Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quick Homemade Sticky Rolls

This weekend I finally found some time to be in the kitchen. Wahoo!! I had a very special guest come and visit: 2 1/2 week old Elliana and her mom, my cousin Jessica. I got a call from them in the morning and they said they would be at my house in a couple of hours. I wondered, is it possible to make homemade caramel rolls in two hours?! I did a google search and found a recipe that fit the bill. This sweet dough uses two packages of yeast which must speed up the process. I doubled the amount of caramel sauce listed since it didn't sound like enough and even then it didn't end up very caramely. They were light and fluffy, sticky and sweet, and made the whole house smell good!
Sweet Dough
2 packages of yeast
1/2 c. warm water (105-115 F)
1 1/2 c. milk
7 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 tsp. salt

2/3 c. sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, melted

Caramel Sauce
1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
4 Tbs. corn syrup

In a stand mixer bowl, add yeast and warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes until foamy. Heat milk in microwave (30 seconds or so) until warm to the touch. Add milk and remaining sweet dough ingredients to the yeast and mix on low speed. Add additional flour if needed until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and forms a large ball. On a floured work surface, turn dough over and roll out into a large rectangle about 1/2" thick.

For the filling, brush melted butter over dough and sprinkler with cinnamon and sugar. Starting on a long side of the rectangle, carefully roll up dough into one large log. Using a piece of string (floss works great too!) cut dough into 2-3" pieces by sliding string underneath the log and criss-crossing string to cut through dough.

In a small sauce pan, melt butter, brown sugar and corn syrup over low heat and stir until combined. Pour caramel mixture into a large cake pan (I used an 11x14). Place cinnamon rolls over caramel sauce cut side down. Cover and let rise for an hour. Bake at 375 F for 25 minutes. Let sit for 2 minutes before inverting over a half sheet pan.
Recipe adapted from http://www.cooks.com/
Printable Recipe

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Baked Potato Soup

With a cold chill in the air this week, it is the perfect excuse to make warm soup for dinner. Baked potato may be the most comforting cup of soup there is. In one spoonful you get creamy pototoes, salty bits of bacon and a hint of tang from the sour cream. My favorite ingredient in this recipe is probably the green onions though. Enjoy this baked potato soup tonight!
Baked Potato Soup
6 c. potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 1/2 c. water
2 c. half and half
3 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 c. cheddar cheese
1/2 lb. bacon, cut and cooked until crispy
1/2 c. sour cream
In a medium soup pot, add water and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue to boil 12-15 minutes. Add onions and garlic powder. Whisk flour into half and half until smooth. Slowly pour and stir half and half into simmering potatoes. Add cheddar cheese and bacon and season to taste. Continue to simmer until potatoes are tender. Serve topped with sour cream and additional green onions and cheddar cheese.  

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sweet and Sour Pork

I love sweet and sour pork. A friend gave me this recipe and this is the first time I tried to make it. Believe me, it was quite a disaster!! I started making this and then realized that I didn't have all of the ingredients...isn't that the worst?! I ran out of soy sauce so I had to improvise with Worcestershire. I couldn't find any pineapple in the pantry so I used a bit of frozen orange juice concentrate. Then, after adding the orange juice I finally found the pineapple. I made it with too many vegetables so I needed more sauce and ended up adding about 1/2 cup of prepared sweet and sour that I had in the fridge. Well, I am still sharing this recipe with you because somehow it all came together and we really liked it.
Sweet and Sour Pork
1.5 lb. pork, cubed
3/4 c. matchstick carrots
1/2 c. onion, diced
1 green pepper, cut in strips
3 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. dry sherry
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. oil
20 oz. can pineapple in juice
1 tsp. garlic
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 Tbs. Hoisin sauce
1/3 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. cherry tomatoes
sesame seeds
In a large wok, cook pork in a Tbs. of oil over medium-high heat until cooked through. Scoop pork out and set aside. Add another Tbs. of oil to the wok and add carrots and stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add green pepper and onion and continue to stir-fry until vegetables are cooked but not soft. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, dry sherry, cornstarch, salt, pineapple juice, garlic, brown sugar, Hoisin sauce, and cider vinegar. Pour sauce over veggies in wok and add pork. Stir and cook until thickened. Add pineapple and cherry tomatoes right before serving. Top with sesame seeds and serve over rice.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Country Omelet

This is the first time we made this country omelet and we loved it!! Smokey kielbasa, tender potatoes and green onions all perfectly baked together in a skillet style omelet. What's not to like?  Since the eggs are baked at a low temperature they are given time to slowly cook which makes for light and fluffy. You could substitute bacon or ham for the kielbasa and any cheese would work well. Next time I make this I'm going to add red peppers for even more color and flavor. Try this Country Omelet with your family tonight - you will enjoy every savory bite.

Country Omelet
8 oz polska kielbasa, cubed
6 lg. eggs
3 Tbs. milk
3/4 tsp. dijon mustard
3/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese
3 green onions (white and green parts), sliced
1/2 c. mushrooms, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tbs. butter
1 c. fingerling potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside. In an oven proof omelet pan, cook kielbasa over medium heat until browned (5-8 minutes) remove kielbasa from pan and set aside. Add butter to the pan and let melt. Add potatoes and white onions and cook for 10 minutes, flipping occasionally. Add mushrooms to the potatoes and continue to cook until potatoes are tender (about 5 minutes). Remove pan from heat. Remove potatoes, onions and mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Now butter the pan if needed and pour egg mixture into pan. Sprinkle egg mixture with parmesan cheese, kielbasa, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and green onions. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes or until eggs are set.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten's, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Printable Recipe

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rotisserie Chicken Lasagna Roll-Ups

I first saw lasagna roll-ups a couple of years ago on Giada DeLaurentiis's show, Everday Italian. She filled lasagna noodles and rolled them up instead of layering them in a pan. I loved the concept so much that although I never tried them a couple of years ago, I was reminded of them every time I saw a box of lasagna noodles. While grocery shopping, my eye caught a rotisserie chicken and ricotta cheese and the idea for rotisserie chicken lasagna roll-ups was born. I love doing a little experimenting in the kitchen but usually not for guests. Tonight a couple of friends showed up for dinner and everyone took second helpings so I would say this meal was a success. If you like chicken alfredo you will love this new twist on the lasagna noodle.
Rotisserie Chicken Lasagna Roll-Ups
2 c. rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
2 c. ricotta cheese
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 c. mushrooms, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
15 oz. prepared alfredo sauce
3/4 c. marinara sauce
12 lasagna noodles
Bring a large pot with salted water to boil for lasagna noodles (cook until according to package or until al dente.) Meanwhile, cook onions, mushrooms and garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a fry pan until tender. Transfer into a medium bowl. Add the shredded chicken to the bowl along with white pepper, nutmeg, parmesan, and ricotta cheese. Stir filling until well combined. Take one lasagna noodle and lay out on a clean work surface. Scoop 3-4 Tbs. of filling and place on pasta. Spread filling evenly over pasta and then roll up. Continue process until all of the pasta is filled. In a 9x13 pan, pour marinara sauce and spread to cover the pan. Place lasagna rolls seam side down on top of marinara. Next, pour alfredo sauce over all of the pasta rolls and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 F for approx. 45 minutes. Printable Recipe

Monday, May 3, 2010

Breaded Pork Cutlets

Softball season is upon us which means we need to have simple and quick meals on Ryan's game nights. I picked up thinly cut pork chops just for this reason. I love pan frying chicken or pork cutlets in bread crumbs. They take such a short time to cook and they can be paired with any steamed vegetable for a well-rounded meal. I also like that they are great to dip in your favorite sauce: marinara, sweet and sour, barbeque, ranch, etc. Next time you are at the grocery store, stock up on thinly sliced pork chops or chicken breasts and keep them in your freezer. When you need a protein in a pinch, they will thaw and cook up quickly.
Breaded Pork Cutlets
4 thinly sliced, boneless pork chops
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/2 c. bread crumbs (seasoned or season yourself)
In a shallow pan or large plate, season flour with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. In another plate, pour bread crumbs and set aside. Dip pork chops in milk and then flour mixture. Dip again in milk and then in bread crumbs until well coated. Heat a large fry pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Place breaded chops in pan and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.