Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
375 degree oven       Total Time: 2 1/2 hours

4 ¾ to 5 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 ¼ tsp. or 1 package active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups milk
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Cinnamon Sugar mixture:
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sugar


  1. In a large mixing bowl stir together 2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, sugar, butter and salt just till warm (120-130 degrees) and butter almost melts.
  3. Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface.
  6. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double in size, about 1 hour.
  7. Punch dough down, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Lightly grease two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans.
  9. Roll each section of the dough out into a 12x7 rectangle. Brush lightly with water.
  10. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture on each rolled out section of dough.
  11. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting from the short side. Rub edge of dough with a little water, and pinch seam and ends to seal.
  12. Place dough in the prepared pans and let rise in a warm place till doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  13. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when you tap the top.
  14. Remove bread from pans and cool on a wire racks.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus 

I made this from scratch, and portion wise it cost me about $2.80. That's $3.00 cheaper than you would get it at the grocery store!

You will need: 

2 cloves of garlic
1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/3 cup tahini*
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 roasted red peppers
3 basil leaves, plus more to garnish

* Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. I could only find it in the health food section at Fred Meyer.

In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, chickpeas, tahini, and lemon juice. 

Blend until smooth. (I had to remove the blender from the base and shake several times. Tahini is sticky)

Add the red peppers and basil leaves and blend. Eat & Enjoy!

How to Roast a Pepper!

I can't believe that I haven't done this before. It was so simple, and I will be doing it again in the future!

You will need:

1 baking sheet with lipped edges
Aluminum foil
2 Peppers (Color of your choice) I used Red Peppers since I will be using them in hummus


Preheat oven to 450° and line the cookie sheet with the aluminum foil.

Wash the Red Peppers thoroughly, and remove stickers. Place them on the baking sheet, on their sides.

Place the peppers in the center of the oven. Roast, turning every 15 minutes, until cooked through (approximately 30 minutes). 

(After the turn)

Once roasted through, remove from oven, and immediately place in a plastic container with a lid or paper bag. The steam from the peppers will make the skins easy to remove. 

Remove the skins, and enjoy in whatever dish your heart desires!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Roasted Herb-Garlic Potatoes

I made these delicious Potatoes the same night that I made the Roasted Herb Chicken, and they paired together wonderfully!

I learned from making these two, that I need to have fresh herbs on hand, so I am thinking of planting an herb garden this spring! Anyone know how? Please help!


3 Tablespoons olive oil (I never us exactly what the directions call for, I just kind of estimate)
1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into chunks
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt & pepper

(Like I said in the chicken recipe, I didn't have fresh herbs on hand, so I used dried herbs instead)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil.

Scatter the Potatoes and garlic in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the rosemary and salt & pepper, and drizzle with the remaining oil. Toss gently to combine the ingredients and spread them out evenly on the pan. ( I did this step in a bowl instead of on the pan. I make messes a lot, so it was easier to keep the mess contained this way.)

Roast, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the skins are crisp and browned and the flesh is tender when pierced, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve Immediately.

Super easy to make, and easily adjustable! Add extra herbs, or some Cayenne Pepper for extra kick!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Roasted Chicken with Herbs

This Holiday season, I am excited to say, I received a cookbook as a gift!!! The first recipes that I made out of it were something I already make on a regular basis. Apparently, I am a natural born chef! Woot!

You need:
1 Chicken, about 4lbs
Olive Oil, for brushing
Salt and Pepper
1/2 small yellow onion, cut into chunks
4 fresh flat leaf parsley sprigs
4 large fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat the oven to 425°F, positioning an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.

To begin, the chicken needs to be thawed, so you will want to put it in the fridge the day before you want to cook it. About 30 minutes before you are ready to roast the chicken, pull it out of the fridge and let sit on the counter. Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity and discard. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Brush or rub the chicken all over with oil, and season inside and out with salt and pepper.

According to the recipe, you should place the fresh herbs inside the chicken. When I made this chicken, I didn't have fresh parsley and thyme, so I just used dried herbs, and put it only on the outside of the chicken. I used about a half teaspoon of each, and it turned out wonderfully.

Place the onion inside the cavity, and tuck the wings under the back. Tie the legs together using kitchen string.

Oil and V-shaped roasting rack and place it in a baking dish or roasting pan just large enough to hold the chicken.

Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325°F and continue to roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh away from the bone registers 170°F, 50-60 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Slip the handle of a long wooden spoon or a pail of tongs in the chicken cavity and carefully tip the bird, draining the liquid from the cavity into the pan.

Remove the string from the chicken, and the contents of the cavity, then carve the chicken. Serve immediately.

Original recipe from Williams-Sonoma Cooking Essentials, page 175. The pictures are my own. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Caramel Apple Glazed Pork Chops

All I can say is Mmmm Mmmm! Collin kept mentioning that his mom used to make pork chops with sauce when he was a kid. He talked about how she would make this AMAZING homemade apples sauce, and that the pork chops would be cooked to juicy perfection. To be honest, the thought of apple on a pork chop struck me as odd at first, but once I got over the idea, I decided I wanted to try it. Here's the thing, I don't like making other people's recipes exactly, because then it ends up being this competition between the cooks, and someone's recipe will always be more favored. For that reason I decided to try the whole apple slices, and the caramel apple glaze, and I must say it is Divine!

What you will need :

4 (3/4 inch thick) Pork Chops
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tart apples (I use Granny Smith), peeled, cored and sliced
3 Tablespoons Pecans (optional)


 Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F. Place a medium dish in the over to warm. You will be using this to keep the pork chops warm while you make the glaze.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. As soon as you take the pork chops out of the skillet this will be used. Also, prepare the apples.
     Note: This step can be done prior to cooking the pork chops, or while they are cooking. I don't like to feel rushed, so I do the prep work before I start any of the cooking.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the pork chops lightly with the oil and place in the hot pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until done. Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated oven.
     From experience, I would say that this transition needs to happen rather quickly, so that you don't burn the glaze. So, when the chops are almost done cooking, pull the heated pan from the oven, and have it near the skillet, also have a slotted spatula ready to remove the pork chops, leaving most of the cooking liquid (aka the oil) behind.

Immediately add butter to the skillet. Once the butter is nearly melted add  in the spice mixture and apples. Stir around until evenly coated. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. (Based on how thickly sliced the apples are, this cook time will vary) Once cooked to your desired firmness, remove apples with a slotted spatula, and arrange evenly on top of Pork Chops, leaving the juices behind in the skillet again.  Return the pork chops to the oven to keep warm.
     As above, this change over needs to happen quickly. About a minute before the apples are done, remove the pan from the oven, and have the spatula handy.

Continue cooking the sauce, uncovered, in the skillet until thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over the apples and the pork chops. Sprinkle with pecans and you are ready to eat!!

When I make this recipe at home, I serve with Mashed Potatoes with no gravy. The apples and sauce will serve that purpose. :-)


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

This recipe is one of my favorites for two reasons, 1. It only takes about 20-30 minutes to make 2. The flavor is amazing, and you can use any type of pasta you like.

2 Bunches of broccoli rabe, stalks trimmed and quartered crosswise
12 ounces dried orecciette pasta or other small shaped pasta such as farfalle or penne
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spicy pork sausage, castings removed
3 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of dried red pepper flakes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Strain the broccoli rabe, reserving all the cooking liquid. Set the broccoli rabe aside. Cook the orecchiette in the same pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occassionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until the sausage is brown and juices form, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli rabe and toss to coat. Add the pasta and enough reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Stir the Parmesan cheese, salt to taste, and the pepper into the pasta mixture.

The first time that I made this, I did it exactly how the recipes says. I found the directions to be easy to follow, and the flavor was amazing. I did however decide that I wasn't a huge fan of the flavor of the broccoli rabe. It has a slightly bitter flavor after chewing, and I decided I would make it with regular broccoli the next time. 
When I made it with the regular broccoli, I made a few additional changes. 

14 ounce package frozen broccoli
16 ounces picollini pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound medium, ground pork sausage
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup grated Tillamook Italian cheese blend
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes, Strain the broccoli, reserving all the cooking liquid. Set the broccoli aside. Cook the picollini pasta in the water from the broccoli, adding 8 additional cups of water. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. 

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until the sausage is brown and juices form, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and toss to coat. Add the pasta and the full cup of cooking liquid. Stir in the Italian cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and mix until coated. Serves about 6. 

I think this might also be good if you add more vegetables, or did it with shredded chicken instead of sausage! Either way, eat, enjoy and let me know what you think. 

From Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentis