Friday, December 19, 2014

Orange Rolls

I posted this recipe back in April of 2011 and thought I should bring them back up since Christmas is almost here.  I make these for Christmas morning every year.  Easter, too.  I LOVE these rolls.  They are soft, sweet but not too sweet, and bursting with orange flavor.

APRIL 2011:

These are SO GOOD!!! If you love the Pillsbury orange rolls but want a preservative-free alternative, these are your rolls. These are now my favorite breakfast rolls.  Loooove them!

I've adjusted the recipe using rapid rise yeast. I rarely have the patience to wait through two risings, so I prefer the speed of using rapid rise yeast. For directions on how to make these with regular yeast, click on the link to the original recipe. Just note that I have adjusted the amount of orange zest in the dough and changed the filling and frosting from the original.

ORANGE ROLLS
adapted from Orange Cinnamon Rolls on Food.com

1 (0.25 oz) packet (or 2 1/4 tsp.) rapid rise yeast
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
zest of 1 orange
3 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
zest of 1 orange

Frosting:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. orange juice
zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. butter, softened

Combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the rapid rise yeast, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Combine water, orange juice, and melted butter in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and heat to 120-130 degrees. Mix in liquid with flour mixture until smooth. Add egg and orange zest. Beat in enough of remaining flour to make a dough easy to handle.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Let dough rest 10 minutes in a lightly greased bowl.

Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest in a small bowl. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 9x15 inch rectangle. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Roll dough, lengthwise into a 15-inch tube, pinching to seal. Using dental floss or serrated knife, cut into 1-inch rolls (should make 15 rolls) and place in lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

To make frosting: in a medium size bowl, beat powdered sugar, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, and butter until smooth. Spread over warm rolls.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding

It's that time of year again - pumpkin everything!  I love it and hate it at the same time.  I love it because most of the time pumpkin foods are yummy and delicious.  I hate it because some food bloggers take it too far and make some pretty gross stuff all in the name of pumpkin.  Let's keep it real, people.  Like this Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding!

This is simply an adaptation of the Rich & Creamy Rice Pudding recipe I posted back in April of 2012.  We're using canned pumpkin in place of the half-and-half and pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon.  Easy peasy.  My daughter LOVES this stuff and I found my husband eating a bowl of it late last night - which means he likes it.  :)  I only got one serving of it and that makes me sad.  Guess I'll be making more!

Wondering what to do with leftover canned pumpkin?  Here are some ideas: Pumpkin Spice Granola, Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins, Pumpkin Spiced Almonds, Pumpkin Bread, Paula Deen's Pumpkin Bars, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Soft Pumpkin Ginger Cookies, Creamy Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie, Easy Pumpkin Crisp (Pumpkin Dump Cake).

PUMPKIN PIE RICE PUDDING

3/4 cup uncooked white rice (not instant)
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Garnish, optional:
whipped cream
cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add milk, sugar, and salt and cook over med-low heat until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally (about 15-20 minutes).  <---this as="" cook="" don="" if="" is="" it="" kind="" like="" long="" longer.="" nbsp="" of="" p="" pudding="" really="" rice="" step="" t="" taste.="" thick="" thin="" to="" you="" your="">
Mix the beaten egg with the canned pumpkin; whisk into rice mixture and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.  Let cool a bit before serving warm with a dollop of whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.  Pudding will thicken upon standing.  If you want to serve it cold, cover and refrigerate until chilled.  You may need to stir in more milk if the rice pudding has thickened too much while cooling.  Makes 4-6 servings, depending on size.


Friday, October 3, 2014

White Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes aka the Best Cupcakes Ever



Another flashback: this one is from October 2009.  Have I really been blogging that long?!  I consistently get rave reviews and demands for the recipe when I share a batch of these cupcakes.  The frosting pipes so beautifully, it's one of my favorites to work with.  They look so pretty with red liners and pearl sprinkles - perfect for Christmas!  Or Valentines Day.

October 26, 2009:
I got this recipe from my sister-in-law who got it from a friend. These are by no means good for you, but they are worth the fat in my opinion. You don't have to make it into cupcakes (it makes 24). It will also make two 8 or 9 inch rounds or one 13x9. Be sure to use the cream cheese frosting though, as that is what makes these cupcakes so darn delicious! For a whiter frosting, use clear imitation vanilla.

WHITE TEXAS SHEET CAKE CUPCAKES

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 scant tsp. salt
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, soda, and salt. In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and water over medium heat. Stir in sour cream, vanilla, and eggs. Pour into flour mixture and stir until combined. Divide into 24 lined muffin cups (or greased and floured baking pans). Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until tops spring back when touched. Cool completely before frosting.



THICK CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl, beat butter vigorously with an electric mixer. Scrape the bowl and add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat until smooth. Frost immediately and refrigerate leftovers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fried Rice

I've tried a lot of fried rice recipes over the years, trying to find one that is a copycat for the fried rice you get from a place like Panda Express or your local Chinese restaurant.  I never really found something that tasted right and was therefore worth making at home.  Until now.  This recipe, to me, is almost identical in flavor to restaurant fried rice!  My husband and daughter, who both always order fried rice, agreed and gave this two thumbs up.

Some key things to remember: you get a better result when you use day-old cooked rice (though you certainly don't HAVE to wait that long) and when you don't cook your rice too soft or sticky.  A good rule of thumb is to use one cup of water for every cup of rice.  So 2 cups of rice + 2 cups of water should yield the 4 cups of cooked rice needed for this recipe.

FRIED RICE
slightly adapted from Kittencal's Best Chinese Fried Rice With Egg

3 eggs
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
4 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low-sodium) + more, to taste
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 green onions, chopped (optional)

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with water.  Melt the butter in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.  Pour in the eggs and leave flat for about 2 minutes or until cooked through; remove to a plate and chop. 

Heat the vegetable oil in the same skillet and add onion and peas and carrots; saute until onion is softened and peas and carrots are cooked through - about 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add rice.

Drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil evenly over rice mixture and stir or toss over heat for about 5 minutes; add more soy sauce, if needed, to taste.  Mix in pepper, chopped eggs, and green onions, if using.  Serve hot.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chubby Hubby Bars

Hello, internet!  I'm back from a loooong hiatus.  We moved back in April and I have been overwhelmed leading up to and after that significant event.  So glad it's over and I don't have to do that again for a long time!  Moving really is the pits.  Luckily we are very happy in our new place and feel like we are going to stay put for a while.


Anyhoo, back to the neglected food blog.  I have so many recipes to share that I've been collecting over the last 9 months, however I wanted to re-share this recipe post originally from June 2011.  We just had a church potluck and I brought these puppies along.  They were gone in 5 minutes flat.  My husband was glad that he snuck a piece before we left even though I threatened his life.  

6/20/11:
I saw the link to this recipe on a friend's Facebook page and had to make them. They are the perfect PMS treat - salty and sweet. It's essentially chocolate chip cookie dough with the added salt and crunch of pretzels. Perfect, right? They could only be improved by adding chopped peanuts, so I've made that adaptation to the recipe.

CHUBBY HUBBY BARS
slightly adapted from Kristin Miller's recipe on JustAPinch.com

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped mini pretzels
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Topping:
1/2 cup mini pretzels
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter or butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt. Using a mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy; add eggs and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, 1 1/2 cups chopped pretzels, and chopped peanuts. Spread batter in baking dish; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup pretzels and softly press them into the batter:


Bake for 20-25 minutes (until golden brown), then remove from oven and sprinkle with 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup peanut butter (or butterscotch) chips and return to oven for 5 more minutes. Cool in baking dish for 15 minutes, then remove by lifting the foil and place on a wire rack to finish cooling. Cut into bars.  Store in an airtight container.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Italian-Style Sausage and Bean Soup

I made this soup recently and loved it.  It's going into my winter dinner rotation.  I made a loaf of the quick and easy french bread to go with it - perfect meal.  If you want to do the same, make the bread dough first, and while it is rising and the oven is preheating, start the soup.  They should both be ready to eat at the same time.

ITALIAN-STYLE SAUSAGE AND BEAN SOUP
adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

16 oz (1 lb.) smoked sausage (or chicken sausage)
2 tsp. olive oil
2 (15 oz each) cans cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
2 cups (16 oz) chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/4 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan for garnish, optional

Slice the smoked sausage in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces.  In a large pot, heat olive oil over med-high heat; add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and add onions.  Continue to cook until onions are translucent; add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.  Add diced tomatoes, chicken broth, beans, carrots, celery, and spices.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan, if desired.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Smoked Almonds


I thought I'd share this post from back in April of 2010, in case you are looking for a homemade gift that is NOT sweet and sugary.  :)

If you buy whole almonds on sale, it can be a lot cheaper to make your own smoked version than to buy the expensive brand. You can even spice them up, if you desire. If you like a very salty nut, increase the salt to 1 tsp.

SMOKED ALMONDS
adapted from Homemade Smoked Almonds on Allrecipes.com

3 cups whole almonds
1 egg white
1 tsp. celery salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. chipotle (or regular) chili powder, optional

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, beat egg white until foamy. Whisk in celery salt, garlic powder, salt, liquid smoke, and chili powder, if desired. Stir in almonds until thoroughly coated. Spread on pan.

Roast in oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.