Super Easy Cinnamon Rolls!
I tricked the Hubs into eating these the other day. They were super easy to make and tasted SO good!
- Bread (seriously, I used whole wheat)
- Melted butter
- Vanilla extract
- Cinnamon Sugar
- Take the slices of bread and cut off the crusts
- Roll the bread flat with a rolling pin
- Mix melted butter and vanilla in a bowl and brush onto both sides of the bread
- Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
- Fold in the left and right edges of the bread, then roll up from the bottom of the bread
- Arrange in a greased loaf pan (see photo)
- Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
- Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees
While they were baking I whipped up a small batch of buttercream icing, making sure it was very liquidy. Upon removing the cinnamon rolls from the oven I drizzled the icing over all of them. The Hubs and I then proceeded to finishing almost the entire pan. Be careful though, they are deceiving. They may be small but each is a whole slice of bread so they are very filling!
Thanksgiving Cake Pops!!
I decided to be quite ambitious this year with my main Thanksgiving dessert and make cake pops! They actually weren’t that hard to make, just very time consuming. They were a HUGE hit though!
- 1 fully baked cake (flavor of your choice, I used boxed cake mix because who needs the hassle of making a cake from scratch just so you can crumble it up?!)
- 1/2 to 2/3 of a container of icing, same flavor as your cake
- About 2 lbs of those Candy Melt colored candies from the craft store
- Thick lollypop sticks
- Sprinkles for decorating
Bake the cake and let cool completely, I let it cool overnight
Crumble up the cooled cake into a large mixing bowl. You can use your hands or a big fork, whichever you prefer
When the cake is fully crumbled, making sure all the big lumps have been broken up, add in 1/2 the container of icing and mix with a big spoon until fully combined, texture should be like a dough but not too moist. Add more icing if texture is too dry.
Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on a cookie sheet (use wax paper, trust me) and put in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. You can leave them in a little longer if you want, but make sure you don’t freeze them or it will make covering them with candy difficult.
Melt your candy according to the directions on the package, stirring frequently - DO NOT over heat, the candy will become lumpy!
Now comes the fun part…
Remove the cake balls from the freezer, take one of the lollypop sticks and dip about 1/2 inch of the end into the melted candy, then push it into one of the cake balls.
Dip the cake pop into the candy coating, making sure it’s entirely covered (*if the cake pops are too cold or frozen the candy will harden quickly and stick to the bowl… learned that the hard way, woops!)
Rest your wrist on the edge of the candy bowl and gently tap the hand holding the cake pop with the other hand to allow the excess candy to drip off leaving a smooth coating on the cake pop. Sprinkle any toppings on now.
I saw this GENIUS way to let them set online (after I made them obviously) turn a colander upside-down and put the stick in the hole of the colander - make sure to weight it down though. I used styrofoam blocks, which also works.
For best results, store these in the refrigerator
I out the styrofoam blocks into baskets, arranged the cake pops in them, and added some red paper grass to cover the styrofoam. They looked so cute!
One final tip… be careful when you bite into these, they have a tendency to fall apart (no, not just mine, every cake pop I’ve ever had does!)
Crispy Baked Chicken and Pan Roasted Potatoes!
This baked chicken is incredibly crunchy and delicious! It was surprisingly easy to make, and probably the only time in recent memory that I’ve cooked just the right amount of food.
- Chicken legs (I made 5)
- 2 eggs
- Spices: Cumin, Chili Powder, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cayenne (be careful with this one if you don’t like spicy food)
- 1 cup of panko bread crumbs - this makes it extra crispy!
- 1/2 cup flour
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Wash and pat dry the chicken legs
- in a bowl, combine eggs and spices (I do equal parts of everything except the Cayenne because Hubs doesn’t like spicy food) and scramble
- Put flour in a zipper storage bag. In a separate storage bag, put breadcrumbs, I suggest adding some of the spices to this too!
- Put one drumstick into the flour and shake until covered
- Remove drumstick from flour and coat in egg/spice mixture
- Place coated drumstick into breadcrumb bag and shake until completed covered in breadcrumbs
- Put finished drumstick into greased baking pan. Repeat until all drumsticks are in the pan.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes (mine took 45 but I suspect our oven doesn’t heat correctly)
Pan Roasted Potatoes
- About 10 Dutch potatoes (the little yellow ones)
- Olive Oil
- Basil, Oregano, Garlic, Salt
- Wash potatoes and cut them into bite sized pieces
- Put in a deep skillet and add Olive Oil and spices (about 3 tbs olive oil should be good)
- Stir so all potatoes are covered with the oil/spice mixture and cook, covered over medium heat until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes)
- Remove cover and continue cooking until potatoes are as crisp as you like. We like them extra crispy so I left them on for awhile, so good!
Delicious Baked Tortellini
Recipe courtesy of The Nest, from the cookbook Fast & Flavorful: Meatless Meals
Okay everybody, this one is awesome! Although, I have to be honest that it’s not necessarily the easiest recipe I’ve posted here it’s well worth it! I’m pasting the instructions from The Nest’s website here, my changes are bolded, and the original stuff is crossed out where applicable. Enjoy! (We definitely did!)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
23 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 21⁄2 cups low-fat milk, heated
1⁄21 cup shredded fontina cheese, divided We like everything extra cheesy!
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini, preferably whole-wheat
- 1⁄4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
23 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 can of quartered artichoke hearts
- 1/2 bag of frozen peas
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 4 individual gratin dishes or a 1 1⁄2-quart shallow baking dish with
cooking sprayolive oil. Put a pot of water on to boil for cooking pasta.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add hot milk and bring to a simmer, whisking, until smooth and slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1⁄4 cup fontina and nutmeg, stirring to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl. This is the part that takes more effort than most of my recipes, the constant whisking coupled with managing cooking pasta!
- Meanwhile, cook tortellini in the boiling water until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes or according to package directions.Drain and rinse well.
- Add the tortellini to the bowl and toss with the cheese sauce. Transfer to the prepared dishes or baking dish. Top with the remaining 1⁄4 cup fontina. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle evenly over the tortellini.
- Bake the tortellini until it is golden and bubbly, 15 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
It was delicious! You don’t have to add the veggies, it was just my attempt to eat something more than just cheese for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against eating just cheese (see my mac and cheese recipe) but it’s obviously not the best for you. Veggies or not, this is one good meal!
Shepherd’s Pie… my way
My mom used to make us shepherd’s pie when we were little and it was always one of my favorite things. I decided to make it myself the other night with a couple of twists substituting fresh ingredients for some of my mom’s originals.
- 1 lb ground beef (or turkey, although I think traditionally it’s supposed to be lamb)
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup corn (frozen or canned)
- 1 cup steamed carrots
- 2-3 cups of mashed potatoes
- 1 onion, diced
- 5 leaves fresh basil, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- shredded cheese
- Olive Oil
- Brown and drain the ground meat, then return to pan and add tomato, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and basil.
- Mix and cover, allowing to simmer
- Prepare mashed potatoes, these will be the top layer
- Put corn, carrots and peas in a bowl, stir a couple of times to mix them up. These will be the 2nd layer.
- Once the meat seems to have formed a thin sauce with the tomatoes, transfer to a square baking dish
- Spoon the veggies on top of this forming the 2nd layer
- Spread the mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle paprika and some shredded cheese on top
- Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (not entirely necessary, but it comes out hot and there’s a nice crust on the top from the melted cheese)
This is really good hot meal on a chilly day. This recipe makes a good amount, for normal eaters. Hubs ate about 1/2 the pan by himself.
To make this super healthy, substitute ground turkey for the beef and mashed sweet potatoes for the top. I’m not a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but to each his own!
"The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star."-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Ooey Gooey Mac and Cheese!
Mac and Cheese is one of the best homemade dishes ever, in my opinion. It’s actually pretty easy to make too - contrary to popular belief! Make sure not to start off at too high a temperature though or you run the risk of a strange texture to your sauce. Enjoy!
- 1 lb of your favorite kind of pasta (I like to use fun pasta, like Gemelli)
- 2 cans condensed cheese soup (I know it’s cheating, but it makes for some quick creamy mac and cheese so shhhh!)
- 1 cup mild cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup Monterey Jack Cheese
- 1/2 cup Meunster Cheese
- 1 cup Milk
- Salt/Pepper/Garlic to taste
- There are 2 options for cooking the pasta. 1. Cook the pasta fully if you are not going to bake your mac and cheese. 2. Cook the pasta al dente if you plan on baking your mac and cheese.
- While the pasta is cooking, open the cheese soup and add to a sauce pan and heat over med/low heat.
- Add the milk and stir until combined
- Slowly add the shredded cheese, stirring until blended before adding more
- Once you’ve added all of the cheese, add spices and continue stirring
- Drain pasta and return to pot
- Pour cheese sauce over pasta and stir
The next part depends, again, on how you plan on finishing your meal. You can either.
- Enjoy! or…
- Transfer to a pan for baking. Sprinkle bread crumbs and some extra cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees until the edges are bubbly.
Either way it’s delicious!
Chili (and Nachos with the leftovers!)
Chili is one of the Hub’s favorite dishes, and its one of the easiest for me to make. Win win! Plus, you can always just make way too much and use it for nachos/tacos/burritos the next day. I warn you though, this makes a full crock pot of chili (a full sized crock pot too)!
- 2lbs ground meat browned and drained (turkey or beef work best, but chicken is good too!)
- 1 can (15oz) kidney beans drained
- 1 can (15oz) black beans drained
- 2 cans (14.5 oz ea) diced tomatoes
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 large green or red pepper chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 4 tbs chili powder
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbs mixed Italian seasoning (basil, garlic, etc)
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp tabasco (more for spicy chili) —add cayenne pepper powder for extra spice
Prepare each of the ingredients and add to the slow cooker, stirring with each new addition so chili is well mixed.
Add in spices and make sure to stir well
Cook 8-10 hours on low OR 4-5 hours on high, serve with your favorite toppings or over rice!
With the Leftovers…
Make your favorite Mexican dish! You can make nachos (our favorite!) easily just sprinkle the remaining chili on chips, add some salsa, cheese, sour cream and avocado (mmm!) and bake about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Or you can use the leftovers to make tacos or burritos half the work! You already have half of the ingredients, just prepare the remaining toppings (lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc) and let everyone build their own!
"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."-Harriet Van Horne
It’s no big secret that my handsome husband is a huge fan of cheeseburgers! He was working on his Birthday, so to cheer him up I made him this massive cheeseburger cake. I saw some suggestions to make the entire thing out of cake, but this is a little more clever because the brownie layer makes it look like a burger even once its cut! This one takes a lot of patience, so be warned!
What you need:
- 1 box of white or yellow cake mix (I went with yellow cuz Siah loves potato rolls)
- 1 box of brownie mix
- Buttercream Icing (see recipe below)
- Peanut Butter
- Food coloring
- Rice Krispies
Buttercream Icing - Blend together:
- 2/3 c butter, softened
- 4 c powdered sugar (add more to thicken icing if needed)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2-4 tbsp milk (add more for thinner consistency)
The first thing you want to do here is determine the kind of pans you have to work with. I don’t have the best luck getting cake out of pans (could be due to my lack of ability to let it cool entirely before I try to remove it) so I opted to make the cake in a spring-form pan and made the brownie “burger” layer in a pie plate. Using the spring-form pan resulted in me having to shape the top of the “bun” though, which isn’t all that fun. If you have a rounded casserole dish and good luck at getting cake out of a pan, I’d suggest that.
- Prepare the cake batter according to instructions on the box, and pour into a greased/floured pan. Bake for the specified time and remove to cool.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the brownie batter and pour into a greased/floured pie plate. Note that you probably wont use all of the batter, dispose of this however you please (make brownie cupcakes, throw it away, eat it, etc.) When the cake is done baking, put the brownie into the oven. Remove when fully cooked and let cool.
- Start preparing the buttercream icing, make sure you don’t add too much milk or it wont be thick enough
- Once the “bun” cake is cool, remove the spring-form sides and cut it in half horizontally to start forming the burger bun. Place the bottom half on your platter and put the top half in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, this will make carving easier if necessary (you can skip this step and the next step if you have a rounded pan)
- Remove the top half from the freezer and use a knife to carve it into the rounded shape of a burger bun. Once you have the desired shape cover quickly with a thin layer of plain buttercream icing (crumb coat) and return to the freezer.
- Set aside about 1/2 cup of buttercream icing for decorating. Add 1/2 cup of peanut butter to the remaining icing and stir until blended, adding more powdered sugar if it becomes too runny to spread easily.
- Cover the bottom “bun” layer with the peanut butter icing.
- Place the brownie “burger” layer on top.
- Add food coloring to the white buttercream and decorate. I separated it into 3 bowls and colored each a different color (red, yellow green) and used them to decorate. I made the cheese with the yellow icing, squirted red icing on like ketchup, and piped on some “lettuce” with the green icing.
- Remove the top “bun” layer and put it on top of the brownie “burger”
- Cover the top with the remaining peanut butter icing and top off with rice krispies to look like sesame seeds!
Also- my best advice would be to do this in a cool kitchen! My buttercream was getting watery because it was so hot in our kitchen and started to run down the sides!