Friday, May 25, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

These are great lemon poppy seed muffins. The lemon flavor is mild and the texture of the muffins is great - not at all like a cupcake. I hate it when muffins taste like cupcakes. I like them to be a little denser with a good muffiny crumb and these fit the bill. I got the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker, a site with so many great baked goods recipes.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

2/3 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon (you will use the juice too)
2 cups all purpose flour (plus 2 tablespoons for high altitude)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
juice of 1 lemon (plus 2 tablespoons water for high altitude)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in the center spot in your oven. Place 16 paper muffin cups into muffin tins (you may get 14-16 muffins depending on how you scoop them).

In a large bowl rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers until sugar is moist and smells like lemon. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine. In another bowl combine sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Stir. Add this wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir a bit. Add the lemon juice (and water if you're at a high altitude) and melted butter and stir quickly until just mixed. Add poppy seeds and stir until evenly distributed, making sure you don't over-mix the batter. Using a large cookie scoop fill the muffin cups (about 2/3 full).

Bake for 18-20 minutes at 400 until tops are golden. Cool muffins on a rack. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temp.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sally's Italian Pasta Salad

This is now one of my favorite pasta salads. It has a great combination of ingredients that go so well together. I love the avocado and artichoke hearts! I got the recipe from my friend Sally and I'm so glad she shared it with me. Thanks! You can use a different kind of dressing if you can't find the Ken's, just look for Romano cheese in the ingredients. I served this salad as a side to parmesan chicken tenders and cantaloupe, but you could throw some grilled chicken strips into it and serve it as an entree salad.

Sally's Italian Pasta Salad

1 lb bowtie pasta
14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1 small can sliced olives, drained
1 avocado, diced
10 oz grape tomatoes, halved (or cherry tomatoes)
1 regular size bag baby spinach
4 oz crumbled Feta cheese
Ken's Light Northern Italian Salad Dressing

Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until cooled. Allow to sit and drain in colander while you prepare other ingredients.

In a large bowl combine artichoke hearts, olives, avocado, grape tomatoes, spinach, Feta, and drained pasta. Pour in about 3/4 of the bottle of salad dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich (aka The Sandwich That Will Change Your Life)

Have you ever had a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich?? Oh wow. It is an amazingly wonderful thing. The first time I had one was at Potbelly's (fab sandwich shop) and it was so good that even though I don't live by a Potbelly anymore, I still crave them every now and then (actually I crave them all the time, but I resist until resistance is futile, like last night). The peanut butter gets all melty and combines with the jelly and then with the crispy buttery bread... Again, oh wow. It's the perfect mix of salty, sweet, crispy and gooey.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich: Take a nice sliced white bread and slather the inside with peanut butter and jelly (raspberry is my favorite). Then slather the outside with butter and grill like you would a grilled cheese sandwich. Serve with a cold glass of milk. Heavenly.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Easy French Bread

This is a really great way to make French bread. It's faster than any other recipe I've made (except for baguettes - those are super fast to make). The method is a little different than what I've done in the past, but it really worked and resulted in a great bread with a nice crust and soft chewy inside. So good. I got the recipe from Your Home Based Mom. You can either make one large loaf or 2 smaller loaves. I opted for the 2 smaller loaves so I could make sub sandwiches for my kids lunch with one of the loaves the next day.

Easy French Bread

1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 - 4 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
1 egg white + 1 tablespoon water

In the bowl of a mixer combine 1/4 cup warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Allow to stand until bubbly. Add in 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water, and 2 1/2 cups of flour. Mix for 1 minute. Add additional flour until you form a dough that pulls away from sides of bowl, but it should still be a little sticky - for me I used 3 1/4 cups total. Knead with dough hook on medium high speed for 5 minutes.

Form dough into a smooth ball and place in a greased bowl with non-stick plastic wrap over the top. Let rise for 15 - 20 minutes in a warm place.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface. If desired, cut dough in half for 2 loaves. Roll out dough with a rolling pin, then roll up jelly-roll style and turn ends under, pinching to seal seams, and place seam side down onto a greased cookie sheet (or use a silpat or parchment). Cut 3 diagonal cuts into the loaf/loaves, about 1/4 inch deep. Combine egg white and water and brush onto the loaf/loaves.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and TURN OFF OVEN. Boil a pan of water and pour water into a shallow baking dish placed on lowest rack in oven. Place sheet with bread dough on the rack above the water and let rise until doubled, about 10-15 minutes. Remove baking dish with water. Turn oven to 425 and bake for 10 minutes. Turn down heat to 375 and bake for an additional 8 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chicken Poppy Seed Pasta Salad

Last night I got to go to a Relief Society recipe swap. Oh, how I love recipe swaps! What is better than getting together with a bunch of ladies, chatting, exchanging recipes, and eating yummy food?! It was awesome in every way. Anywho, the theme was summer recipes so I took this easy to make dinner salad and it was also what my family had for dinner with some homemade French bread and corn on the cob. I love the combination of flavors in this salad. It is much like the spinach salad that I make with chicken and pasta added to make it more hearty. Hope you'll like it too.

Chicken Poppy Seed Pasta Salad

12 oz bowtie pasta
2-3 cup cooked and cubed chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
1/2 cup chopped cashews
5 oz package Craisins dried cranberries
3-4 oz baby spinach (about half a bag)
12 oz bottle Brianna's Poppy Seed Dressing

Cook pasta, in boiling salted water, according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Allow pasta to sit the colander while you prepare the other ingredients so it drys a little.

In a large bowl combine: chicken, green onion, bacon, cashews, Craisins, and spinach. Add drained pasta and toss. Add poppy seed dressing to taste, I usually add about 3/4 of the bottle, and toss. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Homemade Hamburger Buns

I found the perfect homemade hamburger bun recipe! Yay! The buns turned out just the right texture - they have a nice chewy crust, which makes them easy to cut in half, and are soft and moist on the inside. These buns were perfect tonight with pulled pork for sandwiches. SO much better than store-bought hamburger buns, which can be kind of tasteless and spongy. The recipe is from Home Cooking with Sonya (though I did modify it slightly). Thanks Sonya!

Homemade Hamburger Buns

3 - 3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast (I use SAF)
1 cup hot tap water
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg

In the bowl of a mixer combine 3 cups of bread flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Mix with a dough hook briefly just to distribute evenly. Add hot water, butter, and egg. Knead for a minute with dough hook. Add more flour as need to form a firm dough that pulls away from sides of bowl - for me I added another 1/4 cup of flour equaling 3 1/4 cups total. Knead with dough hook on high speed for 6 minutes. Turn out dough and form into a smooth ball. Place in a large greased bowl and cover with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until doubled.

Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball and flatten the ball out with the palm of your hand - till it's about 3 inches across. Place on greased or parchment lined baking sheets (I use silpat liners). Cover with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap and allow to rise for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until noticeably puffy.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake for 10-15 minutes (12 minutes for me) or until buns are golden on top and bottom. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter if desired. Cool buns on a wire rack.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Raspberry Vanilla Refrigerator Oatmeal

I've seen this recipe all over Pinterest. It's from The Yummy Life. It's an uncooked oatmeal porridge that you make the night before and all the ingredients soften and combine in the fridge so it's ready the next morning. The Greek yogurt makes it taste a lot like an oatmeal smoothie. It's a yummy and healthy way to start the day or a nice quick lunch.

Raspberry Vanilla Refrigerator Oatmeal

1/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low or non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon raspberry jam
1/3 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

In a half pint mason jar or tupperware container, combine oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, vanilla, and raspberry jam. Put on lid and shake until well combined. Remove lid and add raspberries, stir until mixed. Return lid and refrigerate overnight. Eat chilled. Will last 2-3 days in refrigerator.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Leftover Pizza Bento

This is an all time favorite bento lunch of my kids and they have it frequently because I usually make pizza once a week. The blue silicone cupcake cup helps to separate the cookie and keep it from getting pizzay.

Leftover Pizza Bento
slice of leftover homemade pizza cut into triangles
pineapple and mango cubes (with a cat pick)
Late July Mini PB Sandwich Crackers
chocolate chip cookie

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cinnamon Syrup

It is fun to switch up pancake night with flavored syrups. Recently I made cinnamon syrup and it was super good. It made the whole house smell like Autumn. Funny how cinnamon can do that. I served it over these great buttermilk pancakes. I think it would be wonderful over pumpkin pancakes. I think this syrup will be requested frequently.

Cinnamon Syrup

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
5 oz can evaporated milk (the tiny can)

In a saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and cinnamon. Bring to boil over medium heat and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the evaporated milk until combined and smooth.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Orange Crescent Rolls

I have tried so many orange roll recipes, but never found one I was completely satisfied with. But I LOVE orange rolls, so I wanted to try my own version by turning one of my very favorite roll recipes (this one) into orange rolls and it worked with great results. This will definitely be my go-to orange roll recipe from now on. My family loved them and my 5 year old told me these rolls were the best thing I have ever made. That made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.:) This recipe makes a lot - 32 ooey gooey wonderful rolls - so they are great to share with friends or neighbors.

Orange Crescent Rolls

3 teaspoons yeast (I use SAF)
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes (I use Better Crocker Potato Buds)
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 - 6 1/2 cups white bread flour

5 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
1/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange

In the bowl of a mixer (I use a Bosch) combine yeast and warm water. Add butter, dry milk, sugar, mashed potato flakes, eggs, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Mix with dough hook until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough that pulls away from sides of bowl (for me it is usually 3 more cups). Knead with dough hook on medium high speed for 3 minutes.

Turn flour onto a floured surface and form dough into a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half. Roll each portion into a large circle (15-16 inches across). Using a butter knife or offset spatula, spread dough with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of softened butter. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup sugar and the zest of 1 orange. Spread half of the sugar/zest mixture over the butter and smooth out evenly with a butter knife or offset spatula. Cut the dough pizza style (with a pizza cuttter) into 16 wedges. Roll up the wedges from the wide end, making sure to pinch the ends into the dough well so they don't unravel. Form rolls into a crescent shape and place on a non-stick sprayed baking sheet at least 2 inches apart with the end tucked under the roll (this helps them to not unravel as well).

Cover rolls with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes, until golden on top and bottom. Brush rolls while still hot with glaze recipe below. Allow rolls to sit on cookie sheets till glaze is set, then move rolls with a spatula to a wire rack to cool (or eat them warm - SO good!).

juice of 1 large orange (about 1/2 cup)
zest of 1 orange
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
powdered sugar (about 1 lb.)

In bowl of a mixer combine orange juice, zest, and extract. Add enough powdered sugar to create a glaze, about 1 lb. Brush this glaze onto rolls while still hot.