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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Maple Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls on the plate

I do love sweets and these Maple Cinnamon Rolls are a perfect fit. After Fran and I had our children we started a  family tradition of having cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. Even now that our kids have grown up and have their own families we still carry on that tradition.

Every year we buy Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls and pop them in the oven on Christmas morning. All these years I've never tried to make my own cinnamon rolls from scratch before. Yesterday I decided to practice and give it a try.

As you can see from the picture my practice run at this was a huge success. These cinnamon rolls are  melt in your mouth delicious. After making these there will be no more store bought cinnamon rolls for me, not that Pillsbury doesn't make a delicious cinnamon, roll I'm now hooked on homemade.

I made these in three stages the dough, filling, and the icing following is how I managed all of this.

The Dough:

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk, scalded and cooled
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon honey

I mixed the warm water and yeast in my you guessed  my KitchenAid mixing bowl. Next in a small pan combined the milk and butter, bring this to a boil and remove it from the heat to cool.

While the milk and butter cooled I beat the two eggs in a small bowl and added the salt and honey to the warm water and yeast. Now add the milk to the water and yeast, and then add the sugar.

I began to add the flour one cup at a time while the mixer was on low speed. After the dough is formed, knead it on a floured surface a few times and put back in bowl cover it and let rise. While the dough was rising I mixed my filling in another bowl.

The Filling:

1/2 cup butter melted (To be brushed on the dough)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
Raisins or chopped nuts (Optional)

Mix the two sugars and cinnamon in the bowl and reserve the butter to brush on the dough later. Roll out the dough to about 16 inches by 10 inches and brush it with the melted butter. I didn't use all of the melted butter so you may have some left over.

I covered the dough with the filling saving a little for the top of rolls after I sliced them. Roll the dough into a log pinch the ends together then carefully cut one-inch slices.

Rolled dough with filling on top
Cover the dough with filling
I prepared a 13" x 9" glass baking dish by brushing the bottom with melted butter and sprinkling it with sugar. Place the rolls into the baking dish close together I got 16 rolls in the baking dish.

Ready for the oven
Cover the baking dish and them rise for about 30 minutes. Now sprinkle the remaining filling on top and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes on the middle rack.

The Icing:

4 tablespoons softened or melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Maple extract or Vanilla (I used Maple)
5 tablespoons milk (room temperature)

Whisk or mix together until combined and it looks like a glaze.  After they come out of the oven let them cool just a bit and then spoon on the icing.

cinnamon rolls just out of the oven
Out of the and cooling
You can make these ahead of time after you slice them you freeze these delightful cinnamon rolls and have them whenever you want. These are great for breakfast or anytime treat.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fresh Tomato Spinach Pizza

Fresh pizza out of the oven
Fresh Pizza right out of the oven
I'm always in the mood for pizza, especially if I'm making my own. There is just something special about making pizza with fresh ingredients.

Get my fresh dough recipe from my older post here: How to Make Homemade Pizza. This recipe yields me about three smaller pizzas or two large ones.

So I whipped up the batch of dough in my KitchenAid stand mixer and was waiting for it to rise. Fran knew we had some fresh tomato, baby spinach, fresh mozzarella, and feta cheese in the refrigerator. We always like to experiment with fresh ingredients, and pizza is so versatile that way you can use just about anything you want.

Here is what we used and how we made this fresh pizza. The amount will depend on your taste. We really didn't measure anything we just added these fresh ingredients as we went along.

Roll out the dough in your pizza pan and brush it will olive oil
Next add fresh sliced tomatoes, enough to cover the  dough
Layer on some fresh feta cheese
Now add some fresh baby spinach all over the top
Add some sliced mozzarella
Sprinkle fresh basil and some Italian seasoning
Season to your taste with garlic, salt,and pepper.

Ready for the oven
Our pizza ready to go in the oven
I preheated the oven to 450 degrees and baked this on the middle rack for 16 minutes. Then moved the pizza to the bottom rack for another 3 minutes just to make sure the bottom was golden brown.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Oatmeal Craisin Muffins

Muffins in a basket

I must be in the muffin making mode this month, with my last post-Muffin Tin Apple Pie and now with these Oatmeal Craisin Muffins.

I like a good muffin and these are certainly great for breakfast. Oh! who I'm I kidding I like muffins any time of the day or night. The fall weather seems to put me in the right mood for baking, so I decided to try something different. I used Craisins but you could use raisins, chocolate chips, blueberries or any fruit you desire.

I started off by using the basic ingredients from my Quick Cheddar Cheese Muffins with a few changes of course.

Here is what I used:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup butter (5 tablespoons) softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup of white sugar (Plus a little more to sprinkle on top later)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups Quaker Oats (Quick Oats or Old Fashioned)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups Ocean Spray Craisins

Here is how I made these sweet treats: 

In a large mixing bowl, I combined the flour, baking powder, butter, salt, and sugar. Using my KitchenAid Stand Mixer I turned it on low speed using the flat beater bar and let these combine.

In another bowl, I whisked together the eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and honey. Add this to the dry ingredients, and then add the oats, milk, and craisins. Continue on low speed until you have a nice batter as you see in the picture below.

Spoon this batter into greased muffin tins almost to the top. I sprinkled about a teaspoon of sugar on top of each one. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes on the middle rack.
Ready for the Oven

Just out of the Oven

This recipe yielded 18 muffins, they are moist inside with a nice firm sugar coating on top. Serve these for breakfast or anytime for a snack.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Muffin Tin Apple Pie

Mini apple pie on a plate
The nights are starting to get cooler and perfect for our family campfires. We had our usual fire on Friday night and I had some apple pie filling left over from our Mountain Pies. It wasn't enough to make a whole pie but I didn't want to waste it.

I had this idea to make some mini apple pies and decided to use muffin tins. Also, I wanted to use a different pie crust, I follow Connie Murray

Back in May of this year, Connie posted this recipe, Butter Crust Chicken Pot Pie. Ever since I read this post I've wanted to try her pie crust recipe so here was my opportunity.

When you read Connie's recipe you'll see that she made the crust in a food processor using chilled butter. I used a  KitchenAid stand mixer so I thought it best to have the butter at room temperature.

Other than that I followed her instructions perfectly and what a wonderful crust this makes, you can get this recipe by clicking the above link for her Chicken Pot Pie, and enjoy so many more of her amazing recipes.

Here is how I made these tasty sweet treats: 

After rolling the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick I used a glass top with a 3 1/2 inch diameter to cut perfect circles.

Then I greased a muffin tin and carefully pressed the dough into the bottom and up the sides.

I filled these with my apple mixture, oh and by the way I added 1 tablespoon of sugar and sprinkled some cinnamon into the apples while I made the pie crust. Then I cut tops for these using a 2 1/2 inch glass top and pressed them together. Adding a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon on top, then cut two slices on the top of each one as a vent.

These baked at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until the crust was golden brown. They came out of the muffin tins very easily and cooled on a wire rack.

Connie's pie crust recipe is buttery, flaky and melts in your mouth, Thank You, Connie.

As always Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Buttery Garlic Rolls

Buttery Garlic Rolls

Today in Western New York the temperature was 85 degrees with high humidity, but that didn't stop me from turning on the oven to make these tasty butter garlic rolls.

My grandmother made something similar to this every time she made pizza she would make these wonderful garlic knots. I decided to change it up a bit and make it simple, just butter, garlic, and some parmesan cheese.

Here is what I used for the dough:

1 cup lukewarm water plus 2 tablespoons
1 package dry yeast
1-1/2 tablespoon butter (softened)
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour

I decided to use butter for this dough instead of oil or shortening, so I didn't add any salt. I added the water, yeast, butter, and sugar in my KitchenAid mixing bowl and let it set for about 5 minutes to let the yeast begin to bubble.

Then added the flour and turned the mixer on low speed. I started out with just one cup of water but the dough wasn't coming together so I added two more tablespoons of water. Then finished mixing the dough by hand on a floured surface,
I covered the dough and let it rise for a little over an hour
 Now I have to tell you this funny story that my cousin told me a couple of weeks ago.

 My mother was baking a cake and she called my aunt and said: "Christy do you have any minus" my aunt replied: "Helen what are you talking about" my mother said: "this recipe calls for 2 cups of water minus 2 tablespoons, and I don't have any minus" Oh! you had to know my mother and aunt, I just couldn't stop laughing.

Okay back to the garlic rolls, Here is what I used for the rolls:

4 cloves fresh garlic chopped fine
3 tablespoons butter melted
Garlic Powder
Parmesan Cheese

I spread the dough on 11x17 greased cookie sheet, brushed the butter on top, spread the garlic, and then sprinkled some garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.

I rolled this into a log and cut 1/2 inch pieces
I preheated the oven to 425 degrees, brushed some more butter on top and sprinkled some more Parmesan cheese. Bake these for 15 minutes until golden brown.

They came out nice and crispy with a buttery flavor and garlic in every bite. These make a great addition to your favorite pasta or just as a snack dipped in marinara sauce.

As always thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Bacon Epic Failure

Me and Sammy the Cooks
The Cooks for the day!

Well today you are not going to find a great recipe, just a fun story about our bacon epic failure.

 The picture is myself the foodie with this blog, and my son Sammy who graduated from culinary school and is a pretty good cook. So you might ask yourself how could they burn the bacon?

 Our son, his wife, and our two beautiful granddaughters came last weekend for a visit, to attend Sammy’s class reunion.

Whenever we have everybody together it’s a tradition to cook a huge family breakfast. When we're all together my son and daughter dub our house “The Hotel Monaco” and feel it’s a must to post our happenings to Facebook.

It was a beautiful cool, sunny morning here in Western New York. I like to cook the bacon on a cookie sheet in the oven, I find this so much easier. On this morning I decided not to use the oven so I wouldn’t heat up the kitchen.

So I proceeded to line a cookie sheet with tin foil and place the bacon on it. I took this out to the deck and fired up the grill on the low setting. 

Fran was out there playing with our four grandchildren. I asked her to watch the bacon, and she did for a while.

While Sammy and I made the pancakes, eggs, and sausage in the house, Fran was watching the bacon, at least we all thought so. 

Just about the time everything was coming together, Fran yelled from the deck “the bacon is burned”.

The burned bacon!
 The moral of this story is, don’t put your bacon on the grill and expect your wife to watch it while she is playing with the grandchildren.

Needless to say “The Hotel Monaco” got some very bad reviews for the day. I hope you enjoyed our bacon failure.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Grilled Zucchini

Grilled Zucchini and Squash

An easy and healthy veggie side dish to compliment any meal.  While shopping last week Fran had picked up a strip steak for me and a turkey burger for herself.

 Fran eats much healthier than I do. While I was heating up the grill and grilling the steak and burger she prepared some zucchini and yellow squash.

Here is how she did it:

Sliced the zucchini and squash length wise about ¼ inch to ½ inch thick.

Brushed olive oil on both sides.

Seasoned with some Italian seasoning.

Then layered with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

After the steak and turkey burger finished cooking on the grill, I took the zucchini and squash slices and placed them directly on the grill surface on the medium setting.

Quickly grilled these for about a minute per side, just enough to show the grill marks, you don’t want to over cook them, as they will turn out too soft and mushy.

They came out perfect, and made a tasty veggie side dish. Quick and easy is the way that I like it.

Here is another great idea for grilled veggies, one of my earlier posts: Grilled Stacked Veggies, this one you can really make a meal out of.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!