the tree. The tree works as a storage unit for the avocados because they can remain on the tree for several months.

I think it is a lot of fun to seed and peel an avocado. Start by cutting lengthwise around the seed. Once you have a complete cut around the seed, just give it a little twist and the avocado is cut in half. The seed will remain in one half of the avocado. To pull the seed out just stick your knife in it and pull. It pops right out. Once the seed is discarded run a spoon around the inside edge of the skin, and you should end up with a complete half of avocado meat. You will be able to slice it for sandwiches, salads, or chop it for guacamole.

When choosing an avocado make sure it is not too soft. If the avocado is hard let it sit on the counter for a couple days. If you noticed in my pictures, my avocado was too ripe. I didn't want to throw it out, so I placed slices on my Burgundy Pepper hamburger.

I don't have a recipe for the Burgundy Pepper burgers due to the fact the burgers are store bought. I just felt like sharing some good quality information with you.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Taco Soup

This recipe came from Jesse Franks in Arizona. I ate this at her house and automatically fell in love. I have got to have this recipe!! There is no meat in this soup, instead there is all different kinds of beans. If you are a bean lover, like I am, you will love this. The flavors in this soup are awesome. My son sampled a bowl and his first remark was, "It tastes just like Taco Bell's Taco Pizza." Of course, when he heard what I was making he turned up his nose. Yes, he ate his turned up nose....
Now let's get back to the beans. I am going to pick out my favorite bean and talk a little bit about it. Definitely the black bean. I like every kind of bean but the black bean is one of my favorites. It is more solid and looks so pretty in dishes.
Beans were introduced into Europe in the 15th century by Spanish explorers returning from their voyages to the New World and were subsequently spread to Africa and Asia by Spanish and Portuguese traders. Beans are a very inexpensive form of good protein, and they have become popular in many cultures throughout the world. Black beans are an important staple in the cuisines of Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic.
What are the health benefits?
Black beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. In addition to lowering cholesterol, black beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making black beans a good choice for individuals with diabetes.
Did you know that black beans are loaded with antioxidants? Black beans are as rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins as grapes, cranberries, blue berries, and any fruits considered antioxidant superstars. Black beans are also good for the heart, they keep you full, and give you energy.
Taco Soup
1 packet taco seasoning
various 15 oz. cans of beans (I used black eyed peas, black beans, cannellini beans, light red kidney beans, and green beans)
1/2 of a 16 oz. bag of frozen corn
8 tsp. chicken soup base to 26 oz. of water
16 oz. salsa (I used Pace chunky salsa, medium)
Combine all ingredients in pan and simmer until hot. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, Frito's, and black olives. I didn't have any sour cream so I topped mine with cheese, chopped green onions, Frito's, and a slice of avocado.
Good Luck~Eat Happy~Enjoy

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Red Skinned Potato Salad

I don't even know where to begin describing this recipe. This potato salad is not tangy in any way. So if you like the mustard potato salads this one is not for you. The flavors just seem to blend together to create a great flavor sensation. I received an A+ from my taste-tester.

When working with turkey bacon, it is necessary to use a little (olive oil) cooking oil to fry it in.

The red potato ~ Any kind of potato on there own without the aid of butter, sour cream, gravy, or cheese are known to be tasteless, but the red potato is also a low-calorie, high-fiber food without all the goop. Red potatoes are low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol while also containing good amounts of Vitamin B6, Potassium, and Vitamin C. Depending on how they are cooked, their nutritional value might vary.

A medium sized red potato (raw) contains 149 calories; just 2.5 of those calories are from fat, while 135 are calories from carbohydrates, and 11.2 are calories from protein.

Red Skinned Potato Salad
2 pounds clean (washed) red potatoes (I used about 12 to 14 medium potatoes)
6 eggs (hard boiled)
1 pound turkey bacon
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (I used 2 celery heart stalks)
1 3/4 c. Hellmann's mayonnaise with olive oil
1/4 c. ranch salad dressing
salt and pepper to taste (I only used fresh ground pepper, no salt)
Paprika sprinkled on top
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes (whole) and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes (mine took a little longer). Drain and set in the refrigerator to cool.
Chop onion, celery, and eggs while bacon is cooking. I cut my bacon in pieces before I fried it.
Chop the cooled potatoes, leaving the skin on. Add to a large bowl, along with eggs, bacon, onion, and celery. Add mayonnaise, ranch dressing, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with paprika. Chill for an hour before serving.
Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

Monday, August 2, 2010

Garden Onion Cheese

My evening snack. Garden Onion Cheese
Cheese is one of the most wide-ranging and subtle foods in the world. The many tastes of cheese can be bland, buttery, rich, creamy, pungent, sharp, salty, or lightly delicate. Cheese has many different textures also. It can be hard enough to chip in flakes, or so soft that it has to be eaten with a spoon. The aroma of cheese can be rank in some (and still be eaten with love), delicately aromatic, or virtually unnoticeable. Cheese is one of the perfect companions for wines, a satisfying finale to a gourmet meal, or simply as a basic family snack (my favorite).
The history of cheese goes as far back as 6000 BC. Whoa, that is a long time ago...Cheese is considered to be made in the Middle East. Here is a legendary story: cheese has known to be discovered by an unknown Arab nomad. He is said to have filled a saddlebag with milk to satisfy his thirst on a journey across the desert by horse. After many hours riding he stopped to quench his thirst, only to find the milk had separated into a pale watery liquid and solid white lumps. Because the saddlebag, which was made from the stomach of a young animal, contained a coagulant enzyme (an agent that produces coagulation) known as rennin, the milk had been separated into curds and whey. The hot sun and the galloping of the horse caused this process to take place. Thank goodness for this mishap, because if this wouldn't have happened, we would not have scrumptious cheese.
Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
I had to throw this in here since my post has to do with curds and whey. This rhyme first appeared in print in 1805, in a book titled Songs for the Nursery. Like most rhymes, the origins are unclear. Some think that it was written by Dr. Tomas Muffet, a sixteenth-century English entomologist, for his stepdaughters; others think that it refers to Mary, Queen of Scots, who was said to have been frightened by a religious reformer John Knox.
Did your parents ever have pet names for you when you were little? Ha, well mine was Miss Muffet. Don't ask me why; that's just what my mother called me.
Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Yellow Stuffed Peppers

The yellow pepper. Such a pretty color, and the taste is amazing. It is almost like a sweet fruit. Speaking of fruit; if you thought an orange packs a vitamin C punch, you should see the vitamin C that's packed in these bad boys. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A (through its concentration of carotenoids such as beta-carotene), two very powerful antioxidants. Bell peppers may help prevent or reduce build up of cholesterol, diabetes, cataracts, joint pain, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. They even assist in correction of the airway tightening of asthma.
Bell peppers, also known as sweet peppers, are the Christmas ornaments of the vegetable world due to their shape, glossy appearance, and they come in a variety of colors such as green, red, yellow, orange, purple, brown, and black. No matter the color, they all come from the same plant. Bell peppers have a delicious, slightly watery crunch. Green and purple peppers have a slightly bitter flavor, where the red, orange, and yellows are sweeter and almost fruity tasting. Bell peppers have become a staple in central Europe where they are dried for paprika, a necessity for the flavor of Louisiana Creole dishes, and an existing ingredient in both Mexican and Portuguese cuisines. The main producers of sweet peppers are China, Turkey, Spain, Romania, Nigeria, and Mexico.

When I cut the tops off my peppers to stuff them I use a tomato knife. A tomato knife (as seen in the picture) is a long, curved, thin blade with fine teeth for sawing. This knife is perfect for trimming out the membrane that is inside the pepper, shake out the seeds and you are good to go. A lot of people blanch their peppers before stuffing and baking, I don't. I stuff them raw. I pack my meatloaf mixture tight inside the pepper and leave a rounded top. Kind of like an ice cream cone.

I am going to share my meatloaf recipe with you. I made sure I measured everything as I went so I can provide you with a recipe. Usually when I make meatloaf I just dump and throw together.
Here is the recipe I used for my stuffed peppers:
Ground chuck (my package said 2.13 pounds)
1 c. chunky salsa (this takes the place of chopping onions)
3 TBS mustard
2 large eggs
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
Some shakes of salt and pepper
1 1/2 c. smashed Parmesan & garlic cheez-its (measured 2 c. crackers before smashing)
Mix all these ingredients together (I use my hand because it is easier to mix that way). Stuff the meat mixture in your cleaned topless peppers. If there is meat mixture left over, I always form it into a ball and drop it between my peppers. It makes a nice little meatloaf. Place your stuffed peppers in a deep enough oven safe pan that you can get a lid on. Cover with sauce.
For the sauce:
1 - 19 oz. can Progresso Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (This is one of the best tomato soups I have ever had. Puts Campbell's to shame).
Cover with lid and bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour (mine took an hour and fifteen minutes). I check mine regularly toward the end of the hour. When the peppers are fork tender, then they are done.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy


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