Friday, March 28, 2014

Crockpot Queso Mexilini

 The crockpot is generally not my friend. I find most slow cooker recipes to be very disappointing. The "crockpot orange chicken" recipe that was floating around on Pinterest was possibly one of the worst meals I've ever cooked. Of course probably my fault for choosing to pretend that the photo attached to it, which was of tempura orange chicken from a restaurant, would bear any resemblance to a crockpot recipe lol.
  I keep on plugging away at it, because the crockpot is so darn convenient! I came up with this recipe, and I was quite happy with it. The family all gave it thumbs up.  Very quick to put together. Mexican queso blanco cheese can be substituted for the cream cheese, and to make it vegetarian use vegetable broth instead of chicken. Salsa of your choice, so you can choose how spicy you like it

1 lb bag frozen cheese tortellini
16 oz jar salsa (of your choice)
4 oz (1/2 block) cream cheese, chopped in smaller pieces
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup shredded mexican blend cheese

  Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook 6 hours on medium. Garnish with sour cream and additional shredded cheese if desired

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Cinnabon" clone Cinnamon Rolls

  A friend of mine was recently having trouble with a cinnamon roll recipe and asked for advice (dough wasn't rising). I hadn't made them in years, so decided that it was time for a test run. I chose a Cinnabon clone recipe from Allrecipes I believe, but made some alterations.  Many cinnamon roll recipes call for a bread machine. I had one, but didn't care for the texture of the crust on the bread from a machine, so off to the yard sale it went. I used my Kitchenaid mixer to do most of the kneading of the dough for me, but you could do it all by hand if you would like.

  I like to add a pinch of sugar, brown sugar or honey to my yeast/milk (or water depending on the recipe). Seems to make the yeast proof a little better. Your proofed yeast mixture should look similar to this when it's ready to go

 This is a very stiff dough, and I found that it took a LONG time to rise. I set mine to rise at 12:30, left the house and 2:00 and it wasn't doing much. Returned at 4:00 and it was ready to go. So don't get frustrated if it takes a long time. You can probably even let it rise in the fridge overnight if time is an issue. The second rise, after the dough has been worked and the buns are made, is much faster. About half an hour.
This is what they should look like when you put them in the pan for the second rise
Risen and ready to go into the oven!
Remove from oven when they look like this. Golden brown and ready to ice
The finished product! Makes 12 LARGE buns

Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
4 1/2 cups AP flour
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2  package (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine warm milk and yeast in medium mixing bowl (I like to add a pinch of sugar or brown sugar). Let stand approx 10 minutes, until yeast is foamy

In bowl of electric mixer, add half of the flour, and the yeast mixture. Combine. Then add eggs, salt, and  white sugar. Add in small amounts of the rest of the flour until dough is all mixed

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball (mixer will have done most of the work for you). Place in bowl sprayed with baking spray. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Set aside to rise

After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough into a 16x21-inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Banana Berry Waffles

  I've been searching for healthy, easy, make ahead breakfast option to serve to the kids before school, and have been experimenting with my Belgian waffle maker. Waffles freeze really well, and lend themselves to all sorts of flavor combinations. I had ripe bananas and a small amount of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries to use up. Chopped strawberries would work well too. The milk of your choice can be substituted. I like almond milk and it's high in calcium. I chose to use the "white" whole wheat flour, but regular whole wheat can be used if you prefer. This recipe makes 4 large Belgian waffles, which I think of as 8 servings. Easy to freeze and heat up in the toaster oven.

1 cup AP flour
1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup almond milk
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tbsp agave syrup
1 cup assorted berries (chopped if large)

  Preheat waffle iron per manufacturers instructions. Spray with cooking spray.

  In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Stir in egg milk, mashed banana and agave syrup. When combined fold in berries.

  Cook batter per waffle iron instructions for amount of batter, until waffles are golden brown and easy to remove from iron.