Entries for the ‘in my kitchen’ Category

Super Easy Summer Dinner

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Super Easy Summer Tortallini

Summer in Arizona is akin to living in an oven; which means I try really hard not to have to use my oven for cooking.  This week I planned a whole menu of foods that do not require the oven, only the stove or the slow-cooker.

I found this great site and made a whole bunch of freezer meals on Saturday that I can just throw into the slow-cooker, I’m very excited about this notion of freezer dinners! I’m really lazy about remembering to thaw out meat early in the day. I also find by 5pm I’m melting-ly hot and the last thing I want to do is stand in the kitchen prepping food. I’m optimistic that this freezer meal thing is going to revolutionize my cooking…I’ll let you know how it goes.

One of the two non freezer meals this week was tonight’s Cheese Tortellini  & Vegetables in a creamy tomato sauce.  I made it up as I went along and it turned out great! So great that I wanted to write out what I did so I can do it again.

Super Easy Vegetable Tortellini

16oz package of Cheese Tortellini
1c Chicken (or Vegetable) stock
3T butter
1 small onion diced
1 orange bell pepper cut to bite size pieces
3 carrots peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2c cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1/4c Parmesan cheese shredded (+ more for garnish)
small handful of fresh basil chopped
1T flour
1/4c prepared (or homemade) marinara sauce

Cook pasta according to package directions. Sautee carrots, garlic, onion and bell pepper in butter until desired tenderness. Mix in flour. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  When sauce begins to thicken add Parmesan cheese and Marinara sauce, stir until combined- drop heat to low and add the tomatoes.  Mix cooked pasta with the vegetable/sauce mixture.  Salt and pepper as needed. Top with basil and cheese then serve. Approx 20 min start to finish to make this and it served my family of 5.

Dinner Rolls- in just over an hour

Monday, November 17th, 2014

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I’ve shared this recipe before- but wanted to re-share it as I’ve changed a few things.  This is the updated recipe, all ready for your holiday baking.  These really are light, fluffy and so good with butter!  Every time I bake these I get asked for the recipe.

supplies

Moment’s Notice Rolls
1 1/4c WARM water
1/3c oil
1/4c. white sugar
1 package rapid rise yeast (1/4 ounce)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 egg
3 1/4c white flour

**this recipe can be doubled** The printable pdf version of this recipe is HERE.

step1

Mix warm water, oil, sugar and yeast together and let sit for 15 min. This
should be long enough for the yeast to activate.  FYI if you keep
your yeast in the freezer, bring it to room temperature before you use it in
this recipe.  Yeast should be bubbly after the 15min.

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With a wooden spoon mix in salt, egg, and flour.  This dough will not be
soft and smooth like bread dough, it will be sticky.  You may add a
Tablespoon or two of extra flour to make it easier to handle.  It should
stick to the spoon but not be runny.  Let rise in a warm place for 10min.

step3

This is how your dough will look after mixing in the flour

Lay dough on a floured surface and roll into a circle , dough should be 1/2″ thick.

step6

Using a pizza cutter slice your dough into 16 slices.

step7

Roll each slice up starting at the “crust” end of your slice.

step8

step9

 

Place rolls on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Create a proofer in your own oven by preheating your oven to 170, when the oven reaches 170 turn it off.  Place a bowl of hot steamy water (be sure to remove the bowl before baking) on the bottom rack of your oven and place the rolls on the top rack.  Close the oven door and let them rise for 20 min.

step10

After they have risen preheat oven to 400.  I leave the rolls in during the preheat process and check them at 10 min, how long they cook will depend on how fast your oven heats up.  After the 10min mark (10 min from when I set the oven to preheat) I check them again at 2min intervals.  They are done when the tops are light brown.

rolls

If you are feeling fancy you can brush the tops with butter after rising, but before baking.

I hope you family enjoys them as much a mine!

Sweet Treats

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Friday after dropping the kids off at school I noticed a yard sale- so of course I had to stop.  Never mind that I do not have a home to furnish and most of my stuff is in boxes. For $4 I went home with a stash of cookie cutters, which meant of course that I had to make cookies.

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I whipped up a batch of my favorite sugar cookies, my kids were over the moon and my waist line continues to expand.  I’ve shared the recipe before, but I’m sharing it again, it’s that good.

LoftHouse Copy Cat Sugar Cookies

1/2c butter
1 1/4c sugar
2 eggs + 1 yolk
1t vanilla
1/2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
1/2c sour cream
3 1/2c flour (add 1/2c more, or more to get consistency right)

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and slowly add to wet mixture.  Adding more flour as needed.  Refrigerate if your dough is too soft to roll and shape.  Roll out to 1/4? thick and use cookie cutters.  Bake for 8min at 425f.  Cool on wire rack before frosting.

I typically use a basic butter cream frosting (butter, whipping cream, vanilla and powdered sugar), but royal icing would work too.  Happy baking.

 

Peachy Keen

Friday, September 27th, 2013

pie social-heatherhalesdesigns

Yesterday afternoon I gathered with some friends for a friendly Peach Pie Competition.  Despite what you may say about the words “friendly” and “competition” being used in the same sentence, it really was friendly and I think we all had a good time.

lattice pie heatherhalesdesigns

Knowing my Thursday morning was going to be busy (we went to the title company and signed the closing papers on the sale of our old house) I stayed up late Wednesday night to make my pie.  Due to a tapioca snafu (regular tapioca is NOT the same as instant) I didn’t get to bed until 11pm.  I have always loved the look of lattice top pies and decided to go for it, if I was going to be up late I may as well go bold.  Despite the tapioca issues I think the pie turned out very pretty and tasted pretty good too!

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There were four pies to sample, 2 crisps and one jar of excellent peach-raspberry jam.  Honestly, I couldn’t even eat all of my servings of pie.  I nibbled and voted and have no inclination to eat a peach again for a few days!

taste

The winner took home a cash prize of $25 and a beautiful crown hand made by me (I know she was most excited about the crown- who wouldn’t be?!)

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Sadly I didn’t even get a good picture of her winning pie, but she did share the recipe!

winner

Peach Pie

1 baked pie shell (I used Marie Callendar’s, found in the freezer section)
2 fresh peaches, sliced
1 cup sugar
4 to 5 TB cornstarch
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
2-3 fresh peaches, mashed (I diced them very finely with a food chopper)
1/4 tsp almond flavoring
3 Tbsp butter

Place sliced peaches inside cooked pie crust. Cook sugar, cornstarch, water and mashed peaches until boiling (will thicken pretty quickly). Add almond flavoring and butter. Pour over sliced peaches in pie crust and top with cream (whipped or straight out of the carton).

Moments Notice Dinner Rolls

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

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Growing up we really only had dinner rolls for holidays or special occasion dinners (ie company); and they were almost always store bought.  When I got married I learned how much my husband LOVES dinner rolls.  His mom made them often and they never lasted long in a house with five children.  She served them anytime we came to visit and they are really soft, buttery rolls- very good!  Within my first year of marriage I asked my Mother-in-Law for her roll recipe and went to work trying to make them.  The recipe yielded A LOT of rolls and I remember it took FOREVER to make (start them mid morning if you want them for dinner type of rolls) and it called for boxed mashed potatoes (something I never seemed to have on hand).

Every few months I would try again to make them and they never turned out like my MIL’s despite all my practice.  A few years later we moved to Arizona and I met my dear friend Sara.  She invited us over for dinner and made the best dinner rolls!  I asked her for the recipe- thinking I’d give dinner rolls another try.  She told me the recipe came from her aunt and they had adapted it and altered it together to create what she now used.  The recipe was called Moments Notice Rolls.  They take about an hour and a half start to finish- yup, you read that right-and yes, they are yeast rolls.

I’ve been making Sara’s recipe for years now and I have shared this recipe with countless friends.  This is the recipe that I adapted to create my Soft Cinnamon Rolls (that is all over pinterest now!)  This recipe yields about a dozen and a half rolls and can easily be doubled.

Moments Notice Rolls
1 1/4c WARM water
1/3c oil
1/4c. white sugar
2 Tablespoons yeast (I use rapid rise)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 egg
3 1/4c white flour

Mix warm water, oil, sugar and yeast together and let sit for 15 min. This should be long enough for the yeast to activate.  FYI if you (like me) keep your yeast in the freezer, bring it to room temperature before you use it in this recipe.  Yeast should be bubbly like this after the 15min.

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With a wooden spoon mix in salt, egg, and flour.  This dough will not be soft and smooth like bread dough, it will be sticky.  You may add a Tablespoon or two of extra flour to make it easier to handle.  It should stick to the spoon but not be runny.  Let rise in a warm place for 10min.

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Lay dough on a floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 8″ x 12″, dough should be 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick.  Cut your dough into 2″x4″ rectangles.  Roll the rectangles up (like a jelly roll) and then fold them in half, creating a smooth dome on one side.  (all measurements are approximate, if your rectangles are bigger or smaller that’s fine- do what works!)  Place the dome side up on a cookie sheet or baking pan.

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Create a proofer in your own oven.  Preheat your oven to 170, when the oven reaches 170 turn it off.  Place a bowl of hot steamy water (be sure to remove the bowl before baking!) on the bottom rack of your oven and place the rolls on the top rack.  Close the oven door and let them rise for a minimum of 20min, longer if you have the time.  Bake at 425 for 12-18min- you don’t want them too brown or too doughy.  If you are so inclined (i usually don’t) brush the tops with butter before you serve.

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They are perfect for Sunday dinner, chicken salad and my favorite  lunch of a slice of tillamook cheese and mesquite smoked turkey!

p.s. all temperatures are measured in Fahrenheit

Bundt Cake

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

I made my first ever Bundt Cake this weekend.  I used this MS recipe for Almond Bundt Cake.  Here are some tips I would pass along to anyone who wants to try it.

1. Bundt Cake batter is thick, much more like muffin batter than cake batter.

2. Use a pastry brush and really coat your pan well with miracle cake release

3. This recipe should be doubled for a full sized bundt cake

4. Mix the brown sugar spice stuff in AFTER you have filled the Bundt pan, and gently fold it in using the handle end of a wooden spoon.

5. Way too much icing, you could half the icing recipe and be just fine.

Baked Beans

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Years ago I read a MSL piece about Baked Beans, Martha was reminiscing on the way her mother would prepare baked beans in the wood stove.  Being highly susceptible to literary food suggestions (it really is a problem for me!), I sought out the recipe and made it.  It did not turn out near as wonderful as Martha made it sound.  Since then I have been searching for just the right recipe.

I think I may have found success!  This recipe comes for my great grandmother’s recipe book and it was perfect for a simple Sunday dinner.

2 15oz cans of white beans
1lb bacon (cut into 1″ pieces)
2 meduim onions, diced
2 large bell peppers, diced
1c Ketchup
1/2c brown sugar
2T Molasses

Combine all ingredients into slow cooker, cook on low for 4 hours.  Uncover, skim fat off the top and continue cooking on high (uncovered) for 2 more hours.  Serves 12-15 as a side dish or 6-8 as a main dish.

We served ours over cornbread and it was just right (even the kids ate it!).

In the Kitchen- again!

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

We returned last night after a seven-day family road trip to Wyoming and back.  We had a great time (minus the back seat driving and fighting from the kids!), and ate some great food along the way.  While I certainly appreciate the break from cooking for my family every night, after seven days I was itching to get back into the kitchen and make something!

Today I pulled out all the stops and made my family an truly delicious Sunday dinner.  Chicken Parsinne, roasted root vegetables, spinach and blue cheese salad (from a bag- the only way I make salad)- all finished off with a mouth watering strawberry pie!  I found the pie recipe on pinterest, it was super easy to make and everyone had two slices!

Thanks Lauren for a new summer staple!

Butternut Squash Triangoli

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

I admit it, I eat lean cuisine frozen meals for lunch; they taste good and require very minimal effort on my part.

Recently I tried the Butternut Squash Ravioli and really liked it!  I don’t typically like squash at all (can’t even stand pumpkin pie), something about the sweetness of the squash with the creamy sauce was really appealing.  I decided to try making it myself for dinner tonight.  It turned out so good I thought I would share the recipe I whipped up.

2pkgs of Butternut Squash Ravioli or Triangoli
1/2c or so of snap peas
1 bell pepper (color of your choice), cut into thin matchsticks
1 large carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
1tsp minced garlic
3T salted butter
1/4c chopped walnuts
salt and pepper
1 1/2c chicken stock
flour
Parmesan cheese

I was able to find fresh triangoli at my local Trader Joe’s for something like $2.99 a pack.  This recipe will serve a family of 4 good eaters, so you may want to do more or less for your needs.

Directions:
(Cook Triangoli according to package directions)
Melt 1T butter in a large skillet over med heat, add garlic and cook for a few min, until garlic is aromatic (but not brown).  Add carrots, peas  and bell pepper- cover and cook on low for 5-10min until vegetables are crisp tender.    Take veggies and garlic out of pan and set aside.  Add 2T of butter to skillet, when melted stir in 2-3T of flour then add chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened, you may need to add a bit more flour.  Add salt and pepper to taste, mix in pasta and veggies.  Top with walnuts and Parmesan cheese before serving.

Let me know if you try it…

Sugar Cookies

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

I made cookies today. I love these cookies, they are delicious and soft just like those ones from the grocery store with the neon frosting.  My kids love them too, and ask for them far more often than I have the inclination to make them.  I posted the recipe before, you can find it here.  I originally did an online search for cookies like those ones from the store and ran across the recipe in an online forum.  I adapted it a bit (I mentioned what I changed) and have been using it every since.

Enjoy!